Need another way to reuse leftovers?
Here at MOMables, we are all about using leftovers or making extra dinner ingredients to repurpose for lunch! Not only are these quiche muffins a great way to use up extra veggies and cheese, they do double-duty! They make a great grab-and-go breakfast, or a lunchbox-friendly addition! Need more ideas to fill those lunch boxes? Come check us out!
I usually make these when I’m making quiche for dinner. I add extra veggies and eggs to my quiche mix, then make muffins with the extra that doesn’t fit in my pie pan. They freeze really well (see details below) making it easy to save them for later. So it doesn’t feel like we are eating the same thing day after day!
For different taste combinations, you can add 1/2 cup chopped grilled or sauteed onion, or 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped green onions or chives.
You can substitute other leftover or extra veggies for the broccoli, or use a combination. Chopped spinach, zucchini, peas, or cauliflower also make great kid-friendly alternatives, and mixing in chopped carrots and tomatoes can create a fun twist. But really, anything works if it’s something you’d enjoy with eggs!
These can also be made ahead and stored for later! If you’re not eating them all right away, let them cool for 15 to 20 minutes before putting them in an airtight container in the fridge. They should last 3 to 7 days that way.
To freeze, divide into pairs (or whatever serving size you want) and put into freezer bags. (To save on high-cost freezer bags, I use cheaper small baggies for individual servings. Then put THEM into a larger freezer bag. I can usually keep re-using the outer bag, since it doesn’t get dirty touching the food!) The night before you want to eat them (or 2 to 3 days before) place them in the fridge to thaw.
To reheat, microwave thawed muffins for 2 minutes per pair.
Looking for more ideas to make your mornings easier? Check out these great MOMables breakfast recipes!
What else can you use kale for? How about dip?
Whenever I add greens to our food, I make sure to name the dish after a favorite green character, like “Kermit Dip” or “Monster Mike Macaroni and Peas” to make it more kid-friendly. There are plenty of green superheroes, talking trains, tinkering pixies, frog princesses, and other fun cartoon characters to choose from to entice any child to give this yummy dip a try!
A lot of the time, parents have some challenges sneaking extra veggies into their kid’s diets, but MOMables is here to give you tons of ideas and tricks to help with just that! Come check it out!
Instead of cream cheese, which is at least 33% fat (roughly 80 grams of fat per 8-ounce block), I prefer to use Neufchatel cheese, which is naturally lower in fat without adding weird chemicals, fake colors, or extra sugars (around 23% fat, so only 48 grams of fat per 8-ounce block). Both kinds contain roughly 16 grams of protein per 8-ounce block. (Ingredients and nutrition information will vary by brand.)
Feel free to substitute spinach or other greens (leaves only, no stems) for the kale!
I personally prefer this with 2 to 3 teaspoons of garlic instead of the onion, and I usually add some rosemary and extra salt as well. Either way, it’s a big hit at family get-togethers!
Do you need a light yet sweet and juicy snack or dessert idea?
While this treat makes a nice afternoon snack or a fun party food for a picnic or potluck, offering fresh fruit as a dessert option teaches kids that it doesn’t have to be filled with added sugar to still be a “treat!” MOMables has tons of great fruit-as-treats ideas!
MOMables doesn’t just stop with amazing ideas, but we also provide you with a fantastic weekly meal plan that gives you step-by-step directions and even pictures to show you what the finished product should look like! Interested in getting some extra help? Join us here!
First, slice a watermelon into roughly 1-inch-thick round slabs. Then slice the desired number of slabs like a pizza, into 6 to 8 triangular wedges each.
Then mix and match as many toppings as you’d like for a treat that’s sure to please! Try mint, sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sliced or halved grapes, sliced banana, shredded coconut, raisins, dried goji berries or cranberries, thinly sliced peaches, plums, or pears—so many yummy flavor combinations!
For an added Summer-y twist, you could even add chopped frozen berries and bananas instead! What a great way to cool off on a hot day!
Make it saucy!
