Everybody knows when you pack your child's lunch, you aren't going to cook up a fresh, new meal every day.
However, in between the turkey sandwich and packets of cheese and crackers, you can slip in an item or two you made from scratch with your very hands.
Here are a few ideas.
CHICKEN SOUP WITHHERBED DUMPLINGS
Chicken Soup Recipe
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chicken broth (2, 32-ounce boxes)
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
1⁄4 cup fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook over medium heat until just tender, about 5 minutes
Add chicken broth, chicken, parsley and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
Herbed Dumplings Recipe
1 egg, lightly beaten
1⁄4 cup milk
1⁄4 cup mashed potatoes (leftover, purchased or instant)
1 tablespoon fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Combine egg, milk, mashed potatoes, parsley and melted butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
Stir dry ingredients into the egg mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, as a whisk can cause clumping
During the last 10 minutes of simmering the soup, drop 12 spoons full of dumpling batter into the broth. To measure your spoons full, use a 1 1⁄2-inch cookie scoop or heaping tablespoon
Cover and cook until dumplings are cooked through then serve.
HONEY CINNAMON APPLE CAKE
3 cups all purpose baking flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup white sugar
1⁄4 cup light brown sugar
3⁄4 cup honey
1 1⁄4 cup canola oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon allspice
Dash of ground cloves
4 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and shredded*
Preheat oven to 325 F
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Whisk in the oil, vanilla, honey and sugars.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, salt, allspice, cloves, baking power and baking soda.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients, stirring to blend. Fold in apples.
Grease a bundt pan with cooking spray and pour in batter, smoothing it out with a spatula. Bake for 75 to 90 minutes.
As the cake turns a golden brown, insert a toothpick (away from the edges) and remove it. The cake is done with toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool about 10 minutes and then flip it onto a wire cooling rack -- tapping gently to remove the cake from the pan
Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.
About an hour before serving, sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar over the top and add icing.
Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon of creamer in a bowl and whisk.
Fill a plastic zipper storage bag with icing and snip off the corner to decorate the cake.
PJB SURPRISE ENERGY BITES
from the the creativebite.com
3⁄4 c. old fashion oats
1 c. almonds chopped
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed optional
1⁄3 c. roughly chopped pitted dates
3 Tbsp. hemp seeds optional
½ c. nut butter peanut or almond are both good
1 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. low sugar fruit preserves
On a small paper plate, spread three tablespoons of fruit preserves out 1⁄4" thick. Cover with cling wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours. (The fruit preserves won't become solid, but it will thicken the mixture)
In a food processor, add the almonds and dates. Pulse until the dates are chopped finely. Add the flaxseed, hemp seeds, nut butter and honey. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. Add the old fashion oats and pulse until the mixture is well combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the food processor and pulse again.
Using a #40 cookie scoop (3/4 oz.), scoop up some of the oat mixture and using your thumb, press an indent into the scoop as far as you can. Fill the indent with a 1⁄2 teaspoon of frozen fruit preserves. Press the edges of the oat mixture over the jelly and release it from the scoop. Gently roll into a smooth circle.
Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for three months.
SPICY HAM AND EGG SANDWICH
2 slices bread
2 Tbsp. butter softened
4 slices Honey Deli Ham
1 c. baby spinach
Pinch of salt
2 oz. extra sharp white cheddar
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Dijon and spices. Spread the mixture onto one piece of bread and top with the ham and cheese.
Meanwhile, crack two eggs into a sprayed skillet over medium heat. Cook covered for about 2 minutes or until the whites are completely opaque. Place the eggs on top of the ham and cheese.
To that same skillet, add the spinach with a pinch of salt. Cook for 30-60 seconds or just until wilted. Place spinach on eggs and top with a slice of bread. Butter the outsides of the sandwich and place it in the skillet over low heat. Cook on each side until browned. Remove from the heat and enjoy.