Four-Ingredient Easy Apple Cider

Easy apple cider recipe

We’re in the thick of apple picking season, and we can’t enough of the satisfying sound and feel of a plump apple being plucked from the tree. In fact, we may get just a bit over eager! Like many orchard-goers, sometimes we find ourselves bringing home a few too many apples. Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Crispin, McIntosh – whatever the variety, we have more apples than we know what to do with, and only one pie dish at home! Enter: this easy apple cider recipe.

So, this weekend when you’re rationing out your red, yellow, and green bounty, save some apples for snacking, some for baking, and some for Four-Ingredient Apple Cider, our new favorite recipe for making a serious dent in our post-apple-picking apple inventory! It is especially simple AND great for getting the kids involved. What are you waiting for? Make something delicious with the fruits of your labor!

Read on for the recipe!

Apple Cider Final

Four Ingredient Easy Apple Cider Recipe

3 Pounds Apples (We recommend a variety of types)
16 Cups Water
1 ½ to 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Vanilla Bean (optional)

Easy Apple Cider Ingredients

Large Stockpot


Wash and dry the apples. Cut into quarters (no need to core!) and add to a large stockpot. Add water, cinnamon and sugar (up to 2 cups, depending your desired level of sweetness). Heat to a simmer over high, stirring occasionally, then reduce to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 3 hours, or until the apples are very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

apple cider pre cooking

Once cool enough to handle, using a potato masher, large spoon or fork, mash the apples into the mixture. This step is great for kids!

Apple cider mashing

Carefully pour the mixture through a strainer set over a large bowl. Using a ladle, push the mixture through the strainer; discard any pulp, seeds and cinnamon sticks.

Apple cider straining

Refrigerate, cover and use within 1 week.

One of our other favorite drinks for fall involves hot apple cider and a few other ingredients. Most notably, bourbon! Try this recipe for the perfect Hot Toddy when you’re looking to warm up.

For the rest of your apples, try Five-Ingredient Apple Turnovers, Five Ingredient Cider Caramels, or just add apples to your dinners!

Apple Cider Final 3

Happy fall cooking!

Types of Potatoes: Varieties, Cooking & More

sweet, white, and purple potatoes
Sweet, white, and purple potatoes

When it comes to picking our carbs, we can never say no to a potato. Whether we’re feasting on tater tots at a diner, mashing up Russets at home, or adding potatoes to our sautés and salads, we’re truly potato people at heart. With so many types of potatoes to love, it’s impossible to get tired of eating them.

The potato doesn’t start at the French fry and end at the loaded baked potato. Check out a local farm stand and you’ll find dozens of types of potatoes in every color. Every time we visit a potato vendor, we’re struck again by the immense variety. The colors, shapes, sizes, and textures range from waxy little fingerlings to sweet orange yams that make us yearn for Thanksgiving.

List of Types of Potato Varieties

Multicolored Baby Potatoes

Multicolored Baby Potatoes

These tri-colored, tiny potatoes are both delicious and adorable. They have thin skins and a waxy interior. They’re well-suited for roasting or boiling, but their waxy flesh isn’t ideal for mashing. The thin skin doesn’t need to be peeled if you’re roasting or boiling, which makes preparation easy. We love using these tiny potatoes to make incredible salads. Simply boil them, toss with a tarragon and cornichon dressing, and eat warm with a dinner like our Chicken Paillard and Tomato Salad.

Purple Potatoes

Purple Potatoes

Purple potatoes are a type of fingerling potato native to South America. Their flesh is fluffy, starchy, and moist, with a medium-thin skin. They’re rich in antioxidants, and have an earthy and slightly nutty flavor. We love them roasted or smashed. They’re the perfect side dish to serve them up with similarly earthy Brussels sprouts and crispy chicken legs in this fantastic fall chicken dish.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Yukon Golds are known for their thin skin and golden interior. These popular potatoes can range in size from pretty teeny, to nearly baked-potato size. If you’re looking for bite-sized pieces, you can always cut down a large one. Yukon Gold potatoes work in a wide variety of recipes. They’re excellent roasted, smashed, or tossed with a creamy dressing in dishes like Trout with Creamy Potato Salad and Wilted Spinach.

