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As a kid with two parents who balanced full-time jobs with child care and night school, I was a lunch buyer. Each day I’d load up my tray with limp french fries or the saddest hamburger in the world, and look longingly at the kids around me with packed lunches. I can’t recall what I envied exactly but it seemed wonderful to bring a lunch from home. Now that I’m a parent, it’s important to me to send my girls to school with a homemade lunch (even if Brian, the early-riser in our family, is the one who actually packs them).
But packing lunches presents a few challenges. We want the food itself to be healthy and interesting and that calls for a little creativity and planning. It’s also important to us to have kid-friendly, environmentally-friendly containers that they can open and use easily, and that we can clean and reuse with little fuss. That’s why I’m so excited to be partnering with MightyNest to highlight their MightyFix program and this elegant, durable stainless steel lunch container.
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To prepare for the year of school lunches ahead, I’ve been experimenting with simple variations on favorite themes. Here, I blended freshly roasted red pepper, garlic, and paprika to our standard cream cheese. The resulting spread was rich, but simple. I layered the spread with arugula, smoked salmon, and lightly salted radish slices. On the side, carrot and radishes tossed with a squeeze of lime and sea salt, and a few cherry tomatoes from the garden.
- For the Red Pepper Cream Cheese Spread
- 1 red pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh dill leaves
- For the Sandwiches
- 4 slices multigrain bread, lightly toasted
- 4 ounces smoked salmon
- 2 handfuls arugula
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced thin on a mandoline
- sea salt
- Working ahead, make the cream cheese spread. First, roast the red pepper. This can either be done over an open gas flame or under the broiler. To roast over flame, set pepper over a medium-high flame; use tongs to turn pepper until it is blackened all over. For the broiler, turn broiler to high, set pepper on a foil-lined broiling pan and broil. Checking every few minutes, use tongs to turn pepper until it is blackened all over. Set roasted pepper in a paper bag, seal, and steam for 10 minutes. Peel blackened skin off under cold running water, remove stem, and seeds. Pat dry.
- Pulse to combine roasted pepper, cream cheese, garlic, sea salt, pepper, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor. Scrape down sides, turn processor on, and process just until smooth. Spoon into a bowl, stir in dill, cover, and chill in the fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight.
- To assemble sandwiches, spread 1 - 2 tablespoons red pepper cream cheese on each slice of bread. Layer one of the slices with a handful of arugula, half the salmon, and several layers sliced radishes. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over radish layer. Top with other bread slice, wrap tightly in parchment, and slice in half with a very sharp chef's knife. Repeat for second sandwich.
This post is sponsored by MightyNest. Thanks for supporting the companies that make BkS possible!