Tag Archives: healthy lunch

Children’s Lunch Boxes – a cheap lunch option for the grown-ups as well

There was a pear but we eated it

Sometimes when I’ve been out shopping, I need to have lunch, I don’t want very much, I don’t need sophisticated but I need to stop feeling hungry.

The Wartime Housewife presents The Children’s Lunchbox.

This is not nearly as ghastly as you might think and many shops have caught on to the healthy options thing for children as well.  The children’s lunch box usually allows you to choose five or six items from quite a wide selection so you can be as healthy as you like.

Choices are usually a simple sandwich (often on wholemeal bread), crisps, fruit, cheese, raisins, yoghurt or fromage frais, a drink which is often fruit juice and a small chocolate bar.  The smarter the shop, the smarter the choices; for example John Lewis has a huge range which includes Pomme Bears (hurrah!), yoghurt or chocolate covered raisins and slightly more interesting fruit.

I have sampled the lunch boxes in cafes at supermarkets, department stores and garden centres for the purposes of this article and have found most of them to be of a high standard and very reasonably priced.  A lunch box rarely breaks the £4.00 barrier (and is usually much less) so is excellent value.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, John Lewis was easily the best, using quality ingredients, wholemeal bread with a generous amount of filling, and appealing choices.  ASDA was the worst, insisting on using white bread, cheap sugary drinks and boring fruit.  The rest were pretty good, with independent garden centres nearing the top.

And the best thing is that you always, always get a little packet of crayons and a colouring-in sheet.  How therapeutic.

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Chickens and How to Use Them: Day 2 – Risotto

I was unable to photograph my risotto, so what about THIS Italian dish?!

I was unable to photograph my risotto, so what about THIS Italian dish?!

Obviously there are lots of ways to use a leftover chicken; the simple sandwich, a lovely curry, paella, omelettes and so on, but I’m including this recipe because it’s versatile, adaptable and it’s a useful one for our vegementalist friends, as it is equally lovely without the chicken.  The ingredients I have used are the ideal, but if you have only one type of pepper, then use that or if you haven’t any peppers then cut a carrot into matchsticks (Julienne strips) and use that.  If you aren’t using left over chicken, strips of ham make a nice alternative.  The key is to experiment – see what you have in the cupboard and take a risk!

PEASANT STYLE ITALIAN RISOTTO

Utensils:

1 Large saucepan or casserole dish which can go on the hob
Chopping board

Ingredients:

3tbsp oil
1 medium onion – chopped
½ red pepper – cut into squares – ish
½ green pepper  – cut into squares – ish
½ yellow pepper – cut into squares – ish
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
3 sticks of celery – ¼”/1cm slices
1 small tin of broad beans or 4oz (120g) frozen peas
12oz (360g) risotto rice or ordinary easy cook long grain rice
6 tbsp white wine
2 pints chicken stock (vegetable stock if you’re veggie) *
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (in our case this is the cold chicken)
1oz (30g) butter
3oz (90g) cheddar cheese – grated

Method:

1.       Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat

2.       Add the onion, peppers, celery and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent

3.       Add the rice and cook for 1 minute

4.       Add the wine and cook, stirring until it has all been absorbed

5.       Add the broad beans or peas

6.       Add 3/4 the stock and cook, stirring occasionally until it has all been absorbed.

7.       The keep adding stock, a little at a time until the rice is tender.

8.       When it is at the consistency that you like, take the pan off the heat

9.       Stir in the butter and cheese

10.     Serve on it’s own or with a green salad

This dish can also be eaten cold, so is ideal for a healthy lunch box.

* If you want to use your own stock at this stage, then go ahead.  Otherwise use good quality stock cubes.

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