Archive for the ‘Lunchbox Ideas’ Category

Homemade Reese Cups

July 29, 2010

These couldn’t be any easier!

Homemade Reese Cups

Ingredients:

1 Cup Peanut Butter

6 TBSP Butter (softened)

2 cups Powdered Sugar

24 ounces Almond Bark (Chocolate or Vanilla)

12-18 Aluminum Baking Cups

Instructions:
-Combine first 3 Ingredients. The mixture may look crumbly and that’s okJ *I use my Kitchenaid Mixer to combine but you can also use a  dough cutter to cut the ingredients together.*

-After you have combined the above, melt Almond Bark (chocolate or vanilla) in a Double Broiler, making sure to stir frequently (I use a makeshift one that I create from two pans, one obviously smaller then the other).

-Once your chocolate is melted, cover the bottom of 12-18 Baking Cups (the number you end up with depends on how big you make them).

– Make a Peanut Butter Mixture Ball from the combined ingredients and flatten slightly with your fingers. Place on top of the Chocolate in the Baking Cups.

-Fill the Baking Cup the rest of the way with Melted Chocolate, making sure to cover the Peanut Butter Mixture,  and smooth across the top.

-Chill for 10 minutes in the fridge and enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

July 19, 2010

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cup uncooked rolled oats
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine JIF®, honey and cinnamon; heat through. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Place oats in a large, shallow roasting pan or a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Pour warm JIF® mixture over oats and stir gently until oats are coated. Spread evenly in pan.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off oven.
  4. Stir in peanuts and return pan to oven and let dry 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Let miture cool and stir in chocolate chips. Store in covered containers.

*My kids love to eat this as a topping for yogurt. This recipe is very easy to change around and “make your own”. *

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Little Frugalista

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

July 18, 2010

These taste like brownies but hold together in slices like a bread. A great way to sneak veggies into something that tastes like a dessert 😉

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup raisins

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Combine the eggs, oil, butter and extracts; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini, pecans and raisins. Pour into two greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from the pans to wire racks.

*If 2 Loaves are too much to consume for you at one time, freeze the second to eat later.*

$$$

Little Frugalista

Vegetarian Artichoke Spinach Pitas

July 15, 2010

Vegetarian Artichoke Spinach Pitas

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used sour cream because I don’t like mayo)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled (or 2 TBSP minced garlic)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed (I used instead fresh basil from my garden)
  • 8 oz frozen Spinach

Throw all of the ingredients in your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. This can be served in Pitas with your favorite veggies, cheese etc… or can be used as a dip with Crackers or Heavy Dipping Bread pieces.

These would be great to send cold in a lunchbox:)

$$$

Little Frugalista

Chicken Tortilla Soup

June 9, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup:

1lb chicken, cooked and chopped (I use leftover Chicken I’ve frozen from other dinners)
1 T olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 can 28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 can 10.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 can 4.5 oz chopped green chile peppers
1 can 15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed (I cook my own on the stove and freeze them in 1 cup portions in baggies)
1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped * I didn’t have this and it turned out fine*

In large saucepan, heat olive oil and saute onion and garlic until soft. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Optional toppings include baked tortilla chips, low-fat sour cream, cheddar cheese, etc.

Nutritional Info per serving (w/o toppings): 278 calories, 4.9 g fat, .5g saturated fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 30 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 466 mg sodium.

This is a healthy protein packed meal that is sure to fill you up and is great the next day for lunch.

$$$

Little Frugalista

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

May 24, 2010

I have yet to find a Store Bought Spaghetti Sauce that doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. So as I result I just make ours from scratch.

Here is my recipe. There is room to tweak it to your tastes 😉

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion Chopped

1 TBSP Garlic Powder

2 tsp dried basil

2 tsp dried oregano

1 Can Tomato Sauce (29 ounces)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 packet of Truvia (Stevia) or 1 tsp of Sugar

1 lb Cooked Ground Beef or Ground Turkey

-Place Olive Oil in your skillet (I use my iron skillet) and heat up on medium heat.

-Place Chopped Onion and Garlic Powder in the Olive Oil and cook until the onions are translucent

-Stir in Basil and Oregano. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.

-Pour in Tomato Sauce and stir

-Next add salt and Truvia (or sugar). Stir very well.

