For some reason my daughter and her friends started a boycott of sandwiches about a year ago. It’s left us moms all floundering . Can you please help us out with suggestions for packed school lunches that might please this sandwich shunning brigade? – Rachel
Dear Rachel: Try reshaping the sandwich using tortillas and skewers, then slice into pretty rounds. Wraps are usually really popular with kids, but get creative with them too – how about cilatro-cumin beef with avocado and tomato, chicken and coleslaw, or turkey with hummus and shredded carrots? .
“Kill multiple birds with one stone” by making individual quiches with your kids on the weekend (they keep refrigerated for a few days, or frozen for a month).
You’ll spend quality time together, teach them a valuable life skill, and I find kids tend to eat what they had a hand in creating. Just have an array of healthy ingredients on hand for the fillings that they can pick and choose. Voila, you’ll have grab and go school lunches you know they’ll want to eat.
Hot or cold soups in a thermos are another great option. My Szechwan Carrot and the East African Sweet Potato soups are as delicious cold as they are hot, plus they’re nutritious and really filling.
Kick up the color and variety with sugar snap peas, cucumber, and other crudite served with hummus and pita triangles. You could also do pasta salads or rice and beans, send crackers and cheese slices, or even cold pizza cut into manageable slices.
Udon Noodles with Tofu & Greens
These udon noodles work well for school lunches too. If your child won’t eat tofu, cook off some thinly sliced chicken or beef instead. High in nutrients while full of flavor. Not a tofu fan? Substitute roast chicken cut into bite size chunks and use chicken stock in place of the vegetable broth, or chunks of grilled sirloin with beef broth.
1 12 ounce package Udon noodles, cooked according to package instructions
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 extra firm tofu, drained and cut into bite size chunks
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cloves garlic, miced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
10 ounces of mixed baby greens (I used red & green Swiss chard, tat soi, arugala, and spinach)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup vegetable broth
scallions for garnish (optional)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
1). Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a wok or large saucepan. Dredge the tofu chunks lightly in the cornstarch, season to taste, and brown in the hot oil. Remove to a plate tented with foil it keep warm.
2). Add sesame oil and remaining peanut oil to the hot pan along with the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes, Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the greens, tossing to coat with the oil and aromatics, then add the soy sauce mixed with the honey and vegetable broth. Cook tossing gently occasionally, until greens wilt, about 2-3 minutes.
3). Add noodles and tofu to the pan and toss well.
Serve hot with scallions sliced on the diagonal and toasted sesame seeds to garnish.