Lunch Archives | Stephanie Dreyer

Lunch

April 17, 2020
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This post contains affiliate links.

Splendid Spoon plant-based meals

Want in on one of my favorite meal discoveries? I’ve been taking some help from Splendid Spoon and am loving the ease it’s giving me for breakfast and lunch.

If you’ve been with me a while, you know that I cook just about every meal EVERY day for me and my family of 5. I love the benefits of home cooked food – fresh ingredients, delicious flavor and healthy nutrition. That’s why I’m so excited to discover Splendid Spoon and their flavorful plant-based meals. Their smoothies, bowls and soups are made just the way I cook for myself with only whole foods and plant-based ingredients.

I plan my Splendid Spoon meals into my meal plan just like I do the rest of my meals. I have found their prepared smoothies, bowls and soups to be the perfect meal solutions for busy days when I have limited time to eat (or meal prep) or when I need something easily portable that I can eat on the go. (Try for yourself here and get $25 off.)

Splendid Spoon plant-based meals

Take a look at some of my favorites from their selections:

Smoothies:
Blueberry Coconut
Cacao Almond
Blackberry Basil
Raspberry Cacao
Banana Flax
Bowls:
Moroccan Spiced Buckwheat
Lemon Wild Rice and Broccoli
Moroccan Lentil
Cauliflower Tikka
Broccoli Hempseed

This is just a small sample of what they offer. (See more here.) These are the only prepared meals that I purchase and I eat out only about once a week so the convenience of having some ready-made meals to go each week has been such a gift to myself. I’d love you to experience the same! My friends at Splendid Spoon are offering my followers $25 off when you register. Just follow this link for delicious, plant-based meals delivered to your door!

Have a question or want to learn more? Drop me a comment below or send me a note at hello@stephaniedreyer.com.

 

 


September 17, 2019
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Tips and Ideas for Meal Planning & Prepping Lunch

It’s back-to-school…and I’m back to planning and prepping lunches for my kids. My girls have given me a slight reprieve as my teens have taken over their lunch packing. (However, I can’t let go just yet so I’m still prepping a few things on my Batch Cook Sundays so they have several healthy options to pack.)

Meal planning and prepping lunch isn’t just something I do during the the school year. I plan and prep my lunches all year long. I find I eat healthier and it frees up a lot of time during the middle of the day when I usually have to force myself to take a break to eat because I’m so busy. Can you relate?

My latest video shares 8 tips for planning and prepping lunch with ease, including:

1. Meal plan!

2. Pick 2-3 meal ideas to rotate throughout the week (and keep a running list to reference again and again).

3. Batch cook a few things on the weekend.

4. Mix up the ordinary.

 

Get the rest of my tips in the video below, where I also do some “show and tell” with some of my favorite meal prep and lunch containers…but first, meal ideas!

Wraps

Tortilla, collard green, lettuce leaf, lavash or nori…so many options for wrapping for lunch. Try my Tofu Lettuce Wraps or Black Bean & Corn Romaine “Tacos”.

Pizza Rolls

The pizza rolls are a family favorite in my house and in the lunch rotation at least twice a month!

Pasta and Pasta Salads

Some of my favorites in this category are Easy Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad, Italian Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad, Kale Harvest Grains Salad, or Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad.

Sushi Rolls

My kids love vegetable sushi rolls. They customize theirs with the vegetables they like (carrots for Alex, cucumbers and carrots for Jake and cucumbers for Gaby!), along with baked tofu and avocado.

Bowls

These are so simple and can be batched easily on the weekend: Marinated protein, roasted vegetables, greens, grains and a yummy dressing. Try my Green Goddess Zucchini Bowl or Butternut Squash and Fall Lentil Bowl, Italian Roasted Vegetable Bowl with Creamy Italian Dressing, or Carrot Noodle Bowl

Salads

Simple and easy, this is my go-to option for lunch. Try one of these: Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad, Chopped Asparagus Chickpea Salad, or my personal favorite: Cruciferous Crunch Salad with Tangy Tahini Dressing,

Kebabs

Super fun to eat and stackable a zillion different ways.

Hummus and veg sticks

Deconstructed sandwiches (aka “Lunchables”)

What did I miss? Share some of your favorite lunch meals below!

 


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I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s a 2 minute drive from my house (super convenient!)
  2. It carries lots of great plant-based products
  3. It features several products (including some of tasty dips and spreads) that make great “meal helpers” for making homemade-ish meals (a homemade meal that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes that use prepared products from the store such as sauces, frozen foods, or prepped produce).

Meal helpers are my secret to getting a homemade meal on the table on those busy days when meal prep is super tight (or I’m super exhausted and just need a little help!). Meal planning and batch cooking take me a long way but a helping hand from the store can bring even more ease and joy to my time in the kitchen.

