The end of summer brings the start of another school year. Parents can keep kids excited about school instead of sad about the end of summer by making their bagged lunches anything but boring. While packed school lunches need to be healthy and satisfying, a little creativity can ensure kids will not only eat them but that they will actually look forward to them every day! Here are some of our favorite tips and ideas for healthy, kid-friendly lunches that will never get traded.
Think outside the bread.¬†There’s nothing wrong with the occasional PB&J, but sandwiches every single day can quickly become boring. Mix it up a bit with some¬†healthy alternatives¬†like¬†veggie-loaded pita pizzas¬†and thermoses full of¬†hearty, homemade soups¬†once the weather turns cooler. If your child enjoys a sandwich but you want to keep it interesting,¬†use cookie cutters¬†to press out fun shapes. You can also do this with fruits and cheeses.
Source: Glory’s Mischief
Remember that kids love dips, so pack a small container of ranch dressing for the veggies or a yummy sauce for the chicken cubes and slices of summer sausage. Apple slices taste even better dipped in caramel. You can also make a¬†lunch kabob¬†out of sandwich fixings like pickle chips, cherry tomatoes, meats and cheeses.
Get their input. Build lunches around your child‚Äôs favorite foods, as long as you can still achieve a healthy balance.¬†Give them the opportunity to¬†help you pack their lunch¬†so they can choose tasty foods they’ll look forward to eating. Surprise them with an¬†occasional treat¬†like a couple of homemade chocolate chip cookies tucked behind celery sticks and carrots. You can even include a little note with something that will make them giggle or with a few words of encouragement if it’s test day.¬†Just make sure it‚Äôs not too embarrassing, of course.
Just like you,¬†Hickory Farms¬†is committed to providing families with healthy and delicious foods for the table and the lunchbox. Order from our selection of meats, cheese, fruits and nuts online year-round. And for those really hectic mornings, you can always pack your kids a¬†Hickory Farms GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meal. Kids love them, and parents love knowing they are getting a well-balanced meal.
An organized kitchen and a well-stocked pantry are essential for a smooth start to the school year. There will be lunches to fix, quick breakfasts to eat before school and then easy dinners to whip up before after school programs and sports. Here’s how you can prepare you kitchen and pantry to start the busy school year off right.
First, clear out your fridge and pantry. Go through your¬†refrigerator and freezer¬†and purge them of all questionable items and give the appliances a thorough cleaning. Make sure that you are using space efficiently. Try to keep items in designated areas in your refrigerator and pantry. If necessary, arrange movable shelves to ensure taller and bulkier items like bottles of wine and gallons of milk are in an ideal spot. Separate large packages of meat into individual units and wrap them in foil so they don’t get freezer burn. Date and label all packages so you can easily find what you need and know when it’s time to cook or toss.
Once you have a clean slate, you can focus on how to maximize your storage so you can stock up on all you need to cook up quick, delicious and nutritious meals.¬†Store like items and like containers together — cans on one shelf, boxed items like pasta and crackers on another. Beans, rice, and other dried goods can go in glass canisters.
Create extra storage space for¬†potatoes, onions and garlic¬†by hanging up a three-tiered wire basket in or near the pantry.¬†These baskets can also store smaller items like spices, boxes of plastic sandwich bags, cupcake wrappers, cookie cutters and other kitchen supplies.
If you still need more storage, use shelves in basements or utility rooms or even plastic bins stacked in closets. Remember to always rotate your stock with newer items in the front to make sure everything gets used before its expiration date.
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Keeping your kitchen organized¬†saves you stress during the hectic school week as well as time that can be better spent with your family. Let¬†Hickory Farms¬†help you by stocking up on these¬†pantry essentials.
Even the world’s most famous chefs cut corners in the kitchen. Today, we’re going to share some of the tricks that top chefs hide under their toques in order to save time and trouble in the kitchen without¬†sacrificing flavor or quality. These six top chef shortcuts can help you go from an amateur to an at-home chef and entertainer extraordinaire.
- Breadcrumbs¬†make a great substitute for flour when you need to thicken a sauce. Allow them to simmer for several minutes to release their starch, and remember to strain the sauce before serving. Your sauce will be thick and flavorful with no floury taste.
- Use a pair of¬†kitchen shears¬†to cut meat¬†swiftly with no mess. They make it easier to get the exact sized pieces you want while keeping your hands clean. Kitchen shears are also a quick and easy way to¬†mince garden herbs¬†for your favorite recipes.
- Instead of starting from scratch, use a ready-made sauce or condiment to quickly add a zip to sauces, marinades and dishes to cut down on prep time.
- Fresh cheese is a must for authentic Italian and other dishes, but soft cheeses can be difficult to grate quickly and easily. One trick is to freeze the cheese¬†for 20 minutes to make grating a breeze.
- Waiting for butter to soften adds precious minutes to a busy cook’s tight schedule. Hasten the process by¬†grating the butter¬†in a bowl. The small pieces soften much faster.
- Homemade stock¬†is the lifeblood of many great recipes, but is time consuming to prepare. Having pre-measured amounts on hand can save tons of time and energy. The next time you make a pot of stock, fill a muffin tin with the liquid after it cools and throw it in the freezer. Once frozen, pop the individual helpings out and store them in labeled and dated freezer bags.
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It’s no secret that¬†Hickory Farms¬†is a great gourmet shortcut with fresh fruits and nuts, award-winning sausage and cheese, and pantry essentials like Chipotle Ranch Sauce, Horseradish Sauce and Sweet Hot Mustard. Visit our website to place your order and stock your kitchen like a top chef!