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4 simple, speedy recipes to combat lunchbox burnout

Photo: Meal Makeover Moms/Flickr


If you pack a lunch for your kids (or they make their own!), you might be feeling less-than-inspired when it comes time to prep yet another PB&J. We chatted with local company No Junk Good Food who shared these four fabulous lunch foods that are easy to prep, travel well, and will please little ones.


Ham and cheese pockets


3 cups flour
4 tablespoons dry milk
3 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water


Diced natural smoked ham
Shredded mozzarella


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in salt, sugar, and dry milk. Add flour and stir until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Dump dough onto a floured surface and knead for around five minutes, until a soft dough forms. Add a little more flour, if needed.

Divide dough into 10 balls. Roll each ball into a 7-inch circle. Put ham and cheese on half of the circle. Fold dough over and pinch the edges to seal tightly. Egg wash.

Bake the pockets on a greased sheet pan at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned. Try serving them together with organic apple slices and a honey, cinnamon and yogurt cream cheese dip.

To freeze: Let cool completely. Freeze in airtight freezer bags for up to three months.

To serve cold: Remove from freezer the night before.

To serve warm: Microwave for about two minutes or bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.


Pizza quesadillas

8 flour tortillas
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
16 ounces pizza sauce (below)

Pizza sauce

Makes 6 cups

(2) 15-ounce cans of tomato sauce
(2) 6-ounce cans of tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced; or 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients together.

Dipping sauce

½ cup pizza sauce
½ cup sour cream


Mix pizza sauce and mozzarella. Spread the mixture on half of each tortilla. Fold and grill them on a panini grill until light brown. Cut each tortilla in four triangles.

They're great warm or cold; Try serving them cold with pizza and sour cream dipping sauce, organic cucumber, carrot sticks and grapes. Kids might like to dip their veggie sticks in the sauce as well.


Pasta fruit salad

3 cups elbow pasta
3 cups of seasonal organic diced fruit
8 ounces vanilla yogurt
¼ cup orange juice


Cook pasta as directed, drain. Rinse under cold water, drain again.

In a large bowl, whisk together vanilla yogurt and orange juice. Toss gently with the pasta and fruit to coat. Cover and chill for at least two hours.


No Junk granola bar

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dried diced apricots
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, apricots, and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well, using a wooden spoon. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for five minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Try serving the pasta fruit salad with one of these bars.

No Junk Good Food is all about providing healthy food – organic vegetables and natural meats – for school lunches for preschools and K-12, bag lunches for grown-up workers and dinners-to-go for families. They are big believers in the right food making a big difference in a student's ability to perform up to his or her potential, so they aim for healthy foods that kids will want to eat. Learn more at nojunk-goodfood.com.

Editor's note: This updated article was originally published in January of 2014.

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