Kid-Approved Lunches for the End of the School Year

You know you're counting down the days too.

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FNK_KidsCanMakeTurkeyAndBasilCreamCheesePinwheelSandwiches_H

Chef Name: Food Network KitchenFull Recipe Name: Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel SandwichesTalent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches, as seen on Foodnetwork.comProject: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTAShow Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network,Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTA Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network,Chef Name: Food Network KitchenFull Recipe Name: Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel SandwichesTalent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Network Kitchen’s Kids Can Make: Roasted Turkey and Basil Cream Cheese Pinwheel Sandwiches, as seen on Foodnetwork.comProject: Foodnetwork.com, SUMMER/APPETIZERS/PASTAShow Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

No one's buying new lunchboxes or sharing fun ideas for after-school snacks lately. My social feeds aren't filled with my friends' smiling kids heading to school.

Instead, we're all impatiently waiting for the pools to open. My mom friends and I are hoping our kids can focus just a little bit longer. My kids are tired of my PB&Js. I'm ready to be more lenient with bedtime.

We've got five days to go. I can do this.

I'm not saying, "You've packed over 500 lunches this year, so you should make the kids pack their own now," but you've packed over 500 lunches this year! On average, there are 180 days in the school year. While you're figuring out how many times you've zipped up your kid's lunchbox and put it by the front door so he wouldn't forget it, have him start washing some lettuce leaves. They'll add a fresh layer of flavor to these turkey-and-cream-cheese pinwheels, which keep perfectly in a lunchbox with an ice pack.

FN_FN Kitchens Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Homemade Frozen Chicken Fingers.tif

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Popping chicken fingers straight from the freezer into the oven is one of my favorite pastimes. So. Easy. Make a batch of these to keep on hand for busy weeknights as well as uninspiring mornings. Don't know what to put in that thermos today? These chicken fingers will be ready in the time it takes you to get your kids out of bed.

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

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

Ree Drummond knows a thing or two about feeding hungry kids, so follow her lead. This lunchbox-friendly salad features cubes of Cheddar, grape tomatoes and even bacon. The recipe calls for radiatore pasta, but go ahead and make whatever fun shape your kids love most.

10_Sesame_Noodle_053.tif

10_Sesame_Noodle_053.tif

Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

More pasta, yes, but I've never met a kid who doesn't like pasta — nor have I ever met a parent who doesn't appreciate a good make-ahead recipe. This hearty dish is best chilled, so make it the night before and pack straight from the fridge in the morning.

Black Bean and Corn Salad; Guy Fieri

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

This might not sound like your typical kid-friendly lunchbox fare, but pack it along with some tortilla chips and it's sure to be a hit. Grill a few extra ears of corn at dinner and you'll make the prep for this salad even easier.

Molly Yeh's Peanut Butter Krispy Rice Squares

The end of the school year is in sight! You, we mean, your kids deserve a treat — a 5-star crispy treat, to be exact. Molly Yeh's squares are better than the bake sale staple, as hers are made with a hefty dose of peanut butter, milk chocolate chips and sprinkles. We won't blame you if you save one for yourself.

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