Lunchbox Luxe

The thing I found most daunting about my girl's start to big school was the loss of an in-house chef. For three years I didn't need to worry too much about nutrition because of the insanely diverse and well planned nutritious menus that were supplied by her day-care/ preschool.

Then all of a sudden, IT'S UP TO ME!

Me who is so severely culinarily challenged, me with my phobia of food preparation and loathing of sandwich cutting. I have to come up with something nutritious and tasty EV-ER-Y- DAY.
Huston we have a problem.

Then I met Donna Hay, or her Sweet Potato and Pea Fritters at least, at a kids party. OK, I loved them but Lucie didn't (too much herby green stuff). But it gave me an idea for.....

Lazy Bones' Cheese & Veggie Pikelets 

In about 20 minutes you can turn this lot ...Into more than a week's worth of these : AND you can load them up into the freezer to take out the night before you need them.

So take a Shake & Bake plain pancake mix and follow the instructions on the pack (basically add water).
I tip this all into a mixing jug and give it a good beat with my Bamix to make sure there are no lumps.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush with olive oil or butter. While the pan is warming throw in 3/4 cup of grated cheese, one sachet of pre-cooked mixed diced vegetables, and mix it all well.

I use a table spoon to spoon out the mixture onto the pan, this makes a good lunchbox friendly size.

Cook, for 2-3min  until the batter looks set and bubbly, then flip over and cook until the underside is golden brown

Lay the cooked ones onto a cooling tray and continue making the rest, brushing the pan with oil/ butter between batches.

Because these pancake mixes are slightly sweet, the sweet veggies and salty cheese make them very tasty indeed.

This amount of mixture should make around 22 pikelets, which have proven VERY popular for lunch or afternoon tea, I've even had a request for them for dinner. Actually it was more of a ferocious tantrum than a request, but that just proves my point - This has been a five-star lunchbox success!


Ok here's one for afternoon tea/ morning snack-time and its sooooooooooo tasty. 

Again using one of the instant pancake mixes, finely chop up an apple and add into the mix with just a teeny tiny extra amount of plain flour (say 1/3 cup) to compensate for the extra liquid. Hit it with the Bamix/ blender until the apple is really finely chopped through the mixture.

Finely slice a banana and put that to one side.

Make smaller pikelets (using a desert or soup spoon) and as you spoon the mixture onto the pan, while it's still quite wet, top each one with a slice of  banana. These will sink into the mixture and cook as well.

Be sure the pan is still well oiled/buttered and flip them as usual.

Finish off on the cooling tray.

These can also be frozen - I pack them in threes and transfer them as I need them to the snack box kept in the fridge the night before. You can add a side of dried apricots or sultanas. Very healthy very fruity. :0)

The Original:
Donna Hay Sweet Potato and Pea Fritters

Place 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour, 3 eggs, 1.5 cups (375ml) buttermilk, sea salt, cracked pepper in a bowl and stir to combine. Add 2 cups (240g) thawed frozen peas, 2 cups (260g) grated sweet potato, 1/3 cup chopped mint leaves and 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves and mix to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and brush with olive oil. Cook 1/4 cup of mixture, in batches, for 2-3min each side or until golden and cooked through, brushing the pan with oil between batches. Serve with a crushed pea and mint salad. Serves 4.

Super Cheesy Frittatas

Here's another recent idea I came up with that has worked out really well and will be added to the lunchbox as soon as she stops demanding the pikelets.
I previously  used muffin pans to bake Frittatas for Lucie’s lunch box.  Now I've discovered that my humble egg poacher is the exact right size to make four mini frittatas using my 'Fast Food Favorites'  Super Cheesy Corn Omelette mix.
So when your pan water is boiling pour your mixture into the little poacher dishes cover and cook for about 10 minutes – check with a wooden skewer from time to time to see if the mixture is set in the middle.
Transfer these onto an oven tray, sprinkle the tops with some grated tasty cheese and pop them under the grill long enough for the cheese to melt.

They’ll rise like little souffl├ęs but don’t get too excited; when you flip them onto a cooling rack they’ll flatten out again. But they will fit nicely into a lunch box and they will taste great!  (Especially if you had an extra teaspoon of dry grated parmesan cheese to the mix.) I’m a cheese-aholic what can I say?.

If you’re feeling experimental and you have a muffin pan you can use the same mixture, in the oven to make bigger frittatas:  Layer the ham and mushrooms, and try a layer of cooked pasta at the bottom of the other layers before you pour over the Super cheesy corn mixture. Cook until golden brown.