Below are some of my favorite Trader Joe’s dips and spreads and some easy and delicious ways to use them to create meals and snacks.

Vegan cream cheese + vegan pesto ⁣= veggie wrap

Elevate your regular veggie wrap with this quick and easy spread. Just combine Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese along with their Kale, Cashew and Vegan Pesto to make a spread. Slather it on a tortilla and layer it with mixed greens and all the veggies. Bonus points for avocado and seasonings! 

Bruschetta + lentils = dip

This easy dip also doubles as a salad and triples as a sandwich filling! Simply combine Trader Joe’s bruschetta (in the refrigerated section next to the hummus) and Steamed Lentils (in the refrigerated produce section) together in a bowl and serve with pita chips and sliced cucumbers⁣. To make it a salad, arrange two cups of arugula in a bowl, top with a scoop of the lentil bruschetta and add chopped avocado and cucumber. For an easy sandwich, slide a leaf or two of romaine into a pita pocket and scoop the lentil bruschetta inside. Add sliced artichoke hearts and Kite Hill dairy-free ricotta cheese or Follow Your Heart dairy-free mozzarella.

 

Hummus + tabbouleh ⁣= Greek wrap

This is a great wrap for your lunch rotation! Pick your favorite Trader Joe’s hummus (mine is the Organic Hummus) and spread it onto a tortilla (or other wrap of your choice). Scoop a few heaping teaspoons of Trader Joe’s Tabbouleh (next to the bruschetta in the refrigerated foods section) on top and add cucumber slices and sliced Kalamata olives. Sliced avocado is optional, but highly recommended! Violife also makes a delicious plant-based feta cheese that is a tasty addition to this wrap.

Hummus + Balela ⁣= dip ⠀

Take your standard hummus to the next level with this easy dip that serves well on a snack platter. Just mix Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus with a container of their Balela (in the refrigerated section next to the Tabbouleh) and serve with pita chips and veggie slices.

 

Cashew Fiesta Dip + beans ⁣+ chopped tomato + sliced olives = nachos

These plant-based nachos are super tasty (no cheese required!). Spread a layer of Trader Joe’s tortilla chips onto a plate or platter. Heat Trader’s Joe’s Cashew Fiesta Dip and drizzle over the chips. Sprinkle with a can of drained black or pinto beans (or both!), chopped tomato, sliced olives (and chopped cilantro, sliced green onions or chopped red onion if you like!).

 

Guacamole (or guacamole hummus) + pico de gallo + refried beans ⁣= burrito⠀

I prefer to make my own guacamole but when short on time, Trader Joe’s Avocado’s Number Guacamole is a quick and delicious substitute. Turn it into a speedy burrito by spreading it onto a tortilla with refried beans. Top it with spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Pico de Gallo and wrap it to go!

 

Organic Buffalo Style Hummus + Chickenless Crispy Tenders ⁣= Buffalo Chicken Wrap⠀

This wrap has all the flavors of buffalo chicken wings without the animal products! Cook Trader Joe’s Chickenless Crispy Tenders according to package directions. Spread Trader Joe’s Organic Buffalo Style Hummus in a pita or on a wrap or tortilla. Lay a few tenders on top, along with a handful of mixed greens, chopped carrots and celery, and a drizzle of Follow Your Heart dairy-free Ranch Dressing.

 

Garlic sauce + falafel + tabbouleh ⁣= Greek pita pizza

These pita pizzas are prepped in minutes! Spread Trader Joe’s Garlic Sauce across a whole pita. Add a spoonful or two of Trader Joe’s Tabbouleh on top, along with 1-2 Trader Joe’s falafels (that have been cooked and chopped).

Dips and spreads

Watch the video above for a cooking demo with a few of the ideas above and let me know which dips and spreads you like best. For more meal hacks, check out 15 Quick & Easy Meals With Trader Joe’s Bagged Salads (and download my FREE Salad Kit Meal Helper) and My Favorite Trader Joe’s Dinner Hacks.

Want more meal ideas? Check out my weekly meal prep membership, Batch Cooking Club.

 

 


October 21, 2018
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It’s two months into the school year and my lunch box game is on! Although I refuse to get into a rut with the same old same old, I keep a running list of favorites to rotate into my weekly lunch menus. The kids look forward to these recipes as much as I love to make them. Pack for success with my kids’ school lunch favorites below!

 

Garlic Bowties

The secret to this fan favorite is Miyoko’s European Butter and a generous sprinkling of garlic powder. I’ve served my kids various shapes of pasta but bowties (aka farfalle) wins hands down every time.

Pizza Roll Ups

 

These are fun to make and my kids love them!

 

Chili Tots

Batch cook the tots on the weekend and pour a can of your kids’ favorite chili on top. (We love Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili.)

