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Back to School Macaroni and Cheese  Recipe

Do you want your child to be the most popular kid in the lunch room? Try this macaroni and cheese recipe. I flavored the béchamel sauce with roasted red bell pepper, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and of course a variety of cheeses. The color turns out more vibrant and the texture is perfect with both gooey and stringy cheese mixed together.

I packed the mac and cheese in a bento-style thermos lunch jar so the dish would remain warm until lunch time. My little 6-year-old sis-in-law has been going to school for less than a week but she's already made a lot of friends. When she came home, I found an empty box. She told me her lunch box is a great conversation starter!


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Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe Recipe

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

08.19.10 by Jackie

Tuna pasta salad is one of the easiest school lunches of all times. The pasta salad can be prepared a day in advance; I usually prep the ingredients the day before and assemble the salad the next morning. All you need is mayonnaise, tuna, boiled pasta (I used fusilli) and various grilled vegetables.

Back to school lunches have never been that easy! Fusilli pasta have a fun look and the corkscrew curl in the center traps the mayonnaise so you get a creamy pasta salad. This one dish makes a balanced meal for kids in your life.


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Octopus Sushi (Cooked Sushi Recipe) Recipe

We've been setting up my little sis-in-law’s school lunch menu as she's about to enter 1st grade tomorrow. She participated in the entire process. The little munchkin mentioned that she loves sushi and wanted to have some for lunch this school year. It's a fast and easy way for her to have a quick lunch, so I was happy to oblige. She also mentioned she loves baby octopus but she doesn't want to scare her friends away with weird food so I coarsely chopped them and used them as the filling along with other vegetables. I cooked each ingredient separately, let them cool completely and then combined then into sushi rolls. The sushi got an “A” from my sis-in-law, so I'll definitely be packing them for her this school year.

Involving children in preparing their own food encourages them to eat with more enthusiasm. Cooking in a fun environment is also a way to learn. If your kids aren’t adventurous enough for octopus, you can try some of my other school lunch recipe ideas.


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Morel and Blue Cheese Pasta Gratin Recipe (Cheese Pasta Casserole) Recipe

Our vacation is coming to an end, and we head back home in the morning. For the ride back, I made a pasta gratin using radiatore pasta with fresh morels and a blue cheese white sauce. You know, just in case anyone gets hungry! I combined the ingredients in a casserole dish sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese and served the gratin casserole dish with tomato and greens.

I got many of the ingredients yesterday at the Rogue Valley Farmers' Market in Ashland, where I discovered a myriad of wonderful fresh products. I was particularly drawn to the white raspberries, Oregonian goat sausages and fresh morels. After purchasing the ingredients at the market, in the afternoon we visited the headquarters of Harry and David where I bought some delicious blue cheese that ended up in this dish. Southern Oregon has turned out to be absolutely delicious!


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Parmesan Risotto with Wheatberries and Morel Mushrooms Recipe

My husband Lulu was craving risotto lately. Unfortunately, risotto can be pretty rich, which doesn’t exactly mesh well with our exercise routine. I don’t think exercising should be a form of punishment, so I took Lulu’s craving as an opportunity to be creative.

After thinking about it, I decided to make mushroom risotto using fresh morels. I chose morels because they are packed with flavor. Instead of using heavy cream and other calorie-packed ingredients, I let the mushrooms provide most of the flavor in the dish. I also added wheatberries to the Arborio rice for texture. Just make sure to soak the wheatberries overnight, so that they aren't too chewy.

Fresh Morels


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