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Published: Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Send kids off to school with healthy, tasty lunches

Reshma Seetharam

By Reshma Seetharam
School is just around the corner. Trying to pack yummy and healthy food for kids every day can be a challenge. Here are some ideas and quick fixes that can be made in a snap and taste great!

Reshma Seetharam

Mini football pizzas

What you need: Depending on your cookie cutter size, makes 12 mini pizzas
Football shaped cookie cutters
12 slices of whole wheat bread
2 cups of mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup colored peppers, stems and seeds removed, diced
1 cup carrot, grated
1 cup ham, cooked and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced
1 cup tomato sauce or ketchup
Add in any other veggies or meat of your choice.

Place a cookie cutter on each slice of bread and cut out little pizzas. Place the mini footballs on a baking sheet. Spoon about a teaspoon of ketchup on each. Sprinkle the veggies and the cheese.

Place it in a preheated oven, about 400 degrees Fahrenheit or on the grill high setting. Cook them for about 4 to 6 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Let it cool down before you can tuck them away into lunch boxes.

Pair this lunchbox with a box of colorful fruits and a cup of milk/slice of cheese or a cup of yogurt.

Reshma Seetharam

Ham and Veggie wraps

What you need: Makes 4 wraps
4 large whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup carrots, cut into match sticks
1/2 cup celery, cut into match sticks
1/2 cup onions, cut into thin slices
2 cups ham, cooked and cut into match sticks
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
A pinch of red chili flakes
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp pepper powder
1/4 tsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
Cellophane/cling wrap roll

Heat a wok or saute pan until hot. Add oil, ginger and onion. Saute for a few seconds. Add carrots and celery. Stir frequently for another minute. Add the ham, saute for two minutes. Add  the chili flakes, sugar, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat. Let the mixture  cool down.

In the meantime, warm the tortillas on the hot griddle with a spray of olive oil to soften it. Cut out 4 cellophane wraps, long enough to bundle the tortilla and ham. Set aside.

Divide the ham and veggie mixture into 4 equal portions. Add one portion towards the end of a warm tortilla. Hold on end and cover the ham, and roll it down tightly to the other end. Place the roll on the cling wrap and roll it again, tightly together. Repeat the steps to make 4 rolls.

Cut the middle of the roll diagonally. Pack them in lunch boxes. Pair this lunch with a box of green apples and strawberries with a peanut butter dip.

Reshma Seetharam

Asian Noodles, meat and veggie stir-fry

What you need: Serves 4
3 cups uncooked noodles
2 cups hotdogs, cooked and cut into rings
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 cup scallions/green onions, chopped
1 cup corn fresh or frozen
1 cup broccoli broken into small stems
1 cup onions cut into thin strips
1 Tbsp  cup soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine
1/2 tsp finely chopped Thai green chilies
1 Tbsp sesame or vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil (about 8 cups). Add the noodles and a teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until they are tender. Blanch them in cold water, set aside.

Heat a large pan or wok on medium high. Add in the sesame oil. Toss the garlic and chilies. As they cook, toss in the hot dog rings stirring continuously.

Throw in the onions, broccoli and corn. Toss them for a minute, and lower the heat to medium. Add the cooked noodles, sugar and the sauces. Cook for just another minute or two.

Add in salt and pepper. Garnish it with scallions. Serve immediately or cool them down a bit before it is packed into lunchboxes.

Reshma Seetharam

Hotdog and pesto cream wraps

What you need: Makes 4 wraps
4 large flour or wheat tortillas
4 turkey hot dogs, cooked
4 large lettuce leaves, washed and dried
4 Tbsp cream cheese
1 Tbsp basil pesto

Combine the pesto and cream cheese. Set aside. Warm the tortillas on a hot griddle with a spray of olive oil to soften it.

Spread a Tbsp of  cream cheese pesto on the tortilla. Lay a lettuce leaf on it. Place a cooked hotdog on the lettuce.

Roll the tortilla tightly. Repeat until you make 4 rolls. Cut the roll in the middle or into 2 inch thick pinwheel wraps.

Pack them in lunchboxes. Pair this lunch with a box of green apples and strawberries with a cream cheese dip. Enjoy!

Reshma Seetharam

Teriyaki meatball fried rice

What you need: Serves 4
2 cups cooked, cold jasmine rice or long grain white rice
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 cup onions (julienne)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 cup broccoli broken into small stems
1 cup carrot (julienne)
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
Salt to taste

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground pork
1 egg
1 slice of bread powdered
1/2 tsp fresh parsley
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp pepper powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp teriyaki sauce

Preheat the oven on high broil setting. In a mixing bowl, add all the meatball ingredients and mix to combine. Make meatballs the size of limes. Place them on a  baking sheet and broil for 15-18 minutes, rotating them halfway.

While the meatballs cook, add oil in a deep skillet or wok, and turn on the heat to high. When the oil begins to smoke, add the crushed garlic and onions. Give it a quick whisk, add in the broccoli, corn and carrots.

Add teriyaki sauce, pepper and salt. Stir for just another few minutes. Add the cooked meatballs to this and stir until combined. Let it cook for a few minutes until the vegetables and meatballs are glazed well in the teriyaki sauce.

Pour in the cold rice. Stir quickly for another few minutes until the sauces are blended with rice. Turn off the heat, and serve hot. Let it cool down before you ad it into lunchboxes. Enjoy!

Reshma Seetharam

Omelette pinwheel wraps with creamy italian dressing

What you need: serves 4
4 Spinach tortillas, homemade or store bought
4 large egg omelets, made with seasoning of your liking
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into thin rings
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp Italian dressing dry mix or ingredients below
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried basil
Pinch of celery salt

In a microwave-safe bowl, soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Spread 1 Tbsp or more of the creamy mixture of the tortilla. Top it with 1 large omelet and cherry tomatoes. You may use any meat or cheese of your liking.

Roll these up tightly and set them on a plate. Repeat the same steps with the rest of the tortillas. Refrigerate the prepped wraps for about 30 minutes. Slice into 1-inch pieces and tuck them into lunchboxes.

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