Wednesday, August 21, 2019

20 Nut Free No Sandwich Lunches

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We are on our second day of school and I'm loving all of the back to school pictures I'm seeing!! Who needs help with lunchboxes already? Today I'm sharing 20 ideas for nut free non sandwich lunchbox ideas that my kids really loved last year. 
To make things easier on myself I always make lunch boxes the night before. I'm not awake or together enough in the morning to be dealing with all that before school. 
I hope some of these ideas help you out and make packing lunches less of a chore!

I use Yumbox (here) lunchboxes and I love them! They make it SO easy to put lunches together, keep everything separated and are leak proof!! Also, the little Animal Food Picks (here) keep things cute and so colorful!! These Sistema dip containers are the perfect size to include wet or runny items to dip into. I frequently use these Silicone muffin cups to separate items that aren't exactly messy but I still want to keep from touching everything else in the box. The height of the dip containers and muffin cups are perfect in the Yumbox Panino and the Yumbox Original
kiwi, cheese mini cracker, fruit bar, babybel gouda cheese, edamame, BBQ sauce, grilled sliced chicken sausage
pretzel ticks, cucumber slices, oranges, BBQ sauce, edamame, red bell pepper, grilled sliced hot dog
 mini red peppers, black olives, black beans with cheese, salsa ranch, strawberries, flour tortilla, layered fruit bar
 green salad, italian dressing, sliced turkey, prunes, strawberries
 ham and cheddar cheese spinach tortilla roll ups, ranch, cucumber slices, radish slices, baby tomatoes, kiwi 
 layered fruit bar, shrimp spring rolls, colby jack cheese stick, sweet and sour sauce, 3 bean salad
 green salad, meunster cheese, pepperoni, veggie straws, prune, strawberries
 ham tortilla roll ups, raisins, coleslaw, moon cheese, kiwi
 shredded carrots, babybel gouda cheese, wheat thins, moon cheese, coleslaw, watermelon, craisins, sliced ham
 triscuits, baby tomatoes, yogurt tube, cubed ham, edamame, blackberries
 leftover pizza, ranch, turkey jerky, cubed colby jack cheese, broccoli, carrots, celery, applesauce
 cheese stick, raisins, cheddar bay biscuit, ranch, edamame, red bell pepper slices
 cucumber and carrot rings, cheddar bay biscuit, blueberries, ham salad, mini tomatoes, kiwi
 pineapple, hard boiled egg, carrot slices, edamame, mini club crackers, cheese stick
 pasta salad, starburst. crackers, blueberries
 salami, cucumber slices, cheese stick, layered fruit bar, ranch, pretzel thins, blueberries
 honey wheat pretzel sticks, pepperoni and meunster cheese, yellow bell pepper slices, ranch, raisins, strawberries, edamame
honey wheat pretzel sticks, mini clementine, boiled shrimp, ranch, blueberries, cucumber slices, baby tomatoes, lack olives
cheese stick, pretzel thins, mixed raisins, mini bell pepper slices, roast beef, strawberries

sliced ham, potato salad, baby tomato, broccoli, sugar snap peas, baby carrot, ranch, honeydew, cantaloupe, red grapes, pickle


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Monday, August 19, 2019

Back to School Breakfast Ideas!

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As sad as my kids are about it, school starts tomorrow and summer will officially be over for us. To prepare myself and my freezer for the upcoming early mornings I am sharing a list of recipes that I have made before and loved to stock my freezer with!
Are you as obsessed with Pinterest as I am?
I have a page that I call "Tried and True Recipes" where I pin all of the recipes that I've cooked and loved along with notes of what changes or additions I made while cooking it. It's probably my most visited page and I'd love to know if you do something similar!
Here's a list of a few of our favorites. I'll probably make at least 2 from the list today to have a few choices for the kids to argue over in the morning!

DIY Drinkable Yogurts

My son LOVES carrot cake and these muffins are a great healthy version of his favorite dessert


loaded with protein, very good and easy!

 I baked this in a bundt pan and it was so pretty

 I love that these are loaded with oats, zucchini, carrots and raisins

so light and fluffy- I love the ricotta in these!

Pizza Pasta Frittata

 I used dried cranberries instead of diced apple and it was still fabulous

a delicious twist on banana bread that my kids love!

really yummy and easy to make! I leave the walnuts off the top

anything resembling carrot cake is a favorite for my son

apples and cinnamon in a buttermilk banana bread- yum

I love how healthy this one is! I use whole wheat flour instead of spelt flour and I subbed butter for the almond butter

a delicious way to start the day with hidden veggies!

