Bagel chips are a no-brainer for accompanying a thermos or food jar full of lunch soup. Easy, but still special. Of course, if you want to look like a real freaking Martha Stewart (minus the oversized dress shirts and prison record … I mean, hopefully, right?), you can dehydrate up a batch of these next time you’re having friends over for a Superbowl party or drinks. They make amazing and versatile nibbles, they’re more interesting than just picking up chips, and you’ll have spent all of eight minutes putting them together.
Now, I realized after I’d sent you all the shopping list for Round 4, that I failed to mention that the bagels work much better for this recipe if they’re not the pre-sliced kind. My apologies to anyone who already went out and got them – they’ll still work, but some of your chips will be quite small!
This is another one of those recipes that I absolutely adore because it’s so incredibly versatile, it demands such a very small time commitment (active time is under 10 minutes). Plus, my favorite feature: once you set it up, the damn things makes itself. You can walk away from it, and come back in a couple of hours to perfect bagel chips, without ever having had to turn on your oven.
So, pick your favorite combination from below, or use some of your favorite herbs, or flavored bagels, or just stroll through the grocery snack aisle for inspiration, and do your own! And if you have the Nesco dehydrator I have, don’t forget that you can get extra trays so you can do all of your bagel chips at once – totally getting another three trays for my birthday next month, by the way!
- 4 whole wheat bagels (or plain bagels - just make sure they're not pre-sliced)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar + 2 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 2 Tb melted butter + 1 Tb brown sugar + 1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tb olive oil + 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Slice bagels into coins or slabs, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Arrange onto dehydrator trays.
- Brush the liquid part of your flavorings (vinegar, butter, oil, etc) lightly onto surface of bagel slices (I use this brush), and sprinkle dry ingredients over top.
- Set dehydrator to go at 155 degrees for 2 hrs.
- Smile a lot as you go about the rest of your lunch prepping, because it smells like you just baked that all by your own bad self.
- Store in an airtight container.
- Yield: 5 dehydrator trays of bagel chips
- The-Best-Freeze-Ahead-Soup-Known-To-Man. No, seriously.
*This soup is perfection as is, but absolutely withstands omissions and substitutions. Whether it’s a vegan thing, a dairy- or gluten-allergy thing, or a “kid hates anything remotely green” thing, I promise you this soup will see your modifications and raise you an OM
- BONUS How-To: Chicken Stock/Vegetable Stock to use in your soup, that will just make you feel sorry for all those suckers eating out of a can – EXTRA BONUS: we’ll do this stove-top, but Ill tell you how to do it with your Instant Pot as well, which is just a whole other level of awesomeness.
- Mini Mac-and-Cheese Muffin Bites.
- Pumpkin Spice Waffles
- Ridiculously-Easy-And-Totally-Worth-It (yes, it’s a theme) Bagel Chips (three ways, people!)
- Chewy Dried Pears
Here’s the list of equipment you’ll need, and a list of equipment that makes life easier.
- Large Stockpot. No need to try to stir slowly to not slosh out of a 10 quart stockpot. Go for this 16 quart stockpot. It’s about $25, and will make your soups and broths far easier.
- Measuring Funnel Pitcher – 3.5 cup
- Muffin tins, for your individual servings of mac and cheese. You will be baking eight tins so you’ll want at least two, but ideally four
- Silicone Muffin Cups for soup – standard size or jumbo
- Paper muffin liners (don’t get the foil wrappers for these! Foil muffin liners + Microwave = bad words in comments on my blog)
- Waffle Maker
- Big Tupperware Bowl
- Gallon Freezer Ziplocks
Strongly suggested, but not absolutely needed:
- Stand-up mixer (it was mentioned in a comment thread earlier this week that some of these lunch batches really won’t fit in a standard 5QT mixing bowl – if you don’t have one already, but are thinking of taking the plunge, consider purchasing a 7QT mixer like mine; I can throw an entire birthday party in there, and everything fits.)
- Food Processor – can’t emphasize this one enough (see? I wasn’t lying in Round 1 when I said we’d be using it!)
- Nesco Food Dehydrator, and remember, the Nesco has extra trays if you need ’em!
- Dutch Oven – 7qt
- Parchment paper
- Jelly Roll Pans – get two
A WORD ON FREEZER SPACE
I admit, I have a lot of freezer space. I live with four adult-sized appetites, and one healthy child-sized one, and I tend to freeze and pack 20 weeks’ worth of food for all the kids at a time. Plus, once upon a time, I used to do this regularly for dinners as well as lunches.
So, I have a freezer upstairs for regularly-used items, then a downstairs freezer for frozen lunches, and a separate chest freezer for when I’m feeling particularly go-getter-y (or for when I make Thanksgiving meals ahead of time because I have the stupid schedule). I call the chest freezer my Sexy Beast, and I make my hubby apologize to it if he doesn’t treat it with an appropriate level of tenderness.
The FDA does specifically say that a closed, full freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hrs without power (a half-full one will maintain it for 24 hrs), so food does not need to be thawed or refrigerate or transferred anywhere, as long as you kee the doors closed. So even if your power goes out Saturday, your lovingly-prepared lunches should be safe till Monday when the repair guy comes! Just sayin’ …
Now, you certainly don’t have to have this. We’re going to work on how to maximize your packing strategies in order to best use your space, and we’re going to use flash freezing and labeling techniques that make my heart skip more than Ryan Gosling (who, for the record, has NOTHING on vacuum sealing). But you should plan on being able to fit two jelly roll pans or large cookie sheets into your freezer at once at any given time during your prepping. If you can’t do that, it may be worth it for you to take a look at getting yourself a separate freezer – not necessarily your own Sexy Beast, but maybe something a bit smaller and inconspicuous, that can still guard your hard work (and only cost you an extra $0.75 or so per lunch if you hold 4 months’ worth of meals for one person in it, right?).
STILL NEED HELP PACKING LUNCHES?
Check out my feedback on how to pack the lunches, with reviews and discussion on cold foods, hot foods, beverages and lunchboxes! But if you don’t think you can take another second of wading through my never-ending drivel, and just want to cut to the chase to know what my absolute preferences are, here’s the short list:
- For hot foods, Funtainer Food Jar or Stanley Food Jar (sorry, you do need to make this decision yourself based on the details).
- For the rest of your lunch, and cold entrees, EasyLunchboxes system: containers, lunchbox, and mini dippers. Close second: PlanetBox.
- Funtainer water bottles (Doc McStuffin, Wonder Woman).
Sometimes, I come across good deals and want to share them, but I don’t want to send you unwanted emails. If you’d like me to email you when I find something really good (like the Instant Pot that went on sale last week for $69.99) you can sign up for those emails here. These would probably be once or twice a month.
I’M ON INSTAGRAM & TWITTER:
You can follow me on Instagram @emiponcedesouza. You can also follow me on Twitter @poncedesouza. If you share your photos, use the hashtag #EmisLunches, and please tag me!