Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Weekly Lunchbox- Popcorn Squares, Stuffed Pitas with Tuna, Egg and Corn, Italian Lentil and Bulgur Salad, and Simple Chicken Parm Sandwiches

This week's lunchbox is super yummy! The Popcorn Squares were in Family Fun magazine and I decided to rework a granola recipe I made a few weeks ago so that we could have some homemade granola but also so I could use some in this recipe. It was a favorite. The Stuffed Pita is from a really cute Annabel Karmel cookbook called Lunch Boxes and Snacks. It has some of the best lunch ideas that I have seen. I doubled this recipe because it looked great and the rest of us were able to enjoy it too.

The Lentil Bulgur Salad is yummy and unexpected, because it has Italian Seasoning, I added some cooked chicken to the leftover and it made a great snack/lunch.

And last, the Simple Chicken Parm Sandwich. I doubled Prudy's Great Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns recipe and made them into minis, so I had great buns for sandwiches. I also had some leftover chicken, marinara and provolone, so I threw them all together. Delish!

Stuffed Pitas with Tuna, Egg and Corn adapted from Annabel Karmel's Lunchboxes and Snacks
2 eggs
1 6-oz can tuna, drained
1/2 cup corn
2 Tbls fat-free mayo
1 tsp white wine vinegar
4 scallions, chopped
salt and pepper
few drops of Tabasco sauce ( I used 3 drops)
alfalfa sprouts
2 whole wheat pitas

Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, 7-8 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water. Peel the eggs when cold.
Meanwhile, flake the tuna with a fork and mix with the corn, mayo, vinegar, scallions, salt, pepper, and Tabasco. Roughly chop the hard-boiled eggs and add the the tuna mix with the sprouts., stirring well.
Cut the pita breads in half to make four pita pockets and divide the mixture among them.

Italian Lentil-Bulgur Salad by Mary Ann
1 cup bulgur
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
2 Tbls olive oil
1/2 English cucumber, halved and sliced
1 1/2 cup fresh green beans, blanched
1 1/2 cups brown lentils, cooked
2 Tbls fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbls. Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
2 small tomatoes, chopped

Boil 2 cups of water and pour over the bulgur, that is in a large bowl. Cover and let bulgur absorb water. When water is absorbed fluff bulgur with a fork. Add lemon juice and olive oil. Stir well. Add cucumber, green beans, lentils, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt and pepepr. Mix well and adjust seasoning to taste. Add tomatoes and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate.

Popcorn Squares from Family Fun Magazine
1/2 cup honey
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup homemade granola*
1 cup roasted and salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3 cups plain popped popcorn
Step 1 Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil. Heat the honey in a large saucepan until it boils, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and stir until mixture is well blended.
Step 2 Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the granola, the peanuts, and the popcorn until everything is coated.
Step 3 Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Refrigerate the pan until the mixture is cool, about 30 minutes. (I refrigerated them over night and cut them in the morning).
Step 4 Cut the mixture into small squares . The treats will be a bit crumbly, so you may want to serve them in paper candy cups.

* Homemade Maple Peach Granola by Mary Ann
5 cups oats
heaping 1/3 cup wheat germ
heaping 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
1 1/4 cup macadamia, walnut, and pecan pieces
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup peach nectar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 T canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup raisins, or other dried fruit

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well mixed. Spread on a large jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, or longer, until dry. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Simple Chicken Parm Sandwiches by Mary Ann
whole wheat mini buns (Thank you Prudy)
cooked chicken
marinara sauce
Provolove cheese slices

Spread marinara on both sides of the bun. Fill with shredded chicken, top with cheese. Pop in the microwave until cheese is melted and sammy is warm!


Cathy said...

Wow, this all looks fantastic as usual, Mary Ann! I am going to make those buns this weekend, if not sooner. Do you use SAF yeast like Prudy does? I can't seem to find it around here. Just Fleishmann's, which does me wrong sometimes. I'm going to give it a whirl anyway! The chicken parm sandwiches look delicious. I want that lentil and bulgur salad in MY lunchbox! And my kids will just adore those popcorn squares!

Maria said...

Once again I wished I had a lunchbox filled with your great recipes! Everything looks great, especially the popcorn squares.

Mary Ann said...

I totally use Fleishmann's yeast which I keep in the freezer and it works perfectly. I really think you will be amazed at how easy those buns truly are. I was totally downing the lentil leftovers and the kids will LOVE the popcorn squares! Thanks for stopping by.

Maria- I would pack your lunch if I could, it is really fun. The popcorn squares were a hit, the perfect anytime snack really!

Amy said...

Yum!! Everything looks SO fun and delicious!!

Mary Ann said...

Amy, Thanks. I am finding that making a little effort for lunch is making a big difference!

Bridgett said...

I definitely want this packed in my lunchbox! The chicken parm sandwich definitely had my attention. Everything looks wonderful.

Aggie said...

Another awesome post! I love those popcorn squares! They look so yummy. And I have been eyeing those whole wheat rolls...that sandwich looks DELISH!

Mary Ann said...

The chicken parm sandwich was so easy and tasty- You bet I made one for me too!

Those rolls are the best. seriously. They taste great with everything and have become a staple at our house.

The Blonde Duck said...

I love all of it. I'm in awe. You should have your own cookbook.

Mary Ann said...

Blonde Duck,
You are too kind!

Kirsten said...

I want one of those Popcorn Squares right now. I will definitely have to try them!

Prudy said...

You made the popcorn squares! They look so good. I love your whole lunch and I really want that bulgur salad. I've got to stop at the health food store, that's it. I want red lentils for your soup and bulgur for your salad. I'm so glad you love my buns-now doesn't that sound funny?:)

Deborah said...

Do you want to come and make my lunch for me?! :) It all looks so good. I've been wanting to make my own buns, and these look fantastic!

Mary Ann said...

the popcorn squares are so easy and you won't be sorry!

It does sound funny, but I do love your buns! And I am going to be making some red lentil burgers soon, so plan that on your health store trip!

I would love to pack your lunch, it is really quite fun!

Alexa said...

My kids would love the popcorn squares. Another one to bookmark. You are keeping me busy!