12 Lunches You Can Pack in a Thermos

At the first sign of frost, it's time to whip out the thermoses and start filling them with as many hearty, warming lunches as possible.
By: Foodlets
Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

At the first sign of frost, it's time to whip out the thermoses and start filling them with as many hearty, warming lunches as possible. (Yes, that's right. You can put more than just drinks in those things.) I often rely on two categories of thermos-friendly dishes — pasta and soup — to get the job done. Read on to get some of my favorite recipes for both.


Kid-Friendly Pasta Salad (pictured above)

I love a dish like this one from The Pioneer Woman because it can be served at room temperature, which means there’s no need to fill the thermos with hot water in the morning.

15-Minute Homemade Mac and Cheese

Making fresh mac and cheese takes exactly the same amount of time as it does to make the stuff that comes in a box. Double the recipe and you’ll have lunches ready for the next day too.

Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy , 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

There are two secrets to sending pasta (successfully) in a thermos: using short pasta and adding enough sauce to keep every bite moist. This recipe from Giada De Laurentiis calls for both of those, and it has a 5-star rating and more than 400 fan reviews.

Spicy Pasta with Chicken, Spinach and Goat Cheese

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This dish is rich and flavorful with just enough good-for-you ingredients to pass as healthy. I made this for a moms lunch two years ago; my friends are still talking about it. #AnotherKeeper

Mock Risotto

Mock Risotto

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

"A combination of barley and brown rice [makes] this a hearty, no-fuss mock risotto," the chefs in Food Network Kitchen note. To keep this "risotto" creamy, just add a few tablespoons of boiling water to your thermos.


Taco Soup

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Any dish that comes with toppings kids can add at school is always a hit. Send chips and shredded cheese.

Tomato Soup with a Surprising Protein Boost

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Soup for lunch can tend to leave kids and adults alike hungry later in the day. That’s why I love the simple protein boost in our family’s favorite tomato soup recipe.

I’ve been making this chili for longer than I’ve even known my husband.

Minestrone Soup with Pasta, Beans and Vegetables

Minestrone Soup with Pasta, Beans and Vegetables: Robin Miller

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Want to find more ways to pack veggies into your family’s life? This soup is your first stop.

Parker's Split Pea Soup

Parker's Split Pea Soup

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Another Barefoot Contessa staple, this recipe makes such a big batch that I like to freeze half of it to pull out for lunches later on.

Slow-Cooker Potato Soup

What’s heartier than fully loaded potato soup? Send bacon bits and cheddar cheese, then prepare to see empty thermoses at the end of the day.

Super-Simple Broccoli Soup

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This is the easiest soup I’ve ever made, and it's my kids’ second-favorite way to eat broccoli (roasted will forever reign at No. 1.)

Charity Curley Mathews is the mother of four small thermos-toting kids and blogs at Foodlets.com: family recipes made faster, simpler, healthier and sometimes cuter.

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