You don’t need a “sauce,” but if you’d like to include one, some great options are honey or agave syrup, honey glaze (honey mixed with a little water to make it more spreadable), plain nut or seed butter, plain or flavored yogurt, yogurt mixed with a little honey, or yogurt mixed with some peanut butter or other nut or seed butter (any ratio you’d like)!
Add some crunch!
Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, poppy, etc.), whole or chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnuts, etc.), granola, and/or whole-grain small or crushed cereal (rice puffs, corn flakes, O-shaped cereals, mini ball-shaped cereals, etc.) make great and healthy additions to your fruity “pizza!”
Sweet and savory!
Don’t be afraid to try savory toppings as well! You can try a “Greek Salad Pizza” with some basil, Feta, red onions, and kalamata olives! Or just mix and match a mild cheese (crumbled Feta, ricotta, or mozzarella) with kalamata olives or basil. Or use ingredients from your favorite watermelon salad!
With a protein (yogurt, cheese, or nut butter) and a whole grain (cereal or granola), this could even make a great breakfast option! You could do most of the prep the night before and store your slices in a covered casserole dish in the fridge. If you want them to stay crispy and chewy, just save the “dry” ingredients like coconut, cereal, and raisins until you’re ready to serve!
For some more easy fruity treat ideas, try MOMables Frozen Fruit Kabobs, Fresh Fruit Yogurt, Banana Split Bites, Watermelon Pops, Fruit Ice Cubes, Chocolate-Covered Banana Bites, and Fresh Fruit & Lemonade Popsicles!
Do you find yourself throwing away veggies because you can’t use them fast enough?
The easiest way to keep produce fresh longer is to buy only what you need every few days. But that isn’t always feasible. So here are some other tips on keeping your weekly shopping bounty fresh longer!
Luckily, the MOMables meal plan already helps you make the most of the produce you buy by featuring the same food in more than one recipe each week, or using a whole bunch/package for a dinner idea with leftovers for lunch!
Other than product-specific tricks, you can try to integrate these general tips into your routine:
Storage Tips for Lettuce, Spinach, Cabbage, and Greens:
For best results, trim a little off the bottom of the stem(s) and soak in water for an hour before storing in the fridge (crisper drawer is best). Greens and lettuces should be washed before storing, as long as you dry them thoroughly. If you get pre-washed greens, be sure to cull any rotting leaves before storing in the fridge.
Storage Tips for Roots:
Storage Tips for Shoots:
Storage Tips for Savory Fruits:
Storage Tips for Other Veggies:
You can also freeze veggies, but that’s a post for another day! But here are some MOMables tips on freezing veggie puree!
If you do find limp or wilting veggies, they’re still good for soup and veggie stock!
What do you use to dye Easter Eggs?
Here at MOMables, we like to help you make healthier versions of certain favorite foods. And while we might make all-natural healthy meals for our families, we still trot out the petroleum-derived artificial colors to dye Easter eggs, and fingers, and parts of the egg whites when the shell cracks.
Well now you can take the fake and harmful ingredients out of Easter, too! Use real foods and ingredients to make dyes for your Easter eggs, and feel secure that you and your family aren’t accidentally exposed to any harmful petrochemicals while having your holiday fun!
We know your family’s health is important and you want to do anything you can to keep them eating healthy! This is a big goal of MOMables, to give you creative ideas to fill your lunch boxes that your kids will love and keep them happy! AND if you need to know how to make the perfect easy-to-peel hard-boiled egg, then just go here!
Here are some ways to make popular Easter Egg dye colors:
Beets: Take 1 or 2 beets, roughly chopped, and combine with 1 quart water, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 tablespoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain beets and reserve the liquid.
Beet juice (light pink): Mix 1 cup strained beet juice from canned beets with 1 tablespoon vinegar.
Yellow onion skins: Take the skins from 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Add 3 teaspoons of white vinegar and strain, reserving the liquid.
Carrots (juiced): Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup carrot juice.
Paprika (faint red-orange): Add 2 tablespoons paprika to 1 cup boiling water. Add 2 teaspoons vinegar.
