Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lunch Box Ideas (The Clever Packed Lunch) by Hazel Key

Chicken and Sesame Toasties - Courtesy Hazel Key.

Lunch times are always the hardest for parents when school is in session. Make something good for them that they'll actually eat - that is the dilemma most parents, myself included, face. The recipe and menu book by Hazel Key, Lunch Box Ideas, or The Clever Packed Lunch, has a wealth of recipes, healthy eating tips, and menu ideas for creating lunches that make you feel good when making them, and lunches the kids will eat.

Key's approach to healthy eating is a sound one and consists of four main ideas: control portion size; eat as wide variety of foods as possible; maintain balance; and adopt positive nutrition. I loved the last one, and it is one we practice at home as well - focus on the things that are good for you rather constantly saying no to the things that aren't. Just the simple tasks of filling the pantry and snack bins at home with healthy foods and limiting processed foods makes it easy to say yes to the kids during snack time.

And she makes it simple for planning with all her planning tools. If you are wondering how the recipes will look when finished, she provides full color photographs for the different menu items. While easy to put together, the varied recipes hover around unusual and gourmet: Olive Oil, Tahini and Pistachio Nut Muffins; Beetroot and Walnut Dip; Mixed Bean Salad with Avocado Dressing; and Piroshki Buns (with a beef filling) are just some of her creations. One recipe favorite I'm sharing below, courtesy the author.

I really liked this book. As a parent, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make life a little healthier for the kids. If it's easy, then it's like icing on the cake. This little cookbook presents kid-friendly healthy food items in a colorful way - and in a format that makes busy moms like myself happy.

This recipe is from the book.

Chicken and Sesame Toasties
This recipe makes up to 18 servings.


  • 500g (1 lb. 2 oz.) lean minced chicken, not previously frozen
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh leaf coriander)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 large loaf sliced multi-grain wholemeal bread
  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds

  1. Combine the chicken with the next 4 ingredients listed.
  2. Divide the mix between the slices of bread and spread to the edges.
  3. Spread sesame seeds on a plate or other flat surface and press the bread, chicken side down, into the seeds to coat the chicken.
  4. Freeze them in their own, separate, sealed container in layers with non-stick baking paper between the layers (raw meat must not be stored in the same container as cooked foods).
  5. Remove from the freezer 30-60 minutes before cooking.
  6. For cooking there are two options:• Toasting (preferred): Place the toasts, chicken side down in a lightly oiled pre-heated sandwich toaster (or under a medium grill) until the chicken is cooked through andbrowned a little. Frying: Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat until hot. Shallow fry, chicken side down first, until golden, before lightly frying the other side. Drain on absorbent paper.

Book Information:

Recipe and photo was courtesy and reprinted with permission by the author, Hazel Key.

Disclosure: I reviewed The Clever Packed Lunch epub version, which was provided by the author. The kindle version on Amazon is Lunch Box Ideas. Any opinions are my own.

Edited to include both versions of this book.

Renee Shelton
The Cookbook Papers


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