I’ve been living in denial for the last week or so, but there is no getting away from it… my girls go back to school on Thursday and my big boy has orientation at ‘grown-up kinder’ (ie 4 year old preschool). That means I am back making the dreaded school lunches, and this year I have a kinder lunch to make too!
I need a little inspiration. A little something to jog my memory and help me remember what it was I fed these children last year, and the year before. Surely if I managed this stuff before, all be it a little begrudgingly, I can do it again?
I’ve trawled back through my archives and rounded up some back to school cooking ideas. Some of these recipes don’t fit my ‘cooking from scratch’ goal 100% as some of them contain ingredients that are already pretty heavily processed which I’m trying to reduce or avoid, but I feel that making those items is still better than buying 100% shop bought, super highly processed, full of crap snacks.
I am a work in progress. I don’t think we will ever be totally, utterly, processed food free. I will never make every single thing we eat from scratch, and I will never cut out every ingredient that I couldn’t possibly grow or somehow make myself at home. I am going for the 80/20 rule (thanks Shae) and I’m not beating myself up over the rest.
Homemade School Snacks
Homemade Pizza Rolls
Big Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Thousands of Biscuits – tiny cookies made from freezable dough.
Apple Spice Cakes
Are you trying new things and cooking from scratch?
Got any recipes or ideas for school snacks to share?
You can read more about what motivated me to begin cooking more from scratch here. And don’t forget to visit Little Eco Footprints and join in Trish’s Skipping the Supermarket Challenge.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
The Organised housewife had a list of dozens and dozens of freezable (i think) recipes her readers shared – I plan on using a few.
I want to make your pizza rolls today if I find my scales.
How did you wrap dough to freeze it and how do you cook it once defrosted ?
I have most of the ingredients.
*sob* the Cornies and Big fat choc chip biscuits have to wait till I get SR flour. We are 20 mins or more from town now.
The pizza dough recipe is about 3 and a 1/2 cups of flour… just add a little more flour or water if it’s not quite right, it’s quite forgiving.
I freeze the dough as a ball sealed in a freezer bag. It takes a while to defrost and it needs to be defrosted and then allowed to warm up and rise before you use it… though that is less important for flat pizza bases as it doesn’t matter if they are a bit flatter than usual.
It’s hard being a long way from the shops… we are about 15 minutes from small shops and 20 minutes from anything half decent. But if you have plain flour and baking soda you could google to find out how much to put in to make self raising flour?
I discovered last year how well sandwiches freeze. I make up a weeks worth for hubby and 2 kids. I just make sure I wrap them in a strip of glad go-between freezer paper – that seems to help stop the bread drying out in the freezer – and pop a stack them in a plastic container.
We have even successfully frozen devon and sauce sandwiches (yep, a bit retro but its a fav) and chicken roll slices.
I have also been experimenting with nut free muesli bars made with sunflower butter as a peanutbutter substitute as our school is nut free.
I have to try those pizza scrolls – they look great.
We’ve done the frozen sandwich thing in the past too. Hubby used to have a sandwich toaster at work and we’d freeze ham and cheese sandwiches. They turned out great as regular sandwiches too.
I’m still trying to find sunflower butter for a peanut butter substitute. I got a recommendation on facebook to try Safeway but ours doesn’t stock it :(
For some crazy reason, my brother and I decided we had to make our own lunches from about grade three onwards, so we always ended up with sandwiches. Mind you, those sandwiches were comprised of the bread my mum made herself and the vegies she grew in the garden, but I’m pretty sure we never appreciated it enough until we were older.
Your proposed lunchbox snacks look lovely and they should go down well. :)
I make these date and oat bars occasionally through the year ands the kids seem to enjoy them, and I need to lock them up from myself when they’re in the house. The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens (forget which issue) in 2009 I think.
Oat and Date Bar – Fast Ed
250g pitted dates
1/4 tsp bicarb
3/4 cup boiling water
Sit for 5 minutes to soften
Put in food processor and puree
Put puree into a mixing bowl, then add:
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
100g dried apple, finely diced
100g dried apricots, finely diced
150g butter, melted
Stir mixture to combine then put in a large, lined slice tin. Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes. Slice into fingers.
