Nov 30, 2009

Grilled cheese sandwich triangles, Masoor, orange and apple slices, garbanzo beans

Grilled cheese sandwich triangles : whole grain bread slices, some finely grated baby carrots, american cheese slices and grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I grilled it on the nonstick pan with few drops of olive oil and cut it into triangles.
Soaked whole Masoor (lentils). they didn't sprout yet.
Tangerine (orange) and apple slices.
Soaked and cooked (with salt) garbanzo beans.

Nov 24, 2009

veggie masala burger, roasted sweet potato, kiwi and strawberry

Veggie masala burger with lettuce and whole wheat bread : I cut the bread slices in hexagon shape (its hard to cut in circle shape for me so hexagon!). honey mustard on one slice - ketchup, sweet pickles and finely chopped onion on the burger patty (ketchup on bread will be soggy). thick lettuce round cut and another hexagon slice... Burger ready :)
Sweet potato roasted (fries) : cut sweet potato in stripes. Sprinkle salt and pepper and roast it on the pan, Add few drops of oil. Let it cook from all sides. about 10-15 minutes. with kethup.
kiwi and strawberries.
Frozen section have vegetable masala burger patties or homemade ones are good too!
I sometimes include little love note in Roo's lunchbox...

Nov 23, 2009

Instant spanish rice with vegetables, almonds, apples, grapes, strawberries

Instant spanish rice with vegetables, cheese and salsa : Leftover rice recipe - 1 and 1/2 cup cooked rice, 1 cup thinly grated carrots, 1 cup finely chopped spinach, 1/4 cup salsa [ finely chopped tomatoes, onions, coriander/ cilantro, lemon juice, red chili powder, salt] or taco sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper.
Mix everything else other than rice and microwave it for 30 seconds, then mix rice and microwave for another minute. I gave it in hot lunch box so it will be warm for lunch.
Almonds, Grapes, Strawberries, Apple slices - to prevent apple slices turning brown until lunch - I use orange juice on it or rub an orange slice on the apple slice...Lemon juice can be used (Lemon juice changes its taste)... wash apple slices with salt + cold water.
Roo likes this version of spanish rice.
Roo was 4 years old when first time I made this rice for dinner from leftover morning she asked me - do we have any leftover rice? make spanish rice :) I cooked fresh rice that morning and made spanish rice for her lunch too.

Nov 20, 2009

Israeli style couscous blend with vegetables and beans, plum and strawberry

Grains blend - Israeli couscous, Orzo pasta, baby garbanzo beans and Quinoa - In a pot heat 1 teaspoon oil, add finely chopped 1 garlic clove, 1 teaspoon fresh (dry) oregano, chopped onion, grated carrots, chopped celery, cannellini beans [I soak dry beans, cook them with salt and in glass jar keep it in the freezer], lima beans, sliced mushrooms, chopped spinach, 1 cup of grains blend (for lunch boxes), 2 cups of hot water, salt, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (2 chopped tomatoes/ tomato paste), 1 teaspoon sugar to balance the taste of vinegar. let it cook for 15 minutes...stiring in between.
Roo likes Quinoa which is mixed in. This dish is 2 thumbs up from her. She asks for KusKus for dinner :)
with Plum slices and strawberries.

Nov 19, 2009

Scone (whole wheat and oat bran) with jam, Edmame and string beans with herbs, pomogranate seeds

Scotish Scones : 1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup oat bran, 4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8th teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoon butter, 3/4 cup yogurt, 1 egg.
Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix butter and oil in it, kind of rub to the flour [This step is imp] untill mixed together. Whisk egg and yogurt and add to flour. 3/4 inch high triangle shapes. I baked them on 350F temperature for 20 minutes.
I made medium sized ...Roo can handle this size...for younger kids smaller than these r better.
you can cut in between and put jam...
Roo enjoys spreading strawberry jam and I gave her spreading knife.
Edamame and string beans sauteed with herbs and pomogranate seeds.