Turmeric: Add 2 tablespoons ground turmeric to 1 cup boiling water and stir well, until turmeric dissolves. Add 2 teaspoons vinegar.
Carrot scraps: Simmer 4 ounces of chopped carrot tops and peels in 1 1/2 cups water for 15 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons vinegar. Strain, reserving the liquid.
Red onion skin (jade green): Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and strain, reserving the liquid.
Spinach (juiced): Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup spinach juice.
Red cabbage (purple): Shred 1/2 head red cabbage and boil with 2 cups water, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar. Strain and reserve the liquid.
Frozen blueberries (bluish grey): Mix 1 cup frozen blueberries with 1 cup water. Let soak for a while, until room temperature, then strain, reserving the liquid. (Or boil 1 cup fresh berries with 1 1/2 cups water for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and reserve the liquid.)
Grape juice (lavender): Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup purple grape juice.
Blackberries: Mix 1 cup frozen blackberries with 1 cup water. Let soak for a while, until room temperature, then strain, reserving the liquid. (Or boil 1 cup fresh berries with 1 1/2 cups water for 10 to 15 minutes, then drain and reserve the liquid.)
Coffee: Add 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup strong coffee.
The stronger colors, like beets and turmeric set pretty quickly, but you’ll want to keep the others soaking longer. Your egg colors won’t be as vibrant as the fake ones, but you also aren’t risking neurological and other harmful side-effects from the petroleum-derived food colors. Which is a big win in my book!
Feel free to mix and match foods and colors to make different shades, too! Red cabbage water plus turmeric water mixed together look brown, but make a nice green egg as well!
After the Eggs
Worried about wasting all that food? You don’t have to! The carrot and spinach pulp, as well as the purple cabbage, beet, and berries can all go into smoothies. If you want to use all the food waste, be sure to add the vinegar after straining, instead of before.
You can even save the “dye” water to color the eggs themselves, or add to food later, too! Just heat the colored water to a boil, then drop the shelled egg in and let soak for a few minutes. When you’re done making eggy art, freeze the colored water in ice cube trays so you can use as much or as little as you like for various dishes, to spread out all that vinegar flavor!
Vinegar is a great substitute for lemon juice in smoothies to cut the “green” and “earthy” flavors from spinach and beets. So toss a few beets, carrots, cabbages, spinach, or juice water ice cubes into a smoothie. You can even toss in a cube of turmeric water while you’re at it!
The acidity of tomatoes will also mask vinegar, so you can use the onion or cabbage water to boil noodles or rice for a tomato sauce dish like MOMables Baked Pasta or sub for some water in a soup like MOMables Hearty Vegetable Soup or a minestrone that will have tomatoes in it!
Do you need a new allergy-friendly snack recipe?
I am always on the lookout for healthy, tasty, kid-friendly gluten-free crackers to add to our lunches. MOMables Cracker Stackers are an easy go-to staple around here, but they can get kind of expensive for a $5 store-bought box of gluten-free crackers, with only 12 unbroken ones.
I’m a somewhat mediocre baker (and by “mediocre,” I mean “incompetent”) and so anything homemade has to not only be tasty enough to bother with again, but easy enough that I’m willing! These crackers definitely fit the bill!
What is so great about MOMables is that you don’t have to be a master chef to produce wonderful snacks and lunches. Just like these gluten-free wheat thins, all of MOMables recipes are made for the working parents who want to provide fun and exciting yet nutritious lunches and snacks for their children without buying all that processed stuff. Join us here to get started with the weekly meal plan that gives you real food ideas! You can also sign up for our FREE weekly newsletter for even more ideas sent straight to your inbox!
This 1-bowl recipe is easy to make and easy to roll and cut, but hard to stop eating!
*You can substitute butter with coconut oil OR palm shortening, which will give them a slightly different flavor. Or I prefer to use 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil instead, and add an extra tablespoon or two of water (for 4 to 5 tablespoons total).
