It’s a cookie. Because it’s shaped like a cookie, and looks like a cookie, and I swear there are chocolate chips in it. So, it must be a cookie.
Never mind that each “cookie” has between 5 and 6 grams of protein (depending on your add-ins), and is way tastier than those amorphous bars they try to push on me every time I go to a running convention (don’t judge, dammit!). It’s totally a cookie, kid. Eat up.
My recipe for these cookies was adapted from The Best Homemade Kids Lunches on the Planet – which is a great little book to get if you don’t so much want to do the freezing, but still want some ideas for daily lunches (particularly for the toddler/preschooler crowd!).
And for the record, yes, I did mistakenly put the rolled oats in my steel-cut oats jar. I was post-call. Don’t be a hater.
- 4 bananas
- 2 cups honey
- 2 cups sunflower butter/peanut butter/almond butter/whatever-yumminess-you-like butter
- 2 1/2 Tb vanilla bean paste (extract works fine)
- 1 cup quinoa flour
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup flax meal (ground flax seed)
- 1 cup nonfat dry powdered milk
- 2 1/2 Tb cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup shredded coconut/dried fruits/nuts or other yumminess of your choice - I love coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add bananas, seed/nut butter, honey, and vanilla to large bowl of stand mixer and mix on medium speed until bananas well mashed and ingredients well incorporated.
- In separate large bowl, mix dry ingredients together, quinoa flour through baking soda.
- Add dry ingredients to wet, mix on medium speed until well mixed but still chunky (you don't want to liquefy the batter, it should be thick and chunky and easy to scoop).
- Add your chocolate chips, raisins, and other add-ins, folding in (lowest speed on stand mixer will work just fine).
- Scoop out batter by 1/4 cupfuls and place on parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets, placing them about two inches apart. Press down on each ball of batter with a rubber spatula to make a 1/2 inch-thick cookie - they won't spread much, don't worry.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool on wire rack, Flash Freeze on parchment-lined jelly-roll pans, then pack in heavy duty freezer bags
- Fall-Flavored Carrot Cake Pancakes
- Banana French Toast Casserole
- Crustless Spinach Mini Quiches
- BONUS snack: I-Swear-It’s-A-Cookie-And-Bad-For-You Breakfast Cookies
- BONUS snack: Take-Your-Damn-Hands-Off-My-Mushroom Chips
Here’s the list of equipment you’ll need, and a list of equipment that makes life easier.
- Large griddle OR several pans OR one pan and way more patience than I.
- Parchment paper
- 9×13 baking dishes – should have at least two to be efficient, could use up to four, so beg borrow or steal if you have to! Here are some great and versatile options: a Nordic Ware covered option, a Pyrex basic dish, a Fat Daddio’s aluminum option and my favorite option, a Calphalon pan.
- Muffin tins, size of your choosing – popover tins for big kids/adults (remember there are only six cups per tin, so get at least two! You’ll use them for other lunch recipes!), regular muffin tins for smaller kiddos, mini muffin tins for toddlers.
- Paper muffin liners (don’t get the foil wrappers for these! Foil muffin liners + Microwave = bad words in comments on my blog) – Popover “Tulip Cup” liners, Regular Liners, mini baking cups
- 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!)
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?).
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:
I succumbed to Social Peer Pressure (I’m so weak – it’s Aubrey’s fault) and signed up for an Instagram Account. So 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!