 

Vegetable Sushi Bowls

Vegetable Sushi Bowls

These also make an appearance on our dinner menu but the kids get even more excited when they know I’m serving them up in their lunch box.

What are your child’s school lunch favorites? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


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It’s the perfect time of year for a spring picnic. Basking in the sun with some delicious food is my kind of weekend afternoon. Although any standard basket would do, I am currently working on my new picture book, NOT A PURSE,  (the sequel to NOT A NUGGET), and have handbags on my mind!! So, today, I am breaking out my GUNAS Kangaroo Saffiano in earthy dark green and filling it with all the yummies for my Spring picnic menu below.

This bag works nicely as a “picnic basket,” with an internal zipper pocket, as well as a zipper divider pocket, (great for storing utensils and napkins.) I was able to fit a picnic blanket and all the food in the bag nicely. It looked so cute packed up that I almost didn’t want to lay out the spread! I have to admit, I felt very chic and stylish with my fashion-forward picnic tote. It definitely won’t be the last time I break it out for a feast in the park. If you love the idea, get one for yourself here.

It's the perfect time of year for a spring picnic. Although any standard basket would do, I'm working on my new picture book, NOT A PURSE, and have handbags on my mind!! So I'm breaking out my GUNAS Kangaroo Saffiano in earthy dark green and filling it with all the yummies for a Spring picnic menu.

As for the menu, I love lots of finger foods and appetizers for a Spring picnic to create a whole experience that can sustain appetites for several hours. One of my dream days is to get lost in a book under a tree on a picnic blanket. I can’t remember the last time I did that. This menu includes several munchies and easy-to-eat food that can sit out at room temperature for a bit and still taste delicious.

Stephanie’s Spring Picnic Menu

Baguette and Miyoko’s Cheese

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Slice 2 Persian cucumbers into rounds, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes in half, and 1 watermelon radish into semi-circles (or use a regular radish). Chop 1 head of romaine and toss with the rest of the veggies. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon on top along with Chile Lime Salt (I get mine at Trader Joe’s) to taste. Top with chopped avocado.

Tempeh “Chicken” Salad

I love this tempeh “chicken” salad filling! It’s great on sandwiches, on top of a bed of greens or scooped up in endive!

Beanfields White Bean Chips and Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus

Combine 1 can chickpeas, 1 head roasted garlic, 1/4 cup vegetable broth and the juice of 1 lemon in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love Uncle Eddies or any of the vegan ones from Trader Joe’s.

What do you think of my Spring picnic menu and basket? What do you love to pack for a picnic?

It's the perfect time of year for a spring picnic. Although any standard basket would do, I'm working on my new picture book, NOT A PURSE, and have handbags on my mind!! So I'm breaking out my GUNAS Kangaroo Saffiano in earthy dark green and filling it with all the yummies for a Spring picnic menu.

I received a discount to purchase a GUNAS handbag for this post, but all opinions are my own. 


August 28, 2017
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I am getting in the zone. The school lunch zone! It’s back-to-school for my daughters next week. The backpacks are stocked, new school clothes are ready to be worn, and the lunch boxes are open for packing!  My kids could probably eat the same thing every day, but I go crazy without variety. Tried and true works, but I love to think outside of the (lunch)box and surprise my kids with fun and different foods. Last week, I shared some ideas for packing lunch bowls. Today, I am changing it up again to give you healthy and easy finger foods that you won’t find in your every day school lunch box.

I think food should be fun, especially when it comes to kids. It also has to be small to fit into those tiny lunch box compartments! Finger foods are a perfect meal idea. You won’t find sandwiches or wraps on this list!

Finger Foods for the School Lunch Box

1. Vegan Beef & Bean Taquitos

Taquitos are such a fun finger food for kids. These taquitos can be made ahead and frozen, which is an added bonus! To pack for lunch, reheat and wrap in foil. Be sure to include a side of guacamole and salsa.

Side snacks: Beanfields Snacks Pico de Gallo or Nacho bean chips

Finger Foods

2. Caprese Skewers

These skewers are fun on a stick! I made these Caprese style, but you could change them up, such as pizza style, (think Hawaiian pizza with meatless pepperoni, chunks of dairy free cheese, and pineapple), or Italian style (with marinated tofu, basil, and olives).

Ingredients:

Short skewer sticks

Dairy-free Provolone (such as Follow Your Heart) or vegan mozzarella (such as Miyoko’s Kitchen VeganMozz), cubed

Cherry or grape tomatoes

Black or Kalamata olives

Artichoke hearts (optional)

Marinated mushrooms (optional)

Directions:

1. Stack each skewer with a cheese cube, grape tomato, olive, artichoke, and mushroom (if using). Repeat to fill the skewer.