-Add in your cooked ground beef (or ground turkey)

-Cover and cook for 30 minutes (plenty enough time to prepare your noodles)

*Notes:

-Mr. Little Frugalista likes his Spaghetti a little more “zippy” so I add 2 TBSP of my Homemade Taco Seasoning.

-This can also be made with ground Venison and in fact the pictures shown are 1/2 Rocky Ground Beef and 1/2 Venison. I cooked a 2 lb batch of 1/2 and 1/2 last week for Mexican Dinner night and froze the other half to serve with Spaghetti today.

-Various things can be stirred into the sauce to increase the nutrients in it. Various veggies you have on hand  can be chopped and placed in the sauce just as I did with our Super Easy Stromboli or you could puree veggies like carrots and add them to the sauce. Just be creative with what you have on hand 😉

-Cooking acidic things in an iron skillet, like spaghetti sauce, is very beneficial to our bodies because the acid in the food helps to leach the iron out for us to ingest. Just check out the subject on Columbia University\’s Go Ask Alice

-I use Whole Wheat Noodles with this sauce because they are better for you and you can’t taste the difference when they are covered in sauce.

Lastly wanted to add that Spaghetti makes a great next day lunch on the go 🙂

$$$

Little Frugalista

Healthy Lowfat Hummus

May 20, 2010

Healthy Lowfat Hummus (Recipe Courtesy of the Hillbilly Housewife)

  • 15 oz can of chickpeas, well drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh tap water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons tahini or peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Open up the chickpeas. Rinse then under running water and drain well. Place them in a blender jar. Add the remaining ingredients. Process at high speed for 2 minutes. You will need to turn the blender off and stir the contents every few seconds or so. When the mixture is quite smooth it is done. Scrape the hummus into a resealable container. Chill until serving time.

To divide it equally for serving I cut it into 4 sections. Each section is 1 serving or approximately 1/3-cup. Serve with fresh vegetables or crackers for dipping.

Makes 4 servings.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 191 Calories; 6g Fat (28.2% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 283mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Fat.

Considering the above recipe, now would be a great time to share my blender tip….

If you are going to blend something small you can take off the canister on your blender and screw on a regular mouth Mason Jar. All I could find for this picture was a small Mason Jar but it works also with big Mason Jars as long as they have regular mouths (not Wide Mouths).

You obviously are going to have to turn the base upside down to place the Mason Jar on and take it off to keep the contents from spilling.

You can then store the contents, Hummus in this case, in the jar. One less thing to clean 😉

$$$

Little Frugalista

Make Your Own Peanut Butter and Jelly Uncrustables

May 5, 2010

Don’t waste money buying Uncrustables from the store when you can easily make your own in a flash.

All you need is a wide mouth canning jar ring, bread, peanut butter and jelly 🙂

Make your sandwich as you normally would. If you plan to freeze these for later use put peanut butter on both pieces of bread and then place jelly on one piece. It will keep the bread from getting soggy. Then place your canning ring on the center of the sandwich.

Push the lid down and twist so that the circle is cut out. When you have the lid all the way to the plate you may have to take your fingers to remove any bits that are left behind. No worries though because it is super easy to do.

Take your fingers and gently press on the middle to get the Uncrustable to pop out of the lid.

If you plan to freeze these make sure to place plastic wrap or wax paper between the layers so that the sandwiches do not freeze together.

$$$

Little Frugalista

Homemade Granola Bars

April 27, 2010

In an effort to stay away from High Fructose Corn Syrup and various other additives I make lots of things that your average person buys already processed and premade. This recipe is no different 🙂

From my Meal Plan this Week…

Homemade Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or other goodies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups assorted chocolate chips, raisins, nuts etc. (picture shows bars made with 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips)
  3. Firmly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 9 minutes. Pull from oven and press mixture firmly again into the pan. Bake another 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

Lunchbox Idea: Making Sandwiches Fun

April 17, 2010

To make sandwiches fun use a cookie cutter to cut the bread (also the meat and cheese if it’s not pb&j). This one I cut in the shape of a flower (got the cookie cutter after Easter for .25) and if I’d had M&Ms I would have placed one in the center of the flower but alas I didn’t have any.

The crust I cut off goes into my bread bag in the freezer to become some of the dishes I posted before in my Got Stale Bread? Post. On occasion we also take bread from the freezer bag to feed the Geese at a local pond, which is a great free activity for my kids. We begin visiting in early spring when the mama geese lay their eggs and then visit every week to watch the babies grow into full size geese.

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Little Frugalista