Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to School Lunch Ideas: Part I

    My son has to be the World's pickiest eater. Each day last year, while I was preparing his lunch for school, I was constantly struggling to find something healthy and nut free for him to eat. He is really big on peanut butter, which we all know is a no-no in schools these when he began Kindergarten last year I had to train convince him to eat ham sandwiches instead. Then he spent his entire school year, eating nothing but ham sandwiches.
    I made it my mission this year to try and seek out lunch ideas that varied from the traditional sandwich. Each meal needed to be nut free, easy to eat, and taste good without being hot (because they don't have a microwave in their classrooms). I came up with a few great ideas. I hope they help those of you who are struggling with the same problem.
    Now, I am aware that you can purchase most of these lunch ideas in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. However, I have strong reservations about eating, or giving my son anything that comes out of a prepacked freezer box. I cannot in good conscience, feed my child anything with a list of ingredients that I cannot pronounce. I would rather make my own, for a fraction of the price, and guarantee that what he is eating is healthy.
    My first idea was to make Homemade Pizza Pockets. To my surprise it only took my about an hour, and I made 18 of them. I did some research and a package of 4 at the grocery store can cost upwards to $6.00 a box (and you only get 4). I made all 18 Pizza Pockets for under $6.00, and I only used Organic ingredients. So not only did I save money, but now I know his lunch isn't filled with questionable ingredients.

Homemade Pizza Pockets:



cups white flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed 
1 Tbsp. sugar 
1 1/2 tsps. salt 
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup of shortening (I used margarine here) 
1 cup milk (more if needed)

1 egg (for eggwash)

Or, if you're looking for a thinner dough, my pizza dough recipe may work well also. I'm going to try using it next time around.

Filling: You could use basically anything you like but I used...

1/2 cup diced  turkey pepperoni
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pizza sauce (about 1 small can)

My work station


(1) In a mixing bowl, sift the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder, together.
(2) Cut in shortening.
(3) Stir in the flax seed.
(4) Pour the milk into the flour mixture all at once.
(5) Mix quickly using a wooden sppon. Add additional milk if the dough seems to dry or add additional flour if the dough seems to wet/sticky.
(6) Lightly knead it to make a thick dough.
(7) Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
(8) On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough and cut it into rounds using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a cup.
Cut out as many rounds as possible.
Set them to the side and re-knead the dough.
Roll out the dough a second or even a third time
and continue cutting until all the dough is used.

(9) Roll each of the dough pieces into 4 or 5 inch circles.

Keep the rounds covered with a damp cloth to
prevent them from drying out while you finish
with the remaining dough.

(10) Place your dough rounds into your pastry mold (skip this step if you don't have one).
(11) Combine all of your filling ingredients together into 1 bowl.
(12) Spoon two or three tablespoons of the filling of your choice into the center of each round.

I didn't combine my filling. I believe that if I had
I would have gotten a better end result. Now
I know for next time.

(13) Moisten edges with milk to ensure seal.
(14)  Fold together your pastry mold, or alternately fold over the dough and crimp the edges with a fork.
(15) Brush the outside with eggwash. This will create a golden brown crust. (1 egg and 1 Tbsp of water scrambled together. I skipped this step).
(16) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. This will not cook them completely. You will finish cooking them the morning they go into the lunch box. 

Ready for the oven.

(17) Once the alloted time has elapsed, cool completely and portion the pizza pockets appropriately awaiting use.
(18) When you are ready to use them. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, for an additional 12 minutes.

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