Building a Fun Lunch Box – Chicken Parmesan Fingers with Tomato Dipping Sauce

Building a Fun Lunch Box – Chicken Parmesan Fingers with Tomato Dipping Sauce

Chicken Nuggets are a kid’s favorite. In this recipe, I have spiced up chicken by making Chicken Parmesan using chicken tenders. Instead of ketchup, we use a simple tomato sauce for dipping. Make this as dinner the night before and you have dinner and lunch taken care of! How easy is that?

Lunch Box Fixings:

  • Chicken Parmesan Fingers (recipe follows)
  • Tomato Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Pear
  • Beet Chips


Chicken Parmesan Fingers

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 pound-1.5 pounds Chicken Tenders
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs –Plain
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs- beaten
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  2. Prep Chicken:
  • Place each of the following into separate shallow bowls in the below order
  • Bowl #1: Beat 2 Eggs and leave in bowl
  • Bowl #2: Add Panko Bread Crumbs, Parmesan Cheese, and ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper (or to taste).

3. Line 2 baking sheets with either a Silicon Mat or tin foil. This prevents sticking and helps in clean up.

4. Take each piece of chicken and dip it individually into Bowl#1 and then Bowl #2. Place each piece of chicken on a baking sheet.

5.  Transfer chicken in the oven for 30 minutes or until done and lightly brown.

Tomato Sauce

Servings: 10

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup white vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, torn


  1. Using a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds being careful to not brown it. Stir in the wine and tomatoes. Bring to a low boil and then turn down to a simmer for 5 minutes. Season with sea salt and red pepper flakes, if using. When the sauce is done stir in torn basil.

How to build a fun lunch box that your kids will love! – Homemade Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard

Most kids love chicken nuggets. I am not preferential to store bought nuggets for a multitude of reasons but I think they are great when homemade. Here is a quick and easy recipe for chicken nuggets that your kids will love. My son couldn’t stop telling everyone at school how his mom made him chicken nuggets. He was so proud and I am sure yours will be too!

Best Lunch Box Recipes – Mini build your own Tacos

Best Lunch Box Recipes - Build your own Tacos

It’s back to school time again. As buy and we go out all the prerequisite back to school supplies, lunch is always at the top of the list. We are all looking for easy and creative ways to fill our kid’s lunch boxes so that they will eat everything. This year, I wanted to create some fun lunch box ideas that are built on some kid favorite foods. So, this week’s feature is a simple build your own taco lunch. In this recipe, I use beef but these tacos can easily be made with chicken, turkey or tofu. To make it even easier on you, I recommend making the taco meat the night before for dinner and use it to feed your family tacos, burritos or taco salad and then use the leftovers for lunch the next day. I bet even the adults will want to take this to work!

Rotisserie Chicken Vietnamese Sandwich (Banh Mi)

I was taken with the July 2012 cover of Sunset Magazine for Northern California. It pictured a Grilled Chicken Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich), which looked divine not to mention perfect for a warm summer night’s dinner. Thinking that this one might be a tricky one to get my son to eat, I thought about all the fun and interesting ingredients, which make up the sandwich and realized that by serving the sandwich deconstructed, he could choose, what he would eat and then maybe, just maybe he would like it.

Voila! It worked. To make meal prep much easier on myself, I used some left over rotisserie chicken instead of grilling some new chicken. When all was said and done, this meal comes together in 15 minutes. Pretty crazy don’t you think for something so exotic?

Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pie

I have fond memories of Chicken Pot Pie as a child. My mom would buy them from this fabulous bakery when she didn’t have time to cook after work. There was something about getting my own individual pie that was so exciting and comforting to me as a kid. I have spent many years perfecting this recipe while also making it a more contemporary take on chicken pot pie with fresh organic ingredients. Make this as a whole pie or follow my recipe for four individual pies. Just use 4-inch ramekins or mini pie dishes.

Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

I grew up eating Eggplant Parmesan. This is my Mother’s recipe but with my twist to make it healthier. In my version of Eggplant Parmesan, I bake my eggplant instead of frying it. By doing this it gives the eggplant the same consistency without all the fat. As with any Eggplant Parmesan recipe, it can be repetitive and time consuming but also by baking it, the time is cut in half.

Building a Fun Lunch Box – Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

Teriyaki Chicken Lunch

I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t love the sweet and salty taste of Teriyaki. So, this week, we will focus on an Asian inspired lunch box with fun to eat and dip skewers, sweet and tangy fruit and salty Japanese rice sticks. To make your life easy, make the chicken using my Ginger Soy Chicken Thigh recipe the day before and eat it for dinner while reserving some as leftovers for the next day’s lunch. Both parents and kids will love this lunch the next day.

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant

Pasta with Italian Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes and Eggplant

At first bite, my son turned to me and said, “This is sooo yummy!”- a resounding approval that I don’t hear very often unless he is really impressed. He even asked that he have it in his lunch. So you have heard it from the mouth of babes… not only is this dish perfect for a family dinner but for lunch too!

How to build a fun lunch box that your kids will love! – Italian

This will be the last in my series of fun lunch box ideas for kids for a while. In this weeks lunch box I made Spinach Tortellini. The best part of making tortellini is that there is a seemingly endless array of healthy stuffed tortellini’s you can buy and there are endless healthy sauces you can make. In this recipe, I use my traditional tomato sauce, but I recommend checking out my website for my Broccoli Rabe Pesto, Kale Pesto and other sauces that would be great for lunch.

Halibut with Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce en Papillote

Cooking en Papillote may sound fancy but it is one of the simplest and healthiest ways to cook. “En Papillote” means cooking in paper. All you need are basic lunch sized paper bags. What I love about this method is that it seals in the flavors and juices of what you are making. What my son loves is that it is like getting a present at mealtime. This is a super kid friendly dish, mild with flavor but rich with taste. If you think that your child will not respond to the peppers, tomatoes and onions sliced, I suggest that you blend the sauce prior to placing it over the fish in the bag. The blended sauce will look like any other tomato sauce and it will taste the same as if it were not blended. This recipe would also work well with swordfish or shark.

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