Side Snacks: Rosemary crackers with bruschetta

3. Crudite

Veggies and dips are the ultimate finger foods. Fill celery sticks with nut butters or hummus, or fill containers with assorted veggies such as broccoli florets, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and snap peas. Serve hummus on the side.

Side Snacks: Cubed fruit and pretzels

4. Vegetable Sushi Rolls

These rolls are a cinch to customize based on what you have in the house or what your kids like. You can make these the night before and store in airtight lunch containers for added convenience.

Ingredients:

1 nori sheet

¼ – ½ cup sushi rice, prepared according to package directions

¼ Persian cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

1 tablespoon shredded carrots

3 slices of avocado

2 slices baked tofu

Directions:

1. Place a nori sheet on a sushi mat, and spread the rice across the nori sheet, leaving about ¼ inch border all around.

2. Lay the tofu, vegetables, and finally, the avocado in a straight line on the part of the nori sheet closest to you.

3. Using the sushi mat, roll the nori away from you, pressing the roll with the mat as you roll.

4. Slice the roll into 8 pieces and serve with shoyu or tamari.

Side Snacks: Edamame

Finger Foods

5. DIY Cracker Sandwiches

Let the kids build their meal by packing a stack of crackers, along with squares of dairy-free cheese and Tofurky slices. They can make their own mini sandwiches, just like the store-bought packages that are less healthy and more expensive.

Side Snacks: Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and fruit

What are you favorite finger foods to pack in your kids’ lunch box?

finger foods


August 21, 2017
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This summer has flown by for my family. My incoming high schooler, Gaby, and middle schooler, Alex, both start school next week, and my youngest, Jake, starts the following week. As every other parent out there, we have been busy organizing backpacks with shiny, new school supplies, and stocking up on new lunch box containers. I love the tidiness that comes with a new school year! I use these last few days as an opportunity for the kids to clean out their rooms and backpack cubbies, hoping this will be there year that my kids learn to keep their things organized!

I am also starting to shift my head back to the idea of packing school lunches. I savor the respite from that daily grind during the summer! I actually enjoy packing lunches. Many of my friends have their kids pack their own lunches. I just can’t bring myself to let go of the control! I like that I know what they are eating – and that it is well balanced. I also like the opportunity to show them a little love and pack a note. Food is love where I come from and I guess, the lunch box is an emotional extension for me.

As much as I enjoy packing lunches (once I get back into the groove and routine), the part that I tend to dread is deciding what to make. I create a weekly meal plan to come to the rescue. If I can think it out ahead of time and not have to think about it when it is time to pack the lunch, it is easy and painless.

With just a week away, it’s time to start thinking! I have a few fun ideas in mind for the kids, but my first back-to-school idea is lunch box bowls. I love bowls. Take some grains, pile on veggies and a protein, and top it all with a delicious sauce. Yummy! I eat them several times a week for lunch. Lunch box bowls also make a great meal for the kids at school. Pack rice or noodles that you want to keep warm in a thermos, along with a separate container full of toppings, and another with a sauce or dressing. Your kids can put it all together how they like it. It’s fun and delicious! Below are just a couple of ideas for some lunch box bowls to pack the kids. I hope they give you some great options for mixing into your school lunch menus. Happy back to school!

Back To School Lunch Box Bowls

Taco Salad Bowls

Taco Tuesday is a standard in my house, so this lunch box bowl is even easier and quicker to make if you prepare extra taco filling the night before and use it for Wednesday’s lunches. Pack the filling and some Spanish rice in a thermos, along with another container of chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, or whatever taco toppings your kids like. Include a separate container of salsa, guacamole, and lime wedeges to dress it all on top.

Side snacks: Blue corn or black bean chips, cucumber/carrot sticks with lemon and chile lime salt

Lunch Box Bowls

Sushi Bowls

My kids get super excited when they see this on the lunch menu! Pack sushi rice in thermoses. This cooks in 10 minutes while I am making breakfast and packing the rest of the lunch box. Fill a lunch container with shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, and avocado, along with chopped, baked tofu or shelled edamame. Include a container of soy sauce.

Side Snacks: Seaweed snack sheets, crispy rice rolls (available in Asian markets) 

Lunch Box Bowls

Big Fat Greek Bowls

I have some great salad lunch containers that work great for this lunch bowl. I set chopped lettuce in the base of the container, along with some chopped falafel. I place the divider on top, and fill with chopped tomato, cucumber and kalamata olives. Pack separate containers with tzatiki, hummus and/or tahini sauce.

Side Snacks: Pita triangles, roasted chickpeas

Lunch Box Bowls

Have you packed lunch box bowls before? Tell me your favorite in the comments below.

Lunch Box Bowls


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