All Posts by Kendra Peterson

6 how to freeze sandwiches

How to Freeze Sandwiches

Did you know you can freeze sandwiches? Well, now you do!

how to freeze sandwiches

You will find lots of tips and ideas on how to simplify and streamline your lunch-packing process in the MOMables subscription plan! A little (or a lot) of help never hurts!

Having ready-made sandwiches on hand is a great way to avoid fast food or cafeteria lunches, or just to save time later in the week. They’ll keep longer when frozen, so you can make extras without worrying about having to use them all right away either.

These work great for any meat and cheese combo, whether you plan to toast them or not—just cheese, ham and Swiss, turkey and cheddar, even a tuna melt!

If you don’t want to bother making them into pockets (why not? Pockets are way more fun!), just build your sandwiches normally and skip ahead to the next section.

  1. After cutting your crusts off or using the cutter on a pocket sandwich maker, use your fingers to smush down the middle section of the bottom slice of bread for each sandwich, leaving a 1/2-inch “frame” around the outer edges.
  2. Add in your fillings. You can layer them a little thicker than you normally would. Be sure to keep everything within the flattened area, leaving the outer edge free.
  3. Use your pocket sandwich press to seal the edges. If you don’t have one, you can use a fork to seal the edges, going around the whole thing like you would to seal a pie crust.

There are a few ways to freeze sandwiches:

  • Put each sandwich in a zip-lock sandwich baggie and push out all the air, then place those in a large freezer bag or double-bagged bread bags. (Re-use the bags your loaves came in! But be sure to put one inside the other!)
  • Separate each sandwich with a square of waxed paper, and stack them in double-bagged bread bags or layer them 2 to 3 deep in a freezer bag (and use a straw to suck out all the excess air).
  • Lay the sandwiches on a cookie sheet and freeze for 1 to 2 hours, then stack them or lay them in the double-bagged bread bags or freezer bags.

Okay, now what?

Thaw and Eat: When you’re ready to eat them, just pull one out of the freezer and let it thaw right in the lunchbox for a regular meat and cheese sandwich.

Grill: Spread a thin layer of butter or margarine on the outsides of the frozen sandwich. Then grill in a double-sided grill or panini press until the outsides are golden brown (about 4 to 5 minutes, depending on your grill).

Fry: Cook in a skillet on medium heat for around 3 minutes per side.

Bake: Preheat the oven to 400F, and cook on each side for 5 to 8 minutes. I like a toastier look, so I then turn the oven to broil and keep the tray on the middle rack and broil for 1 minute. Watch out—it burns fast!

I would not recommend using a toaster, because you risk oil from the cheese dripping out and catching fire. There are better ways to get everyone to hustle out the door in the morning.

MOM Notes: For sandwiches where the filling might soak through, spread a thin layer of soft (not melted!) butter or thick dressing (not mayo—it tends to separate when thawing) on what will be the insides of both pieces of bread for each sandwich.

Use frozen sandwiches within 3 months for best results.

And don’t worry about all those crust scraps! Save them for our Frugal French Toast Sticks or Apple Herb Stuffing recipes! Or use them to make your own bread crumbs for MOMables Healthy Chicken Nuggets, Veggie Nuggets, Black Bean Veggie Burgers, Homemade Fish Sticks, 3 Ingredient Mini Tuna Balls, Chicken Parmesan Cups, or your Grandma’s “famous” meatloaf!

Want to prep and freeze a wider variety of sandwich options? Check out this MOMables post for How to Freeze DIY PBJ Uncrustables!

6 Gluten-Free Cheese Crackers

Are your kids missing out on cheese crackers because of gluten sensitivities or allergies?

gluten free cheese crackers

What else do you need to fill your lunch box? Check out MOMables recipe index and join us to get weekly meal plans straight to your inbox!

One of the biggest disappointments for many gluten-free kids is to watch their friends enjoying those cheesy “Cheez” and “fishy” crackers that they can no longer have. But now, thanks to MOMables, with a tiny cookie cutter or a pizza cutter and a toothpick, you can make your own very similar versions of both!

Gluten-Free Cheese-y Crackers

gluten free cheese crackers

Making these crackers is easy-cheesy! You don’t even need to get your mixer dirty for this 1-bowl recipe!

  • Author: MOMables.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil—see note for more dairy-free options)
  • 3-5 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. Mix well.
  3. Add the butter and then add water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well with a spoon. Knead the dough with your hands until it comes together and can form a ball.
  4. Place the dough on parchment paper or a nonstick rolling mat. Roll out into a rectangular shape until the dough is about 1/8-inch thick.
  5. Slice into crackers with a knife, pizza slicer, or cookie cutters (you can re-roll scraps and rough edges to make more.)
  6. Transfer the parchment paper with the crackers to a baking sheet. For a more golden look, lightly spray or brush the tops of the crackers with melted butter or oil. Sprinkle extra sea salt and cheese over the top, if desired.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes, until starting to turn golden. Turn the oven off, but leave the crackers in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Notes

You can use melted coconut oil or palm shortening instead of butter, but they will change the flavor. I prefer using 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, then adding 1 to 2 more tablespoons water (for 4 to 5 tablespoons total.)

