With summer holidays fast approaching or already here for some, the lazy days of summer are upon us. I don’t know about you, but once the summer months arrive, I find myself saying “we’ll figure something out” more and more, when it comes to mealtimes. Having a few strategies for getting quick and easy healthy meals to the table when you’d rather be enjoying the summer weather, when the kids are cranky and need to eat now (because you were enjoying the summer weather), or when the groceries are low (because you were enjoying the summer weather), can go a long way in actually “figuring something out”, throughout the carefree days of summer.
Rise & Shine Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins // A double batch of muffins can save the day in so many ways.
It’s funny, baking is one of those things that I always dread a little, I’m not even sure why, because making a double batch of muffins always pays back in spades. These muffins made for a great, super fast snack served warm with some cream cheese and clementines, plus they were packed in school lunches, and made a quick breakfast or two. I was even able to freeze half, to do it all again another week. You can even pop a frozen muffin in a school or camp lunch and it will be ready to munch on in an hour or so.
The recipe for these Rise and Shine Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins is from The Foodie Physician and was a big hit with the toddlers, the teens and the adults. When I look for muffin recipes, I look for whole grains and no refined sugar, but I have also come to learn that often I can just use whole wheat flour and sub in honey or maple syrup for refined sugar, which is exactly what I did here, I used all whole wheat flour and 3/4 cup of honey. Now the results aren’t always going to be exactly the same, but so far I’ve never had a muffin turned down because of it:)
Tuna Melts w/Apple & Cheddar // Lunches made with staples, that are kept on hand almost all the time, are perfect when you have to pull something together and the cupboards are running bare;)
It’s nice to have a few lunches that you can pull together with items that are almost always in the pantry, fridge or freezer. We keep a few baguettes in the freezer all the time, because they are so versatile. Nuts, seeds and dried fruit fill jars in our pantry, not always the same ones, but always a few. Canned tuna is a staple in our pantry, as well as cheese in the fridge and apples – always!
Which makes this a great fall back lunch for when the groceries are running low. Not to mention it’s an all time favourite. I just sliced the baguette into 1/4 inch slices, laid the slices on a baking sheet, topped them with tuna mixed with a bit of mayonnaise (I’ve also skipped the mayo and mixed the tuna with lemon juice and pepper), then a few slices of cheese.
It only takes a few minutes under the broiler, to melt the cheese and crisp up the edge of the baguette, then I pull them from the oven and top them with sliced apples. The apples make all the difference. I have had many kids who did not like tuna melts, start eating them when topped with cheddar and apple.
Tortellini & Veggie Skewers w/Pea Pesto Dip // Using leftovers for lunch is absolutely my favourite strategy for saving time in the kitchen and for this snack (which could also be a lunch) I did just that.
You know what I love about this snack (that could also be a lunch)? It all came from leftovers. The tortellini from a pasta dinner, the veggies from salad prep the night before and the pea pesto from a salmon dinner that I made another week and froze half the pesto. The other great thing is you really don’t need much if you want to make a school or camp lunch. If you only have a tablespoon of pesto leftover, use it for a dip. If you only have a few tortellini leftover, skewer them along with veggies to make them go further.
Whenever I make skewers for the kids, I only make one or two, then I serve or pack more skewer ingredients on the side and let the kids make more on their own, using the same skewers. This works out perfectly because it means I’m not spending time making a ton of skewers and because the kids love making their own.
You know what else I love about this snack? The kids loved it! They loved it because it was fun, and tasty, and colourful and interactive and not just boring leftovers.