I make this almost monthly and absolutely love it!! Be sure to squeeze any excess moisture form the artichokes and use a thicker salsa so it doesn't get too watery

delicious anytime but especially in the Fall

I seriously make this all the time. It's insanely good and easy to make!

Friday, August 16, 2019

DIY Drinkable Yogurts

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My kids love those bottled drinkable yogurts. They're delicious, most have a decent amount of protein in them and they're easy to grab on busy mornings. The problem I have with most of them is how expensive they are (some are almost $2 a piece) and a lot of them are loaded with sugar especially the ones that are marketed specifically for kids. 
I decided to make my own and it's almost embarrassingly easy to do. 
Still delicious, way cheaper and loads less added (and unneeded) sugar!
You can obviously do any flavor your family likes best, my kids love vanilla the most but strawberry, cherry, blueberry and peach are all winners in this house!

I usually buy the 32 ounce tubs of yogurt and either mix a batch in my Nutra Bullet or a small Tupperware pitcher and then it's ready to pour in the mornings or after school. 
Paired with fresh fruit or toast, it can be a full meal as well!
DIY Drinkable Yogurts
1 cup low fat Greek yogurt (any flavor works)
½ cup low fat milk

Whisk together the yogurt and milk until smooth
Pour into cups with a straw and serve

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Watermelon Mai Tai

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Remember that gorgeous yellow watermelon I made the Watermelon Wedge Salads with Mint Pesto with? I had some cubed watermelon leftover and decided to make a cocktail perfect for the weekend!
My Watermelon Mai Tais are absolute perfection and really make me wish I was still on vacation in Mexico and not gearing up for another school year! I can't believe my kids start on Tuesday and we will find out which teachers we get this afternoon.
What's your favorite tropical drink?
Watermelon Mai Tai
5 ounces spiced rum
3 ounces coconut-flavored rum
4 ounces pineapple juice
4 ounces orange juice
4 ounces watermelon juice
3 cups ice cubes
Mint sprigs, cherries and orange slices for garnish

Place the 4 ounces of the spiced rum, the coconut rum and juices in a pitcher and stir. Fill 2 cocktail glasses with ice and fill with the cocktail. Top each glass off with the remaining spiced rum, garnish the glasses and serve!
Makes 2 cocktails.
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Monday, August 12, 2019

Watermelon Wedge Salads with Mint Pesto

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 Look how pretty these are! I was trying to think of a way to use up a ton of watermelon and mint that I had and came up with these gorgeous summer wedges!
The mint pesto is so simple to throw together and can absolutely be made in advance and any leftovers are fabulous on grilled fish or chicken.
The salty feta, fresh mint pesto and juicy sweet watermelon is a match made in summer heaven

Watermelon Wedge Salads with Mint Pesto
1 clove garlic
1 cup mint leaves
½ cup parsley leaves
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
5 pounds seedless watermelon wedges
1 cup feta cheese crumbles
¼ cup diced red onion


Place the garlic in a small food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add the mint leaves, parsley, red wine vinegar, salt and olive oil and process until smooth. 

Place the watermelon wedges on a large serving platter and sprinkle with the feta cheese and red onion. Drizzle with mint pesto and serve immediately.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Pizza Pasta Frittata

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I love breakfast items that I can make in large batches and reheat in the morning. Anything to make the rush before school easier is a winner in my book and this easy Pizza Pasta Frittata is perfect for slicing and quickly reheating especially during those first few weeks of school when the alarm is going off way too early and we’re still not quite in our routine yet.
I don’t know about you but spaghetti and hot dogs are the two things in my house that never equal out. I’ve always got 2 extra buns or only a cup of spaghetti after the sauce or dogs are gone and I’m never one to throw away food so this dish is something that came out of necessity and turned into something that is requested pretty frequently.
If you're not familiar with frittatas, all it is is a baked omelette loaded with yummy ingredients. This time it's spaghetti and alllllll the supreme pizza toppings! Pepperoni, olives, mushroom, onion, bell pepper and 2 cheeses!
My kids, lucky for me, are not picky at all and will generally eat almost anything put in front of them. I know many out there deal with picky eaters and this recipe is totally customizable for that! If your kiddos don’t like olives, leave them off- no problem! Is your typical pizza order meat lovers instead of supreme? Cool, swap the veggies for some Canadian bacon and Italian sausage. Need a vegetarian option? Gotcha - swap the pepperoni for some steamed chopped broccoli or asparagus. The possibilities are endless!!
Pizza Pasta Frittata
1 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti noodles
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
20 pepperoni
2 Tablespoons chopped red onion
2 Tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
8 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and spray generously with olive oil cooking spray.