Even with  brown rice flour, these are very pasty white. Using an orange cheddar would help with that (I buy an organic sharp cheddar, but it’s white!). Or you could try mixing a small amount of turmeric in the water before adding it—that’s one of the natural colorants the fishy crackers use! And a little goes a long way. Shouldn’t even affect the flavor!

Inspired by a recipe from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie

1 gluten free lunchbox crackers

Gluten Free Lunchbox Crackers

Do you need gluten free lunchbox crackers to add to your kid’s lunchbox?

gluten free lunchbox crackers

MOMables has tons of ideas just like this one that you can get delivered to your inbox every week! Check it out!

It’s hard to find kid-friendly gluten-free crackers that are also whole grain. Most gluten-free baked goods are full of white rice flour and very starch-heavy. These easy crackers have some ingredients you might not keep on hand, but trust me – they’re worth it! Easy, tasty, and packed full of nutrition!

Related: Top 5 Lunchboxes We’ve Tested

I’m not known for my baking skills. In fact, I’ve ruined every single gluten-free baking attempt I’ve ever made…until these! So if I can make them, anyone can! They’re truly that easy!

My kids loved these so much, an actual fight broke out when I gave my older daughter one more cracker than the toddler, since the little one had already had a few earlier while in the kitchen with me! Lunchbox-worthy? Check!

Easy Gluten-Free Lunch Box Crackers (Egg, Dairy, Nut-Free Too!)

This 1-bowl recipe is very easy to make – you don’t even need a mixer! And even rolling it out and cutting it is easy and frustration-free!

  • Author: MOMables.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 c almond flour (*for nut-free, use sunflower seed flour! See note below)
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary (or finely diced fresh rosemary)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flours, flax, yeast, garlic powder, salt, baking soda, rosemary, and sesame seeds) and mix well.
  3. Add oil and water and mix well with spoon. Knead dough with your hands until it comes together and can form a ball.
  4. Place dough on parchment paper or non-stick rolling mat. Roll out into a rectangular shape until dough is about 1/8″ thick (or as thin as you can get without it ripping.)
  5. Slice into crackers with a pastry wheel, pizza slicer, or cookie cutters (you can re-roll scraps and rough edges to make more.) If you’re just using a roller to cut out the crackers, you can roll the dough and cut them right on the same piece of parchment paper you’ll bake them on – just carefully transfer the whole sheet to the baking tray after cutting.
  6. Transfer crackers onto lined baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until slightly golden.
  7. Cool crackers on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Once cooled, store in an air tight container.

Notes

To make your own sunflower seed flour, grind 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds in a coffee grinder or BlendTech to make roughly 3/4 cup flour.

Other gluten-free flours might work, but will change the flavor.

The nutritional yeast not only gives these a slight cheesy flavor, but it is full of nutritional benefits as well – 2 tablespoons has 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber, along with several essential minerals and B vitamins! I buy it in the bulk section of my grocery store, and keep this stuff on-hand to add to pasta and potato dishes, and to sprinkle on rice, vegetables, and popcorn instead of adding butter or cheese – my kids call it “cheese powder!”

Recipe inspired by Oh She Glows

11 How to Freeze Bananas

How to Freeze Bananas

Do you have bananas in your refrigerator or on your counter going to waste? I know I do sometimes.

Admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to plan for just the right amount of fresh produce to eat between shopping trips. Enough that you don’t need to make an extra grocery run, but not so much that it starts going bad before you can get to it.

How to Freeze Bananas

Bananas are the biggest culprit at my house for going bad unexpectedly. One day they’re still a little green, the next thing I know, brown and starting to go mushy. But if you use these tips from MOMables, you should never again have to throw out a brown banana! You know you have always wanted to know how to freeze bananas!

What about tips for every other part of the lunch-making process? We’ve got you covered! Join us at MOMables, and you won’t be disappointed!

Method 1: Slice and Freeze

I like this method the most, since it makes my life easier down the line. This works best before the bananas get too mushy.

Just slice the banana into chunks into a zip-seal baggie. You can use a freezer bag for each banana, or pack each sliced banana into a regular sandwich baggie and put those into a larger freezer bag. I find it easier to use a glass or jar to hold my baggie upright, and I kind of fold the top of the bag over the lip of the cup to keep it there. Then I can just slice the banana right in, without worrying about it plopping off somewhere.

This step is optional but highly recommended to reduce freezer burn. Stick a straw as far down into the bag as you can (without jamming it up with banana!) and close up most of the zip seal. Then use the straw to suck as much air as you can from the bag, like a vacuum. Continue to suck as you pull the straw out and seal the last bit of the bag shut.

