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Back To School Lunch Menu Ideas Recipe

Back To School Lunch Menu Ideas

08.28.14 by Jackie

 We call our daughter baby Aria but she's already a "big girl". It's hard to believe she's starting preschool today. It's something my husband Lulu and I have been discussing for a while. We were unsure whether we wait another year for her to go to school and start socializing with children her age on a daily basis. So we finally made the move and Aria is ready and seems excited about school. 

I've been proactive about getting her mutiple classes such as gymnastics, toddler reading club and swimming lessons, but I've always been there by her side. And even though I'm looking forward to sending our child off to preschool for the first time, Aria is my first baby and I know this transition is going to make me very emotional. I promised myself that I'd contain my tears; we'll see how it goes.

So without further ado, here's a list of back-to-school items that I hope will inspire you to create a wide variety of meals for your little ones. 


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Bresaola and Cucumber Finger Sandwiches Recipe

These charming finger sandwiches were probably the only thing I could have prepared in the tiny kitchen of the Roman apartment we rented while in the capital city of Italy last week. But it didn't stop me for preparing yummy sandwiches for Aria and me, using local products such as ricotta pannarella and black Angus bresaola meat.

Bresaola is salted lean and succulent beef that is air-dried until the meat turns dark red. It originated from the Lombardy region in Northern Italy. And I first discovered out-of-this-world ricotta pannarella while ordering a cheese platter in a restaurant in Rome. We asked the waiter to give us his best selection and I have to admit it sure was!  Now I'm just hoping I'll be able to find some back in the US!

I prepared the finger sandwiches with crust-free, sliced white bread, a mixture of caramelized fennel and ricotta, sliced cucumbers and of course, freshly-made mozzarella cheese and delicious bresaola meat. 


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Mac and Cheese Shepherd's Pie Recipe Recipe

We've been experiencing rainy days in the Bay Area and I thought a little comfort food would warm us up. I couldn't decide between a shepherd's pie or mac and cheese, so I went for a combination of the two.

To keep the dish vegetarian, I prepared the bottom layer with a mixture of vegetarian protein crumble, tomatoes and onions; you could opt for regular ground beef if you prefer. Instead of topping the dish with mashed potatoes as you would in a standard shepherd's pie recipe, I added creamy mac and cheese. Needless to say, the richness of the dish was a huge hit even baby Aria asked for more!


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Tomato Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Recipe

My husband Lulu's little nieces from Oakland are staying with us for a week. I'm going to make their favorite dishes and we prepared a lot of fun activities so they have a memorable stay with us. This morning, we took several large baskets and they helped me pick fruits and vegetables for lunch. We gathered so many tomatoes, I decided to make tomato sauce to store for the winter. But as I was preparing mac and cheese for the children in the evening, I changed my mind and added the tomato sauce to a modified version of the kid-friendly dish. 

I spread a layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the dish and also flavored the béchamel sauce with fire-roasted tomatoes. They impart a light sweetness and pleasant tanginess that complements the flavors of the cheese and sauce very well. So not only did I coerce the kids into going outside to do a physical activity, I also snuck some veggies into a dish they can’t resist. Pham Fatale indeed!


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Grilled Vegetable Summer Pasta Salad Recipe Recipe

After the pool party we recently hosted, we had lots of leftover grilled vegetables. Pasta salads are a great way to make use of leftover veggies, so today I prepared some for the family. It was really easy; all I needed to do was boil some pasta and add some salad dressing to it.

This time around I made a spicy salad dressing that I drizzled over fusilli pasta, roasted bell peppers, grilled eggplant, grilled Portobello mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. This meal met everyone's diet, except for my father-in-law who's allergic to mushrooms (no meat, not nuts, no eggs), so I placed the grilled mushrooms on the side.


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