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Recipe: Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

9 Dec

Yum….soup!  Who doesn’t love a big bowl of yummy good soup on a cold winter’s night?  Especially one that is filled with gnocchi and creamy goodness!

I have seen several different versions of this recipe floating around.  I played around with a couple of them and this is my version of heaven in a bowl.  Serve with warm crusty bread and prepare thine self for the warmth that is about to ensue.  I had just a little bit leftover and put it in my girls lunch the next day and they were happy children and I am THE best mom, at least for the next 2 hours.

Enjoy!

 
Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
4 tbsp flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups carrots, finely shredded
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 tsp chicken base (or use 1-14 oz can chicken broth and omit the water)
2 cups water (I used the water that I cooked the gnocchi in)
1 lb gnocchi
1 bag baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside, reserving the cooking water.  Saute the onion and celery in the butter and olive oil.  When the onion becomes translucent, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  Add the flour  to make a roux.  Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about one minute.  Add the cream and milk mixing well.  Add the carrots and chicken.  Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken base and reserved cooking water or chicken broth.  Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach and salt to taste.  Serve with grated Parmesan on top.

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Linked To:
  * Designs by Gollum:  Foodie Friday
  * Mommy’s Kitchen:  Potluck Sunday
  * Life as Mom:  Ultimate Recipe Swap

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Recipe Review: Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

8 Dec

I know right?  Macaroni and cheese cupcakes?  Really??  Really!  And they are awesome.  While mac and cheese has been a kid favorite forever, mixing it up a bit and turning it into something new and different is a great idea.  I would have never thought to put mac and cheese in a muffin tin to make these awesome little treats.  (But this does get the mind going on what else you can create…)  While these are not “cupcakes” they are a fun way to eat something that has been around since forever. 

Two out of three of my kids liked them but I bet I can convince that reluctant one to give these another chance.  And I will be trying these out in their lunch boxes very soon.  I will also be making these when we have the entire family here for the holidays and we are looking for ways to feed a bunch of kids lunch.

Enjoy!

Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
Recipe from Framed Cooks

8 ozs elbow macaroni (I used a box of mac and cheese)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish
2 eggs
1 cups milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line or spray very well a 12 cup muffin tin.  Cook the macaroni until done.  Drain and immediately return to pot.  Add cheese and stir briefly until almost melting.  Beat eggs into milk and then pour mixture into macaroni making sure not to cook the eggs.  Mix very well.  Ladle macaroni mixture into tins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.

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Recipe Review: Elise’s Homemade Vanilla Granola

2 Dec

In an effort to feed my family more healthy less processed foods, I decided to give this granola recipe a shot.  I love granola.  I love it with milk in the morning but I especially love it by the hand full…:>)!  This recipe is OMG awesome!!  It smelled so wonderful as it was baking away in the oven.  So good that I couldn’t wait for a taste as soon as I pulled it out of the oven.  It was delightful!  I only made one change to the original recipe.  I omitted the wheat germ because I did not have any. 

I now have a full gallon zipper bag of the most delicious granola at my eating whim.  My girls have a healthy snack without the added preservatives and chemicals.  You MUST give this a try if you heart granola. 

Enjoy!

Elise’s Homemade Vanilla Granola
(recipe from Favorite Family Recipes)

8 c. oats
2 c. sliced almonds
1 c. wheat germ
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
craisins or raisins, to taste (optional)
3/4 c. canola oil
1 c. honey
3 Tbsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine first 8 ingredients (dry ingredients) in a large bowl. In a saucepan combine oil, honey, and vanilla and bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 minute then pour over oat mixture. Mix until all ingredients are moistened. Divide and spread mixture over 2 large cookie sheets and bake at 300-degrees for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on pans until the granola hardens.  Break up granola and store in large Ziploc bags or containers.

