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It is that time of year again.....school lunches

Last school year, DH mainly did lunches. This year is my turn again. After 11 years of school, I have no fresh ideas.

Any creative/fun/new/easy ideas for bag lunches? I'm making for two teen boys. Make it themselves, you say? Good idea but still in search of inspiration.

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  1. Would they go for this French tuna sandwich?

    https://food52.com/recipes/6896-pan-b...

    Or are the ingredients too 'weird' for your boys? By the time our girls were teenagers, the sky was the limit.

    2 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      *I* go for that tuna sandwich! IME, tuna is problematic in a school lunch because of the smell factor, or maybe teen paranoia about the smell factor.

      1. re: tcamp

        you're not paranoid.
        i can smell a tuna sandwich from across the courtyard.
        after a couple of hours at room temperature, it's almost a hostile act to be carrying around a tuna sandwich in a crowed environment.

    2. My kids got tired of sandwiches. So, I made the following, in bulk:

      Calzones- pizza, ham and cheese, turkey, etc
      Chili cups- refrigerated biscuit dough, muffin tins, chili, top with cheese and bake.
      Huge green salad, they liked chef salads and Caesars
      Tamales- make big batches and freeze
      Stir fried veggie rice- with egg strips and lots of vegetables, add a soy sauce packet
      Falafel PItas with and tzatziki sauce.

      A variety of raw veg and dips, bread/ cracker and spreads..mix and match type lunch. Homemade potato chips (micro) with their favorite seasoning would be nice.

      Oh, I have a young teen niece that is positively nuts over this soba noodle salad: al dente soba noodles (well rinsed) al dente green beans, lots of garlic, soy sauce, oil and sesame oil, green onion and sesame seeds. Chili flakes to their taste. Keeps in the fridge for days and is filling.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        So they eat all those things at room temp?

        1. re: c oliver

          In their thermal lunch bag for cold stuff, room temp for salads and they used the micro at school for hot things.

        2. re: sedimental

          Calzones and chili cups, like those! Fried rice is a good one and something I do often.

        3. taco salad -- an idividual bag or doritos, a beggie of seasoned taco meat (ground beef or chicken), and a baggie of shredded lettuce. Be sure to include a paper bowl.

          Graham cracker stix with peanut butter.
          Put a banana and some raisins in the bag.

          French bread pizza

          "Sub" sandwich on a sturdy hot dog bun

          Bean and cheese burrito

          Turkey sandwich (pack a baggie of bacon strips to put on sandwich at mealtime)

          1 Reply
          1. re: laliz

            French bread pizza, thanks for the reminder!

          2. For me in highschool I never warmed anything up (I know some of you will blech at that but it didn’t bug me back then!) because I didn’t have a ton of time and the line was always long.
            Asian noodle salad
            Pasta salad (or quinoa)
            Bean salad
            Puff pastry stuffed with whatever (pulled pork, pepperoni, sauce & cheese)
            Quiche
            Empanada
            Soft taco held together with a tooth pick
            Sandwiches or stuffed pita (no fuss) – egg salad, tuna salad, curried chicken salad, cold cuts, hummus and roasted veggies, cream cheese and veggies, sliced rotisserie chicken
            Cold pizza (FAVOURITE!)
            Cold fried chicken
            Calzones / panzerotti
            Savoury muffins
            Chinese bakery buns
            If it was something my mom was concerned about, she would send an ice pack or frozen juice box to keep everything cool. (Bonus – was mostly melted by lunch!)

            3 Replies
            1. re: pumpkinspice

              Room temp for my kids - they both go to large public schools with no microwaves available.

              1. re: tcamp

                Some people (my kids included) would not have eaten certain things meant to be served warm if it were cold and at their school back then, it was hard to get to the microwave and still have time to eat. Some things are okay at room temp but I'm a big supporter of the thermos. Back in my school day (we're talking 60's) my mom packed all kinds of things in mine. I bought one for my fiance six months ago because he's a trucker that has a hard time eating a balanced meal on the road because very few places allow for parking a big rig.

                Fill a thermos with:

                Pasta - ravioli, spaghetti, tortellini, etc.
                Soups & stews of all kinds (hot & cold)
                Eggs - rolled omelette, hard boiled and deviled eggs(not offensive to others in these preparations using a wide mouth thermos)

                The thermos below has a really wide mouth; you could pack leftover burgers, chicken for sandwiches, hot dogs, sausages w/ peppers & onions, pulled pork, for example- pack bread & condiments separately.

                http://www.lunchbots.com/keep-meals-h...

                And of course, there are those insulated lunch bags; some come with a heating/cold pack. You can pretty much send to school whatever you want if you have one of these.

                My kids didn't really care for cold pizza but cold fried fried chicken, pork chops, bbq ribs, meat loaf sandwiches...

              2. re: pumpkinspice

                Always a frozen water bottle in my lunch bag- to this day! Keeps lunch stuff cold and the water is still super cold for drinking...

              3. I’m on a summer roll kick lately, quick and easy, and there’s really no limit to what you can fill them with. Lately I’ve made them with thinly sliced red peppers, shredded pickled carrots and red onion, rice vermicelli, and whatever leftover meat is in the fridge. Make a dipping sauce with hoisin, ketchup, honey and soy sauce. Or a peanut sauce as in this Chow recipe. http://www.chow.com/recipes/10641-vie...
                Quesadillas – my favorite recipe is from ATK. http://wegottaeat.com/chef_linzi/reci...
                Tortilla Espanola filled with vegetables, ham, potatoes and shredded cheese - good hot or cold.
                Taco meat or chili with tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, diced onions,cheese, sour cream
                Leftover baked potatoes topped with anything else leftover - chili, baked beans, etc.
                Until grilling season comes to an end, leftover grilled vegetables, corn on the cob, ribs, etc. from weekend bbq’s.

                2 Replies
                1. re: EM23

                  For the summer roll, wrap tightly in plastic to keep from drying out?

                  1. re: tcamp

                    From the Chow piece:
                    Store the summer rolls in a dish or plastic container that’s roomy enough to hold them without their touching. Place a damp paper towel in the bottom of the container to keep the rolls moist. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.