Nov 18, 2009

Banana Pancake, Quinoa with vegetables

Banana Pancakes : Kids favorite, quick and easy to make in the morning.
more than 1 cup mashed ripe bananas, 1 teaspoon sugar, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (atta), salt - Mix it all together. I added cashew nuts and pinch of cardamom (veladoda/ vilayachi/ elayachi) powder. On the nonstick pan with drop of oil I make bite size pancakes (uttapa).
I gave it with maple syrup (sugary syrup with maple flavor) in little honey jar that I reuse.
Kids will pick pancake, dip it in syrup and eat.
Quinoa (pronounced as keenwa) with vegetables : Soak Quinoa (Its a very high protein grain and has nutty tasty) for 1/2 an hour to take the outer bitter layer or 5 minutes in hot water and rinse it. In a pot heat some oil, add cumin seeds, grated ginger, chopped onions, herbs - oragano, thyme, corriander, red chili powder, chopped potato, green peas and carrot cubes and rinsed quinoa. Let it all cook for 10-15 minutes.
You can make quinoa in many different ways. The above is our family favorite for dinner and leftover for lunch. Quinoa is not Roo's favorite...she eats few bites...thats why I gave it as side dish. Try if your kid likes it.

Nov 17, 2009

yellow khichadi with lentils and vegetables, papad, tandoori tofu, amba (mango) barfi

Roo calls this Yellow Khichadi to differentiate between shabudana (tapioca) khichadi (looks white) and this khichadi (usually called as moong dal khichadi/khichri). I add masoor and tur dal too.
Yellow Khichadi with lentils and vegetables :
In a thick base pot heat little oil add cumin seeds, turmeric, chopped garlic, curry leaves, gaam masala. I added frozen lima beans, frozen green chana, lots of chopped spinach, chopped green string beans, salt. 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup moong dal, 1/4 cup masoor dal, 1/4 cup tur dal rinse with water and add it in the cooking pot. Let it cook for 20 minutes...add hot water as needed...stir occasionally while cooking.
Adding different grains : I add whole grains like Quinoa, millets, Amaranth, Kamut flakes, barley flakes, rye flakes, Farro flakes...
The trick I use is cooking time has to be same for all the grains u will be adding.
if I am cooking brown rice(70 min o cook) then I add whole grain barley, soaked farro etc.
Tandoori tofu toothpick kabobs : Cut super firm tofu in cube pieces. sprinkle some tandoori masala and salt. Dry roast it on non stick can add few oil drops. This is our family favorites. I saw it in PCC natural markets for the first time...
I make Papad in microwave for 30 sec - 1min.
Chitale Amba (Mango) made from Alphonso mango juice...tastes very yummy...just beyond explanation...Roo loves it. She preferes this mango barfi over chocolate...

Nov 16, 2009

Burrito with beans and cheese, plum, persimmon, raspberries

Burrito - beans and cheese wrapped in palak paratha (spinach tortilla) :
For the dough I used whole wheat flour (atta) and chopped spinach and then made paratha (spinach tortilla) Beans : Cook soaked red kidney beans (rajma) in the pressure cooker.
Soaking overnight : is an can soak beans whenever you have time...Beans can stay soaked for 2-3 days (as long as water changed every 10 hours...before going to work and after coming from work when you wash hands...just change the soaking beans water). Cook it in the pressure cooker. Keep it in the fridge/freezer.
In some oil saute garlic, onions, tomato, rajma masala (any masala) and mashed beans with little water. Add mild taco sauce to it. Let it cook for few minutes and then cool. I make these beans thick with masala and taco sauce.
Cling wrap it in tortilla with mexican cheese blend (any mild flavor cheese).
with Plum and Persimmon slices, Raspberries.
Roo ate both the burritos...just 2 persimmon slices came back.

Nov 13, 2009

Garlic bread, melon balls, baby corn and broccoli

This lunchbox is the quickest, easiest and kids favorite one. I assembled it within 15 minutes and you can too.
Garlic toast : Fresh 2 garlic cloves finely chopped mixed with 1 tablespoon of butter/ghee(purified butter). I like fresh garlic but you can try using garlic powder/salt. Any fresh/ dry herbs [coriander, basil, oregano, tulsi]. Mix some salt. I microwaved it for a minute so all the flavors will get mixed. Refrigerate it.
I used whole wheat sprouted bread(any bread is good). I took off the edges and made stripes for easy eating. Spread the garlic butter on one (top) side (generously) and toast the bread on the pan.
Cantaloupe melon balls : Kids love this version than bites.
baby corn and broccoli(blanched) with ranch.
baby corn : 60% of worlds corn is grown in US and still I can't find a place where I could buy fresh baby corn all year long...I used canned here. I try to avoid any canned food.
Roo loves baby corn :)

