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Back-to-School with Butcher Block

Thursday, August 22, 2019

And, just like that, summer is over and it's back to juggling school drop-offs and pick-ups, ensuring homework gets completed after extracurricular activities, and deciding what to pack the kids for lunch. Yes, it's easy to hand them lunch money; however, for picky eaters, student athletes and those with allergies, packing a lunch is the best bet. But, coming up with creative lunchbox ideas can be almost as exhausting as balancing budgets to make the annual report deadline.

Where did we get the idea that sandwiches for lunch have to be boring? Sandwiches are versatile, amazing things, and only our imagination, or lack thereof, limits us. If sandwiches were blasť, Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio wouldn't have opened NYC's premier sandwich shop — 'Wichcraft. Jazz things up by substituting bread or tortillas for waffles (yes, the frozen kind is fine). It's avocado season so ham, cheese and avocado on waffles would make your kids eager for lunchtime.

If you're into prepping meals for the week on a Sunday, try your hand at making bao aka Chinese buns. The dough is pretty simple and can envelop a myriad of fillings including leftover pulled pork or shredded beef. Add a Jamaican twist by using curry goat or jerk chicken.

Noodles and lunch boxes go together like tacos and guacamole. Wait a minute! Tacos, too, are ideal for lunch boxes. Pack items separately and have the kids assemble their own. But, back to noodles. Whether you use pasta, egg noodles or rice vermicelli, these are all perfect canvases for slices of Sunday roast leftovers — steak, chicken, pork, or leg of lamb. Want to lighten it up? Add a grilled salmon fillet instead of meat.

When you have bits of everything that individually don't quite make a meal or side, opt for a frittata. Mix together veggies, potatoes, chunks of meat, cheese and eggs and cook in a cast-iron skillet until the edges are crisp. Budget-friendly has never tasted so delicious!

For younger children, you may have to disguise healthy items as junk food. Cue: pizza bagels and cheeseburger mini muffins. Butcher Block proudly carries all-natural, hand-crafted, small-batch cured meats from our friend Simon Levy, which are perfect pizza toppers. Want to disguise a salad as a pizza the next day? Make a pepperoni panzanella salad, which is especially great if you have a day-old baguette lying around. Use our top-quality USDA ground beef to make mini cheeseburger muffins that are easy to freeze so that a last-minute lunch is just a short reheat away.

If you're still stuck for lunch box ideas, come see us at Butcher Block. We'll be happy to share some of our recipes with you.

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