Beth Cregan says
These Oaty Cookies have graced our lunchboxes for 12 years and counting. I love them! Similar to Anzacs ( much chunkier) but with less butter and sugar.
2 cups of wholegrain oats
I cup wholemeal SR flour (but I have used plain)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (can omit)
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix together dry ingredients, then to add 1/2 cup melted butter, add 2 tab honey, 1 tab water and 1/2 teas bi carb soda. (It will froth up a little)
Mix well and add a little milk if mixture is too dry.
Then put dessert spoons of the mixture onto bakers paper and leave a little room for spreading. Push an almond or walnut into the top if
eating at home Dates are a good alternative. (Our kids couldn’t take nuts to kinder or primary school). Bake in a moderate oven until golden which is usually about 10 to 15 mins. This biscuit recipe allows you to add or subtract ingredients easily so you can design many variations. We have added cocoa and choc chips, raisins and cranberries. I have even deleted the sugar. These cookies keep well in an airtight tin and also freeze well. Happy eating!
I’m trying the pizza rolls today. Will let you know how the freezer test goes.
Here is a great recipe for muesli slice from a womens weekly cookbook, i have modified it a bit, and have never had anyone say they dont like it. Sometime i drizzle some chocolate on top (shhhhh)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbls honey
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup dried apricots ( i use a mix of sesame seeds, sunflower kernal and wheatgerm or goji berries)
1/2 cup dried apples (i use dried cranberries – yum)
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup SR flour
Preheat oven to moderate
Grease and line a 20 x 30cm pan
combine butter, sugar and honey in saucepan, stir over med heat without boiling until sugar has dissolved, remove from heat, stir in remaining ingredients.
Press into pan, bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
** i use double mixture for a thicker slice (depens on your pan size, i use a lamington pan)
** let it cool completely and even put it in the fridge for an hour or so before cutting otherwise it crumbles everywhere
I like the 80/20 rule too. There’s nothing wrong with taking things slowly.
For lunch box snacks I like snacks that don’t actually require much preparation. Boiled eggs, cubed cheese, olives, natural yoghurt, fresh fruit, dried fruit. I’d love to have baked goods ready, but i’m not that organised. I favour simple.
That said – I should make a batch of your pizza rolls. She’d love those.
Loveing your from scratch series kate :-)
Oh I have just cooked a boston bun from scratch. Have not tasted it yet but if it is good will send it to you. Happy scratch cooking.
Linda Woodrow says
In early 2010, I had a rant about the way they were marketing LCMs. I still get cranky about it – such deceitful marketing! I set myself “The Muesli Bar Challenge” – a year’s worth of weekly recipes for lunch box baking that was fast and easy, healthy (enough), based on local in-season ingredients, and, most important of all, rated by my team of school age reviewers as better than supermarket options. The kids were from the local school run, and aged from 5 to 15, and they did really well reviewing every week. I told them to be honest, and there were a few “didn’t likes”, but overall they rated the home baking better than the supermarket “muesli bars” every single week.
Hi, I love making snacks for lunches. usually on a Sunday, I will make about 4 different things, cut them all up pop them in bags and whack them in the freezer. That way the kids get a variety during the week and also helps with after school snacks, they can just go and grab something.
I have a recipe for Homemade LCMs
200g marshmallows ( I think a pack is 250 so you might have to eat the rest)
80g butter (about 4 tablespoons
4 cups of rice bubbles (you could use cocoa pops to or bit of both)
Place Rice Bubbles in a large bowl
Line a Lamington tin with baking paper.
Melt the marshmallows and butter in a bowl over simmering water, mixing frequently.
Pour into Rice bubbles, mix well and press into tin.
Refrigerate. When set cut into pieces.
I have frozen this and it was okay but I don’t think they will last that long anyway.
Oh I am so making them big fat choc chip cookies tomorrow! They look DELISH!
Oh, good to know that there are other people who cook from scratch, when I tell my friends that I cook everything from scratch and I don’t buy ready to eat food they think I’m crazy “Why don’t you buy, much easier”…. Oh, it annoys me when they say that!! u.u