Liven Up The Lunch Box

Noodle With Pasta

Pasta Lunches

There's nothing wrong with packing leftover pasta and tomato sauce in a thermos, says Melissa Barlow, author of Noodlemania! 50 Playful Pasta Recipes, but it's not as exciting as these easy recipes!

Nutty Noodles
In a saucepan, whisk 1/2 cup no-salt-added chicken broth, 2 Tbs. peanut butter, and 1 Tbs. reduced-sodium soy sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Cook a 3-oz. pkg. ramen noodles (discard seasoning pack) and stir in 2 Tbs. each sweet red-pepper strips and halved sugar snap peas. Drain noodles; add to sauce. Split between two thermoses or save half. (302 calories, 15g fat)

Sneaky Spaghetti
Combine 1 1/2 cups cooked leftover spaghetti squash with 3 Tbs. marinara sauce in a thermos. Pack 2 Tbs. shredded Parmesan cheese separately for your child to sprinkle on top. (131 calories, 4g fat)

Cheesy Ravioli
Cook 1/2 cup mini cheese ravioli according to pkg. directions, adding 2 Tbs. chopped carrot to the boiling water. A minute before it's done, add 2 Tbs. fresh or frozen corn kernels. Drain and toss with 1 tsp. olive oil. Serve warm in a thermos or chill. (273 calories, 8g fat)

Bird's Nest
Toss 3/4 cup cooked whole-grain angel-hair pasta with 2 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. fresh basil slivers. Use a fork to twist the center of the pasta mixture until it starts to form a mound. Transfer to a round storage container. Spread apart in the center. Add a few halved cherry or grape tomatoes around the edge and tiny fresh mozzarella balls in the center. (229 calories, 13g fat)

Bow-Tie Pasta Salad
Combine 2 Tbs. plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. milk, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/8 tsp. dried dill, salt, and pepper. Stir into 3/4 cup cooked pasta; 1/4 cup frozen peas, thawed; 1/4 cup chopped celery; and 1/2 oz. reduced-fat cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes. (208 calories, 6g fat)

Originally published in the September 2013 issue of Parents magazine.

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