Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein is on repeat at my house these days. The veggies and the noodles may change depending on what I’ve got in the fridge and pantry, but the sauce! That’s the key here. 😍 

I switch frequently between gluten free pasta and other times I use regular pasta, depending on what I have in my pantry. I often add chicken to this recipe, but it’s definitely doable without any meat. I love this dish because it’s loaded with veggies, protein, and fiber — basically a “bowl in one!” 

veggie loaded

veggie loaded

I’ve adapted this recipe from my friend Karen @healthygffamily and my kids are psyched to get leftovers in their lunchboxes. Check this out if you’re looking for more pasta-inspired lunchboxes.

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein

lo mein ingredients

lo mein ingredients

INGREDIENTS

Sauce
5 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Lo Mein
12 ounces of dry pasta (gluten free or regular)
1 tablespoon neutral oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2-3 cups chopped vegetables (I used broccoli, carrots, shitake mushrooms, snow peas and bell peppers here but you can use anything you’d like).

Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (we prefer the thighs for their juiciness but you can use any chicken part that you prefer)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Pasta

  1. Cook pasta as directed.

Sauce

  1. Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  2. Place the chicken parts on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  3. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

  4. Roast for approximately 25-30 minutes until the thighs are cooked through and still juicy.

  5. Remove from oven and slice into chunks.

Lo Mein

  1. Heat the neutral oil and sesame oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the vegetables and stir fry until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, depending on which vegetables you use.

  2. With the heat set to medium low, add the cooked chicken and noodles to the pan with about half of the sauce. Toss to combine. Taste and add more sauce if desired.

chicken and veggie lo mein

chicken and veggie lo mein

Mango Salad

‘Tis the season when mangoes are starting to crop up everywhere and I couldn’t be happier! Ataulfo mangoes captured my heart years ago, and I look forward to their return every year. I can eat one every day, if given the opportunity. You too?

Mango Salad

Mango Salad

Mango

Mango

I developed this Mango Salad because I love mango salsa, and really wanted to just eat it with a fork. You know what I mean? That’s the situation here, and it’s incredibly satisfying. Feel free to eat this with a spoon, a fork, with chips, in a lettuce wrap, on avocado toast, whatever. The recipe is versatile. If you give this recipe a try, tag me @lalalunchbox.

Mango Salad ingredients

Mango Salad ingredients

MANGO SALAD

6 cups champagne/Ataulfo mangoes cut into 1 inch cubes (from 8 mangoes)
1 cup diced red onions
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon flake salt
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
fresh cracked pepper to taste

Chop the mangoes and place them into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, add the chopped red onions and lime juice. Let that sit for at least 5 minutes so that the acid from the lime juice mellows the bite of the onion slightly. While that sits, add the chopped parsley and chopped cilantro to the mango, as well as the chopped jalapeño, if using. Combine thoroughly. Incorporate the lime-onions. Add salt, lime zest and cracked pepper and combine again. Eat immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The longer this sits, the more intense the flavors will become.

Banana Tahini Bread

Banana bread just hits the spot sometimes, right? Right.

Nut Free Banana Tahini Bread

Nut Free Banana Tahini Bread

It’s easy to understand why banana bread is so universally loved; When done right, the texture has an inviting richness, with a smooth banana taste throughout. It begs you to take the next bite. The tahini in this recipe adds an earthy depth to the banana bread, which I absolutely adore. It’s hearty. It’s flavorful. It’s well balanced on the sweet/unsweet scale. It’s almost confusing… you’ll want to savor a slice of it, and yet shove it in your mouth as fast as possible. Yeah, it is that good.

banana tahini bread with chocolate chips

I cut myself a slice yesterday, toasted it and smeared on some butter and flake salt. The melty chocolate chips with the salted butter was a revelation! Give this one a try. You won’t regret it. Most recently I’ve been making this with fairly bruised, but not super ripe bananas and I might prefer it! The result is a slightly less sweet but equally delicious loaf. This recipe is dairy free and nut free, and can easily be made vegan by substituting flax eggs for eggs. It packs up beautifully in a lunchbox, and you can serve this any time of day.

Banana Tahini Bread ingredients

I’ve made this multiple times, both with and without chocolate chips, and no surprise, my kids usually vote to include the chocolate chips.

