It’s that time again… back to school. Summer is winding down and stores are instantly flooded with spiral notebooks, #2 pencils, and glue sticks. Getting back into a regular routine is refreshing, but it’s also demanding. If you find your days starting with “What can I pack for lunch?” and ending with “What can I make for dinner?”, you’re not alone. (And, yes, we dread the “what’s for dinner?” question as much as you do.) The good news? G.A.P. has you covered. In a time of rising food costs and compressed time schedules, we’ve put together some ideas that will help you conserve both.
We’re a big fan of cooking a whole protein (like chicken or ham) and finding lots of ways to add it to lunches and dinners the rest of the week. We’ve also come up with a few casserole ideas, slow-cooker go-to’s, and some new muffin pan favorites. We hope you find lots of recipes to save and make over the next few crazy weeks.
Just don’t forget to look for the G.A.P. Animal Welfare Certified label when you shop and #MakeitGAP! Each purchase rewards producers for raising their animals humanely, brands for sourcing these raw materials, and G.A.P. for developing standards that put the animal first. A big thank you for your support!
Get into gear!
Before we dive into some recipes, it’s time to check your equipment. You probably have a lunchbox for you or your kids, but it’s time to get creative about what’s inside. Have you thought about Bento box containers? A new Thermos? Dishes and portion cups with lids? It’s time. We love cooking casseroles and prepping meals in glass casserole dishes with lids – they make storage a cinch.
Who doesn’t love to have their food neatly compartmentalized? We love Bento Box lunchboxes. Here’s a fun full Bento Box lunchbox for teens or adults. And here’s a fun kid version. Already have a lunchbox or lunch bag? Try these fun dishwasher-safe containers to place inside. Need small containers for dips or condiments? Try these inexpensive lidded cups. Make lunchtime more fun with creative ways to pack your Bento.
Meal Prep on Sundays with Whole Proteins
If you decide to cook a whole chicken or pick up a rotisserie chicken from the store, here are some quick recipe ideas for turning the leftover chicken into quick and delicious lunches for the week!
Easy California Chicken Salad – This is a healthy, easy next-day lunch with leftover chicken. Thinly slice 1/3 head of iceberg lettuce. Top with 1/4 cup grated Monterey jack cheese, 1/4 cup halved red grapes and a handful of slivered almonds (optional) with 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken. Top with Easy Lemon Vinaigrette (see below) just before eating. A quick lunch to pack – just keep the dressing separated and remember to pack a fork.
Prep Your Casseroles Ahead
The slow-cooker is your weeknight friend
We can’t get enough of our slow cookers in the fall and winter. Here are a few of our favorite recipes with a few tips for making them stretch. Bon Appetit!
Break out your Muffin Tins!
We hope you have found our tips and recipes helpful as you embark on your back-to-school / end-of-summer adventures. Here’s to a great school year and work year! Thanks for helping us #MakeitGAP when you cook!