Back-to-School Food – Ideas from Readers By Edan Goode

We asked and you answered! We had a big response to our Back-to-School-Food Ideas blog which inspired us to ask our readers what they are serving the kids now that school is Lunchboxback in session. Here are some suggestions for school breakfasts, lunches and snacks from our readers. Thank you, everyone!

Abby:

For breakfast, I make a fried egg, cooked in olive oil, and put it between two slices of whole wheat bread for a sandwich. It’s protein-rich and the kids can take it with them in the car if we have to rush.

Sherri:

Tacos. In her thermos, I mix ground beef and refried beans. In a separate container, I give her lettuce, taco shells and whatever else she wants that day for tacos. At lunch, she mixes the thermos and the taco shells together and makes herself a taco salad. Anything left over, she has for a snack at school.

Steph:

For breakfasts, I make smoothies with protein powder and yogurt. For lunches, I make mini quiches and mini meatloafs ( using muffin tins ) and pack them in their lunchboxes. You can freeze a bunch and defrost them in the microwave or in the fridge at night.  I also do waffles with peanut butter. For after school snacks or sides in lunches I mix nuts and Cheerios or send apples and cheese.  ….or cuties ( kids seem to love ).

Mary:

I make chicken noodle soup with tons of noodles. Then for lunches, I heat it up really hot and put it on thermoses meant for hot foods (as opposed to drinks). By the time lunch rolls around, the temperature is just right and my daughter has her favorite meal.

Shelly:

I spread a thin layer of cream cheese (sometimes flavored) on a whole wheat tortilla and add deli meat, cheese and shredded lettuce. I roll it all up and cut it into bite-size “sushi” pieces, facing up so that my son can see all of the colors.

Laurie:

No matter what kind of sandwich I make, I cut them out with cookie-cutters. My daughter’s favorite is a butterfly shape. She’ll eat any sandwich I send as long as it’s in a shape. It’s all about presentation!

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Pizza in a Stick – An easy schoolnight meal By Edan Goode

Pizza comes in various incarnations: the traditional round, square or rectangular, with stuffed crust, with deep crust, etc. It’s all good, am I right?

Recently, out of boredom though, and with a blob of dough staring at me from my cutting board, I decided to amuse myself and my

Grilled Pizza in a Stick. You can bake them in the oven too if you don’t want grill marks.

kids with another variation – pizza sticks. Just to go all crazy about it, I grilled them!

Because I made this up, I’m not going to give you an exact recipe. I’ll leave it up to you to add your own variations in toppings and sauces.

Step 1:
Roll out pizza dough into a big rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut long strips 3-4 inches wide.

Step 2:
Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, spread pizza sauce* on one half of the dough strip being careful to leave borders clear.

* When sauce and fillings are going to be hidden like this, it’s a great time to smuggle pureed spinach in the sauce or finely-diced veggies.

Step 3:
Add your toppings such as sausage or pepperoni (I took a clean kitchen scissors to cut stacks of pepperoni slices into quarters to fit better along the dough).

Add cheese. Again, be sure to keep boarders clear in preparation for the next step.

Step 4:
Fold the plain half of the dough over the filled part. Seal the edges.

Pizza in a stick, in the works. Not so pretty but really tasty!

Step 5:
Brush a little olive oil over the top of the pizza sticks, keeping some extra around for when you cook them.

Step 6:
Bake the pizza sticks on a sheet pan at 425 degrees for about 7-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Or, you can grill the sticks, as I did to avoid heating up the already-hot house during the summer. If you do this, you get nifty grill marks (see photo). When grilling, turn the sticks over part-way through and brush more olive oil on the other side. Grill 5-8 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Step 7:
Serve them with or without pizza dipping sauce but beware, they are really hot inside.

Not only do these make an easy meal on a busy school night, but since kids love to take cold pizza to school, this is a space-saving way to give them what they want while providing a great conversation topic around the lunchroom table, such as, “Dude, your mom must have been really bored with pizza-making when she came up with those righteous sticks!” – or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

Now, THAT’S a Sandwich By Edan Goode

The one thing my children dread about a new school year (well, besides homework, long hours, having to get up so early and tests) are sack lunches. They are “sick, sick, sick of sandwiches”, they’ll tell you and I can’t say that I blame them. No matter how much I try to switch things up with different bread and different fillings, sandwiches just get boring after a while. Now, if I was a really fabulous, inventive, high-energy, creative parent (which is never going to happen and I’m fine with that), I would make “Insanewiches” (http://www.insanewiches.com/, St. Martin’s Press), as inspired by the book of the same name by Adrian Fiorino.

This new book came across my desk recently and put my ham and cheese between two slices of wheat bread to shame.  It’s a fun, incredibly inventive book with great photos that could, and should, double as a coffee table book!

Adrian Fiorino was kind enough to share one of his recipes with you, dear E.A.T. blog readers.  I think I could actually manage this one, although, for my kids’ tender palates, I’ll substitute mayonnaise for horseradish sauce.

Sandwich Dominoes
by Adrian Fiorino, author of “Insanewiches” and creator of “insanewiches.com”

Competitors often slap dominoes down emphatically when they’re lining up the dots. “Take that!” they’ll say, harshly rubbing it in. But if they tried the same with these Sandwich Dominoes, they’d just end up with a smooshed sandwich. When eaten as a snack, this finger food fills in the hunger gap quite nicely between games.

This recipe makes two dominoes

You’ll Need:

2 small sandwich wraps

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 slice of roast beef (have it cut thick at your deli counter)

1 large slice of Swiss cheese

1 romaine lettuce leaf, washed and dried

Instruments:

Cutting board, 23⁄4-inch square cookie cutter, chef’s knife, black edible marker

Assembly:

  1. Lay the first sandwich wrap on the cutting board, and slather it with horseradish.
  2. Next, lay the roast beef, Swiss cheese, and romaine lettuce on top of the first wrap and top all ingredients with the second wrap.
  3. Place the cookie cutter on top of the second wrap.
  4. Using the cookie cutter as a guide, carefully cut away the excess with your knife. You will be left with a square sandwich.
  5. Cut this square in half to make two identical rectangles.
  6. With your marker, draw a line centered along the width of each rectangle.
  7. Lastly, draw the dots with your marker.

Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to E.A.T. (Everyone Around the Table), a food blog for Colorado families on behalf of Colorado Parent magazine (www.ColoradoParent.com). Under cover, as Edan Goode (get it?), I’ll be reviewing area family friendly restaurants, cookbooks and new food products. I’ll also provide some tried-and-true recipes that help you feed the family fast.  As the name states, the goal is to help you gather your family around the dinner table whether it’s at home or in a restaurant. Here’s to good food, good times and good health!

E.A.T. will also have a rating system, as all good review blogs should:

Whether it’s a restaurant, recipe, cookbook or food product, we’ll give it one fork if you shouldn’t bother but four forks if you must try it and soon.

This is your messiness factor. One napkin means you and the kids will likely come away unscathed and unstained but four napkins means you should have wet wipes and a change of clothes ready.

 This stands for GUF: Grown Up Fun. You’ll see this if it’s something you’d want to try even without the kids in tow.