As a parent, there are few things more irritating than getting up early and lovingly preparing a healthy lunchbox only to find it returned, untouched, at the end of the day. This has also happened a few times when I prepared lunch for my husband, although he stopped pretty quickly at the threat of the packed lunch stopping too. Unfortunately, that threat didn’t seem to hold much ground with my daughter and she didn’t seem particularly fussed either way.
In my attempts to get her to eat some lunch at school I have discovered a few school friendly lunchbox recipes that are a bit more interesting than your standard sandwich and that my children really seem to enjoy. I have decided to share a couple with you.
Mini-Corn Dog Muffins
I have baked corn muffins before however this recipe is completely different. It is based on the American Corn Dog, which is essentially a sausage on a stick, coated in batter and deep fried. Thankfully, this recipe requires no frying, and is baked in a muffin cup. The recipe is from Six Sister’s Stuff and I converted the amounts into metric units.
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or an additional 1/4 cup melted butter, I used the butter)
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup buttermilk
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 cup cornmeal
• 1 cup all purpose (cake) flour
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 8 to 10 viennas, cut into pieces
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray or line a muffin pan with cooking spray, set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the melted butter, applesauce, and sugar until incorporated. Add in eggs and whisk together. Pour in buttermilk and stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking soda, cornmeal, flour, & salt. In two batches, whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients until fully incorporated. Batter will be lumpy.
4. Place one tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Stick one hot dog bite in the centre of each muffin cup vertically.
5. Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, until muffins are golden brown. Remove muffins from oven and cool in the pan for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each mini muffin and pop them out. Place on a plate and serve with ketchup and mustard for dipping if desired.
6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftovers taste great, just heat them in the microwave for approximately 20 seconds or so.
Cheese and Bovril Pinwheels
While the corn muffins were baking I thought that we would quickly make some cheese and Bovril pinwheels. These are really easy and keep well in an airtight container.
• Roll of ready rolled puff pastry
• Grated cheese
• Bovril or Marmite
• You can use whatever filling you prefer for these. We have made them with pizza toppings before and that also worked really well.
1. Unroll your pastry and place a dollop of Bovril or marmite along the middle.
2. Get your little ones to spread out the spread all over the pastry. My youngest daughter created some holes but I managed to smooth everything out once they were all done.
3. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and roll the pastry back up.
4. Place it in the fridge for half an hour or in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up as this will make it easier to slice.
5. With a sharp knife slice ‘wheels’ from your roll of pastry and place them on a baking tray. Bake according to the pastry’s instructions for about 15-20 minutes.
Hopefully the combination of corn muffins and pastry pinwheels will mean that empty lunch boxes come back home!