Back to school lunch kit ideas

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies -
Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies -

It’s back to school on Monday, back to the routine and back to deciding what’s going into those lunch kits. Everybody is on a budget especially after holiday time. Good news, you can save money and time by making ahead some lunch time meals for your children and even for you. Chicken and dumplings is a popular dish and goes well the next day, why not make up a double batch, you can even substitute the chicken parts with chicken breast if you rather. Meatloaf is sensational and tastes even better the next day in sandwiches. And how about doing your own home-made snacks, the peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies and the banana squares are both sustaining and delicious.

Paprika chicken with cinnamon dumplings

1 3½ lb chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces

2 tbs fresh ground herb seasoning

1 tbs minced garlic

1 sprig French thyme

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tbs paprika

2 tbs olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 cup diced tinned tomatoes, with juice

1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

⅓ cup chopped parsley

Season chicken with the first 5 ingredients.

In a large sauté pan heat olive oil, add onion and cook until tender, about three to five minutes.

Add chicken pieces and turn to brown,

Add green peppers and tomatoes cover and let cook for 20 minutes, adding just a little water or broth if needed to prevent sticking. You should have quite a bit of sauce in your pot at this time.

Drop in your dumplings, be sure there is enough sauce from the chicken to cook the dumplings, if not add a little more stock bring to a boil then drop in the dumplings, gently spoon liquid over dumplings then cover.

Cook for 10 minutes more.

Taste and adjust salt.

Sprinkle with parsley then serve.

Serves 6


Combine one cup cornmeal with one cup all-purpose flour, add 2 teaspoons baking powder, one half teaspoon cinnamon, 2 tablespoons butter, salt.

Combine, add enough milk to mix to a soft dough.

Spoon dumplings into hot chicken and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

pinch salt

¾ cup semi -sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream butter and sugar just until combined, add peanut butter, vanilla and egg, add flour, baking soda and a pinch of salt.

Stir mixture until all ingredients are incorporated, fold in chocolate chips.

Drop batter by level tablespoons onto a buttered baking sheet about 1½ inches apart, then take a fork and flatten cookies slightly, making a cross-hatch pattern on each enough to make a 2 ½ inch round.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until crisp. If you like chewier cookies bake for about 12 minutes.

Cool on racks.

Makes about 40 cookies.

Mini cheese and pepper meatloaves

16 crackers, preferably crix

1 cup milk

1 lb lean ground beef

2 tbs ground seasoning herb paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs fresh thyme

2 eggs

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 red pimento peppers, seeded and chopped

6 ozs cheddar cheese, cubed

1 tsp salt

Crumble crackers into a measuring cup; add milk only to reach the one cup mark. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Place beef into a large mixing bowl, add seasoning, garlic, thyme and combine.

Lightly beat eggs and add it to the cracker mixture.

Add this to the beef mixture and stir well to combine.

Add peppers and cheese and combine.

Season with salt.

Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins, bake for about 30 minutes or until a wooden tester comes out clean when testing meat loaves.

Makes 12 mini meat loaves.

** this can be made in a loaf tin, bake for about 60 minutes. Makes great sandwiches the next day, slice and slather on mustard.

Oatbran banana squares

1 cup oat-bran flakes

1 cup milk

¼ cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place oat bran flakes into a bowl, pour on milk and stir, let stand for 10 minutes.

Cream butter with sugars until light. Add eggs one at a time beating well between additions. Add vanilla and stir in banana.

In another bowl sift together flour with baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Stir cereal mixture into banana mixture, now fold in the flour mixture just until combined.

Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9-inch square baking tin.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until centre springs back when touched.

Makes one cake. Cut into squares.


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