Five Quick, Easy and Cheap Brown Bag Recipes

Send your kids off to school with a healthy yet inexpensive lunch.

ByABC News via logo
August 31, 2008, 11:36 AM

Sept. 5, 2008 — -- Back-to-school time is here, and "Good Morning America" food editor Sara Moulton has five quick, inexpensive meals that parents can make for their children's lunches. Brown bagging just got a whole lot better! Check out these simple lunchtime meals and check out the "GMA" recipe archive for more breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

For the sauce:

1/2 cup smooth unsalted peanut butter

3/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 scallions (white and light green part), coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Hot pepper sauce, optional

1 pound dried fettuccine

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (from a rotisserie chicken)

1 package, defrosted frozen peas

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Make the sauce: Combine the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, scallions, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, toasted sesame oil and hot sauce to taste in a food processor and purée until smooth.

Add the fettuccine to the pot of water, stir and boil for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Set aside 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid, drain the pasta and combine with the sesame peanut sauce, the reserved cooking liquid, chicken and peas and stir well.Courtesy of Sara Moulton

Hands-on Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Place 4 of the waffles on a work surface. Spread with the mustard (if using).

Top with the ham, Cheddar, and the remaining waffles. Spread the top of each sandwich with 1/2 tablespoon of the butter.

Melt the remaining butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Place the sandwiches in the skillet, buttered-side up. Cook, pressing with the back of a spatula and turning occasionally, until the cheddar melts and the waffles are golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

You can also try with...

Wrap deli turkey around string cheese. Serve with whole-grain pretzels, carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes, fruit and 8 oz 1 percent low fat milk

1 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper

1 large egg combined with 1 tablespoon water and beaten lightly

3 ½ cups cornflakes, crushed or 24 Triscuits ground in a food processor

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into nugget-sized pieces

vegetable oil spray

¼ cup store-bought barbecue sauce or low-fat ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the flour mixture in a shallow bowl, the egg mixture in a second shallow bowl, and the cornflake or Triscuits crumbs in a third bowl. Dip the chicken first in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture and finally in the crumb mixture. Put the coated chicken on a baking sheet coated with vegetable oil spray. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes. Let cool completely, chill and pack for lunch with a small container of bbq or ranch sauce.
Courtesy of Sara Moulton

Makes 12

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup (1/2 cup) muffin tin with oil or line with muffin papers.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl and stir well.

In another bowl combine the milk, eggs and melted butter. Add the mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined well. Stir in the cheddar, corn, broccoli and ham, if using.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin, in scant 1/3 cup amounts. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, remove the muffins and let them cool completely.
Courtesy of Sara Moulton