“You have to put this on your blog, Mom!”
Once again my daughter’s enthusiasm disrupts my planned recipe posts. When I fixed Barley Chicken Pilaf for June’s week of lunches a couple weeks ago, she raved about it each day after school that week. Ok, I hear you June!
Hot Lunch Rituals
Building on the theme of healthy lunches from last week, Barley Chicken Pilaf is an example of the type of hot lunch that my husband and daughter bring to work and school.
Jake and I take Sunday afternoons to cook food for the week. We always make a special dish that’s just for hot lunches. Nothing complicated, we just alternate grains, proteins, and seasonings each week for interest. Creating a specific lunch dish for the week is a very calming ritual for me.
Barley Chicken Pilaf meets the 3 criteria that Jake and June agree make the ideal hot lunch to go:
- Stays compactly on the spoon when scooped
- Doesn’t give off a strong odor
- Not too splashy or staining (says hubby with the sadly ruined ties!)
I love that June enjoys a hot school lunch. Thermos meals make it easy to include lots of veggies and fiber-filled, non-processed whole grains like barley, farro, and quinoa. A hot nutritious lunch means June is building a habit of a substantial, satisfying midday meal. I also appreciate how quick it is to simply scoop reheated food into her thermos each morning.Open Here for more about my hot lunch prep for work and school
Thermos Instructions: Pour boiling water into the thermos, cap it, and let it sit for at least 5-10 minutes. Next, reheat lunch food for about 3 minutes, or until steaming hot. Then, empty hot water out of the thermos and fill with the reheated food. June’s food is still hot after 5 hours in the thermos.
Jake’s Work Lunch
Jake uses lock-seal glass containers , which vent to easily reheat in the microwave. He often tops whatever hot lunch he has with extra frozen veggies, like frozen chopped spinach. By lunchtime, the spinach will have thawed and he can easily reheat the whole thing in the microwave.
Barley Chicken Dinner
Of course Barley Chicken Pilaf makes a tasty and simple dinner food too! I’ve served it over a bed of cooked frozen chopped spinach for extra veggies. If you add broth to the finished pilaf, you can even transform it into a barley soup. We love the comforting texture of barley and interesting flavor blend of fennel with basil sauce.