Heirloom Fingerling Potatoes

Heirloom Fingerling Potatoes

Some of our favorite heirloom fingerling potatoes have whimisical names like “Russian banana potatoes,” or “red thumbs,” but that’s not the only reason we like them. Because of the thin skin, you can peel heirloom fingerlings easily after boiling. That’s how we prepare them for our Potato-Pepper Hash.

types of fingerling potatoes

Baby Red Potatoes

baby red potato

These little red cuties are white as snow in the inside with a beautiful bright red skin that doesn’t need to be peeled off in most preparations. Like Yukon Golds, these are really versatile. We especially love them crisped up, as in our Flat Iron Steaks with Artichoke and Potato Hash.

Russet Potato

russet potato

Russet potatoes, the hero of the potato family, are widely known. If you close your eyes and picture a potato, we bet you’re seeing a Russet. They’re popular for a reason. Nothing replaces their fluffy, starchy interiors when you’re making mashed potatoes or potato wedges to go with one of our homemade burgers. For creamy mashed potatoes, we recommend peeling your russets, but if you crisp it in the oven, the skin can be delicious.

Types of Sweet Potatoes

Garnet sweet potatoes

There are actually several varieties of the classic sweet potato—sometimes conversationally referred to as yams. Garnet sweet potatoes are one of our favorite types of potatoes. Garnets are hearty and full of vitamins, and contain a good bit of protein. When roasted, they cook up sweet and fluffy. We like to peel and chop them, then sauté with other ingredients like onions and orzo in Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potato Orzo Risotto.

Japanese Sweet Potato

japanese sweet potato

Japanese sweet potatoes have a dark reddish purple skin and bright white flesh. They’re sweeter and starchier than orange sweet potatoes, and just as delicious when roasted, steamed, or baked. We love slicing them into wedges or rounds and roasting in s very hot oven with just a little salt and olive oil. The edges with caramelize, creating the perfect sweet and savory snack or side dish.

Jewel Sweet Potato

sweet potato

Jewel sweet potatoes are widely available in supermarkets. They have orange/brown skin and bright orange flesh. They’re well-suited for both boiling and baking, and they’re the variety we reach for when we’re roasting up sweet potato fries.

Purple Sweet Potato

Purple sweet potato (right)

This purple sweet potato, also known as Okinawan sweet potato, isn’t even a member of the potato family—it’s part of the same family as morning glory, or water spinach. The plant is native to the Americas and landed in Japan sometime in the 1500s. It grew so well there that it became popular in many Japanese dishes and now can be found throughout Asia and the Pacific. We pair it with Five-Spice Pork Chops in this popular recent dinner.

Find all of these potato recipes, and more!, in the Blue Apron cookbook.

How to Make Cooking More Relaxing

Cooking doesn’t need to be all about a frantic rush to get dinner on the table. We believe that things will taste a little better if you let yourself unwind and enjoy the process. That means turning off the little voice in your head that’s telling you to hurry up and get things done, and finding a way to be present. If nightly dinners stress you out, try a few of our favorite ways to make cooking more relaxing. 

Turn on some music 

Sometimes all it takes to unwind is a song that you can sing along to. Pop on your favorite playlist or tune into the radio and let someone else pick the tunes. 

Lose yourself in little tasks 

Preparation steps like trimming beans, shelling peas, and picking herbs don’t require much conscious mental effort. Use these moments as a time to relax your mind, and let the repetitive nature of this process soothe you. 

Shaping dumplings is a perfect soothing task

Have a glass of wine 

This is all about enjoying the process, right? Pour a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy a few little sips during those slow moments. 

Ask for a hand

If you’re making dinner, you’re already amazing. There’s no need to be a hero, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlisting someone else can help things run smoothly, and it can be a lovely time to catch up on your lives. Friends, partners, and kids can all be excellent sous chefs. 

Make cooking more relaxing with family

Read the whole recipe first 

This is always good advice. Reading the entire recipe before you dive into cooking can prevent stressful surprises. You don’t want to get halfway through the recipe and realize that you were supposed to preheat the oven, or that you’re missing an essential pantry item. Of course, with a Blue Apron box, you’ll always have exactly the ingredients you need on hand.

How Blue Apron Helps KathEats Cook Balanced Meals Full of Love

Welcome to On the Table, Blue Apron’s spotlight on home cooks. This column is all about the challenges and joys of cooking. We’re exploring how busy, food-loving families get dinner on the table every day. This month we’re talking with Kath from KathEats. Kath is a registered dietician, a blogger, and a mother of two young boys. Here’s how she uses Blue Apron as part of her healthful and balanced lifestyle. 

a healthy dinner with KathEats

Blue Apron: What does a typical weeknight dinner look like for you?

KathEats: I have two kids ages 2 and 8, a husband, and a dog who is always in the kitchen. Dinnertime can be quite chaotic, which is why I try to do as much prep as I can during school and nap time. My husband and I both cook, and we often divide up the prep and active cooking steps so we split up the meal. Luckily we make a great team.

