Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekly Lunchbox- Pumpkin Spice Choco-chip Cupcake Minis, Roasted Chicken-Artichoke Calzones, and Mini Egg Tarts

This week's lunch box is looking a little bit sparse, but we have had alot of leftovers that are making their way into lunch, so there wasn't as much room for all the new recipes I wanted to make.

The first thing is this simple little mini-cupcake. I read in Parents magazine a few years ago about a mom who mixed a chocolate cake mix with a can of pumpkin and made "healthy" cupcakes for her kids. I don't use cake mixes very often, mainly because I love the actual making of the cake, but this was a super quick cupcake that I came up with based on that same idea. I used a spice cake mix, because it already has all the flavor in it and added a can of pumpkin, an egg, and some milk. Mix in some chocolate chips and you have a pretty easy, fairly healthy snack that packs well in the lunchbox. Now mind you, I made these after school one day and had to hide some so that there would be a few left for lunch the next day.

The calzone is a Cooking Light recipe that I have made a bunch of times and it is always a hit. It reheats easily and tastes great the next day. If you are in a pinch, you can use marinated artichoke hearts instead, just drain them really, really well and omit the salt, pepper, and garlic.

The mini egg tarts came about because I had an extra pie crust in my fridge and wanted to do an easy egg dish. I made some without any crusts and adjusted the filling according to who was eating which ones. Super easy. We had some for breakfast and the rest went into lunches.

This week's lunchbox also had some awesome sliders that were leftover from dinner, but I am posting those couple of recipes separately. Get your creativity going and make a fun lunch!

Pumpkin Spice Choco-chip Cupcake Minis by Mary Ann
Makes 60 mini-cupcakes
1 spice cake mix
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup milk (I used half whole and half skim)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips, in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. You don't want to have any gobs of dry cake mix in there. Add chocolate chips and stir just to mix in. Bake in mini-muffin tin filled with liners that are sprayed with cooking spray or in a silicone mini-muffin tin that is sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick (done when it comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove from pan to cool on wire rack.
These could also be made into a normal size cupcake, just increase the cooking time accordingly.

Roasted Chicken-Artichoke Calzones from Cooking Light
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups thinly sliced fresh spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast (about 5 ounces)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons cornmeal
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
Marinara sauce, for dipping

Preheat oven to 425°.
Pat artichokes dry with paper towels. Combine artichokes, salt, pepper, and garlic in a large bowl. Add spinach, cheese, and chicken; toss gently to combine.
Brush oil over a baking sheet; sprinkle with cornmeal. Unroll dough onto prepared baking sheet; cut into 6 equal portions. Cover and let rest 5 minutes. Pat each portion into a 6 x 5-inch rectangle. Spoon 2/3 cup spinach mixture into center of each dough portion. Fold one corner of each dough portion over spinach mixture to form a triangle. Press edges together with fingers to seal. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes or until golden.

Mini Egg Tarts by Mary Ann
1 refrigerated pie crust
5 large eggs
3 egg whites
dash of cream
1/4 cup skim milk
provolone or other cheese, shredded
cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
spinach, chopped
tomato, sliced
salt and pepper
fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut as many 2-3 inch circle as you can out of the pie crust (I got 10, by re-rolling the scraps and cutting out more). Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Fit a circle in each cup of the muffin tin.
Whisk together eggs, egg whites, cream, and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese.
Fill each crust with egg mixture, filling just to crust line. Top with sliced tomato, crumbled bacon, spinach, or thyme. You can also make these without a crust. Just mix up the egg mixture and pour it into a muffin tin coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is golden, egg is puffed and cooked through. Remove immediately to wire rack and let cool for a few minutes.


Lisa said...

Love all these recipes! My daughter made the same cupcakes in her preschool class. They are great.

Deborah said...

Everything looks so good!! I wouldn't be able to decide which one is the best.

Alexa said...

What a perfect set of recipes for my kids' lunches. I don't think Mr. Picky will go for the artichokes in the calzone but I'll substitute. Your blog is a great resource for busy moms. Thanks Mary Ann!

Prudy said...

I've made the calzones-they are amazing. I'm dying for those egg tarts and a healthy little pumpkin cupcake.