"Monkey Packs" * Bento Lunches for Busy Parents!

We know how hard it is for busy parents to put together a healthy, nutritious, and tasty lunch for their kids everyday! For those of us whose Daycare or Preschool do not provide lunches, it can be a bit of a struggle to come up with new and interesting lunches all the time.

This is for those of you who want to give their kids a good lunch, without giving their kids a "sammy" everyday, and do not have time or skill to create a panda bear out of an orange!

We have a "toddler" aged kiddo and a "pre-school" aged kiddo. The toddler goes to a peanut-free school and the pre-schooler has free reign. Neither child has any allergies of their own, so if your child does, please watch out for the things your child should avoid!

Mexican Flatbread "Pizza"

5 Whole Wheat Flatbread (store bought)
1 can fat free refried beans
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
1 medium can sliced black olives

Lay the flatbreads out and smear a healthy portion of the beans on each one. Microwave each for around 30 seconds to heat evenly. Sprinkle cheese on each one and then place olives on top. Place in preheated 400º oven for 5-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. Cut into quarters.

This is a super easy and yummy meal! My son just LOVES them.

Corn Dog Muffin Recipe:

2 boxes "Jiffy" corn muffin mix
6 all meat hot dogs (we like to use Ball Park all white turkey)
1 TBSP brown sugar
2 eggs
1½ cups milk
1 can of corn

Preheat oven to 400º. Lightly grease muffin tins or use muffin liners.
Cut the hot dogs into pieces. I like to cut them into small pieces so there is some hot dog in every bite!
Mix the cornbread mix and brown sugar together in a large bowl.
Whisk the eggs and milk together until smooth.
Fold the egg/milk mixture into the dry mix until moistened.
Add the hot dogs and corn and mix well.
Add the mixture to the muffin pan until each is 2/3 full.
Bake for 12 - 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

**These make 18 muffins! I freeze them and then I can pull out however many I need at a time! It works great.

Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't carry these cute little nibble trays anymore. They do have the Gerber Graduates Mealtime Organizer available. They work really well for lunches like ours, they just aren't as cute as the pineapple one!

Macaroni & Cheese Muffins

2 cups elbow macaroni
1 TBSP butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1½ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni. It should still be a bit al dente. Drain. Return to the pan and stir in the butter and egg until evenly coated. Reserve ½ cup of the Cheddar and stir in the remaining cheese, mozzarella cheese and milk. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and breadcrumbs over the tops.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan.

*This makes 12 regular sized muffins and can be frozen!

See above for the Corn Dog Muffin recipe!


1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pizza Dough
Jar Pizza Sauce (any kind)
2 cups Shredded Pizza Cheese
1 package Pepperoni

Pre-heat oven to 400º. Grease a muffin tin. Roll out the pizza dough. Spread sauce over entire dough surface. Sprinkle cheese and add pepperoni. You could put any toppings you like!  Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Cut 8 - 10 even slices, kind of like if you were making cinnamon rolls. Stuff each slice into a muffin section. Bake for around 20 minutes. Keep in mind you will need to bake these longer than the dough package says because there is dough on the inside of each muffin that needs to be fully cooked. Once done, remove from oven and allow to sit for 3 or 4 minutes. These are awesome straight out of the oven but you can also freeze them so you have an easy lunch later on!

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