Make back to school lunches a breeze with these easy recipes kids will love. From crock pot meals to no-cook snacks, we’ve got you covered.
These healthy meals are perfect for packing in a lunch box or tossing into a thermos. Pair them with a few simple snacks and fruit for a well-rounded lunch that will keep your kids full until dinnertime.
Crock Pot Hamburger Soup
A hearty soup that is a family favorite and a great meal for the busy weeknight. With tender potatoes, ground beef, and plenty of vegetables, this is a delicious crock pot recipe to keep in your freezer.
The secret to this classic hamburger soup recipe is a few simple changes that take little time but add so much flavor. First, the soup starts with a base of aromatics that infuse it with deep flavor: onions, carrots, and celery.
Second, you use a lean meat, such as ground beef, to prevent it from being too oily. Third, you use tomato paste which helps to thicken and enrich the soup. Finally, the soup gets a flavor boost by cooking the onions and garlic in it first, which gives them a chance to caramelize before the meat goes in.
Once you have these ingredients on hand, the rest of this crock pot recipe is just a matter of mixing them together and leaving it to cook in the slow cooker. You can even add extra fillings to the soup, such as shredded cheese or more filling veggies like spinach or Swiss chard.
This crock pot recipe is so easy to make and it is perfect for the busy days when you need to get dinner on the table quickly. It is also a great recipe to share with friends and family, especially if you know someone who could use some comforting soup in their life!
A nutritious, homemade meal is a gift to give, and this crock pot hamburger soup is a great choice to serve. Think of new parents, a sick friend, or a grandparent who could use a hearty soup that is sure to nourish them from the inside out.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is an easy, healthy, filling meal that will warm you up and replenish your energy. It’s also perfect for those who are feeling a bit under the weather, since it’s packed with protein and vitamins and minerals.
This easy-to-make soup is a hearty meal that can be served with a variety of breads or pastas. It’s also delicious on its own and will keep you full for hours.
To make the soup, heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven (at least 4 quarts). Add the chicken and sear until browned on all sides. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the same pot, saute the onion, carrots and celery in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When the vegetables are tender, add the stock and bouillon if using. Bring to a simmer, then add the noodles. Continue cooking another 8 to 10 minutes, until the noodles are al dente and the vegetables are softened.
This soup is best made with wide egg noodles; however, other types of pasta will work fine as well. Rotini, fusilli, and cavatappi are all good choices for this soup.
If you want to add more flavor, stir in 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules at the end. This will give your soup a boost of flavor without adding extra sodium.
The best thing about this recipe is that it can be prepared ahead of time and frozen! Once the soup has been prepared all the way through to shredding the chicken, you can freeze it in a container.
If you’re planning to eat it cold, leave out the noodles until you reheat it on the stove and serve. This will help the noodles to reheat properly and keep their shape.
Chicken Pasta Salad
A classic summer dish, chicken pasta salad is a versatile recipe that can be served as a picnic main course or as a side for your next BBQ. It is easy to make, perfect for feeding a crowd and can be easily stored in the fridge or freezer.
Chicken Pasta Salad is packed with protein and healthy vegetables! This hearty meal is also a healthy option for school lunches, picnics, and potlucks.
You can use rigatoni, penne, shells, or any other medium-sized pasta shape that is easy to cook. For the best flavor, slightly undercook your pasta so that it retains its shape.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta with cooked chicken, bacon, tomatoes, green onions, Parmesan cheese and basil. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to coat thoroughly.
For a light, fresh, Italian-inspired vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
The dressing will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, so you can make it ahead and store it in an airtight container. It is also best served at room temperature, so you can take it out of the fridge and serve it right away or chill it in a serving bowl for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to develop further.
You can make this salad for dinner or a picnic or as a side dish, but it is especially good when served cold from the fridge. It will still be tasty if left at room temperature, but it may lose some of its bright flavors due to the cold environment.
Pepperoni Pizza Sliders
Pepperoni Pizza Sliders are a fun twist on a classic appetizer. They’re perfect for a game day party, a potluck, or just a quick lunch.
They’re easy to make, assemble, and serve for a small crowd. Plus, they’re easy to double or triple to feed a larger group of people. They’re also great for tailgating or camping.
To assemble these sliders, you’ll need Hawaiian buns, pizza sauce, pepperoni, cheese, and butter. You can use a variety of toppings to suit your family’s preferences.
Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on the bottom of each bun, then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Next, add a layer of provolone cheese. Finally, coat with a layer of sandwich pepperoni slices.
Once you’ve coated the entire surface of each roll, top with a small amount of mozzarella cheese. If you want to use a lower fat cheese option, you can substitute shredded Italian cheese.
You can assemble these sliders the night before. Cover with foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them.
Then, bake them until the cheese is melted and the tops are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and slice into individual mini sandwiches or pull apart for bite-sized snacking!
These tasty pizza sliders are made on soft brioche rolls that are sliced like a fan, stuffed with cheese and pepperoni, and brushed with garlic butter before being baked to ooey gooey perfection. They’re the best bite-sized pizza sandwich sliders for any occasion!
Vegetable Fried Rice with Spinach
Vegetable fried rice with spinach is a great option for school lunches. It’s quick to make, uses up leftover rice, and packs plenty of nutrients into one easy dish.
To make vegetable fried rice, start by cooking your meat (thinly sliced sirloin steak, ground meat or shrimp are all good options). Use high heat so that the vegetables and rice don’t get soggy as they cook.
In the same skillet, add your onions, garlic, carrots, and bell pepper. Stir to soften, then add your spinach. Continue to cook until the veggies are wilted and the rice is cooked through, about 4 minutes more.
After the rice has heated through, stir in your sauce. A 2:1 ratio of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil is a classic place to start, but feel free to customize the flavor to your own taste! You can also add ingredients like finely chopped garlic, hoisin sauce or honey to enhance the flavors.
When the fried rice is done, remove it from the heat and let it cool before serving. Then, you can plate your vegetable fried rice and garnish with dark green scallion tops for a final touch of freshness.
The best rice for fried rice is a long grain rice such as jasmine or basmati. It should be a little on the dry side so that it doesn’t stick together in the pan. Leftover rice is especially good for fried rice, since it’s drier than freshly cooked rice.
To make fried rice, start by heating a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with neutral vegetable oil like peanut oil. Then, add your onions and cook until they are translucent and beginning to brown.