Tag: Back to School

5 School Lunches You Can Make in 5 Minutes

by in Family, Recipes, September 12th, 2015

DIY Cucumber SandwichesSome parents meticulously pack their kids’ lunches the night before, ensuring a smooth start the next day. I am not one of them. My husband takes our kids to school every morning at 7:30 a.m. And every morning at 7:15 a.m. I start making lunch. “OK, we’re in the No Request Zone,” I’ll announce to all four small fry who are still eating breakfast, not yet even starting to wonder where their shoes are. But with a few handy strategies for banging out healthy lunches in a hurry, we rarely have a lunch-related disaster. (Getting all the kids out the door and buckled into their car seats, however, is another matter. See: shoes.) That’s thanks to this list of reliably quick lunch ideas:

DIY Cucumber Sandwiches: Think Lunchables with a fresh twist. Chop up a cucumber and put it in the lunchbox. Then set a small pile of turkey, ham and/or cheese next to it, and let the kids put together their own sandwiches at lunchtime.

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5 Individual Desserts in 30 Minutes or Less

by in Recipes, September 10th, 2015

Fall is here and time is precious, especially if you’re adjusting to a hectic back-to-school schedule. But that doesn’t mean your sweet tooth has stopped demanding gratification in the form of luxurious homemade desserts. You may not have time for the from-scratch cake, tart or pie recipes that your family swooned over during the unhurried summer months, but using common pantry ingredients (and a few store-bought items here and there) will easily cut down time spent in the kitchen so you and your family can still enjoy a sweet reward at the end of a busy day. Here are five dreamy desserts that come together in individual cups, glasses or ramekins for quick assembly and convenient cleanup.

Chocolate Creme Brulee
Food Network Kitchen has mastered the art of shortcut creme brulee with the help of one secret ingredient: store-bought pudding. Simply spoon some prepared chocolate pudding into your ramekins, then sprinkle each with a heaping spoonful of turbinado sugar. Caramelize the sugar with your kitchen torch, and you’ll have a rich and creamy brulee in just 10 minutes.

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A Whole Week’s Worth of Back-to-School Lunches — Fall Fest

by in Recipes, September 10th, 2015

Ryder's Turkey ChiliIt’s that time of year again, folks. Get back in the swing of the school year by tricking out your kids’ lunchboxes with colorful, tasty recipes for every day of the week. These easy-to-make, take-to-school lunch ideas can take you from Monday through Friday, and they’re sure to take the cafeteria by storm.


Fill a thermos with Guy Fieri’s hearty, satisfying turkey chili recipe (pictured above). A single batch can easily feed two kids for the better part of a week — plus, chili is as freezer-friendly as it gets.

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Back-to-School Lunchbox Remix

by in Family, Recipes, September 9th, 2015

The new school year is in full swing, and to match that brand-new backpack and those shiny unused school supplies, you want to start your lunch game strong. These lunchbox combos from Food Network Kitchen are so easy to make and pack that you won’t tire of them by October — and neither will the kids. Each includes a fun main recipe, plus all the tasty extras to round out a complete, balanced lunch. Warning: Lunch-packing parents may want to assemble an extra box for themselves, and we fully approve! Read more

How to Beat the Clock: 10 Back-to-School Breakfasts Ready in 15 Minutes or Less

by in Recipes, August 26th, 2015

In the throes of back-to-school chaos, the meal that’s most often overlooked is breakfast. Assembling an elaborate plate seems like a scene from Mission: Impossible, especially when there are bookbags to pack and buses to catch. Sure, on-the-go breakfasts like yogurt cups and granola bars are reliable in a pinch, but nothing beats a homemade, sit-down meal. If you’ve been saving your favorite classics like pancakes and omelets for weekends at home, there’s no need: With a few helpful tips and the right ingredients on hand, you can have satisfying plates ready in a flash. Make time for the most-important meal of the day with these 10 breakfast dishes ready in 15 minutes or less, from omelets and poached eggs to pancakes and oatmeal.

Eggs Benedict
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Eggs Benedict is the quintessential brunch item — a dish to be savored and not rushed on a leisurely Sunday morning. But there’s no reason this comforting medley of crisp Canadian bacon and soft poached eggs atop toasted English muffins can’t be part of your weekday breakfast routine. Ree Drummond uses her mother’s quick and easy method to ensure the eggs come out right: When the water comes to a gentle simmer, add a little bit of white vinegar to the pan. Then, use a spoon to create a whirlpool before adding the eggs. This spinning motion encourages the whites to wrap around their yolks.

