Pack a lunch your children and hubby’s friends will envy! These lunch box ideas are easily prepared yet versatile enough to be made in the morning, the day before, or even frozen until needed. Wings and Sticks Chicken wings and vegetable sticks packed with dip transform this from a boring lunch into a fun finger food fest.
Takes 30 minutes Makes 6 servings
12 chicken wings 1⁄4 cup milk 1 carrot, peeled, cut into sticks 1 singakamas, peeled, cut into sticks Oil for deep frying The night before: 1. Cut up chicken wings, discarding wing tips. Marinate in milk overnight. 2. To make the seasoned flour, mix 1⁄2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon paprika. Transfer to an airtight container. Set aside until needed.
In the morning: 1. Peel and cut up vegetables into sticks. 2. Heat enough oil in a deep saucepan for deep frying. 3. Discard milk from chicken wings. Coat chicken wings in seasoned flour. Deep fry chicken wings. Drain on paper towels. Pack with vegetable sticks and a cream cheese dip.
Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage and Broccoli A great marriage of cheese, pasta, meat, and a vegetable sneaked into one delicious meal.
Takes 50 minutes Makes 8 servings 1 head broccoli, broken into florets 2 cups macaroni 10 links garlic longganisa 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 cup milk 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup cheese, grated Salt and ground white pepper, to taste Oil for sautéing The night before: 1. Boil a pot of water. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Then steam broccoli until tender. Drain. Cool and refrigerate. 2. Meanwhile, remove casings from longganisa. In a saucepan, heat a little oil and sauté longganisa meat. Crumble until it resembles ground meat. Transfer to a plate and set aside. 3. In the same pan, melt butter. Sprinkle in flour and cook for 3 minutes. 4. Pour in milk and whisk vigorously until milk and flour are well incorporated and sauce thickens. 5. Sprinkle in nutmeg and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add longganisa. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate. In the morning: Mix cheese sauce, cooked macaroni, and broccoli in a large saucepan until everything is coated. Transfer to insulated containers. Pack with a milk box.
Chunky Chowder With an airtight container, you can pack a thick soup that features some of your kids’ favorite foods.
Takes 45 minutes Makes 8 servings 8 strips bacon, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 2 1⁄2 tablespoons flour 4 cups chicken stock 2 1⁄2cups potatoes, peeled, cubed 1 cup quickmelt cheese, grated 1 cup sweet corn 1 broccoli, broken into small florets, steamed Salt and ground black pepper, to taste The night before: 1. In a stockpot, sauté bacon to render out fat and lightly brown. Remove bacon from pot and set aside. 2. In the same pan, sauté onions until translucent. Sprinkle in flour and cook for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken stock, whisking until well blended. Add potatoes and then bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked. 3. Remove about 1 cup cooked potatoes from pot and mash. Return to pot. Mash more potatoes if desired. 4. Add cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Cool. Refrigerate. In the morning: Reheat chowder. Stir in corn, broccoli, and bacon. Transfer to airtight containers and pack with crackers and milk.
Pork Fingers with Applesauce Children love to use their fingers. Pack wet wipes so your child can clean up before and after this finger-licking experience.
Takes 45 minutes Makes 6 servings 2 apples, peeled, cored, chopped, held in water with 1 teaspoon vinegar 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 1/2 cups apple juice 6 pork chops Salt and ground black pepper, to taste The night before: To make the applesauce, drain apples. Discard water. Place apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and apple juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and then simmer until apples are soft. Cool apples slightly before pureeing in a blender. Add water if mixture is too dry. Cool overnight. In the morning: 1. Remove skin and bone and trim excess fat from pork chops. Season with salt and pepper. 2. Heat oil in a frying pan and brown pork chops until cooked through. Remove from pan and let rest before slicing into thick strips. Pack with applesauce.
Orange Chicken No need to order out for a taste of these sweet chicken strips!
Takes 30 minutes Makes 6 servings 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1⁄2 kilo chicken fillets, cut into strips 1⁄2 cup orange juice, about 2 oranges 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon water 1 orange, zested and segmented (optional) Oil for frying In the morning: 1. Mix cornstarch, salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour mixture. 2. Heat enough oil in a deep saucepan for frying. Fry chicken strips in batches until golden. Drain on paper towels. 3. Mix orange juice, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and orange zest. In a saucepot, heat orange juice mixture until thickened. Add water if too thick. 4. Toss in cooked chicken and orange segments until evenly coated with the sauce. Pack with steamed rice. Alternatively, thin down orange sauce further and pack as a dip with the chicken strips. Styling by Chiqui Lloren. These recipes originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines magazine. *Minor edits have been made by SmartParenting.com.ph editors