Evenly spread the spaghetti on top of the parchment. Top with the mushrooms, pepperoni, red onion, green bell pepper, black olives, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, garlic salt
and black pepper. Pour the mixture evenly over the pan and place in the oven for 20 minutes, turning the pan halfway through for even baking.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Makes 8 servings
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Thursday, August 8, 2019

Star Spangled Cheese Ball

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 I don't know about you, but for me, any kind of party or gathering I host needs some kind of cheese and chips and dip situation and I am SO excited to share what I came up with today!
Hellmann's Deli Club is hosting a Red White and Blue Challenge right now and this is my entry! 
It literally couldn't be simpler to throw together (my kids helped me make it) and can we just talk about how cute this is?! Perfect for Labor Day, the last of the Summer picnics or get together you're planning before school starts or just for yourself- I won't judge!
My daughter has already requested bite sized versions of these to be made for her lunchbox.
Using only a handful of ingredients this snack comes together in about 5 minutes, can totally be made ahead AND is gluten free. Let's dig in!
Star Spangled Cheese Ball
For the Cheese Ball:
2 cups blue corn tortilla chips
1 cup room temperature chive and onion cream cheese
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 Tablespoons Hellmann’s mayonnaise

For Decoration and Serving:
1 slice Monterrey Jack cheese
1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
Sliced red bell pepper
Cherry tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese Crisps

To make the cheese ball, place the tortilla chips in a ziptop bag and crush using a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass, until the chips are fine like breadcrumbs. Pour the crumbs onto a plate. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese, shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and Hellmann’s mayonnaise until well incorporated. Using a spatula, scoop the mixture into a ball in the bowl and then turn out onto the chip crumbs in the plate. Roll the mixture around in the crumbs shaping the mixture into a ball and completely coating the outside of the cheese with the chip crumbs. place the cheese ball on a serving platter.

To decorate, use a small star shaped cookie cutter to cut out mini stars from the slice of Monterrey Jack cheese. Place the stars all over the cheese ball. Arrange the blue corn tortilla chips, sliced red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan Cheese Crisps around the cheese ball and serve.
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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Chicken Not Pie Wild Rice Bowls

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Happy Wednesday! I am trying to wrap my mind around the fact that in just 2 weeks my kids will be back in school! I can't believe it - this summer has completely flown by!
The recipe I'm sharing today was an entry for Minnesota Wild Rice's yearly contest and even though it wasn't picked as a finalist, my family absolutely loved it!
It's hearty and comforting, exactly what you expect from chicken pot pie, but comes together way quicker than the traditional version AND is so much healthier. I swapped the traditional buttery flaky pie crust for nutty protein and fiber packed wild rice! It also reheats like a dream (if you end up with any leftovers) - no soggy leftover pie crust here!

Chicken Not Pie Wild Rice Bowls
1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Filets
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ cup canola oil
1 small onion, diced
¼ cup flour
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
1 ½ cups milk
1 teaspoon season salt
1 1/3 cups pre-cooked Wild Rice
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and sprinkle evenly with the lemon pepper and poultry seasonings. Heat the oil in a large high sided skillet over medium high heat and cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mixed vegetables, milk and season salt and cook for 3 minutes and allow the sauce to thicken. Divide the rice evenly into 4 bowls and using a spoon, create a well in the center of each bowl. Fill with the chicken mixture, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 4


Monday, July 29, 2019

Cobb Salad Crostini

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Cobb Salad has been around forever and for good reason! It's packed with flavor, fresh and really easy to throw together. This appetizer takes all of the delicious traditional Cobb salad ingredients- bacon, blue cheese, fresh tomato, avocado and a simple vinaigrette and turns it into a gorgeous, fresh but easy appetizer perfect for a summer happy hour!
If you're looking to shave some time off of the prep you can easily make the crostini and vinaigrette ahead of time and then when you're ready to serve all you need to do is toss the chopped salad part together and top the baguette slices!

Cobb Salad Crostini
1 baguette, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
6 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup diced seeded tomatoes
1 cup diced hard boiled eggs
1 cup romaine lettuce, finely chopped
1 cup cubed avocado
2/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the baguette rounds on a large baking sheet and spray both sides with olive oil cooking spray. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, or until lightly brown. Turn them over and continue to bake, for another 5- 7 minutes, or until toasted and crisp.

While the crostini are baking, whisk together the olive oil, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Gently fold in the chopped bacon, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, romaine lettuce, and avocado until evenly coated with the vinaigrette.

Spoon the mixture onto the crostini, top with blue cheese crumbles and serve.
Look how pretty those are! These won't last long, I promise!
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20 Nut Free No Sandwich Lunches

We are on our second day of school and I'm loving all of the back to school pictures I'm seeing!! Who needs help with lunchboxes al...