This week’s Friday Featured Giveaway is brought to you from Sara Lee Deli, a brand I first got to know better during the summer of 2009 on an educational trip to the Sara Lee Kitchens outside of Chicago. During that trip I was inspired to build a better lunch for my daughter who was beginning kindergarten that fall, and I even had the honor of sharing some of the Sara Lee tips with the local media upon my return to Maryland.
Last weekend another lucky mom had the pleasure of learning more about lunch thanks to Sara Lee Deli and the What’s Your Lunchtime Challenge contest. Jenn Christofferson of St. Louis met with celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli to learn how to make meals more interesting in response to Jenn’s struggle to make lunches her kids will eat. We’ve all been in that situation!
As part of the fun, Sara Lee deli is allowing me to award five Resourceful Mommy winners each two full value coupons good for Sara Lee Deli product. (prize value up to $19 per winner).
To Enter to Win
1. Simply comment below letting me know your biggest lunch time challenge! That’s it!
This contest is open to residents of the U.S. 18 years or older. One entry per person. Contest ends Friday, January 21st at 11:59 p.m. ET
Interested in great recipes and tips for your own family? Scroll down to check out what Chef Alex recommends!
Friday Giveaway Link-Up
Are you hosting a contest on your blog? Link to your post here to share the information with Resourceful Mommy readers:
Alex’s tips for Jenn and her friends:
- Make lunch with your child! They will feel an extra amount of pride and connectedness to their food when they open their lunchboxes.
- Use cookie cutters (they also sell jigsaw puzzle shapes) and two different kinds of breads to make multi-colored sandwiches (and sneak in the extra benefits of a whole-grain bread) that add a visually amusing factor to a healthy lunch sandwich. Don’t have cookie cutters? Use shapes from anything already in your kitchen to cut sandwiches, for example, a glass or small cup for round shapes.
- To me, sandwiches are their own food group in American culture and we have plenty of ingredients to celebrate. One of my favorite tricks is to add one component of “assembly” for your child. My favorite? Stack the various sandwich fillings like Sara Lee Fresh Ideas deli meat and veggies neatly and wrap squarely in plastic wrap or a reusable container. In tinfoil, or another container, wrap the two halves of the bread (or roll) open-faced. That way, your child can unwrap the fillings and just slip them into the bread (or roll) and really enjoy a fresh, (unsoggy) sandwich.
- Pack your lunch to eat at work at the same time you pack your children’s lunch. Having your children see that they are all sharing the same meal brings families closer to lunchtime at school.
- Have a child that will only eat certain foods? Try mixing up the delivery method. For example, if your child only likes cheese, try wrapping a piece of cheese filled will ingredients such as Sara Lee Fresh Ideas turkey or ham and a thinly sliced carrot stick as fun way to introduce some new foods to your child’s repertoire. Also, a fun name, or incorporating your child’s favorite storybook hero, can sometimes help parents overcome the barrier.
- Try packing tea sandwiches in your child’s lunch for a fun twist on their regular sandwich. What I love is that the sandwiches can take any direction according to your personal taste and can be filled with whatever fillings your child likes. It’s a fun twist on their regular sandwich and what child doesn’t like finger food?
- Roasted vegetables are always so delicious and have a deeper flavor that your children will remember as they build their own palates through childhood. Roast some peeled carrots, small mushrooms or zucchini strips and wrap them (chilled) with your favorite Sara Lee Fresh Ideas deli meat and/or cheeses for a lighter (but still creative) lunchtime meal.
- As an adult, I still respond to food more when it has a little twist involved. Making little “kebabs” with some cubed vegetables, cheese and Sara Lee Fresh Ideas deli meat can be a great way to make lunch fun and healthy to eat. The kebabs work great with various seasonal fruits, too. Try pineapple or grapes for an easy choice or add plums and melon when it is in season. If you have some extra time, try one with some cubed apple roasted in the oven with some cinnamon and honey (discolored raw fruits won’t be appealing). Avoid lunchbox surprises by exposing your child at home first to make sure it’s familiar before packing it for lunch.
- On a weekend or day off, take your child out to a local Farmer’s Market and wander around with them, exploring different seasonal fruits and vegetables. I have found the personal connection between farmers, what they grow and your children can actually make a difference in how your child feels about fresh ingredients. Bringing together ingredients like tomatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables with a slice of Sara Lee Deli Turkey or a piece of Sara Lee Deli Ham to make a delicious combination. When you introduce your children to these ingredients in a special way that is memorable as a family activity and as a place that shows you value wholesome ingredients, you would be surprised how it can change your child’s view of food, one lettuce leaf at a time!
