It’s that time of year when, if you’re like me, you’ve been tired of packing lunches for awhile now. We’ve got about 5 months of school left. So, you might also be looking for something new and SIMPLE to add to your lunch list? I know I am!
Do you want to simplify packing lunches? Try making a Master Lunch List.
What do I mean by a lunch list? Anna and I are both fans of keeping a list of all the lunch items we pack. We call it our Master Lunch List. We write out all the entrees, sides and fruit and veggie ideas we pack. When we can’t think of anything to pack, or we’re doing our weekly meal planning we can refer to our list for ideas. And we periodically add new items to the list – like the Easy Baked Beans recipe in this post!
Another Tip To Streamline Packing Lunches
Another way we like to streamline packing lunches is to plan ahead and make 1-2 dinners with enough for leftovers. For example, I’ll make a bigger batch of pasta with pesto and send the leftovers for lunch the next day or 2. Or, I’ll cook something I can use for lunches while I’m cooking dinner. I might make my easy black beans to use for lunches and snacks while I’m cooking something else for dinner – especially on a weekend when I have some extra time.
A note on this photo: I don’t always buy organic beans. This is what I happened to buy this time. Sometimes I buy non-organic. It often comes down to what I grab off the shelves. I also buy different brands of canned beans.
Easy baked bean leftovers make a great thermos lunch for school.
Recently, I’ve rediscovered baked beans as an easy lunch entrée. I used to send heated, canned baked beans for my older daughter when she was in elementary school, but for some unknown reason, I stopped. Maybe she told me she was tired of them? Maybe it was because I knew my younger daughter didn’t like baked beans and I didn’t want to be making two different lunches. Who knows! But I do know it’s been a long time since baked beans have been on my Master Lunch List.
The recipe is the epitome of SIMPLE! Minimal chopping, opening cans and adding ingredients to a pot and voila! My mother-n-law gave me the recipe for these baked beans and the word is her mother used to make them. I made a number of changes to the original recipe, like using fewer onions, adding extra beans, using dark brown sugar instead of light brown, using tomato puree instead of ketchup, and draining the beans.
Sometimes, I make a double batch and freeze some to use during an especially busy week. They work well served on their own or over rice. They also work well as a side dish for many meals. And the leftovers are scrumptious heated and sent in a thermos for lunch!
Just Keep Offering!
Caroline, my 15 year old, has always LOVED these beans. Ellie, my 12 year old never ate these – until just recently. We were at my in-laws and Ellie mentioned how much she loved the beans and asked if I’d please make them to put in lunches. Hooray! She’s been exposed to these beans since she was a baby and had never liked them. Just this morning, out of curiosity, I asked Ellie about the beans. She said, “Oh, I had baked beans at sleep away camp this past summer and they were great! So when we had them at Nana and PopPop’s, I tried them and loved them even more than the ones at camp.” Hearing this was somewhat of a relief, because it’s evidence I’m raising her to be able to make do with what’s available. It’s also a reminder to “just keep offering!”
When I asked what Ellie was in the mood for in her lunches this week, she said “baked beans!” Great–because I made 3 batches this week testing this recipe!
Are you looking for more tips to simplify your lunch packing routine?
Do you find yourself wondering how you can simplify your lunch packing routine? We’re putting our tried and true formula down in an e-book to share with you! Would you like to be one of the first to know when it’s available to purchase? Click here now!Print
Easy Baked Beans
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small onions, chopped
1 15 oz can baked beans (I use vegetarian baked beans but you can use regular)
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can white beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
1 ⅓ cup water
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon dry mustard ( or 1 tablespoon dijon mustard)
½ cup tomato puree (or ketchup)
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Chop the onion and garlic. Add olive oil to a dutch oven placed over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pan and sauteé for 5-7 minutes.
- While the garlic and onion are cooking, gather together the rest of the ingredients.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Add all the ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat under the beans.
- Place a lid on the pan and put them in a 350 F oven for 1 ½ hours. Stir twice during the hour and a half.
- Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Take the lid off and allow the beans to cool for a bit before serving.
- Allow to cool and store the leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
These also freeze well if you want to make a double batch.