BA: How did you end up working in the world of health and wellness?

When I graduated from college I started shopping and cooking for myself, and I started losing the college weight I had put on. Through cooking for myself, I started to learn more about nutrition, and decided to go back to school to become a registered dietician. Meanwhile, I had started my blog in Sept of 2007 as a hobby. Before I knew it, it started bringing in ad revenue! When I graduated from RD school, it made more sense for me to focus on my blog full-time than to go get a job in dietetics.

I always wanted to help others realize how fun and delicious healthy eating can be. Now, I feel like I’m doing it in a unique way—through blogging.

BA: What does being healthy mean to you?

KathEats: My blog title began as “Kath Eats Real Food.” The book Superfoods HealthStyle was a big lightbulb moment for me. It helped me realize that nutrition wasn’t about deprivation, but it was about nourishing your body with healthy food. I have no food rules except to focus on real food and how you feel.

BA: What is your strategy for eating to support health?

KathEats: I don’t believe in diet restriction, or eliminating food groups unless you have a medical reason to do so. I eat everything. I think diversity is super important in a diet, so I like to think about eating a rainbow of foods. Often this means fruit, protein, and grains at breakfast, salad or leftovers for lunch, and lots of different dinners. I try to choose humanely raised meats and veggies at each dinner.

BA: Aside from healthful eating, what are some things you do to support your health?

KathEats: For me, it’s essential to get enough sleep and exercise. I exercise every day. I also try to make time to read, relax, and connect with family and friends. Those things really help my brain reset. I’ve started trying to mediate with my kids. It’s not something we do every night, but when we remember we’ll go do a meditation together. There’s one that we do on YouTube that’s designed for kids, and it’s like, “Now you’re walking in your tree house, and you feel so warm, and safe, and happy, and you have no worries in the world. And what are you going to put on your tree house wall?” It’s a perfect kid one. We did another one, and they didn’t respond as well to it. I think they really liked the tree house.

BA: How often do you cook with Blue Apron?

KathEats: I’ve been using it on and off since 2014. I’ve learned so many good techniques from Blue Apron recipes, and I’ve really enjoyed trying new spices. I love that I don’t end up with any food waste, or extra jars of spices that don’t get used. 

During quarantine we haven’t been going out to dinner, so much so our Blue Apron meals are our special ones. 

BA: On the nights you’re not cooking with Blue Apron, how does your cooking routine change?

KathEats: Our meals are definitely not as delicious! When we’re left to our own devices I think we tend to take more shortcuts.

My kids love all the classic kid foods: Pizza, mac and cheese, quesadillas. I think my best tip for kids is to deconstruct the meals. A couple of weeks ago we had steak with a mushroom herb sauce on top. For my son, I cut his up into little pieces with no mushroom sauce, and then the grown-up version had all the sauce and everything. So I can get them to eat deconstructed noodles here and steak here, pull the chicken out, that kind of thing. Overall, if we had pizza every single night, they would be super happy.

BA: What would you make on a night when you felt too tired to cook, but needed to get something on the table? 

KathEats: If we’re in a hurry, sometimes I’ll just make a big dinner salad with a protein from the freezer. It’s easy and healthy. Sometimes we’ll turn to spaghetti. We always have ground beef in the freezer and noodles and sauce in the pantry. We’ll usually add baby spinach or frozen mushrooms to the sauce to get a vegetable in there.

BA: How does cooking with Blue Apron make you feel?KathEats: Blue Apron makes me feel like someone else is cooking for me. I’ve always said that I think food made by other people tastes better than my food, because I really do believe in that sprinkle of love, the magic. When I’m making a Blue Apron recipe, because I’m following someone else’s steps to a T, when the meal is ready, it really does kind of feel like someone else made it for me. And I think it tastes better because of that.

If you’re craving homemade meals created with balance in mind, explore Blue Apron’s new signature wellness menu here.

Teaching Kids to Cook at Any Age

teaching kids to cook chicken
A meal the whole family can make

We love when our littlest sous chefs want to help out in the kitchen. Every dinner can be an opportunity to start teaching kids to cook, and to help them build skills that will last a lifetime. Of course, the kitchen can also be a dangerous place. If you’re wondering when to introduce a new kitchen skill to your kid, check out our guide to appropriate kitchen tasks for kids at every age.

