Whilst my children aren’t at school yet, we are already well into lunchbox packing! If you’re anything like me it can be easy to get stuck in a rut, especially in winter! So I have 4 Winter Lunchbox Ideas featuring Pasta on the blog today. Because my kids LOVE pasta in its many shapes and forms!

I put my thinking cap on and hubby picked up my Click and Collect online order from Countdown with all the ingredients and I got cooking.

Winter isn’t so bad with these delicious lunch ideas to warm you up. There are so many specials on heaps of winter products right now at Countdown, make you look out for the yellow stickers online and instore.

A few notes before I get into it

  • My kids unfortunately don’t like onion so I haven’t included it in any dishes, but please do sauté onion and add it to where you feel its appropriate.
  • To save time you could always purchase premade options of cheese sauce, pasta sauce and teriyaki sauce from Countdown
  • I freeze pasta. Mic drop. I always cook extra pasta and freeze it. All you need to do is pour hot water over it to rehydrate it and heat it up. Game changer am I right?!
  • All of these dishes can be made the night before and reheated in the morning to put in insulated lunchbox options. I used these ones from Countdown

I hope you enjoy my child friendly, easily adaptable, affordable pasta lunchbox options.

Mac n Cheese with Bacon & Peas

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 250 grams Macaroni Pasta
  • 4 rashers of Bacon – I used streaky
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 ½ Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 ½ Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups Milk
  • Pinch Salt
  • 110 grams Cheese – I used Colby grates
  • 1 teaspoon Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta as per packet instructions. *OR use your precooked frozen pasta warmed up.
  2. While pasta is cooking cook bacon by heating oil in a frypan and cooking until browned on both sides. Chop once cooled slightly
  3. Now start the Cheese sauce.
  4. In a saucepan, Melt your butter. Add the flour and stir in for a minute or 2 with a wooden spoon to cook off the Flour. Now take the pan off the heat slowly and add ½ of your milk. Stir in the milk and add another ¼, if any lumps use a whisk. Put pack on the heat and gradually add the rest of your milk while stirring. You may not need the full 2 cups. Season with salt (and pepper if you desire, but my kids aren’t a fan so I leave it out). Turn the heat off and add ½ your cheese.
  5. Check your pasta and you can add your peas to the pasta to cook at the end. OR cook your peas separately in boiling water or in the microwave. Drain pasta and add the white sauce. Then the peas. Mix to combine.
  6. Add the bacon & top with cheese. Done!

Pasta Shells with Sausage ‘Meatballs’ & Cheese

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 250 grams Pasta Shells
  • 4 Sausages – I used beef and rosemary flavoured
  • 1 teaspoon Oil for frying
  • Garlic – 2 cloves or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato paste optional
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar/honey
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 Beef stock cube
  • Herbs (optionaI used oregano
  • Cheese to put on top of the dish I used Tasty

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta as per packet instructions *OR use your precooked frozen pasta warmed up.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil on a medium heat in a frypan.
  3. Squeeze your sausages out of the casing and roll to make “meatballs” OR just slice if you prefer. And add to the pan. Once nicely browned, add the garlic and cook, watch it as you don’t want the garlic to burn. Add the canned tomato, beef stock cube & tomato paste. Season with salt and sugar/honey & oregano if using. Simmer until reduced and tastes lovely – about 5 minutes should do it. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
  4. Serve the sauce over the pasta and topped with grated cheese!

Creamy Chicken w/ Pasta Bow Ties & Broccoli

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken thighs – boneless skinless cut into small pieces easy for kids to eat
  • 300 mls Cream
  • 250 grams Pasta bow ties
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • ½ teaspoon Oil
  • Garlic – 2 cloves or 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped Oregano – optional

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta as per instructions *OR use your precooked frozen pasta warmed up.
  2. Add butter & Oil to a frypan on a medium heat and cook the chicken thighs.
  3. When cooked add the garlic and cook gently so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Add the cream and salt and oregano
  5. Steam the broccoli
  6. Drain the pasta, mix through the sauce and broccoli and serve.

Teriyaki Chicken w/ Udon Noodles & Edamame

Ingredients

  • Medium Hot Roast Chicken I used 1/3 of the chicken.
  • 2 packs of Udon Noodles
  • 1/3 pack of Edamame found in the frozen department
  • Sesame seeds as garnish
  • Salt

Teriyaki sauce

  • Sugar /
  • Mirin
  • Soy

Instructions

  1. Make teriyaki sauce by combining all ingredients in a pot over a medium heat and simmering until sugar has dissolved. About 3 minutes.
  2. Cut your chicken and shred with a fork or your hands.
  3. Cook your udon noodles as per packet instructions.
  4. Put your noodles into your serving containers and top with chicken pieces from your hot chicken, then top with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds
  5. Serve with warmed salted edamame on the side