Friday, April 5, 2013

Lunch Made Easy: Leftovers - Cook Once, Eat Twice!

"Cook Once, Eat Twice!" 
I learned this philosophy from MOMables and it makes packing lunches so much easier for my family.

As it worked out this week, Little Miss was on Spring Break from school but that doesn't mean we don't still pack lunches! Anywhere she goes because of her dietary needs - to my folks, the babysitter, or a friend's house - we pack it

I was able to turn all our dinner leftovers into deliciously fun lunches this week! 

Let's break this down:

All those yummy Easter leftovers made for an easy lunch on Monday! She has ham dices, corn, Udi's gluten, dairy, soy, & nut free Baguette slices, apples, and a deviled egg - topped with bacon... because bacon makes everything better! hehe ;)

Pizza leftovers are always the best! We had made pizza on our Kinnikinnick brand gluten, dairy, and nut free pizza crust. She had three leftover slices which fit perfectly in her EasyLunchboxes container! Along with pears, carrots, and radishes. 

One of our favorite and easy dinners I love throwing in the slowcooker in the morning is our Crockpot Zesty Italian BBQ Chicken recipe. I keep it gluten free now by using my own blend of Italian seasonings and spices. 

If it were me, I'd have mixed my veggies right into the rice but Little Miss likes them separate so that's how I packed them. :) 

She also has apple slices and a MOMables gluten & dairy free Chocolate Beet Cupcake for dessert. 

Pasta is always an easy dinner dish. I purposely cook a bit of extra noodles to use how I see fit for lunches later on! Here she has her Sam Mills brand gluten, egg, dairy, soy, GMO free pasta topped with a tomato sauce and Italian sausage. 
She also has a side salad, pears, and half a banana. Dip the cut end of the banana in a little lemon juice to keep it from browning. 

Lastly, a fun favorite that's great for dinners, lunch, snacks, and freezer friendly! Gluten Free Mini Corndog Muffins!
Corndog... Corn Dog... I've seen it spelled continually both ways. lol

There have been many versions of corn dog muffins on Pinterest but the first place I discovered them was from my friend Shannon of Since we can't eat the jiffy version, we made an allergy friendly version instead! They only took 15 minutes! That includes prep & bake time. 

This is also a great idea as summer rolls around and you start grilling! Use up any leftover hot dogs this way. 

Add a sweet Lunchbox Love Note to any lunch!

  • 1 Cup of Gluten Free Cornbread Mix (or your preferred homemade blend, I like the mix because it already has the amount of starch, baking soda, powder and xantham gum I need)
  • 1 flax egg (1 TB of ground flax + 3 TB of warm water, mix and set aside until gel-like)
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of milk or non-dairy sub
  • 6 hot dogs - turkey, tofu, or nitrate free, your choice!
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-muffin tin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix flax egg (as indicated in ingredients above) and set aside.
  3. Slice turkey, tofu, or nitrate free hot dogs of choice to depth of pan: You should get 4-5 slices per dog.
  4. Mix corn bread batter in a large bowl: Cornbread mix, flax egg, applesauce, and milk.
  5. Pour batter into muffin tin, filling each cavity about half full. 
  6. Press a hot dog slice to the center of each. 
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 
Recipe yields 24 mini muffins.
Freeze leftovers or pack them for lunch!

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are my own and based upon our experiences and liking. Read our full Disclosure Statement here Bento Products



  1. I am new to this and had a few questions. When you send food to daycare that is typically eaten hot does your daughter just eat it cold or how do they warm it up considereing there are so many different things in the lunchbox.

    1. Good question! Some items she actually likes cold or at room temperature - like the pizza or ham & corn.
      At school, they eat in their classrooms and they have a microwave she can use. That's why I like to pack items she might warm in a silicone container she can easily put into the microwave for 30-40 seconds to give it a "warm up". Her babysitter is also great and will heat items up for her, if she likes. Hope that helps!

    2. My husband and I invested in a lunch thermos container since public school will NOT heat up my son's food for him.

  2. They all look so tasty! I just love leftovers for lunch! :D

  3. Just another microwave question: do you ever worry about cross contact or does she keep the lid secure and there is a vent?

    My kids won't go near microwaves for fear of lingering proteins from other foods. I never looked too deeply into, but I can see their point.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

    1. Excellent question! It would depend on the circumstances - Thankfully, since they eat in their classroom the microwave is in their classroom for their use. It's a nut free class so I do not worry about CC in it. Since her gluten is an intolerance and not Celiac, the possible CC hasn't been an issue in the regard.

      Here's a great way, however, to keep a thermos heated so it doesn't need microwaved. We do this for soups, but would also be great for any warm foods:

  4. What a small world. I was doing searches for gluten free lunches and found this post. I'm friends with Shannon IRL ;) Did you use the Flax egg because your DD is allergic to eggs? We're having to remove gluten from her diet, but we don't have an egg issue.

    1. Too funny, Chrystyna! I know her well! :)

      You can certainly use a large egg in lieu of a flax egg if it's not an issue for your family. Enjoy!!

  5. I seriously love ALL of your leftover lunches and have been inspiring me to start packing for myself and someday for my picky eater!

  6. What a great post on leftovers for lunch! They all look delicious. Thanks for linking up to Leftovers on Fridays

  7. I found the site from your post on the Kinnikinnick facebook page and love all of the creative things you are doing for lunchtime! I have an all gluten free/dairy free store called the Bite Market in Orange, California and customers are always asking for lunch ideas for their school age children!

  8. I am new to your site but love all the creative ideas (even though we have no gluten allergies at home, it is a healthy way of cooking. My question: when you pack everything so nice, doesn't all the food get mixed up when the lunch bag (or whole backpack) gets tossed on the seat/floor? I can just see all this lovely composition in one ugly mess!

    1. Great question! To say that never happens would be a lie... but for the most part, they hold up quite well! We use a lunch cooler that hold hers EasyLunchboxes bento box flat (so it's never upsidown or sideways). She's typically very good about not throwing her bag around, as well, because she loves seeing her lunch creations and showing it to her friends. I would have to say, a good lunch cooler though that holds them flat is really what makes the difference. Thanks!

  9. Regarding Jiffy...

    It looks like as of 2008 they are safe for peanut and tree nut allergy.

    I want to try these for my daughter's school lunches. She has PA and TN. Thanks for the idea!


Let me know your thoughts!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...