Nov 12, 2009

Jumbo pasta with vegetables and tofu, berries

This is kids favorite lunch box dish. I replaced ricotta cheese in the filling with vegetables and tofu.
Jumbo pasta shells with vegetables and tofu : Cook pasta as per instructions[I cook it 5 minutes more because I don't bake it after filling].
Filling : In little olive oil I added finely chopped onions and oregano; added some salt to cook it. Added 3 cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup of thinly grated carrots, 3 oz mashed firm tofu and salt for taste. Let it cook for few minutes. After cooling mixed 2 tablespoons of pasta sauce in it.
Fill the cooked shells and sprinkle any cheese (parmesan) on top. I microwaved it for 1-2 minutes...until the cheese on top melted.
with blueberries and strawberries.

The flavor of tofu in this dish/lasagna/manicotti goes so close to ricotta...It tastes perfect without extra fat and looked perfect because of cheese on top.

Roo ate everything from this lunchbox : -)

Nov 10, 2009

Steamed spicy modak with vegetables, plum and star fruit slices

Steamed modak (whole wheat + ragi/nachani/millet flour) with spicy vegetables : Roo loves Samosa. This is easier and healthier version of Samosa/ in modak shape. Aalloo matar vegetables r good.
I made vegetables as : In little oil add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, turmeric, curry leaves, ginger garlic paste, mint leaves, coriander leaves, chopped onions, garam masala(any), carrots, green peas, finely cut green beans and long beans (chavali), spinach leaves (any greens), salt, sugar, lemon juice.
I mixed ragi flour (nachani /millet flour - Millets have high protein) with some whole wheat flour and made the dough with milk. Thats why the color. rolled into tortilla (roti) and made modak or samosa shape and steamed it for 8-10 minutes.
with Ketchup.
plum and star fruit slices. Star fruit looks and smells so beautiful makes me feel like eating it right away...but the truth is It doesn't taste that beautiful. Roo eats a slice or 2 not much thumbs up from her.

1 modak, ketchup untouched and one starfruit slice came back in the lunchbox.

Nov 9, 2009

Mini muffins, plum slices, yellow and green dried peas, mushrooms celery jicama broccoli with ranch

Mini banana nut honey yogurt Muffins (made with whole wheat flour + multigrain flour) : Easy to eat and easy to make in the morning (30 min).
1 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup multigrain flour(with oats barley wheat germs), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt,1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 cup apple sauce, 1 cup mashed well ripe bananas, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, some chocolate chips or M&M s.
Mix all wet ingredients (eggs, honey, oil, yogurt, applesauce). Mix dry ingredients and add to it. add bananas and nuts. add into muffin pans. In few muffin I push chocolate chip or M&M into the middle of a muffin. For surprise taste :) Bake for 20 minutes on temp 350F.
yellow and green dried peas - Soak overnight, cook with water and salt.
mushroom, celery, jicama, broccoli (blanched) bites with ranch.
and plum slices.

Roo ate 3 muffins, all veggies, plums, some beans.

Nov 6, 2009

Tapioca (shabudana) Khichdi

Shabudana (Sago) (Tapioca) Khichdi : Most favorite all time favorite kids lunch box meal. It is very popular indian snack during fasting.

The 95 percent success of the dish is in soaking Sabudana. For 2 cups of sabudana (tapioca) I use 2 cups of water and soak it overnight. Boil roots - potato, sweet potato and yam(orange in color). 2 cups of some cubed and some mashed of the above roots. Salt, 1-2 tsp sugar, lemon juice, corriander leaves, cumin seeds, 1tbsp oil. 1 cup of crushed nuts (I use either chopper or mixer/food processor with pulse mode) not powder. I used raw almonds and dry roasted peanuts here.

roasted : most of the Roasted label for nuts is fried in oil. Raw nuts are the best(high in heart healthy nutrients). Dry roasted, no salt (or look for low sodium content) are good too.

In the hot oil add cumin seeds, green chili pieces(optional), mix everything else together with light hands and cook for few minutes.

nothing else on the side... :)

Roo ate everything from this lunchbox...It is her (anybody's) all time favorite.

Nov 5, 2009

Sooji Appam (Rava Baby Idly), Fava (giant) Beans, Strawberries

Sooji (rava) Appam with grated carrots : Roo calls it baby Idly. It has been one of the best lunchbox items since her preschool. Quick and easy to make, yummy and easy to eat.