Alex’s recipes for Jenn and her family:
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Cheese Biscuits with Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Turkey and Ham Centers
Makes about 24 biscuits
If you don’t have time to make your own biscuits, a pre-packaged biscuit flour or refrigerated biscuit dough works great as well. Simply follow the package directions and add cheese, turkey and ham. Get your kids involved by having them help roll out the dough and filling the biscuits once baked.
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus some additional for rolling
1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 ½ cups heavy cream
½ cup grated, sharp cheddar cheese (or cheddar or Swiss slices cut into strips and chopped up)
1 slice Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Honey Ham for each biscuit
1 slice Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Oven Roasted Turkey for each biscuit
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Sifting not only assures that the dry ingredients will be free of lumps but also mixes them together.
- Add the cream and cheese to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix together the wet and dry ingredients. Take care there is not remaining flour in the bottom of the bowl.
Note: If using pre-made dough unroll and start the recipe by rolling out the dough and adding the cheese.
- Turn the biscuit mixture onto a lightly floured flat surface and with floured hands, pat the biscuit mix down until it is about 1-inch thick.
Note: if the outside edges start to show cracks, cup the outer edge with your hands and push the dough towards its own center.
- Pat the edges so the dough is a 1-inch square. Lightly flour a knife (to avoid sticking as you cut) and slice the biscuits into 1 ½ inch by 1 ½ inch squares. This way, you won’t make scraps and all will be used.
- Arrange the biscuits (with some distance between each) on a non-stick baking sheet or one layered with a sheet of parchment. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to all for “resting” time before baking.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they start to brown lightly. Remember the biscuits will continue to cook even after they are removed from the oven.
- Hollow a hole in the bottom (is the hole in the middle?) of each biscuit and insert a few slices of turkey or ham (rolled up) in the centers. Arrange them on a serving platter.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Hidden Treasures with Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Honey Ham and Colby Cheese
Kids love fun twists when they open their lunch. Turning a sandwich on its head by hiding a filling you know they will like can make lunch more exciting.
1 whole wheat bun
2-3 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Honey Ham
2 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Colby Cheese
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
- Use a knife to cut a large hole out of the bottom of the roll. Remove the bottom piece and reserve it.
- Hollow out the center and remove some of the “bread” interior from the center of the sandwich.
- Place the ham and cheese in a “stack” on a flat surface. Mix together the mustard and the applesauce and spread it over the ham and cheese.
- “Stuff” the ham and cheese into the bun through the hole in the bottom and put the piece of reserved bread back into place. That way, it’s like a hidden treasure. You can only see inside when you bite into it.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Turkey and Swiss Pinwheels
I like this recipe because it makes a sandwich more fun to eat. Substitute ham and cheddar for the same effect.
Makes 1 sandwich
3 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
3 slices Sara Lee Swiss cheese
1 medium tomato, washed and thinly sliced
1 large slice bread (preferably sourdough or rye)
- Place the slices of turkey on a cutting board. Top each, uniformly, with a slice of Swiss cheese.
- Roll each one into a tight roll and “press” closed.
- Cut each turkey “roll” into 1/2 inch rounds.
- On the bread, arrange a few slices of the tomato and top with a single layer of the turkey “pinwheels” lengthwise.
- Wrap the sandwich up as is so your child can see your handiwork.
- Instruct them to enjoy it open-faced, as is, or to fold in half and eat like a regular sandwich!
*If not eating this as an open-face sandwich, please align pinwheels to left or right of bread and fold.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Tea Sandwiches
Makes 32 small sandwiches
What child doesn’t like finger food? What I love is that a recipe like this can take any direction according to your personal taste and the sandwiches can be filled with whatever fillings your child likes. Choose your bread. Toast the bread only if you like or skip that step and get right to filling the sandwiches!
8 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Ground black pepper
4 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Honey Ham
2 teaspoons grainy mustard
4 slices provolone cheese
4 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Oven Roasted Turkey
4 romaine spears, finely chopped
4 slices Sara Lee Swiss cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Drizzle the bread with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place the tray in the center of the oven and cook, undisturbed, until the bread is light brown.
- Remove from the oven and arrange 4 slices of bread on a flat surface.