How to cook with kids age 5-9

  • Rinse fruits and vegetables, by hand or in a colander 
  • Tear lettuce or other greens for salads
  • Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk 

How to cook with kids age 10-14

  • Make a salad dressing with a whisk 
  • Crack eggs 
  • Stretch dough by hand or with a rolling pin 

How to cook with kids age 14-18

  • Use zesters, graters, or peelers
  • Read and follow recipes
  • Use tongs to flip meat or veggies on a pan or grill 
  • Basic knife skills, based on your comfort level 

One job is good for kids of every age

Cleaning up! It’s never too early for everyone to help out wiping counters, rising bowls, and taking linens to the wash. The whole family is in it together. 

Try teaching kids to cook with a dish they’ll love. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how kids of any age could help prepare our Honey Mustard Baked Chicken with Smoky Sour Cream Smashed Potatoes & Collard Greens.

food Prep with Kids

In step 1:

  • Kids ages 5-9 can help knead the honey, and mix the honey and mustard together. 
  • Kids age 10-14 can help wash and dry the produce, separate the collard greens from the stems, and peel the shallot and grate the apple.
  • Kids ages 14-18 can help large dice the potatoes and slice the shallot. 
teaching kids to cook by Mashing Mashed Potatoes

In step 2:

  • Kids of all ages can help smash the potatoes.
Searing Chicken Breasts

In step 3:

  • Kids ages 14-18 can help season the chicken with the spice blend and use tongs to flip it in the pan.
Sauteeing Collard Greens

In step 4:

  • Kids ages 10-18 can help stir the collards in the pan, and can taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.

For more family dinner ideas, check out our collection of family-friendly recipes.

How One Family Replaced Meal Planning Stress with Good Food and Joy

Welcome to On the Table, Blue Apron’s spotlight on home cooks. This column is all about the challenges and joys of cooking. We’re exploring how busy, food-loving families get dinner on the table every day. This month we’re talking with Delia. Delia is a Vice President at a medical lab company processing Covid tests, a mother of two active boys, and a hater of grocery stores. These days, she’s never been busier. Here’s how she uses Blue Apron Customized to balance cooking, picky eaters, and the other demands of life. 

Weeknight dinner at Delia’s house

Blue Apron: How long have you been cooking with Blue Apron? 

Delia: I’ve been cooking with Blue Apron since October 2018. Other than vacation, I don’t think I’ve missed a week since I started!

BA: How has the Blue Apron experience changed since you started cooking?

The meals have always been wonderful, but I think recently there have been more and more options. Honesty, two or three years I have probably only repeated meals two or three times. We try new things all the time. That’s one of the things that I love, just how much variety there is and the seasonal aspect of the ingredients. In the fall and the winter we’ll get a lot of squash and kale, and in the summer we get a lot of corn and tomatoes. It’s just lovely to be able to eat seasonal fresh food and have such great options. 

BA: How do you choose which Blue Apron meals to order? 

I’ll typically set a reminder on my calendar to review recipes. I do it once a month, and I’ll go out as far as you have recipes. I love using the app; It’s so good and it’s fun. I’ll make some changes to our meals depending on how much time I have and the complexity of the food. I really just go with what I’m in the mood for, and I look to try new things. 

I also keep an eye on what I think all of us will like. My youngest son is a picky eater. So sometimes I look for things that I can adapt at home. It works 90% of the time. Sometimes if there’s a chicken recipe I’ll just grill the chicken and serve the sauce on the side for him. That’s easier if it’s a recipe where the sauce isn’t mixed in. That’s one factor that influences the meals I choose.

BA: How has customization changed your Blue Apron experience?

Customization is so helpful! As I mentioned, my youngest son can be picky, but he’ll always eat the protein. Sometimes I’ll make the protein, set it aside for him, and then make some plain pasta for him to have with it. Having the extra protein has been helpful for him. It’s also been great to have more leftovers that I can take for lunch. Customization has given us a bit more flexibility in the meals that will work for us. 

BA: What does a typical weeknight dinner look like for you? 

My family is very busy. We are a working couple, my husband and I. We also have two boys, ages 11 and 14. They’re in middle school, and they’re both active in sports. On a typical evening during the week someone is running to go get a kid from hockey practice while somebody is preparing dinner. I’m usually on point to get dinner on the table, while my husband is on point to get kids. 

We try to eat together most of the week, but that’s not always what happens. Probably about half the time two of us will eat together, and then the other two of us will eat together. We usually pick the nights that we’re going to be together to cook our Blue Apron dinners, and on the ther nights we’ll do something easier. I usually put out the recipe card in the morning, and then the kids can see it and know what we’re having for dinner. 