1 cup Sooji (rava), 1 cup yogurt (preferably sweet and thick), 3/4 cup water, salt - Soak it for 30 minuts. I mixed grated ginger in the above water, drained it and added the water. Kids may not like grated ginger in between. I added little bit of finey chopped onion and lots of grated carrots.
Carrots : Most of the times I start my cooking by grating carrots. They can be added and blend well in most of the sweet, sour, spicy dishes. Goldmines of nutrients, Immunity boosters for kids to fight everyday infections, high in Vit A and alpha-beta carotene etc etc.
Appam can be made in Pancake puffs pan and traditional appam pan. I gave it with Green Tomato Chutney for this lunchbox : Blend in blender (mixer) - finely chopped green tomato, coriander leaves(cilantro), mint leaves, 1 green chili (optional), walnuts, Roasted split gram dal (google/bing it for more info), yogurt, salt and sugar. Fava beans : These are the giant beans I have ever seen. My almost 1 year old loves to eat it. Soak and cook fava beans in pressure cooker with some salt. Just eat them or In some oil with garlic-ginger paste and some onions cook it a little.
I added few strawberries to this lunchbox.

Nov 4, 2009

Vegetarian hot dog, grapes, berries

In preschool Roo had a school picnic day, her school teacher was making hot dogs(meat version) for all kids. I came up with this recipe and its Roo's favorite since.
Veggie hot dog : with multi grain bread slice (edges removed) and ketchup. Mix everything together - 1 boiled and mashed potato, 1 bread slice crumbs (make pieces and make fresh bread crumbs in blender/mixer), 2 cups of grated and finely chopped vegetables, salt and spices (any masala or red chili powder). I used carrots, cauliflower, yellow and red bell paper, swiss chard, methi (any greens), radish, coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped onions, grated ginger. On the pan roast vegetarian hot dog with little oil.
with grapes and berries.

Roo ate everything from this lunchbox :-)

Nov 3, 2009

Lemon rice with vegetables, blueberries

Lemon rice (tadka rice/ phodnicha bhat) with vegetables : Leftovers can be made into great lunches. I used leftover plain rice, vegetables, nuts and lentils to make lemon rice.
vegetables : I used edamame, carrots cubes, blanched broccoli(mixed on top) - peas/sprouted cooked beans, corn, squash, methi, spinach(greens) etc can be added.
nuts : cashews, walnuts, peanuts.
lentils : moong and urad dal - chana dal can be good addition.
In a pan, with little oil add - cumin seeds, turmeric(optional), grated ginger, chopped onion, Soaked (few minutes) moong and urad dal, carrot cubes, edamame. Add pinch of salt and some water, let it cook and water evaporate. Add nuts, precooked rice, lemon juice, salt and 1 tsp sugar. cover it and cook for 5 min. I mixed blanched broccoli at the end.
with some Blueberries.

Roo ate half of the rice and all blueberries.

Nov 2, 2009

baked vegetarian kibbeh, Salad with fruits

Baked Vegetarian Kibbeh : Its a wholesome dish from Lebanese and middle eastern cuisine. 1 cup bulghur (cracked wheat) soaked in 2 cups hot water for an hour. I added 1 boiled potato 1/4 cup soaked Moong dal - crushed in blender with garlic, some Salt and 1/8 tsp Allspice (equal parts of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper grind to powder). Mix it all together(like making dough) and layer it in baking dish. For vegetables layer - In some oil add grated ginger and then I added chopped onions, grated carrots, turnip, squash, 2 boiled and cut potatoes, chopped methi(fenugreek leaves), 1 whole bunch of chopped swiss chard, chopped kale leaves, coriander leaves(cilantro), allspice, salt, 1 tsp sugar. In the baking dish with another bulghur layer...Baked for 30 - 40 minutes.
Variations : mix everything (bulghur+veggie) and make patties or fried/steamed balls.
Salad : lettuce, celery, grapes, strawberry, orange bites, some cheese, with balsamic vinaigrette [balsamic (any) vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper]. I reuse little honey jar for salad dressing. seals good. washes good.

Roo ate 3 kibbeh pieces and all the lettuce...she tried to dump the dressing on the salad and some dressing splashed on her shirt...she usually does it really good...
surprise to me is grapes and orange bites came back.