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Outside the Box

Original Ideas for Back-to-School Lunches

1. Roll-Up Lunch: Ban bread for a week and discover zesty chicken wraps, cucumbers and smoked salmon tortilla rolls; cucumber, avocado and imitation crab meat California rolls; hummus, turkey and cheese tortilla rolls. Then toss in a fruit roll-up.

Zesty Chicken Wraps

Combine 4 oz softened cream cheese, 1 tbsp mayo, ½ tsp onion powder and 1 tsp fresh lemon juice and stir until smooth. Season with kosher salt. Spread on top of 4 whole wheat tortillas leaving a one inch border. Top with thinly sliced deli chicken or turkey, green leaf lettuce and thinly sliced tomato. Roll up and slice in half. Wrap and refrigerate. Makes 4 wraps.

 

2. Dips & Sticks Lunch: Presentation is everything! Think homemade hummus with veggie sticks; yogurt with fruit; turkey, ham, bologna and cheese rolled up and skewered with a pretzel stick; cheese sticks, of course. Add a pirouette cookie for fun.

Healthy Homemade Hummus

Combine 30 oz chickpeas (rinsed and drained), ¼ cup tahini, 1/3 cup warm water, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from one lemon, 3 garlic cloves, 1 tsp kosher salt and 1½ tsp cumin. Process until smooth and creamy. Add more lemon juice and pepper to taste. Chill. Serve with fresh veggies or crispy pita wedges. Makes about 3 cups.

 

3. Ooh la la Lunch: A worldly approach for students might start with tarragon chicken or tuna salad; French baguette; hunk of cheese; strawberries; Nutella crepe.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Combine 3 cups cooked and chopped chicken, ½ cup mayo, ½ cup halved red grapes, 2 sticks chopped celery, ½ cup halved walnuts, and 3 tbsp fresh tarragon (chopped). Chill. Serves 4.

 

4. Homemade Hot Lunch-in-the-Box: It’s the leftover they’ll fight over – mac & cheese, chicken noodle soup, or pasta; simple side salad. Don’t forget the homemade cookie.

Creamy Dreamy Mac & Cheese

Cook ½ lb macaroni noodles according to package and reserve a cup of pasta water. Meanwhile, melt ½ stick of unsalted butter and add 1 sleeve of crushed saltines. Cook for 5 minutes and set aside. Melt 2 tbsp of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan and whisk in 2 tbsp flour. Cook for 1 minute and whisk in ¾ cup milk, ¾ cup heavy whipping cream, and ¼ tsp nutmeg.Bring to a boil. Add 2 cups aged-white cheddar cheese and 4 oz cream cheese.Stir until melted. Add reserved pasta water if needed. Add macaroni. Place in greased casserole dish. Add cracker topping and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Serves 6.

You’ve Got Supper is for busy people who appreciate spending time together enjoying a great meal. All recipes are kitchen-tested to help you out of your dinner rut while planning weekly meals for family and friends.

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