This Lunch Box recipes post is sponsored by Juicy Juice. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
Hey Friends, it’s back-to-school time again! The actual most-wonderful-time-of-the-year!! So I thought there’s no time like the present to talk about school lunches and more specifically some new lunch box recipes.
As part of my ongoing collaboration with Juicy Juice I’m excited to not only give you two new recipes for your lunch time repertoire, but also introduce three new beverages in their ever-expanding line of better-for-you drinks that all our kids love!
Lunch Box Drinks You Can Feel Good About
Juicy Juice Juicy Waters, Juicy Juice + Protein, and a drink we talked about earlier this summer, Juicy Juice Fruitfuls Organic are three new options for your kids to enjoy throughout the school year. Even better, they all come in super-convenient pouches or boxes that easily fit right inside a lunch box.
- Juicy Juice Juicy Waters is water with a splash of fruit flavor.
- Juicy Juice + Protein is fruit juice with added whey protein for a power punch.
- Juicy Juice Fruitfuls Organic has 45% less sugar than the leading juice. Plus, it’s all organic!
Two New Lunch Box Recipes Your Kids Will Love
For me, lunch box recipes start with dinner. Sure, we pack our fair share of turkey sandwiches but when I really want to get out of the something-between-bread rut, I start thinking about recipes I can make for dinner that turn into really good lunch box treats the next day.
This year especially, I am going to focus on the make-it-once, eat-it-two-times (heck, even three times) routine. My Louisa turned 11 over the summer and so this year it is up to her to pack her own lunch. The upside? One less lunch I have to make. The downside? If there’s nothing for her to pack she will happily take a power bar and some pita chips (not my idea of a healthy lunch).
These Beef and Zucchini Flautas are a family favorite and are great the next day for lunch. My kids happily eat them cold or room temp and take two seconds to throw into the lunch box. Plus, they pair perfectly with the new Juicy Juice beverages for a complete, balanced lunch during the school week.
I’ll admit they are a bit time consuming to make but can be done on a Sunday when you have a bit more time or break it down into a few steps. Here’s some tips:
- Braise the beef one day and roll and fry them the next.
- Braise the beef in a slow cooker while you’re at work. Brown the meat and vegetables on the stove top then add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Braise the beef in a pressure cooker in about half the time. Same instructions as the slow cooker, but under pressure for about 1 hour.
Three reasons to make Avocado Brownies
Nothing says love like a homemade treat in your baby’s lunch box. If that’s not enough, here’s three more reasons you should make these Avocado Brownies with Walnuts:
- Coconut oil and pureed ripe avocado make these brownies super luscious and still dairy-free. They are more cakey than fudgy, so if a cakey brownie is not your thing, then you might want to keep that in mind.
- The espresso powder is completely optional, but makes them extra chocolatey. They don’t taste like coffee whatsoever.
- Good fats + extra vitamins + nut protein make them a brownie you can feel good about.
Beef and Zucchini Flautas
Tender braised beef and fresh shredded garden zucchini make the perfect filling for these crispy flautas.
- Prep Time: 50 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 42 flautas 1x
- Category: main
- Method: frying
- Cuisine: Mexican
2 pounds chuck roast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped (remove seeds if you are sensitive to spice)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
42 corn tortillas
2 cups vegetable oil
Heat oven to 300°F and arrange a rack in the bottom of the stove with plenty of room above it for the covered pot to fit.
Generously season chuck roast on all sides with salt and pepper.
Heat 1/4 cup olive in a large Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering add roast and brown on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove roast to a plate and add onion, tomatillos, garlic, jalapeños, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6-7 minutes. Add broth and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
Return roast to the pan, cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until meat is very tender, about 3 hours. Transfer roast to a plate to cool. Save liquid and vegetables in the pan.
Once roast is cool enough to handle, shred meat into bite-sized pieces. Return to cooking liquid. Add zucchini and cilantro and stir to combine.
Warm tortillas in a dry pan or comal. Transfer to a tortilla warmer or wrap tightly in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
Take one tortilla at a time and place 3 tablespoons of filling on one edge. Roll tortilla tightly around the filling and secure closed with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling making sure to keep tortillas warm as you go.
Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot (test by dipping a tortilla edge into the oil, it should bubble immediately), add flautas, toothpick-side down, a few at a time.
Cook about 2 minutes per side, or until crisp and golden. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking pan. Repeat with remaining flautas. Enjoy immediately, or let cool, cover, and refrigerate. Flautas can be eaten cold, at room temperature, or warmed in a 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes.
Avocado Brownies with Walnuts
These brownies are on the cakey side of the brownie equation, made with ripe avocado and crunchy walnut bits. Dairy-free!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 16 brownies 1x
- Category: sweet
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: Mexican-American
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup ripe avocado, about 1 large avocado
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, but it makes these brownies super chocolatey)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup walnut pieces
Heat oven to 325°F and arrange rack in the middle. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish and line it with enough parchment paper so it hangs about 2-inches over the side. Grease the parchment paper.
Combine chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and well combined. Let cool.
Puree avocado and eggs in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment until smooth. Scrape down sides and add brown sugar, vanilla, flour, espresso powder, salt, and melted chocolate mixture. Puree until well combined and smooth.
Add walnut pieces and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate. Scrape batter into prepared baking dish and smooth top.
Bake until a toothpick inserted on the edge comes out clean, middle will still be a bit soft, about 35-40 minutes.
Let cool, then remove from pan by pulling on the edges of the parchment paper and cut into 16 pieces.
Brownies will keep covered at room temperature for 2-3 days. Or frozen for up to 3 months.