Salmon Cheese turnovers

So I have finally finished my son`s challenge to create 10 school lunches from countries around the world. This last one, is inspired by Cheese Turnovers from New Zealand.  These turnovers are best eaten warm, so they need to be sent to school in a Thermos. I added some salmon to this dish, to give the kids some extra protein. I also sprinkled a little bit of blue cheese as garnish, since my kids love this cheese.


1 egg, beaten

½ cup milk

½ cup plain flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

2 tsps baking powder

1 tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning

2 cups cheese, grated

1 can flaked salmon



  1. Lightly oil a baking tray.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  3. Shape into little patties.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes in a 400 F oven.DSCN2590_2496

Vegetarian Pesto Pasta


Here is another easy school lunch idea. This time our inspiration is Italy. My kids do not really like pasta with a lot of sauce, so this dish is something they will eat without complaining. It is a good vegetarian dish.  Chicken or Shrimp would also make a nice addition.


300 g frozen spinach, thawed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp pine nuts

2 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

4 tsp balsamic vinegar

About 5 cups fusilli/ spaghetti or any type of pasta, cooked

1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 red onion, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

2 Roma tomatoes, quartered


  1. Remove excess moisture from spinach.
  2. Puree spinach, garlic, pine nuts, seasoning and pepper until smooth.
  3. Pulse in 3 tbsp of oil, the vinegar and cheese. Set aside this pesto.
  4. Heat pan.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add cooked pasta, pesto and broth. Simmer for a couple of minutes over heat.
  6. Toss in sliced peppers and tomatoes.  Cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Enjoy!


Thai Carrot Omelet

This is another School lunch idea, created as part of my kids` challenge to me. My son used to like omelets, but recently he refuses to eat them. This recipe, which is my take on a Thai omelet has been my excuse to get him to try eggs again. By making the omelet very thin, you can roll it quite easily. This dish would also be a great appetizer or easy finger food. For their school lunch, I am packing the omelets with a cheese bun and some vegetables.


2 eggs, beaten

3 tbsp grated carrots

½ tsp fish sauce

Sesame Oil for coating the pan


  1. Heat pan and add a little oil so that the omelette will not stick.
  2. Beat eggs. Add  fish sauce and grated carrot to the egg.
  3. Add a very thin layer of egg to the pan.
  4. When the egg is almost set, flip it over.
  5. Once cooked, remove from pan.
  6. Roll the omelet and cut diagonally in the middle.

Makes 2.




Chicken Pita

Our next country of choice for our school lunch was Greece. I used the cilantro and mint chicken [] as the base for this lunch. This dish is also great for any leftover chicken that you may have. The chicken was cut into thin slices and was originally supposed to be used as the filling of the pita. This was the plan until I realized that the pitas that I bought were pocket-less pitas. So we had to put the filling on the pita. Next time I will have to remember to read the information on the package. You can also use whatever vegetables you have on hand. If you are making this as a school lunch, the cucumber and yogurt filling will have to be stored separately and chilled. The kids will have to add the filling to the pita when they are ready to eat.


1 cucumber

1 cooked chicken breast, sliced thinly

1 tomato, sliced

1 red pepper, sliced thinly

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 tbsp cilantro, sliced thinly

Pepper, to taste

3 pitas, cut into half


  1. Cut the cucumber into 3-4 sections. Slice lengthwise and then cut each slice so that it resembles matchsticks.
  2. Mix the cucumber with the yogurt, cilantro and pepper.
  3. Toast pitas slightly.
  4. When you are ready to eat, assemble the pita pocket with the chicken, yogurt mixture and other vegetables.

Canadian lunch-Cucumber Meat rolls

I had a lovely time making these cucumber meat rolls with my son, as part of our school lunch from different countries project [ ]. This time the country chosen was Canada. We used some delicious Montreal smoked meat as the filling for the cucumber rolls. My son was really enthusiastic about the rolls with carrots slices and using a round piping tip, punched out the yellow pepper circles. He then had lots of fun eating the yellow peppers with all the holes in them. Served with a multigrain cheese bun, these rolls make a balanced meal. However, they could be served as an appetizer as well.




1 cucumber

3-4 slices of deli meat

Baby carrots, thinly sliced

Yellow pepper



  1. Cut the cucumber into 3 inch segments. Using a paring knife, remove the seeds in the middle.
  2. Roll the 1 slice of deli meat very tightly. Insert into the hollowed cucumber.
  3. Slice the cucumber about 1/8 inch in thickness.
  4. Decorate with thinly sliced baby carrots or any other vegetable of your choice.
  5. Using a the tip of a round piping tip, punch out little circles from the yellow pepper. Use the pepper to garnish the tops of the cucumber.

Chinese inspired School lunch- Shrimp Toast

The kids had picked China as one of the countries for our school lunch project [ At first, I was thinking of making a noodle type dish, but then I remembered this Shrimp Toast that my mom used to make for us. My mom fried it, which of course made it extra delicious. However, by baking instead of frying, it turns out quite nice as well. Served with a salad, this meal is quite balanced and quick to eat. I enjoy dipping the toast in some Sambal Olek to add some spice to this dish.


6 slices of bread, cut diagonally

Shrimp spread:

2 cups baby shrimp

1 egg, beaten

1/4 tsp pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp ginger, minced

1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

1 tbsp chives, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp sesame oil


1. Place the bread on a baking pan and toast for about 5-6 min at 400 F, until lightly toasted.

2. While the bread is toasting, put all the other ingredients except the oil into a small food processor and blend into almost a fine paste.