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7 After-School Snacks That Won’t Spoil Dinner

by in Recipes, August 24th, 2015

Light, energizing and easy to prepare: That’s the elusive after-school snack trifecta. When store shelves are lined with chips, sugary fruit snacks and other empty calories, shopping for something that fits the bill can feel a lot like searching for a needle in a haystack. The obvious alternative is to skip store-bought options in favor of something homemade, but few people have time to prepare snacks in addition to dinner. Beat the after-school crunch by preparing healthy foods over the weekend and keeping them on hand for later in the week. Homemade granola bars and trail mixes are a great place to start. Fresh veggies can be washed and cut in mere minutes, and vegetable-based dips such as guacamole or hummus make crudites seem appealing. Here are some more quick, nutritious, kid-friendly snacks to tide your family over till dinner’s ready.

Protein Bars
These nutty bars studded with dried fruit will stave off hunger pangs between lunch and dinner for only 167 calories per serving. Make a batch over the weekend so your family will have them on hand for quick and convenient after-school snacking throughout the week.

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No Fridge Necessary: 5 Ways to a Fresher Lunchbox

by in Recipes, August 19th, 2015

With another summer heading toward its end, it’s time to start thinking about lunchbox-friendly foods — namely, foods that can withstand a morning without refrigeration. Insulated lunchboxes do their part to keep meals fresh, as do ice packs. But ice packs are heavy, and they tend to go missing. A few judiciously frozen items can do double duty, keeping your lunchbox cold while slowly thawing in time to eat. Frozen water bottles, or frozen packs of applesauce or yogurt, should do the trick. But as a general rule, it’s best to steer clear of meat and dairy if you can’t guarantee refrigeration. Just in time for another school year, here are some no-fridge foods that kids — and adults — can look forward to opening.

Nuts, Berries and Seeds
Lunchtime feels eons away without a midmorning snack to hold you over, and trail mixes, granola bars and cereal treats are all tasty fuel sources. Food Network Kitchen’s Honey-Nut Cereal Treats (pictured at top) are loaded with protein and fiber in the form of peanuts and almonds. If your kids appreciate sweet and chewy dried fruits, try Claire Robinson’s easy Pumpkin Seed-Dried Cherry Trail Mix. Alton Brown’s classic rendition of crunchy Granola Bars is another snack you can feel good about packing. This lower-calorie option studded with sliced almonds, dried apricots and berries. Before you pack any of these in your child’s lunchbox, err on the side of caution and make sure no one in the class has a nut allergy.

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12 Sandwiches Your Kids Won’t Swap in the Lunch Room

by in Recipes, August 14th, 2015

When you ship your little ones off to school with well-stocked lunchboxes, the last thing you want to worry about is whether they’re trading in those painstakingly crafted meals for someone else’s puddings. Start the new school year right by making better-than-basic sandwiches that kids will be proud to tote and eager to chow down on come lunchtime. They can even help make some of the recipes — lessening your burden, and ensuring they aren’t subsisting on a boxed meal from some other mom’s pantry.

Pastrami Football Finger Sandwiches (shown above)
Your little athlete will love these bite-size, football-shaped sandwiches filled with pastrami and a cheesy-pepper mixture. You might want to toss some extra finger sandwiches into the lunchbox — his fellow linebackers might intercept a few.

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9 Fresh Ideas for Winter School Lunches

by in Family, January 16th, 2015

Sandwiches on a StickOK, I admit it: I was a little relieved when school started again after the winter break. The house will be quiet again, I thought to myself. The house will be clean again. (In both cases, the “at least for a little while” part is implied, but you parents knew that.) In the midst of all this reflection, though, I forgot about something: packing lunches.

Without the allure of new lunchboxes, packing lunch this time of year can get tedious, so we’re stepping it up. Here are a few of our favorite ideas, including new things to try ourselves.

1. Embrace the Skewer: Chop up your kids’ favorite sub-style sandwich ingredients into big bites, then thread them onto a bamboo skewer, like what’s pictured above.

2. Amp Up Your Cheese and Crackers: Instead of a sandwich, serve cheese and crackers, but do it antipasto style by tucking in a couple of cheeses, one favorite and one new variety. Then add turkey lunchmeat and a couple of slices of salami.

3. Serve Soup: What’s more comforting than a thermos of hot homemade soup? We’re trying this 10-Minute Tomato Soup recipe ourselves. (P.S. Send a few crackers to add on the spot.)

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9 After-School Snacks: From Super Simple to Deliciously Decadent

by in Family, September 22nd, 2014

9 After-School SnacksKids may be ravenous when they come home from school, but not all kids’ snacks are created equal. From easy-to-make treats to more-of-a-commitment (and totally worth it) eats, these are our favorite after-school snacks — not too filling but satisfying enough to hold even the hungriest kids over until dinnertime.

Super Simple:

Oatmeal-Chocolate Snack Cakes: Just sweet enough to satisfy, these cakey bars are full of hearty whole oats. Bonus: The recipe is so simple that kids can make a big batch themselves to enjoy all week long.

Peaches and Creamsicles: Even though school’s back in session, most afternoons are still warm enough to welcome a homemade Popsicle. Our favorite hot-weather treat is made with fresh peaches (or strawberries), pure vanilla and just a bit of rich and creamy half-and-half.

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