Rework Leftovers for Easy School Lunches

From by Lauren Delgado
Roast chicken, meatballs, pasta, and more
School Lunch

Congrats, parents, the school year is nearly here.

As your family adjusts back into the school routine, making lunch doesn't have to be stressful. One way - re-creating dinner leftovers into healthy homemade lunches.

And, hey, if you want to leave your child's lunch to the school and use these ideas for yourself, I won't tell.

Roast chicken: Give a person a whole chicken and they'll eat for days. The recipes are endless: chicken salad mixed with avocado or Greek yogurt, white chicken chili, pita sandwiches and more.

I'm a fan of a healthy version of fried rice. If your leftovers don't include vegetables, quickly stir-fry your child's favorites (carrots or green beans would work) with sesame oil before mixing in cooked quinoa or brown rice and leftover chicken. Add a little soy sauce and lunch is ready to be packed away.

Meatballs: Sure, you can just toss leftover beef, chicken, turkey or lentil meatballs into a lunch container - but where's the fun in that?

Put halved meatballs into a pita pocket along with lettuce and tomato. Maybe some black olives and red onion, too, if your child is a fan. Include some tomato sauce or a simple Greek yogurt sauce (combine some yogurt with lemon juice, salt and pepper).

Pasta: Toss leftover pasta in olive oil, salt and pepper before adding some creative toppings. How about pepperoni slices, shredded mozzarella cheese and cubed vegetables? Or cabbage, bean sprouts, scallions and sweet peppers with a teriyaki sauce?

Too adventurous? You are likely to find a pasta salad fan if you sprinkle in bacon, diced tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Or so I heard.

Mashed potatoes: Make a simple version of shepherd's pie with your leftover mashed potatoes. If you plan ahead you may have some cooked ground beef to use. If not here's a basic recipe for one serving: Simply brown 1/3 cup ground beef with a minced garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of beef broth, ½ teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, and some frozen vegetables (think carrots and peas). Heat through and pack it with a dollop or two of the mashed potatoes.


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