3. Spread the paste on the toasted bread. Drizzle the sesame oil over the mixture.

4. Bake at 350F for about 10-12 min until shrimp is cooked.

Black bean and Yam tacos

I am working my way down the 10 school lunches that I have to create for my children as part of their challenge to me. This time we were inspired by Mexican cuisine. This meal was a winner, and everyone enjoyed it for our dinner. We were late getting back, and I was a little afraid that the kids would fuss and not want to eat their dinner. So I was delighted when  I heard them saying it was delicious.

I made the beans and yam the day before. Just before dinner, I diced the other vegetables and we baked up the tacos.  You can certainly use any vegetable that you like. Broccoli would be another good addition. If I was using broccoli, I would add it to the pan after the onions. This is certainly not a convenient way for the kids to have a school lunch. So for a school lunch, they could eat it as a wrap or as a taco salad. This bean and yam tacos, would also make a great appetizer at a party. You could assemble everything about 30 min prior to eating and then just bake it up when guests arrive.

The sweet potatoes and black beans go really well together, and all the other vegetables gave the meal a nice crunch. The kids also enjoyed adding the vegetables to their own tacos, before they were heated up in the oven at 350 F for about 5 min.



4 yams, diced and baked at 400 F 20 min (until tender)

1 can black bean, drained

1 onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 cucumber, sliced and quartered

1 cup shredded cheese

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp pepper

2 tsp onion powder

Oil for cooking



5 soft tacos


1. Pan fry onions in a heated pan with oil.

2.  When golden brown, add the yams and beans.

4. Add all the seasonings. When well combined, remove from heat. Don’t let the beans and yam get all mushy.

5.  The soft tacos can be cut into quarters or if you have lots of time, use a cookie cutter and cut out smaller circles or shapes.

6.  Add the vegetables of choice to the tacos. Sprinkle some grated cheese and bake at 350 F for 5 min until all the cheese melts.

7. Top with salsa and guacamole.

I used a flower cookie cutter to cut out the taco, but then realized that I did not have time to do this for all, so I just cut the tacos into quarters.





A layered salad for my lunch

Spinach Lasagna- Our Italian School lunch

As mentioned before, one of the things on my 40 list is to come up with 10 school lunches from different countries ( as requested by my son).  Italy was another country chosen by my children. They love spinach, so spinach lasagna was an easy pick. I use a lot of spinach for my lasagna, as I really want the kids to have something healthy.

I prepared all the different parts for this dish and the kids had fun layering the lasagna. You could add onions to this recipe, but since my kids do not like onions, we left those out.  This recipe will make two 9 x 3 inch lasagnas. This lasagna freezes really well.  I cut it into segments and freeze separately, so they can be pulled out for school lunches at anytime. I just heat a slice up in the morning and put it in our thermos container.


9 pieces oven ready lasagna

4 packs of frozen spinach (340 g each), thawed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp olive oil

freshly ground pepper

Onion powder

Italian seasoning, to taste

2 x 454 g tubs of light Ricotta cheese

2 eggs, beaten

2 cans tomato sauce (398 ml)

4 Tbsp parmesan cheese

1/2 lb cheddar cheese, grated



1. Heat pan, add oil, then add in garlic.

2. Remove excess water from spinach. Add to pan.  Stir in pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning

3. In a separate bowl, add ricotta and eggs.

4. Spoon half a cup of tomato sauce to the bottom of each baking dish.

5. Lay 3 pieces of lasagna noodle.

6. Spread a layer of ricotta cheese.

7. Add a layer of spinach and a tbsp of parmesan cheese.

8. Add a layer of tomato sauce on top of the spinach layer.

9. Add another 3 pieces of lasagna noodle on top.

10. Repeat steps 6-9.

11. Spread grated cheese on the top layer of noodles.

12. You can make two trays with this recipe.

13. Bake at 400 F for 50 min.

14. Let stand 10 min before cutting.

Moroccan Inspired lunch

When my kids spun the globe to pick 10 countries for their 10 school lunches project, Morocco was one of the chosen ones. For this lunch, I thought a beef kebab and couscous salad might be just the thing. The mushrooms, coriander leaves, garam masala and chilli powder, gives this kebab a lovely taste.


500 g extra lean ground beef

2 handfuls of chopped coriander leaves

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tbsp  garam masala

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped crimini mushrooms

2 tsp chilli powder if you like it spicy.


1. Mix all the ingredients together.

2. Shape the meat into a thick sausage.

3. Broil on high, either side for about 5 min.  Using a meat thermometer make sure the meat is cooked.

4. Serve with a couscous salad mixed with diced red and yellow peppers.

Sushi triangles

As I have mentioned before, we have to come up with 10 school lunches from 10 different countries that my kids have picked.

One of the countries chosen was Japan. My daughter does not like to eat fish, but one of the only times that she will not complain about eating fish, is if there is sushi rice  and seaweed involved. This is a very quick way of making sushi. I mix in salmon and grated carrots into the rice, making it a very balanced meal for lunch. Because it is shaped into triangles, it is also quick and easy to eat.

I  keep my seaweed in a ziplock bag in the freezer, once I have opened the seaweed packet. This keeps the seaweed fresh and it stays crunchy.  For school lunch, I pack the seaweed separately, as it gets soft if wrapped around the rice for a long time. The kids quite enjoy wrapping their triangles in pieces of seaweed. I usually give them bigger pieces of seaweed as they love seaweed.


1 3/4 cup of uncooked sushi rice (cooked in a rice cooker/ on the stove top)

A much flaked salmon as you like (I used  Salmon that I had baked up the day before)

grated carrots (as much as you like)

Green onions (optional)

seaweed, cut into strips

1 1/2 tbsp sushi vinegar


1. Mix hot cooked rice with flaked salmon, grated carrots and vinegar.

2. I use a piece of clear wrap to form the sushi triangles. This makes things much neater.  Place a mound of rice on the clear wrap. Press and form into triangles.

3. Wrap the sushi triangles with a piece of seaweed.

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