Kids in Indiana will be heading back to school soon, and for many, that means the return of packed lunches in the cafeteria.

Registered dietitian Kim Galeaz has some recipes for healthy lunch ideas that go beyond the basic peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Pizza Muffins

  • 2 packages (6.5 oz. each) Kroger pizza crust mix
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 ¼ cups very warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • ½ cup (slightly heaping) finely chopped onion
  • ¾ cup (slightly heaping) mini pepperoni (or finely chopped regular)
  • 7 Kroger Mozzarella String Cheese Sticks, cut into ¼-inch slices (roughly 1 ¼ cups pieces)
  • Dipping: 14 oz. jar Kroger Pizza Sauce, heated if desired

Stir pizza crust mixes, sugar, salt, basil and oregano together in a large bowl. Add water and oil and stir with a fork until everything is blended. Stir in garlic, onion, mini pepperoni, and diced cheese. Cover bowl and let rest in a warm place 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 400⁰F. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray. Scoop dough into cups, dividing evenly.  Bake 18 -21 minutes, until muffins have “risen” slightly and are browned on tops and sides. Cool in pan on wire rack a minute, then remove from pan. Serve warm with pizza sauce for dipping. Refrigerate leftovers in tightly covered container. Makes 12 muffins.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian Kim Galeaz, RDN, LD with inspiration from fleischmannsyeast.com

Potato Corn and Chicken Salsa Skillet

  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes, skin-on, cut into ¾-inch cubes (russet, red or gold)
  • 1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Kroger Super Sweet Whole Corn Kernels, drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) Kroger Fire Roasted Salsa Style Diced Tomatoes, undrained

Place cut potatoes in a large microwave safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap but vent one corner. Microwave on high 8 to 10 minutes until just tender (depends on the type of potato you use).

While potatoes microwave, heat 1 ½ tablespoons in a very large skillet (at least 12-inches) over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring almost continually, to brown chicken and thoroughly cook, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate or bowl and cover. Add remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil to skillet and heat one minute. Add cooked potatoes and toss until potatoes are slightly browned. Add chicken, canned corn and salsa. Stir lightly until all is completely heated. Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered container. Makes about 7 ½ cups (about 4 to 6 servings).

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD with inspiration from Potatoes USA

Peanut Butter Noodles with Edamame and Bell Peppers

Vegetables and Toppings for Noodle Dish

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Cilantro leaves
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen Kroger Private Selection Mukimame (edamame out of pod), cooked per package directions
  • Kroger Salted Peanuts

Noodles

  • 1 package (16 oz.) Kroger 100% Whole Wheat Spaghetti (or any favorite pasta or Asian noodle)

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1 cup Kroger Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 finely minced garlic cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons soy Sauce (less sodium)
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

Prepare all toppings and vegetables first so they are ready once noodles and sauce are done. Cook whole wheat noodles according to package directions.

While noodles cook, make spicy peanut sauce. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and ginger. Whisk until all combined and smooth.

Once noodles are cooked, drain well. In a large bowl, combine noodles and peanut sauce. Toss lightly. Enjoy immediately with desired fresh vegetables and salted peanuts. Refrigerate leftover peanut noodles and vegetables in tightly covered container. Makes about 2 cups sauce and 8 – 10 servings Peanut Noodles when vegetables and sauce is combined with noodles.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz, RDN LD

Thai Chicken Peanut Butter Sandwich

  • 2 slices Kroger Private Selection 100% whole wheat bread or multigrain bread
  • 2 Tablespoons Kroger Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • Shredded carrot (roughly 1/3 cup)
  • Cucumber, julienned (very thinly sliced sticks, roughly ¼ – 1/3 cup)
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • Cooked chicken breast, about 2 ½ to 3 ounces per sandwich
  • Cilantro leaves

Spread peanut butter on one bread slice. Smear the hoisin sauce over the peanut butter. Place desired amount shredded carrot, julienned cucumber and thinly sliced red onion over peanut-butter-hoisin sauce. Pat lightly. Top with slices of cooked chicken. Sprinkle with desired amount of cilantro. Top with second bread slice. Enjoy! Makes one sandwich.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz RDN LD

Korean Chickpea Peanut Butter Sandwich

  • 2 slices Kroger Private Selection 100% whole wheat or multigrain bread
  • 2 Tablespoons Kroger Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Kroger Whipped Cream Cheese
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Gochujang red chili paste or sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz.) Kroger Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Romaine Lettuce leaves

Spread Peanut Butter, then cream cheese, then Gochujang sauce on one slice of bread. Add chickpeas (around 3-4 tablespoons), pressing into mixture. Add red onion, romaine lettuce leaves and cucumber slices. Top with second slice of bread. Makes 1 sandwich.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz RDN LD

Peanut Butter Fruit Sandwiches

  • 2 slices bread (whole wheat, multigrain, Naan, slider buns, cinnamon bread, etc…)
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter, crunchy or creamy (or almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower butter)
  • Desired fruit to cover peanut butter (such as chopped Medjool dates, thinly sliced apples or pear, sliced kiwi, sliced banana, sliced mango, any berry, dried cherries, raisins or dried cranberries.)

Spread bread/buns/naan with peanut butter (or other nut butter). Arrange fruit over peanut butter. Top with second bread slice. Enjoy! Makes 1 sandwich.

Recipe by culinary registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Galeaz RDN LD