During my baking marathon last Saturday, I was so excited to get a quick, grab-and-go lunch stocked in the freezer. Once school starts, it will just be my husband, our 3 year old and me eating lunch at home. Figuring out what to make for the three of us for lunch has been tricky for me.
If it were just my daughter and me, we’d eat a lot of salads with chick peas (her current favorite food). If it were just my husband and me, we’d punt and just grab whatever was on hand. But for some reason, the three of us eating lunch together makes me feel like I need to plan an actual meal of sorts. Maybe that will change after a few weeks though.
In addition to the three of us eating at home, lunches for school is also a concern. Most days, the 3 kids at school will be eating one of the school’s hot lunch options (or their third option of tossed salad with beans, yogurt and whole wheat rolls – love that!) But if this year proves to be anything like last, there will still be many days when they opt to bring lunch from home. That is just fine with me. So having a few options in the freezer that can be tossed in lunch boxes to thaw by lunch time sounds like a great plan to me, especially given how worried I already am about the hectic mornings ahead after the baby is born.
Using the same dough I did to make the Chicken & Broccoli Rolls, I threw together 2 dozen easy lunch options. I actually made 1 dozen ham & cheese and 1 dozen just cheese, or “grilled cheese pockets” as I called them for the kids. We’ve since sampled them and decided that we definitely prefer the ham and cheese pockets because the ham adds just enough extra flavor and texture. Although personally, I could happily eat all of those grilled cheese pockets myself. I mean, it’s cheese and bread. What could possibly be wrong with those two together? (I’m also the only one in the house who could eat a straight-up cheddar cheese sandwich, so maybe that explains it a little.)
Ham & Cheese Pockets
For the dough:
- 1 T. (or 1 packet) yeast
- 1 c. warm water, divided
- 1 t. sugar
- 1/4 c. melted butter, cooled to room temperature
- 2 1/2 – 3 c. flour
- 1 1/2 t. salt
1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 warm water. Stir in the sugar and let sit to proof for 5 minutes. Pour in the melted and cooled butter and the remaining warm water.
2. Add 2 c. flour and the salt. Mix for two minutes. Work in as much remaining flour as needed to make a dough that is smooth but not sticky. Knead on a floured surface or continue beating for about 10 minutes. Add a bit more flour if the dough starts to get sticky while kneading.
3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour. Punch down dough, cover and let rise for at least another 30 minutes.
For the filling:
- 1/2 lb. sliced deli ham
- 1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, sliced (we prefer sharp cheddar)
- 3 T. butter or margarine, melted (optional)
- 1 t. coarse salt (optional)
1. Divide dough into 12 evenly sized balls. Roll out into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Place some ham and cheese on one half of the dough. Fold the remaining half over the top. Pinch closed and then seal with the tines of a fork. Repeat until done.
2. If desired, brush melted butter over each pocket and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-18 minutes, until lightly golden brown.
To freeze, cool completely and place as many as will fit into gallon-sized plastic freezer bags. To reheat, warm in the oven or microwave. Or, simply eat once thawed, as you would in a brown-bag lunch.
Definitely play around with these to your tastes. Omit the meat for just the grilled cheese pockets. Replace the ham with turkey or pepperoni. Use a different cheese. There are definitely tons of options!