Monday, August 20, 2012

weekly menu planner {back-to-school week}

this week i am doing a back-to-school series on the blog!
i get excited every year at this time, even though i am sad to say goodbye to summer, i look forward to more structured days and weeks. the new beginnings with new classes, books, teachers, and friends. + i love the crisp orangy beauty of fall.

here are some super fun lunch ideas for all ages just in time for back-to-school!
(click the photos for links)


sandwich on a stick

ocean theme

bento box ideas

chicken salad pitas

fruit and yogurt parfaits

easy apple sandwiches

taco salad wraps

creative ways to serve lunches

personal pizzas recipe!!!
These handheld pizzas are the perfect snack or fast meal. Have your young chefs pair the Breville pie maker with ready-made marinara sauce, grated cheese, a bit of meat or vegetables and pie dough—they can create their own favorite combos!
1 batch basic pie dough (see related recipe at left)
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup assorted prepared pizza toppings (diced pepperoni, cooked and drained sausage, sautéed onions, peppers or mushrooms, and/or black olives)
Divide the pie dough in half, shape each into a disk and wrap separately with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
In a small bowl, combine the cheese, tomato sauce and desired toppings. Set the filling aside.
Preheat a Breville electric pie maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a round about 1/8 inch thick. Using the larger side of the circle cutter, cut out 4 rounds, rolling out the remaining dough disk and rerolling the scraps as needed. Transfer the dough rounds to the parchment-lined baking sheet. If they become too warm or soft, refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
Open the pie maker and assemble the pizzas according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the dough rounds for the base of each pizza and 1/3 cup filling per pizza. Close the lid on the pie maker, ensuring the latch clicks into place, and bake until the dough is cooked through and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Using a mini-pie lifter, a nonstick heatproof spatula or tongs, carefully transfer the pizzas to a wire rack and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes, before serving. Makes 4 individual pizzas.
courtesy Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

teens and grown ups:

whole living has a vast array of yummy sandwiches for school or work
here i will share two mouth watering lunch bundles for you to nosh
+ a few other healthy lunches you can make ahead and easily take it to go...

Peach, Tomato, and Ricotta Sandwich
2 tablespoons ricotta
2 slices whole-grain bread, toasted
3 slices tomato
3 slices peach
2 slices red onion
Sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh basil

Spread ricotta on bread and top with tomato, peach, and onion. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with oil. Top with basil.
Image: Johnny Miller Recipe: Whole Living July/August 2012

Crisp Prosciutto, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich
2 slices prosciutto, each torn into 4-inch pieces
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 slices seven-grain bread, toasted
2 lettuce leaves
2 slices tomato
1/4 avocado, sliced

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange prosciutto pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with oil and bake until crisp and deep golden brown, about 9 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Top one slice of toast with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and prosciutto. Top with second slice.
Image and recipe source: Whole Living, July/August 2012

Vegetarian Greek Salad
1 lb tomatoes
6 oz vegetarian feta cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
half a cucumber, peeled
10 black olives, halved
1/4 red onion
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp chopped marjoram

1. Quarter the tomatoes, slice the cucumber and dice the cheese.
2. Place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
Image and recipe source: Vegetarian Recipe Network

Quinoa, Butternut Squash & Kale Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings as a main dish.

1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups peeled, cored and diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped kale (previously washed and cleaned)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
vinaigrette (recipe here)

In a large pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until all the water has been absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat, fluff with a for and place in a large bowl to cool for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat one teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion and cook until it turns translucid. Add the garlic, butternut squash and kale. Cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Remove the lid, check that the butternut squash is tender but not mushy or hard when you poke a piece with a knife. Add the thyme and continue cooking until the all the liquid creating by the cover has evaporated.
Let cool to room temperature. Gently fold the cooked quinoa and the cooked vegetables together along with the vinaigrette.
Serve room temperature or cold.

Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad
1 clove garlic (grated)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 5 ounce bag baby spinach
2 handfuls strawberries (sliced)
1 avocado (peeled, pitted, sliced)
1 handful fresh peas (optional)
2 slices bacon (cooked and crumbled, optional)
1 handful blue cheese (crumbled)
1 handful pecans (chopped)

1. Mix the garlic, honey, mustard, vinegar and oil.
2. Assemble the salad and toss with the dressing.
Image and recipe source: Closet Cooking, July 2008

are you hungry now?
i sure am!!
happy packing :)