These have that slightly sweet and salty taste I remember from the brand-name crackers, but are very pasty-white looking, even with the brown rice flour. You can experiment with adding ground brown flax seed meal for some wheaty-looking flecks, or subbing in partial amounts of darker gluten-free flours. (You can also check out our regular wheat thins recipe here.)
Inspired by a recipe from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
Need real-food Valentine’s Day snack ideas? Here are 10 easy ones your kids will love.
Here at MOMables, we like to keep things simple and healthy. But once in a while, it’s okay to spend the extra time to make it fun! All you need are a few inexpensive and easy-to-find tools, and you can easily make a meal or snack fancy for Valentine’s Day! Need more lunch ideas and just a bit (or maybe a lot) of help getting school lunches planned? MOMables has you covered, come check it out!
Tools You’ll Need:
You can use a small cookie cutter to make heart-shaped mini sandwiches (made with whole-grain gluten-free bread and MOMables Sunflower Nutella), and sliced cheese, chewy granola bars, cucumber and bell pepper bites, and blood orange slices, and to help shape and remove the stems from strawberry halves. A small cookie cutter is a fun way to cut the core from apples sliced horizontally. Check out these tips on how to keep apples from browning.
You can cut baby carrots at an angle, then flip them and secure them with uncooked spaghetti noodles (after starting the hole with a toothpick). Or just use a toothpick or thin food pick, if the eater can be trusted with them!
A healthier alternative to frozen juice is using a heart-shaped ice mold to make your own Fruit Ice Cubes! Fun, healthy, and delicious!
What About the Scraps?
Other than just eating them on the spot, feeding them to a toddler or family dog, or tucking them under the shapes when you serve them, there are plenty of uses for scraps made from cookie-cutter cuteness.
Veggie scraps work great in a salad, sandwich wrap, or tossed in a soup or stir-fry. Fruit scraps can also work on a salad, or you can save them for a smoothie!
For sandwiches, I like to cut the bread first before adding the sandwich fillings so I can save the scraps for meatloaf, homemade bread crumbs or croutons, (1 cup torn scraps equals 1 slice of bread), or MOMables Frugal French Toast Sticks.
And meat and cheese scraps are still yummy in a quesadilla, grilled cheese pocket sandwiches, sandwich wraps, or on top of pizza!
Some Other Heart-y Ideas!
For the cookie cutters, any firm fruit will do. Apples, melons, and mangoes work well. And any vegetable wide enough for the cutter. You can slice larger carrots into vertical slabs to get large enough areas for a small cutter. You can even turn the heart-cored apples into MOMables apple sandwiches for a fun twist.
Any small oblong fruit or vegetable works well to turn into hearts, too. Grapes and small oval tomatoes can be sliced horizontally and secured with a toothpick or noodle to make hearts as well!
Bread for toast (broil on a pan in the oven for a few minutes on each side), pancakes, and waffles all work well with a cookie cutter. Heart-shaped crackers make a great snack (Gluten-Free Lunchbox Crackers and Homemade Cheese Crackers work well). Or make your own fun Cracker Stackers with heart-shaped deli meats and sliced cheeses!
Other healthy uses for the ice mold include Frozen Yogurt Bites, Frozen Cloud Bites, and frozen smoothie bites (check out these Chocolate Green Smoothie and Easy Strawberry Smoothie recipes from MOMables!)
The best part about holidays such as Valentine’s Day is that they give our family the opportunity to get in the kitchen together and have fun. There is nothing quite as cute as seeing my little ones get creative with their food. Their smiles are all I need!
Orange you glad that this is the perfect dessert for kids (and you)?
Okay, so I know you spend tons of time fretting over healthy lunches, dinners, and breakfasts for your kids, and of course you do an excellent job, but it’s okay to treat yourself and your kids to a little something sweet every once in a while! Here at MOMables, we are all about having fun with healthy and delicious foods; gotta’ keep it entertaining, right?
Why should the terms “treat” or “dessert” only apply to sugar-filled stuff? I love turning something healthy into a treat instead! Subscribe to the MOMables e-newsletter to have healthy ideas like these delivered right to your inbox!
