In my school lunch repertoire, I attempt, with varying degrees of success, to keep a variety of lunch options on hand that I can pull out and use for those moments when the ceiling seems to be falling in on us as we try to start our day. One kid can’t find his homework, another has lost a shoe, and one is still sleeping, dead to a world that moves on at a frantic pace while he snores softly into their sheets.
In this selection, there are plenty of crackers and cheese with a bit of salami, hard-boiled eggs, fried rice dishes, leftovers, and – the ever popular and well known – sandwich.
My kids are no stranger to a good, ol’ PB&J during the summer. However, we often need to avoid sending peanut butter to school and summer camps because of allergies, which takes it off the table for those packed lunches. Although they’re willing to eat a few sunflower butter sandwiches now and again, just as though it were peanut butter and jelly, they quickly tire of the monotony.
For the days when sandwiches just won’t do, whether it’s because we’ve had too many recently or because the bread is gone, I often find myself heating up my kids’ “cold lunch” for a little something different. If you’ve never explored the vast and exciting world of thermal jars in your kids’ lunches, I encourage you to give them a try. They open up whole new worlds of possibilities for school lunches.
How to Prep a Thermal Container for Hot Food:
- Fill the thermal container with boiling water and seal.
- Wait at least 15 minutes.
- Heat your food, and just before placing hot food into the jar, dump the boiling water out, replace with hot food. Seal the jar and keep it sealed until ready to eat.
Packing it cold? Simply repeat the process above with ice water in place of the boiling water.
These spinach and tomato frittatas pack a protein punch during a long day of school, but they’re also great for breakfast or a light dinner. I’ll serve them with a vinaigrette on a bed of greens with extra vegetables. To make school lunch packing easy, I often make a double batch and freeze half of them to be defrosted and heated up for school lunches at a later date.
Mini Spinach and Tomato Frittatas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 3 tablespoons oil for greasing
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons flour (all purpose or coconut flour)
- 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cups fresh chopped spinach
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Liberally grease 12 muffin cups.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add in the milk and flour and whisk until smooth.
- Over medium-high heat, melt the butter or coconut oil in a medium pan. Sauté the shallot for 3 minutes, then add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Stir the shallot, spinach, salt and black pepper into the egg mixture.
- Distribute the egg mix between the muffin tins. Place halved cherry tomatoes into the egg mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until tops are starting to turn golden brown around the edges. The eggs will deflate as they cool.
- Serve warm, pack into prewarmed thermal jars, or cool and freeze in an airtight container for later use.
Makes 6 servings.
Photo credit: Shaina Olmanson