Back to School Meals

As you are reading this, thousands of excited but anxious teachers, staff, students, and administrators are heading back to ‘school.’ Fall of 2020 will see many forms of ‘education’. I put these in quotes because no one really knows how much ‘learning’ will actually occur. And parents, I know you are freaking out as well, as you are the providers for these little developing brains.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some quick tips, and recipes you can prepare on the weekends that will make meals easier during the school week. Grab and go breakfast and lunches, and simple sit-down dinners. Most of you are at work all day while the kids are at school, so where does that leave time to plan, shop, prep and cook meals every day? Well, if you can’t hire me as your personal chef (wink, wink), these tips and recipes are the way to go. And it will keep you out of the drive-thru, save you some money, and give you peace of mind knowing you’re not letting them eat garbage. 


Following, find tips for great breakfast burritos and a recipe for lunch muffins. Both store well in the fridge for 4-5 days or a few months in the freezer. 


Handy breakfast burritos


I love burritos! There are so many ways to stuff these babies. Don’t waste your time making small batches. Go for it. You’ll never tire of them. Try making a dozen to freeze and a dozen to keep fresh in the fridge and eat over a few days. Eat them for breakfast, lunch, or a snack before the game. For breakfast, scramble and season several eggs, roast seasoned diced potatoes or sweet potatoes in the oven, and shred some cheddar. 


Tortilla sizes vary by manufacturer, but for breakfast burritos that can be eaten with one hand (without losing filling), look for flour tortillas in the 10 to 12-inch range. These are most often labeled “large.” Anything smaller and you’ll have either a tortilla that doesn’t fit around the filling, or a burrito that falls apart as you eat it. Corn tortillas don’t wrap and freeze as well as flour, but feel free to use whole-wheat tortillas. I love the super soft flour tortillas. Also, if you store tortillas in the fridge, bring them to room temperature before assembling your burritos. 


A common pitfall of freezer burritos is soggy tortillas. This can happen for the following reasons: assembling and freezing the burritos while the filling is still hot (which is easily remedied by cooling the roasted vegetables and eggs for 10 minutes before beginning assembly), and layering the eggs directly on the tortillas. You should always add the cheese first — it helps separate the moist eggs from the tortilla. Be sure to wrap tightly!


To store and freeze, individually wrap them in foil to help keep them together. Then put them in a single layer in a zip-top freezer bag. 

Be sure to serve with your favorite salsa and a side of fresh sliced fruit and vegetables. That is, if you’re not driving with a burrito in hand!

Ham and cheddar muffins


Makes 12 muffins




1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 large eggs

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

8 ounces thick-cut deli ham (1/2-inch thick), diced, divided

3 tablespoons finely chopped chives or scallions, divided

Freshly ground black pepper



Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line a standard 12-well muffin pan with papers liners or coat the wells with cooking spray.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, garlic powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and 5 tablespoons of the butter in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Some lumps are fine. Fold in the cheese, all but 1/2 cup of the ham, and 2 tablespoons of the chives.

Spoon the batter into the muffin wells, filling each about 3/4 full. Top the muffins with the reserved ham, sprinkle with the remaining chives, and sprinkle with pepper. Top each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining melted butter.

Bake until the tops just begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. Eat cold or reheat in the toaster oven for a few minutes before serving.

melted butter. Try changing up the ingredients for some variety!