I like not thinking. It’s one of my favorite things.
I especially like not thinking about what I’m going to put into lunchboxes every morning, while I’m still working on my coffee and making breakfast.
I want a beautiful variety of real, colorful, enticing, exciting, and nourishing food for my growing boys to beam back at them like a ray of light when they open up their dishwasher-safe BPA-free kosher (too far?) lunchboxes.
Is that so much to ask?
I say no! Real-food lunches do not have to be complicated and time-consuming if you have an hour to plan ahead.
This is my second post on 1-hour lunch prep (check out the first one here!) and I’m kind of loving putting these together. I have really enjoyed the last few mornings of lunch-packing with my freezer freshly stocked with warm and hearty winter meals– no thinking necessary.
I went over these things in the first post, but I’ll say them again. If you really want this done in an hour, these things will make it happen…
- Don’t look at your phone. At all.
- Don’t be too precise! These are flexible recipes– we’re going for speed, not precision.
- I can’t leave the list at just two… looks weird. But those are the only two rules.
- Garlic Cheese Drop Biscuits
- Tomato Soup
- Cheesy Veggie Mini Meatloaves
- Chocolate Truffle Balls
- Frozen Jam Cubes (for fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Start by shredding about 2 C of cheddar (or jack) cheese onto a piece of tinfoil. I use tinfoil because it dirties one less plate and I can toss all of my scraps onto it while I cook. Ball the whole thing up when you’re done with all of the cooking and clean-up is simple!
Garlic Cheese Drop Biscuits
In a mixing bowl, combine:
2 C sprouted wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose, whole wheat, gluten-free)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 C of shredded cheddar
Stir, then add:
1 C buttermilk or kefir
1/4 C avocado oil (or olive oil or melted butter)
Stir until just combined. To plop these onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, I used a small cookie scoop (link below), but you can use a couple of spoons if you don’t have one. You want the biscuits to be about the size of a ping pong ball with about 2-inches between scoops. If you need more than one cookie sheet, don’t worry– there’s time to bake both!
Bake at 425 for 12 minutes per tray.
Quickly wash out your bowl for the next step.
Cheesy Veggie Mini Meatloaves
Don’t try and say that out loud, there’s no time for such shenanigans!
Combine in the mixing bowl:
1 lb. ground meat (turkey, beef, moose… raccoon)
1 C shredded cheese (just whatever was left after biscuits)
1/3 C breadcrumbs (ground-up oats if you’re gluten-free)
1/2 to 1 C shredded vegetables (I used carrot and onion, but use whatever is around! Sweet potato, squash, parsnips, etc.)
Mix well using your hands, big spoon, or a Mix & Chop. Again, to portion it out into my greased muffin tin, I used a cookie scoop (it took about two big scoops per cup). But no need to be perfect! ** If you have little little kids, a mini-muffin pan would work well, just bake for 5 minutes less.**
Flatten the mixture in each cup using a fork or spoon.
As soon as the biscuits are out of the oven, put these in and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Biscuits done yet or not, move on to the next step!
This one is pour and heat! Keep the burner on low and let the flavors combine while you complete the next step. Then simply store the soup in jars.
(I send this in a thermos paired with the biscuits. Thermos link below.)
Frozen Jam Cubes
Freeze tablespoons of any jam you like into silicone trays. I really do recommend silicone over regular ice-cube trays so you have the convenience of popping out one or two at a time, instead of the whole tray. I use these ones from Pampered Chef, but I posted links to others below.
I froze a plum jam that never did set well.
To use, take one frozen cube and place it on the bottom of a small jar or glass container (link below). Fill with plain yogurt. The cube will keep the yogurt cold-ish until lunch 🙂
Take the tomato soup off the heat and move on to the next step.
Chocolate Truffle Balls
Combine in the bowl of a food processor:
1 C pecans
1 C pitted dates
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Process until the mixture starts to chase around the bowl as mostly one blob. Roll into small balls and store in a container in the fridge.
The meatloaves and biscuits store in the freezer double-bagged in freezer Ziplocs. I suck the air out of each bag as a human vacuum- sealer…. air is the enemy!
The soup can be frozen in freezer-friendly jars (no neck, just cylindrical jars) for a few months. To use, thaw overnight. Heat it up in a small pot and send to school in a thermos.