When you’re ready to use it, just grab a bag and break apart the slices as best you can before tossing them into your blender or food processor.

How to Freeze Bananas

Method 2: Bag and Freeze

This is a great method for when the bananas start going mushy, and when the peel splits or the stem tears off.

Put as many bananas as you need to freeze into a zip-seal freezer bag. Use the straw method above to suck the excess air out before sealing. You can add new bananas later, just be sure to suck the air out again. And try to use the older ones first.

Method 3: Just Jam Them into the Freezer

This is what I do when I find a banana that needs to be dealt with right away, but I don’t have the time to slice and bag it. This only works when the peel is intact.

This part’s really tricky now; just stick the banana any ol’ place in the freezer. Yup. The peel protects it from freezer burn.

For Methods 2 and 3, when you’re ready to use the bananas and need them sliced to make it easier on your blender, cut the banana (in peel still) in half widthwise, then cut each half in half again, lengthwise. The peel comes off fairly easily then, depending how over-ripe the banana was when frozen. The further along it gets, the harder it is to get the stringy stuff off. I usually just use my knife to scrape down the sides to remove whatever is left after I get as much peel off as possible.

To use in baked goods, you can thaw a whole frozen banana in a bowl, then snip off the stem and squeeze the fruit out into a strainer to let some of the liquid drain. Done! No need to mash even! (I will warn you—it looks really gross, and might smell a bit odd too. So only thaw them if you plan to bake right away!)

Uses for frozen bananas: 

Smoothies! If you start with frozen fruit, there’s no need to dilute your smoothie with ice cubes!

As long as you don’t let it sit out long enough to thaw, you can use a frozen banana in the Chocolate Super Pops and Easy “Monkey” Ice Cream Sandwiches recipes before freezing them. (You don’t want to thaw and re-freeze any food, unless you cook it in between. Something science-y about it changing at a molecular level.)

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Pudding “Frozen Yogurt”: Follow the recipe as-is, only with a frozen sliced banana! This will give it a thicker, cooler texture. To be eaten right away.

Chocolate Banana Bites: If you manage to freeze your banana slices so they aren’t all clumped together, you can change this recipe up just a bit for a delicious treat! Lay your frozen slices on a plate or cookie sheet, then drizzle or pour your melted chocolate over the tops. A little messier to eat without the sticks, but still yummy! (Put them back into the freezer or eat immediately.)

Baked goods! Try them in MOMables Oatmeal-Banana Breakfast Muffins, Monkey Chocolate Bars, and Banana Chocolate Chip Donuts!

 

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box

Goat Cheese and Veggie Bistro Box

Need a healthier lunch that is simple to make? This will do just the trick!

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box

Sometimes you just want a simple, light, refreshing meal. Goat Cheese and Veggie Bistro Box, yum! A certain well-known coffee chain used to offer a veggie and cheese box that fit the bill, and made for a nice snack or small meal. But who wants to pay $5+ for lunch every day, when you can make it yourself?

Don’t forget, MOMables has all the ideas you could ever possibly need to help fill these bistro boxes—check them out!

By making your own lunches, you can control the ingredients and portion size. Organic, local, more of something, less of something, gluten-free, etc. DIY delicious!

DIY Goat Cheese and Garden Veggies Bistro Box

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box
  • Author: MOMables.com

Ingredients

  • 4-6 multigrain crackers
  • 2-3 carrot sticks
  • 2-3 bell pepper strips
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 green beans
  • 2-3 cucumber wedges (roughly 1/4 of a small cucumber)
  • 1-2 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 c tzatziki sauce (see recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Take as many as you’d like for each ingredient and poof! Goat Cheese and Garden Veggie Bistro Box!

Recipe for Homemade Tzatziki Sauce:

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

Goat Cheese and Veggie Box
  • Author: MOMables.com
  • Yield: 6
  • Cuisine: Greek

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek whole milk yogurt*
  • 1 English cucumber, seeded, finely grated, and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Whisk everything but the salt and pepper together. Then season with the salt and pepper, to taste. Chill.

Notes

*You can use low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt, or even non-dairy Greek-style yogurt, but you may want to add less lemon juice.

The Greek yogurt and goat cheese pack a nice wallop of protein, so you’re good there. But unless you have a small appetite or are including this along with something more substantial, it’s really more of a snack. So make it a meal by adding more crackers and veggies and tzatziki sauce, and go ahead and include some fresh fruit while you’re at it!

*To amp up the colors represented in my lunch, I chose slices of purple bell pepper, yellow and green beans, and yellow and red heirloom cherry tomatoes. The crackers shown are Glutino Gluten-Free Rosemary & Olive Oil crackers. And no, I didn’t just buy some pre-made tzatziki sauce for the photos. I made it. From scratch!

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