These chocolate-covered orange segments are the perfect treat—yummy and EASY!
Most chocolate bars already contain an emulsifier, so you usually won’t need added oil or shortening. Chocolate chips and candy melts tend to be very thick, so they may not cover all three oranges without added oil to thin.
For some other healthy foods-turned-to-treats, check out these MOMables recipes:
Whether you “sneak” it in or not, adding vegetable puree into other dishes is a great and easy way to amp up the nutrition! But roasting a squash to add nutrition while cooking noodles and tomato sauce is a lot of work all at once! A better way is to prep a bunch of puree and then freeze it for when you need it!
What else do you need to know to make your kitchen life easier? MOMables has the answers, join us here!
What Veggies Work Best?
Depending on what your plans are for each veggie, there are different serving sizes you’ll want to freeze them in. I usually do 1 to 2 cups for squash, since they’re my dairy-free macaroni and cheese base. Sometimes I just need 1/2 cup to sub for the oil in a recipe or to add to pancake batter.
The easiest way is to cook and puree your chosen veggie(s) or veggie blend and then scoop 1 cup into a small zip-top baggie. Suck out the excess air with a straw, mark the portion size with a permanent marker, and then place that in a larger freezer bag. Once all your puree is prepped this way, label the outer bag with the contents (e.g. “SQUASH puree”) and freeze. Boom! Done!
Another option is to freeze in ice cube trays or muffin tins.
Most ice cube slots are approximately 1 ounce, and most muffin cups are 1/3 to 1/2 cup. I recommend silicone for this, versus plastic or metal. It’s much easier to remove frozen cubes or pucks to place in the larger freezer bag! And keep in mind that the lower the sugar content, the more it will stick!
To freeze using this method, portion out your puree into the cube trays or muffin pans and place in the freezer for about an hour. Then pop the frozen puree out and place in a large freezer bag. Try to lay them evenly in a single layer if possible. This prevents them from slightly thawing and re-freezing together (every time you open the door, stuff starts thawing!) Plus as an added bonus, a flatter bag stores more easily!
I Have A Freezer Full of Puree. Now What?
Some uses for veggie puree include adding to tomato sauces, adding to macaroni and cheese sauce, or using as a dairy-free “cheese” base, veggie nuggets, Cauliflower Bites, or Cauliflower Pizza Crust, and substituting for oil or adding to pancake, bread, cookie, or cake batter (chocolate cake and brownies are especially good at hiding veggie flavors!
Check out these MOMables posts for more ways to prep and freeze ahead to make mealtime easier!
Even though pasta tends to cook fairly quickly (boiling for 8 to 10 minutes), it actually takes longer than you’d think to complete it from start to finish. It often takes 10 or more minutes just to bring the water to a boil in the first place! Having pre-cooked noodles at the ready can not only save time, it also saves you from washing the same pot night after night and avoids having multiple pots going at once! Laziness pays off once in a while! Ha!
Plus, having cooked pasta in the freezer can help make lunch packing quicker and easier! Be sure to check out these MOMables tips for using frozen pasta dishes in lunches, and you can even sign up here to get menus delivered straight to your inbox!
Freezing Noodles 101
Step 1: Cooking the Noodles
When cooking noodles you plan to freeze, be sure to undercook slightly. Al dente is best and helps prevent mushiness when re-heating.
Step 2: Prepping the Noodles
After the cooked noodles are drained, be sure to toss with a little oil to prevent them from clumping up and sticking together.
There are three different ways to freeze them. The best way is to spread them flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet and “flash freeze” for 30 to 60 minutes before portioning into zip-seal baggies. (For longer noodles, pile them into small nests on the parchment-lined baking sheet.)
You can also portion the noodles into muffin tin cups, which works especially well for longer noodles.
The third option is to just put them into the baggies straight from the pot, but reheating them evenly is hardest when using this method. Try to spread them flat within the bags before freezing, rather than bunched at the bottom.