If you make this, tag @lalalunchbox #lalalunchbox so that I can marvel at its beauty!

mashed banana

mashed banana

Banana Tahini Bread

3 ripe bananas + 1 banana for the top (optional)
1/4 cup tahini, well stirred 
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons oat milk (you can use any milk here)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour 
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan with neutral oil.

  • Mash 3 very ripe bananas against the side of a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl: tahini, coconut oil, oat milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla extract and apple cider vinegar.

  • Mix thoroughly. I always make sure to leave some lumps of banana, because that’s how I prefer it, but you can use a mixer if you prefer a smoother textured bread.

  • Add the cinnamon, salt and baking soda and stir gently.

  • Slowly add the flour, and continue to stir gently until it is fully combined.

  • Add the optional chocolate chips and give it one final mix.

  • Pour into your prepared loaf pan.

  • Slice the 4th banana in half lengthwise. Place each half on the top of the bread before baking.

  • Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Banana Tahini Bread ready to bake

Gluten Free Brownies

For your Valentine or for any time, these Gluten Free Brownies will absolutely hit the spot. Here I’ve made them into heart shaped bites for Valentine’s Day, but this is a recipe that I make whenever the mood strikes. They’re fudgy and satisfying, and perfect to stash away in your freezer.

I love these brownies because they satisfy my chocolate cravings immediately, and in 2 bites. Talk about instant gratification! I normally make these in an 8x8 pan, but I’ve used heart shaped molds here for Valentine’s Day. It works in virtually every shape, as long as you adjust the cooking time. I love that this recipe is easy and flexible like that. The heart shaped mini molds baked for 21 minutes, versus an 8x8, which takes 24-28. The larger heart took 23 minutes to bake. I love inviting my kids into the kitchen for this one!

Gluten Free Brownies for Valentines Day

If you don’t have oat flour and don’t want this to be gluten free, you can substitute ap flour here. If you have oats but no oat flour, you can use your blender or food processor to make your own oat flour. I hope you love these as much as we do! If you make this recipe, tag me @lalalunchbox and let me know!

Gluten Free Brownie Bites

Gluten Free Brownie Batter

1 cup sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon flake salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup oat flour

Preheat the oven to 325°F

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. 

Melt the butter and place in a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat to combine. Next, incorporate the cocoa powder slowly and thoroughly. Continue with the salt, vanilla, eggs and flour making sure everything is fully mixed. The batter should be slightly pasty. Pour into your baking pan and bake for 25-28 minutes. 

Notes:

I like to cut mine into small pieces, so for us, this makes at least 20 brownies. 
I’ve used Dutch process cocoa here too, which makes the brownies even fudgier because there is no baking powder as a leavening agent. You can add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder if you use Dutch process cocoa. I’ve also used half natural cocoa powder and half Dutch process and the outcome was fudgy and delicious. 



Valentines Day Lunchbox Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a fun little holiday that we don’t actually celebrate around here with any seriousness. Truth be told, the hubs and I exchange cards some years, but we forget some years. There’s usually some baking involved for the kids, but in general, it’s not a big time holiday at my house.

Still though, I like to include some lunchbox fun for the kiddos. Here’s a roundup of some fun lunchbox ideas for Valentine’s Day that I hope will give you some inspiration, plus links to my recipes for Pink Smoothie Pancakes and Pink Smoothie Waffles. Trust me on this one… your kids are going to love it!

First up, we’ve got Pink Smoothie Pancakes (recipe here)

Pink Smoothie Pancakes

Pink Smoothie Pancakes

You can whip up a batch of those pancakes and use them instead in your waffle iron to get this lovely lunchbox! (recipe here)

Pink Smoothie Waffles in the lunchbox

Pink Smoothie Waffles in the lunchbox

How about some pink sushi? All you need are some roasted beets to get that amazing color. (Recipe here)

Pink avocado sushi makes a fun lunchbox for kids!

Pink avocado sushi makes a fun lunchbox for kids!

Here’s a super quick idea: use a heart cookie cutter and cut out a bit of your sandwich with it to add some love. Fun toothpicks also accessorize this lunchbox nicely.

Heart cut out sandwich for Valentines Day lunchbox

Heart cut out sandwich for Valentines Day lunchbox

If you like these ideas and make them yourself, tag me on social media @lalalunchbox so I can see!

Happy Valentine’s Day!