Another one of my super-fast staples in my lunch freezer, quiche is an easy go-to, not just for kids, but also for dinner! Whenever I batch-make lunches for a day, I try to incorporate that work into my actual meal plan for the day (you know … so I don’t feel the urge to stab my family’s eyes out when they innocently ask me what’s for dinner after I just spent six hours in the kitchen … because I’m a good mom that way). Although I usually make my own pie crust, on lunch days, consider buying a frozen crust, and pouring some extra egg-and-cheese mixture into it to bake it off with your muffin-sized quiches. Pair that with a salad or some steamed broccoli, or open a damn bag of baby carrots or sugar snap peas, and you’re good to go for dinner!
Now, please, please, please, for the love of parchment paper. Even if you wouldn’t normally go for Swiss cheese, or even if you don’t think your kids would, try it. Baked in with Parmesan and eggs, this stuff is crazy good in quiche and gives a really subtle nutty taste that you just don’t get with good ol’ Cheddar. I promise.
Of course, if you doubt me, you can always swap out for Cheddar – but just know I really was trying to just fill that little hole in your heart that Cheddar just can’t reach.
Speaking of which, try experimenting with your own add-ins – throw in diced onions, or bell pepper, or broccoli, or ham, or browned bacon, or strips of roasted poblano peppers (“rajas,” my friends – and there is your little bit of worldly cultivation for the day!). I usually don’t use mushrooms, since they sometimes become discolored in soggier freezer circumstances, but feel free to use if you’re eating soon!
- 30 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
- 5 Tb whole milk
- 1 lb Swiss cheese
- 20 oz baby spinach
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- And since I've used my beloved Food Processor in nearly every single recipe I've posted here, no reason to stop now - you can shred your cheese in under a minute with the grater attachment, or shred by hand, and just account for the time in your worksheet.
- In a large glass bowl, add a splash of water and as many baby spinach leaves as you can fit in (you won't be able to fit the entire amount, but don't worry, it'll cook down). Cover loosely with saran wrap, and microwave on high for two minutes at a time, stirring between rounds, and adding more spinach until the entire volume is wilted.
- Drain, and chop spinach coarsely.
- Whisk together (or blend it, if you have a large high-power blender) eggs, yogurt, milk, salt, and pepper.
- Line muffin cups with paper liners (Tulip Cups, Regular Liners, Mini Liners)
- Mix spinach, shredded Swiss cheese, and Parmesan in a medium bowl.
- Spoon mixture into muffin liners: about two heaping teaspoon-fulls into each popover cup, one teaspon into a regular muffin cup, 1/2 teaspoon into mini muffin cup.
- Pour or ladle egg mixture over cheese filling: about 1/2 cup per popover, 1/4 cup per muffin, 2 Tb per mini muffins.
- Bake at 375 degrees until puffy and golden brown at the top: about 30 minutes for popovers, 20-25 for regular muffins, and 15-20 minutes for mini muffins.
- Remember not to use foil liners here, since you'll be unable to reheat in microwave!
- Allow to cool on a rack, then Flash Freeze on a jelly roll pan for 2 hours before packing into heavy duty freezer bags - make sure to suck all the air out of your bags to avoid freezer burn! If using a vacuum sealer, remember that these are basically puffy little morsels filled with air, so be careful to stop the vacuum before it crushes your quiches.
- 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!