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Linked To:
  * Prairie Story:  Recipe Swap Thursday
  * Gnowfglins:  Tuesday Twister
  * Simply Sweet Home:  Friday Favorites

Recipe: Herbed Cream Cheese Stuffed Pitas

21 Oct

This is one of my family’s favorite things to eat.  My girls love it with spaghetti, bean salad or as a snack.  I recently made some and put in their lunch boxes as a replacement to the typical sandwich.  They were so happy when they opened their lunch box and found these instead of a plain boring sandwich.  It also makes a great after school snack.  To make these even better, try them with homemade pitas.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Herbed Cream Cheese Stuffed Pita
1 tub onion and chive cream cheese

4 pitas, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt

Heat a griddle or pan that has been lightly sprayed.  Mix olive oil and salt in a small bowl.  Spread cream cheese in each pita pocket.  You can be as generous or as light as you like.  Brush a small amount of olive oil on both sides of the pitas.  Place pitas in the pan and cook on each side until they are golden brown and the cream cheese is heated through.  Keep the pitas warm until all are cooked and you are ready to serve.  I like mine warm, my children like them warm or room temperature.

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Lunch Box Inspiration

15 Oct
This year, my girls are taking their lunch to school almost every day.  I am trying to control the food that goes into their bodies as best I can, so I am making sure that their lunches are something that they look forward to.  I came across a blog with some great ideas and thought I would work them into our lunch boxes. 
I found all of these items at Target for under $5.00!   While I realize that these are just small things, it has already made a difference with my kids.  The napkins were marked down to $.88 a pack.  I got the bandz and puppy dog bags in the dollar bins.

So, I put their hand wipes, spoon, a couple of chocolate kisses and their bandz in the bags.

Here is a typical lunch for us.  My girls love cucumbers and I put a little container of dressing for dipping sauce.  Have you tried the Nature Valley Granola Thins?  They are a great alternative to chips.  They have a choice between pudding or applesauce.  I try to get 100 percent juice or a water with a powder pack is a favorite of theirs.  My oldest daughter loves the flavor of white organic milk so I try to get it when I find them on sale. 
Everything gets packed in nice and neat and my girls look forward to seeing what surprises they have in their lunches. 

Recipe Review: Crock Pot Baked Oatmeal

23 Sep

In my quest to find more interesting and healthy breakfast items, I came across this recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking.  I so heart oatmeal…it is one of my favorite comfort meals.  When I don’t feel good, my mom still makes me oatmeal and it always seems to make me feel better.  That just goes to show you that no matter how old you get, you still need your mommy.  (If you are reading this Mom….love you!)

My oldest daughter helped me put this together because it is so easy and quick.  I have to say it smelled divine while it was cooking.  I have not had baked oatmeal before and I was very surprised.  It was very good and had the texture of a cake or brownie.  I did not add dried fruit so it was not very sweet.  Next time I make this I will add some fruit.  My daughter loved it as well and I put one in her lunch box.

Enjoy!

Baked Oatmeal
(from One Year of Slow Cooking)

3 cups rolled (not instant) oats

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup dried fruit

Add all dry ingredients into the crock pot.  Stir well.  Add melted butter, eggs and milk stirring to incorporate.

Cover and cook on low for 3-5 hours, checking every so often. This is done when the edges are brown and are beginning to crust, and the center is set. An inserted knife should come out clean.

Allow it to cool in the crock pot for at least an hour before cutting. The longer you let it sit, the more set and brownie-like the pieces will be.

Recipe: Oh So Tasty Bean Salad

22 Sep

Sometimes I think my girls only love me because I make this bean salad for them.  I am not exaggerating when I say that they LOVE this salad.  They have been eating this since they were toddlers.  And that is how their love of feta cheese came about.  While I am making this dish, my girls like to “taste test” it to make sure it is good.  By the time the taste testing is over, there is not a lot left. 

I decided to surprise the girls and make this for the lunch.  This will be the first time that they have had it in their lunch so I know they will be excited.  When I make this for dinner, I add herbed cream cheese stuffed pitas that are grilled…another of their favorites. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as our family does.

Oh So Tasty Bean Salad

2 cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cucumbers, seeded and diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup to 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 small can chopped olives (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/2 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Combine garbanzo beans, cucumbers, red onion and tomatoes in large bowl.  Mix in feta cheese and olives.  In a small bowl, mix dressing, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour over bean mixture and toss gently. 

This is best served when chilled and taste even better the next day once the flavors have melded.




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