Lunches with kid appeal

October 09, 1991|By Linda Lowe Morris

The average child will need more than 1,700 lunches packed during the course of his education, according to Meredith Brokaw and Annie Gilbar, authors of "The Penny Whistle Lunchbox."

To give you a little help with menu-planning, here are some recipes from two recently published cookbooks on lunchbox lunches.

The first three come from "The Penny Whistle Lunchbox:"

Tuna pasta salad Makes 4 to 6 servings*

2 eggs, hard boiled and sliced

1 cup steamed broccoli florets

1 tomato, chopped

2 cups cooked fusilli pasta

1 cup tuna packed in water, drained

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup steamed chopped green beans

1/2 cup kidney beans (optional -- but nutritious)

1/2 cup chopped jicama (optional)

1/4 cup chopped scallions

1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and toss to coat with the vinaigrette (a ranch dressing is also good on this).

Cover and refrigerate.

When ready to pack a lunch, place a portion in a container and cover.

*Number of servings will depend on appetite of child.

Sesame cheese sticks Makes 8 to 10 sticks

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspooon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into bits and at room temperature

1/2 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese and mix well. Gradually add enough milk to make a sticky dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and press them lightly into the dough. Cut the dough into 1/2 -inch wide strips, 2 inches long.

Place the strips of dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and store in a covered tin.

Vegetable minestrone soup Makes 6 to 10 servings*

1/4 cup olive oil, or 4 tablespoons unsalted margarine

2 onions, thinly sliced

2 cups sliced carrots

2 cups peeled diced potatoes

3 broccoli florets, cup up

4 zucchini, sliced

2 cups cut-up green beans, or 1 package (10 ounces) frozen green beans

1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) low-sodium chicken broth

1 can (16-ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, drained and cup up

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach

1 can (15-ounces) pinto beans, drained

1 can (15-ounces) red kidney beans, drained

1 cup uncooked macaroni, any size

Heat the oil in a very large pot over moderate heat. The cooking method is easy to remember -- add each of the vegetables in turn and cook each 3 to 4 minutes. Start with the onions and cook until soft. Add the carrots and cook, and then the potatotes, broccoli, zucchini and green beans in turn.

Add the chicken broth, tomatoes and celery salt. Reduce the heat to low and let the whole concoction cook for 1 hour.

Add the frozen spinach and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and macaroni and cook for another 10 minutes, If you find the soup is getting too thick, add 1 cup water. Let the soup cool before refrigerating.

In the morning, heat 1 serving and put immediately into a thermos.

*Number of servings will depend on appetite of child.

The recipe comes from "The Creative Lunchbox" by Ellen Klavan.

Four bean salad Makes about four 1-cup servings

1 small (8-ounce) can lima beans

1 small (8-ounce) can kidney beans

1 small (8-ounce) can green beans

1 small (8-ounce) can garbanzo (chick peas)

2 to 3 tablespoons minced onions

2 to 3 tablespoons minced tomato

Commercial Italian dressing or dressing of choice

Open the cans and drain the beans. In a medium-size bowl, gently toss all the ingredients. Add just enough dressing to moisten the ingredients. Four-bean salad tastes best if you refrigerate it overnight. Or you could store the cans in the refrigerator so the salad will already be cold when you make it.

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