5 Dinners that Make Great Kid-Lunches!

There are those moms that like to make cutesy lunches, who cut out their sandwiches into whimsical stars and maybe gingerbread men for those that only have Christmas-themed cookie cutters. The point remains that some Mamas love to pack their kids’ lunches; the bento boxes with each compartment perfectly filled with nutritious selections. 

I am not one of them. NOT AT ALL. It’s painful to think of me in my robe, sipping on my first cup of coffee like it’s my job, wondering which sip will work it’s caffeine magic in my bloodstream, and trying to assemble meals that will make my bougie kids happy at school, in that frigid and noisy cafeteria. 

And before you suggest I do it in the evening, may I kindly remind you that I have four children who just ate a very good dinner and who complained about helping me clean the kitchen and then it took me double the time to get one of my sons to bed and all I want to do is spend some semblance of quality time with Dr. Dan and maybe get a hot bath, too? 

That is why leftovers for school lunches are a lovely idea in my home. All it takes is double-batching dinner, configuring how it will be packed and there you have it; a meal that will make your kids happier than those cutesy cut-out sandwiches. 

This is real life, ya’ll. I’m not going to tell you to do something that this semi-organized but forgetful mama has not found to be useful or practical or sustainable in my home. There are plenty of polished blogs for that. 

What I can offer are these 5 Great Dinner Ideas that You can Pack up For Lunch. They are tested and approved by my kids that range from Elementary to High School. 

1. Chipotle Pollo “Asado”

I created this recipe after one too many pricey Chipotle trips last summer. I like to double-batch the recipe, eat half of it for dinner and do a little meal prepping with the rest. Start with a layer of white rice. Top half of it with canned black beans. I season one can with 1 TBSP of Latin Nights and 1 TBSP of Texy Mexy, and the other half with the chicken. Some kids have microwaves at school and can heat it up that way. If that is not an option, heat it up in the morning and pack in a thermos-like container. 


2. Classic Ground Turkey Taco Meat 

My kids love crunchy tacos and it is fun for them to scoop this warm taco meat  into crispy taco shells wrapped in foil. You can create a topping of shredded lettuce, cheese and chopped tomatoes and place it in baggies for them to shake over the tacos. Texy-Mexy is a super flavorful and healthier taco seasoning than the store-bought stuff and you will notice how much your kids love it, too. 


3. Quickie Chicken and Dumpling Soup

This soup comes together super fast and it is a kid-favorite. For the dumpling, you use store-bought gnocchi that you find in the pasta section of your supermarket. It doesn’t get any easier than dumping a delicious soup into a thermos and packing up a plastic spoon. You’ll even have time to write a sweet little note to your happy darlings. 

4. Weeknight Bolognese Sauce

Yo! What kid doesn’t like spaghetti? And trust me, this bolognese sauce tastes like it’s been cooked by someone’s Nonna. You can use different kinds of pasta like elbow macaroni or egg noodles or traditional spaghetti, cut in half for easier school-lunch eating. If you haven’t tried my Little Eataly Seasoning Blend, you are in for an Italian treat! 

5. Ranch Marinated Chicken Naanwich

The best way to pack this succulent and flavorful chicken naanwich is by slicing up the thighs hot and packing them in foil. Add the fixings in a plastic baggie and the dressing in a portable ramekin. Your kids can assemble them at the lunch table if they can keep their friends' filthy paws off their food;) 

What leftovers do you send your kids to school with? I’d love to know!