Step 3: Reheat
Noodles that were frozen spread out on a baking sheet can be tossed into skillet meals and such without any microwaving needed.
To reheat on the stovetop, bring enough water to cover the noodles to a boil (you won’t need as much water as used to boil them initially.) Drop in the frozen noodles, and cook for 30 seconds and check. If not thoroughly heated, cook in 15-second increments until done, and then drain. Do not overcook.
When reheating in the microwave, be sure to lay them in the container flat, to heat as evenly as possible. Cover the container lightly. You want the moisture to be retained, but you also need it to be able to vent a little. Cook for 60 to 90 seconds, rotating the dish halfway through if your microwave doesn’t have a turntable. If not warmed thoroughly, keep cooking in 15-second intervals until done.
If using in lunches, you can just pack the frozen noodles and some sauce or mix-ins, and they’ll thaw by lunchtime. Yum!
Do you use gluten-free noodles? Freezing gluten-free noodles has mixed results. They barely refrigerate and reheat well. Rice noodles do best, especially Tinkyada brand, and you’ll want to be sure to cook them just to al dente, maybe 2 minutes under the recommended cooking time. Then rinse with cool water when draining to halt the cooking process, and toss with a little oil, same as wheat noodles. To thaw, toss into boiling water just long enough to heat, then remove them immediately.
Gluten-free noodles frozen mixed with sauce tend to have the best results.
For more tips on what to do with leftovers or extras designed to be eaten over several meals, check out these MOMables tips on How to Store and Use Up Leftovers.
I’m pretty lazy—I mean “organized,” and find that having staples like rice pre-cooked and ready to go makes it easy to throw together a greater variety of healthy meals in a hurry instead of relying on packaged or fast foods.
I usually do one big batch every other weekend, then freeze it and pull some out as needed. Frozen rice is good for roughly 30 days, so if you had the time and the freezer space, you could even do it just once a month.
Subscribe to the MOMables menu plan for more ways to prep foods and dishes ahead to make lunch-packing easier!
Step 1: Cook the Rice
I usually do a blend of rice(s) and quinoa for a more nutritional punch (and I add the proper water ratio for the amount of each grain I’m cooking, and cook according to the instructions for the ingredient with the longest time). But for just regular rice, check out this MOMables post on How to Make Perfect Rice!
Step 2: Let the Rice Cool
Either in the fridge or *cough cough* in the pot forgotten and left on the stove until after the kids are in bed. Warm or hot rice tends to freeze into a big clump, and if you like your rice fluffy, you’ll want the granules to freeze separated.
Step 3: Portion and Freeze the Rice
I tend to portion into both snack-size and sandwich-size zip-top baggies, for both single-serve and single-meal-size options. Since those baggies are not freezer-safe, I then put those into a larger freezer bag. But don’t be afraid to portion into serving sizes right for your family.
Or when I’m feeling particularly frugal and eco-friendly, I portion and freeze the rice into a silicone muffin pan, and then put those pucks into a larger freezer bag. (I use silicone because it’s easy to get the frozen pucks out. No promises on metal ones.)
Either way, be sure to use a straw to suck out as much excess air as you can from all the baggies, and label at least the outer bag with the contents (including serving size[s] if applicable) and the date.
Step 4: Thaw and Reheat the Rice
Here are some MOMable tips on using frozen rice for school lunches.
I try to keep a baggie thawed in the refrigerator ready to go any time, but on days when I need a larger amount, or just plum forgot to grab a new one out of the freezer when I used up the last one, there are a few ways I thaw and cook the rice.
When I want the rice to add in a dish, I submerge a baggie of frozen rice in warm water, and let it sit, refreshing the water a few times when it gets too cold.
If I just want hot rice, I put it in a microwave-safe container, add a splash of water, and reheat it in the microwave, loosely covered. I cook it in 30-second increments, breaking apart and stirring between cooking, until hot.
For more tips on what to do with leftovers or extras designed to be eaten over several meals, check out these MOMables tips on How to Store and Use Up Leftovers.