Getting into the back-to-school mentality can be a little tricky, especially when it comes to lunch duty. Juggling multiple picky eaters plus your own desire to keep your family eating healthy can be a hefty task. But have no fear: We’ve put together some lunch ideas that will solve all your problems in one! These recipes are quick, easy and subtle enough for any picky palate while still being healthy enough for your own lunch! Your kids may never ask for lunch money again.
Have your kids made a habit out of PB&J? Try a healthy, fun alternative side dish in the form of these Crunch Apple & Almond Butter Rounds. Plus, if your school is peanut-free, you won’t have to worry!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the first week of the Love Your Kitchen Challenge! We were wowed by your wall decor, cookbooks, pantry items and dish soap pics — and can’t wait to see what the second week bring. Remember, you’ll be entered to win $2,500 (yes, you read that right!) every day you upload a picture completing the day’s task to Instagram and tagging your photo with #RRKitchenLoveSweepstakes. Good luck!
Monday, September 15: Buy some blooms
Add color to your kitchen with fresh flowers or potted herbs.
Tuesday, September 16: Get spicy!
Clean out then organize your spick rack or drawer. Bye-bye 10-year-old cumin and mystery spice blend!
Wednesday, September 17: Pantry Staple Wednesday
Take inventory of your pantry and make sure you’re well stocked on staples like grains, pasta and canned goods, then make a meal using one of your staples.
Thursday, September 18: Make some cool moves
Toss mystery and out-of-date items from your fridge and freezer. Then organize the remaining items.
Friday, September 19: Pots & pans in their place?
Tidy up your pots and pans and show us how they look.
Saturday, September 20: Weekend project
Give your kitchen a quick refresh: Upgrade your cabinet hardware, install a new light fixture or swap out your window treatment.
We’re going around the world in Weeknight Meal Planners, and this week’s stop may be the biggest yet: Asia! Show your family that this favorite cuisine can be made at home and will taste just as good as the restaurant (if not better!). All you’re missing is a fortune cookie!
Monday, September 15
Today is National Peanut Day! We love these legumes (yep, they’re not actually a nut!) for their crunch, creaminess and soft flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Not to mention they’re also high in protein and healthy fats — and can basically be used in any form (roasted, raw, whole or chopped!). Obviously these babies have tons of potential. To celebrate their special day, whip up one of these recipes that go way beyond the jar.
A sprinkling of chopped peanuts over these Baked Coconut Chili Lime Wings will enhance the marinated coconut flavor — plus, it’ll add a nice buffer from the spicy chili peppers.
Not ready to let go of summer just yet? We’ve got good news: You don’t have to! Get one last sip of summertime sweetness in a cocktail that’s delicious, fresh and super easy to make. The best part? Strawberries are in season until late summer so they’ll be totally fresh in your festive sip. Whip up these Strawberry Suckers for your friends and family — they’ll thank you for turning back the clock, even if it’s just by a few weeks.
1 ounce vodka
2 ounces strawberry schnapps
1 strawberry, halved
Ice cubes (freebie)
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the vodka and schnapps and top with club soda. Garnish with the strawberry. Serves 1.
More Delicious Four-Ingredient Cocktails
Our first Pantry Staple Wednesday task for the Love Your Kitchen Challenge will set you up for success during the rest of the challenge and beyond! Here’s what you need to do: Toss anything questionable; donate anything you’re not planning to use before it expires; remove products that have been sitting unopened for far too long. These products are taking up space in your pantry that could be otherwise used for the important and useful ingredients, tupperware, wrapping materials and more.
Now, make a recipe using one or more of your staples that are left behind! Here are some tasty ideas we’re dying to make during the challenge:
Use canned chickpeas and canned tuna in our Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad with Tuna.
Want to transform humdrum dinners into mealtime magic? It’s easy! Hit the kitchen armed with these genius tips and simple recipes from our Every Day experts, and your friends and family will wonder if you went to cooking school on your lunch break!
Lesson 6: Whip Up a Killer Pan Sauce
The trick to decking out ho-hum pork chops, chicken breasts or steaks? Deglaze! Translation: Give the meat a good sear and then turn the stuff that’s left in the bottom of the skillet into a two-minute pan sauce that’s amazing drizzled over everything on your plate.
Last night, the kids of Team Rachael and Team Guy took on two cooking challenges that would impress any professional chef. (Including guest judge, G. Garvin!) With Team Guy members Sean and Gibson in the lead with three stars each, the pressure was on for Team Rachael.
This week was all about creativity, and the kids were tested with individual challenges of recreating retro recipes, such as Cheesy Crab Dip, Franks and Beans and Duck a l’Orange. Both teams pushed their creativity to the max! With dishes such as Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Asian Chicken Pot Pie and Duck Lettuce Wraps, they were off to a great (and hunger-inducing!) start.
Photo courtesy of Food Network
The team challenge required the kids to find their inner southern roots by creating a down-home dish using one of four proteins, and explaining it in 30 seconds to the camera. We loved seeing all the kids step up to the plate, and were blown away by the quality of their dishes.
When it came time for judgment, Sean earned another star for his Pork Chop with Chow Chow Sauce on Team Guy, while Lauren earned a star for her Fried Chicken. The winners of the camera challenge were Amber from Team Guy and Finn, for his adorable Southern accent and get-up on Team Rachael. The episode MVP, though, went to Sean, now in the lead with 5 gold stars and a killer confidence boost.
The kids all performed so well, and we’re really starting to see their skills and confidence skyrocket. We can’t wait for next week, with not one but two guest judges, including Robert Irvine! And, as always, GAME ON! #TeamRachael
It’s that time of the year again: when days begin to shorten, schedules begin to fill up and dinnertime needs to happen in a pinch. Whether you’ve just sent the kids back to school or you’re graduating from the last of your summer Fridays, ease your way back into hectic days with five easy weeknight meals.
Monday, September 8th
Ah, football season. The time to bring out the face paint, team cheers, pom poms and, most importantly, delicious tailgating food and drinks! The idea of an on-site tailgate can seem a little overwhelming, but an at-home tailgating party can be simple, delicious and so much better than the actual game. So choose your own adventure: whether you want to cheer for a specific team, showcase the flavors of fall or have an all-out Mexican tailgating fiesta, we’ve got plenty of recipes to keep your fans full.
For a Fall-Flavored Tailgate
Start your guests off with Pumpkin Quesadillas and beer, to get them ready for fall flavors. Then, really win them over with homemade Baked Veggie Chips and Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip. Finally, when the weather’s still pleasant, fire up the grill for Chicken Wings with Jala-Peach Sauce
To Cheer on the Home Team
Fan of the Miami Dolphins? Rep the green and orange with Buffalo Chicken Sliders. Or maybe you like the Kansas City Chiefs? Show your red and white pride through Pizza Sliders. If you like one of the many teams with blue in their jerseys, try our Sticky Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dip or Sweet & Spicy Double-Blueberry Salsa. If you just want to promote good sportsmanship, you can never go wrong with our Pimiento Cheese Football Sandwiches (pictured above).
Throw a Mexican Tailgate Fiesta!
Happy football season!