Several of you have asked about lunch alternatives for kids who don’t like sandwiches. While there really are lots of options, I thought I’d focus on just one of the more fun options today: muffins. It’s amazing what people will do with muffins these days. They can range from macaroni and cheese baked into a muffin shape, to your more standard fruity breakfast muffin re-designed (or not). Muffins are great as they can be made in bulk, frozen and pulled out as necessary. Depending on your child, you can make mini or standard muffins. Most of these muffins stay nice and moist and transport well. I prefer not to bake my muffins in liners, I just spray my pans with a non-stick spray and they pop out pretty easily.
Another great thing about muffins is that they are a pretty condensed form of protein. Several of the links below have meat, cheese and eggs added directly into them. Another option is to use plain greek yogurt as your moisture base. The easiest swap is when a recipe calls for sour cream or yogurt already, but I have swapped out butter and oil for plain or vanilla greek yogurt fairly successfully too. You’ll notice that I keep saying GREEK yogurt – this is on purpose as greek yogurt is much higher in protein than your standard yogurt.
Starting with a couple of breakfast muffins that my kids like for lunch and snacks too:
Zucchini Pie Muffins
*I can’t remember where this recipe came from, but it’s so modified, it’s basically my own.
3 c zucchini, shredded
1 carrot, grated
1/2 c corn
3/4 c shredded cheese of your choice (we used a mexican blend)
1/2 c low fat sour cream or plain greek yogurt
2 T olive oil
1 package breakfast sausage, browned and cut into bite size pieces
1 c bisquick mix
italian seasoning to taste
garlic to taste
Mix all of the ingredients together, adding bisquick last. Spoon mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.
Basically tastes like a super moist muffin. My kids hate zucchini but could not detect the taste at all. Same with the carrot, though they’ll eat those without issue.
I posted about these before, but this is a great example of a yummy muffin that is absolutely packed with healthy goodness! Go check them out.
I made these last week but the bread portion got mixed reviews from my kids. Since they liked the egg filling so much, I am hoping to revamp these a bit. Am thinking something like a refrigerator biscuit would be good, though I’d like to find a healthy version of that.
Moving on to less breakfasty muffins….
My husband wasn’t home for dinner tonight, so it was the perfect night to try these out. And oh my goodness, were they beyond good. My kids devoured them, and I thought they were most excellent too. The only complaint was that they were a bit spicy, but pepperoni can do that. I’m hoping to make a plain cheese batch tomorrow to see how those go over. My kids liked dipping them into pizza sauce, though I preferred them without. These will definitely be making their way into lunch boxes this fall.
Something I am hoping to try this fall is baking different foods into corn muffins. The concept is similar for each – add a bit of (wet) corn muffin mix to your tin, spoon in your choice of filling and bake. Some of the fillings I’d like to try include taco filling, chili and cheese, and hot dog slices (ala, corn dog muffins).
I have a good corn muffin base that my kids like, so I’ll get back to you on this one!
Traditional Kid Fare Repackaged
And finally, two other options that seem intriguing to me are macaroni and cheese baked into a muffin cup and PB&J muffins. I have a good mac and cheese recipe that I’d like to see how it converts, though you could also try using good old boxed mac and cheese too.
And is someone willing to try this out and review it for me? We don’t do PB&J in my household, but this concept seems perfect for those who do.