- Top two slices of the bread with 2 slices each of ham, a touch of grainy mustard and then the provolone cheese. That way, the mustard is trapped in between the layers and won’t make the bread soggy. Top each with another slice of the bread and cut into four wedges each. Repeat the same process with the remaining bread layering turkey, romaine and Swiss cheese.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Oven Roasted Turkey and Grilled Vegetables
These vegetables are delicious hot off the grill or, if easier, roasted in the oven on a baking sheet until they are tender. They make a “salad” or packed lunch that has more flavor and recreation than a salad made with greens. Use whatever vegetables your child likes or use it as an opportunity to introduce them to some new flavors.
2 green zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices
2 yellow zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices
1 pint cherry tomatoes
¼ cup basil leaves, stemmed, washed and dried
Zest and juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Oven Roasted Turkey
- Mix the slices of zucchini and tomatoes with olive oil
- Spread the veggies on the grill and grill until tender
Note: Veggies can also be spread on a baking sheet and roasted at 425 degrees until tender
- Mix the veggies with basil leaves, the zest and juice from the lemon.
- Wrap the slices of turkey around the vegetables and serve.
Alternatively, slice the turkey and toss with the vegetables for a more casual salad.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Ham and Cheese Omelet Sandwich
Who says sandwiches have to be for lunch only? Pressed for time in the morning, make this the night before and refrigerate. Pop it in the microwave on your way out the door in the morning and your kids get a hot breakfast that goes beyond cereal. Or if the kids are home from school, add a little variety to the lunchtime routine and serve breakfast for lunch
3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 slices of your favorite Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Ham, cut into strips
2 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Swiss cheese, cut into strips
Bread, roll or English muffin
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and yolk, water and salt. Don’t whip too much or make them frothy.
- Place a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Swirl the butter around as it melts so it coats the whole surface of the pan.
- When the butter is melted (but not browned), lower the heat and pour in the egg mixture. Use a fork to stir the eggs slightly, as if you were scrambling them. Then, allow the eggs to cook, undisturbed for about 15-30 seconds.
- Sprinkle the ham and Swiss over the eggs.
- Lift the handle of the pan up, tilting the pan away from you and towards the heat. This tilting should cause the omelet to slide down in the pan a little. Fold the edge closest to you towards the center. Fold the other edge towards the center and tilt the pan over the center of a plate so it lands, seam side down. Serve immediately on your favorite bread, roll or English muffin or let cool. Refrigerate, heat up and serve the next day.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Honey Turkey and Swiss Sandwich
I love the added touch that a sprinkle of salad dressing can add to a sandwich. It makes me feel like I am in a real deli! If you don’t have time to make the dressing, simply use your child’s favorite store-bought dressing. Either put it in a separate container for your child to put on the sandwich just before eating (a little container can make it even more fun) or put it on between the meat and the cheese so the bread doesn’t get soggy before lunchtime.
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 “dash” dried oregano
1 kaiser roll, split (or use your child’s favorite sandwich bread)
½ cup shredded romaine leaves
2-3 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Honey Turkey Breast
2 thick slices beefsteak tomato
2 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Baby Swiss Cheese (or use your child’s favorite cheese)
- In a small bowl, mix together the red wine vinegar, olive oil and oregano. Stir to blend.
- Arrange the lettuce on the bottom of the roll or bread and lay the turkey meat over the lettuce. If putting the dressing on in advance, sprinkle over the turkey. Top with the tomato and then the slices of cheese. Close the sandwich with the top of the roll or bread. Alternatively, put the dressing in a container on the side and have your child sprinkle it on just before eating.
Alex Guarnaschelli’s Sara Lee Fresh Ideas® Roast Beef and Cheddar Cheese Rollups
I this idea because this can be easily converted into a snack served in the afternoon or a sandwich by placing them between slices of bread. If your kids don’t like roast beef, this recipe also works great with oven-roasted turkey!
4 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Roast Beef
1 medium pickle, sliced into thin rounds
4 slices Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Cheddar Cheese
4 sturdy (and not sharp) toothpicks
If your child doesn’t like pickles, Alex suggests:
- Carrot stick
- Apple stick
- Pretzel rod
- Red bell pepper slice
- Lay the four slices of roast beef, side by side, on a flat surface. Layer a few slices of pickle on each. Top each one with a slice of cheddar cheese. Roll each one tightly and secure in the center with a toothpick.
- Serve with sliced carrots or celery on the side for a little crunchy element.