by Lygeia Grace in How-to, March 5th, 2015
by Foodlets in Family, February 1st, 2015
Dining at your desk can feel sad — like eating Thanksgiving dinner with plastic utensils. (The food may be delicious, but the circumstances make it less so.) But there is a way to make eating last night’s leftovers actually pleasant — and I’m not talking about investing in one of those annoying bento lunchboxes that never have enough room for the main part of the meal. Over the years, I’ve come up with five essentials that bring dignity to lunch at work. Here’s what I always have on hand.
1. A Low, Wide White Ceramic Bowl: White because most food — even a baked potato — looks good against it. Low because it can work for salads, soups, grains or a piece of chicken. And ceramic because it can go in the microwave (cold leftovers just invite depression).
2. Real Cutlery (i.e., a stainless steel fork and spoon): They don’t have to match, so grab those oddball orphaned pieces from your silverware drawer and put them to good use. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s also a scientifically proven fact that nothing (other than North Carolina barbecue served in a Styrofoam container) should ever be eaten with a flimsy plastic fork.
by Foodlets in Family, January 16th, 2015
Your mornings may go more smoothly than mine, but in order to get the kids out the door on time I need to have a bunch of lunch staples on hand. And sometimes those supplies come right from last night’s dinner. Hint: Make it even easier on yourself by packing up these lunches as you clean up dinner, while everything’s still out.
1. Homemade Pizza: Some schools balk when you send kids with takeout pizza, but the fresh stuff should be fine. We love ham and pineapple, as well as good ol’ cheese. But Ree Drummond’s 5-star Pepperoni Pizza and Four-Cheese Pizza (pictured above) look so good, we’ll venture out this week.
2. Rolls: Any time we serve rolls or crusty bread, I always use the extras for sandwiches the next day. We have small kids and the size is perfect. If yours are bigger, pack two of these mini sandwiches. (Feeling industrious? Bobby Flay has 164 [and counting] perfect reviews for his Parker House Rolls.)
by Amy Reiter in News, October 7th, 2014
OK, 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.)
by Foodlets in Family, September 15th, 2014
It’s not uncommon for parents, when they’re concerned about their kids missing them at school, to sneak a little note into the kids’ backpacks or special treat in their lunchboxes to cheer them up. But Li Ming, a stay-at-home mom in Singapore, has taken that concept to a whole new level with the elaborate bento boxes she makes for her two sons.
Ming says she “started bento-ing” in 2008, when her older son was in nursery school, and graduated to making the more involved, ultra-adorable charabens, or character bentos, when he began primary school in 2011. “He missed me terribly then and had problems adjusting to the longer hours at primary school. I started packing him charabens, along with lunch notes, hoping to cheer him up and let him feel my presence and love through them,” she explains on Bento, Monsters, the blog where she documents her bentos and offers recipes, tips and tutorials.
by Allison Milam in Family, September 4th, 2014
Packing a school lunch has a bad reputation, but it doesn’t have to be so hard — and the results can be very sweet. Here are a few of my favorite gadgets that easily make all the difference between a so-so lunch that comes home half-eaten and a special little treat kids can’t resist.
1. Bento Boxes: It’s simple to pack a balanced lunch when you have several compartments to fill with something different. Planet Box is the most-expensive line, but with a stainless-steel box that comes in a cushy (and customizable) case, it’s hard to beat. Our favorite plastic (and more affordable) version is EasyLunchboxes, which are BPA-free and also come with cooler bags in every shade of the rainbow.
2. Our Favorite Water Bottles: Oh, the leaky water bottles. If I could have a refund for all the sippy cups, water bottles and novelty glasses we’ve bought for our brood, college would be paid for already. Along the way I’ve figured it out. This is the only kind of water bottle we’ll buy going forward: The Bubba bottle is made of stainless steel, isn’t overpriced, is dishwasher-safe and hasn’t leaked a drop yet.
by Foodlets in Family, September 4th, 2014
Especially if you have picky eaters on board, it can be hard to pin down kid-friendly recipes that translate from the kitchen to the lunchbox. Luckily, Food Network’s guide to Kid-Approved Lunches and Locker-Friendly Foods makes cafeteria glee an everyday affair. These recipes for stackable sandwiches, DIY meals and wholesome desserts are champs in a lunchbox, and they are just the fuel your kids need to get back in the swing of things.
With a recipe like Ellie Krieger’s Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad for Food Network Magazine on hand, it’s a cinch for your kids to “eat the rainbow.” In between bites of whole-wheat bow tie pasta comes corn, edamame, red bell pepper and carrots.
Tyler Florence’s lunchtime comes with a dose of ingenuity: He packs a sandwich, among other things, inside an empty tennis ball canister. Tyler Florence’s Fresh Mozzarella BLT with Pesto on a baguette for FN Magazine easily one-ups the lunch pail.
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by Nikhita Mahtani in Recipes, September 2nd, 2014
I don’t know about you, but I think making a brilliant school lunch doesn’t have to be so hard. (Just open any parenting magazine and you’ll find glossy photos showcasing hula dancer sandwiches with cucumber skirts, rice pandas complete with sly little smiles and more.) These simple-but-special ideas will punch up your crew’s lunchboxes with nary a hand-carved cow sandwich in sight.
1. Rainbows and Butterflies Pasta Salad by Food Network Magazine: Did you know bow tie pasta is called farfalle in Italian and means “butterfly”? Ellie Krieger opts for this colorful cold pasta dish (pictured above) full of fresh carrots, corn, edamame, red peppers and, of course, a sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.
by Sara Levine in In Season, Recipes, July 10th, 2014
It’s time to pack the kids up for school again, and that means making mounds of school lunches. But PB&J sandwiches can take you only so far. For a new twist on a classic ingredient that kids and adults love, look no further than the Peanut Butter series on FN Dish. For the next three weeks, we’ll be giving you inventive recipes that let you incorporate peanut butter into all your meals — from breakfast to dessert — for the entire family.
Here are ways you can sneak a little peanut butter into your midday meal: lunch. And don’t forget to check out last week’s breakfast post here.
1. Instead of a mayonnaise-based chicken salad, try it with a touch of peanut butter with Bobby Flay‘s Chinese Chicken Salad with Red Chile Peanut Butter recipe (pictured above).
by Foodlets in Family, June 25th, 2014
Why wait until dinner to fire up the grill? The grill masters in Food Network Kitchen came up with all-new recipes for great breakfasts and lunches that can be easily prepared in the backyard. Get ready to grill all weekend with flame-kissed versions of French toast, breakfast tacos, cobb salad and more. Read more
When it comes to gimmicks for getting kids interested in their food, I say, “Yes, please.” I have no shame when it comes to fun presentation, cute shapes or miniature anything, as long as it’s no more difficult than making a plain old version. With four kids at home — the oldest just turned 5 — these are my favorite tricks of the meal-making trade.
1. Sandwich Sushi: We call these “roly-polies” in our house, and the method couldn’t be simpler. Take a piece of bread and use a rolling pin to flatten it out (making the surface bigger too), then fill with your usual toppings like PB&J, turkey or whatever your kids like. Roll up and slice into 3 to 4 pieces.
2. Bunny and Bear Hard-Boiled Egg Molds: Our kids love eggs, but they actually cheer when I spend an extra 20 seconds creating bunnies or bears with these easy-to-use egg molds. Just press a peeled egg into the mold, close and wait a few seconds, then pop ‘em out.