BA: What are your go-to dinners on nights when you’re not eating Blue Apron? 

I only cook Blue Apron, and it has completely changed my life. It used to be a huge source of stress for me to have to do the meal planning, find the recipes, do the grocery shopping, and then worry about the food waste. It was honestly a big source of stress that has been removed and replaced with amazing food and joy. The food is so good. We usually rate the recipes, just internally, my husband and I, on a scale of 1-10. It’s almost always a 9 or a 10. I think it’s been a 5 once or twice in two years, and a 5 is still pretty good. 

On nights that we don’t have Blue Apron, we’ll do something quick and easy. A few of our favorites are pasta and butter with feta cheese for the kids, and sandwiches. Maybe I’ll put some broccoli in the oven. If it’s just me, I’ll have a salad. Sometimes we’ll pick up prepared food from Whole Foods. We’re just looking for something quick that can be eaten on the go. That’s what we do! 

BA: Do you have any favorite Blue Apron meals or ingredients? 

This one is top of mind because I had it recently, we loved the za’atar chicken with roasted squash. It was just a perfect medley of savory and spiced. The sauce was amazing.

I was never familiar with za’atar before cooking with Blue Apron, but I always like anything with that spice blend, as well as the Weeknight Hero spice blend, my kids love that. Before working with Blue Apron I had never cooked with bok choy, or with Calabrian chile paste, and it’s such a great compliment to any dish. I’ve loved trying so many new ingredients.

On the Table: Dinner with a Family of Four in California

Welcome to On the Table, Blue Apron’s spotlight on home cooks. This column is all about the challenges and joys of cooking. We’re exploring how busy, food-loving families get dinner on the table every day. This month Ryan, a Blue Apron employee, tells us about balancing being a dad, cooking, volunteer duties, and having fun.

Family ice cream
Ryan, Raegan, and Sienna getting ice cream

Blue Apron: What does a typical weeknight dinner look like for you?

Ryan: The majority of our meals are Blue Apron-related. My wife does most of our grocery shopping outside of that. The Grocery Outlet is her favorite place to go. We live in California, and we also grow some vegetables in our backyard. 

We probably make dinner five times a week. My wife is a really good cook, so she does the majority of the cooking. I am a really good sous chef! I would say my wife probably cooks three times a week and I do two, or she’ll do four and I’ll do one. At a typical meal it’s me, my wife, and our two daughters. Sometimes we set up a system where whoever isn’t cooking plays with the kids, and sometimes we all get in the kitchen together. My youngest can be a little too helpful at times (she’s only one) but they love to help.  

Blue Apron: How often do you cook with Blue Apron?

Ryan: We get three Blue Apron meals a week every week, unless we forget, and we haven’t forgotten in awhile! Last week we got the Calabrian chile butter steaks and the hoisin turkey steam buns, and the miso salmon. They were all good, but we really loved the steak. 

I really love Blue Apron because from where I stand, I need to follow directions, but I can follow them really well. My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t need recipes as much. She can look in a cupboard and make a delicious meal when, to me, it looks like we don’t have any food. 

Family in the kitchen with dad cooking
Family in the kitchen with dad cooking

Blue Apron: How does cooking differ when you’re not eating a Blue Apron dinner? 

Ryan: It really varies! We do like takeout. Sometimes we’ll get food from a local sushi place we love, but sometimes we’ll take on cooking projects. On weekends, my mother-in-law comes over, and we’ll do big family dinners. My mom grew up in the restaurant business and is also a great cook so we love to go to her house for whatever she’s making. On weeknights, sometimes we’ll make simple pastas with basil and artichokes from the yard. My kids are four and one, so buttered noodles are their favorite thing.

Blue Apron: What would you make on a night when you felt too tired to cook, but needed to get something on the table? 

Ryan: On really busy nights, we’ll order take out. On Wednesdays, I volunteer at the local parks department, and we often end up doing something quick that night. Frozen chicken wings are a big savior for us. We always have chicken wings in the freezer, we’ll cook them in the air fryer with a little salt and pepper and hot sauce. The kids love them, and it’s easy to do quickly.

Blue Apron: How has working from home changed your cooking routine? 

Ryan: Working from home has actually given us more time to cook. If my wife is cooking lasagna, that’s another one of our go-tos, she’ll start the sauce in a few minutes during the day. The other day I prepped a Blue Apron meal before going to pick my daughter up at school. I love the extra time we’ve found to be together as a family. 

Blue Apron: What do you want to teach your kids about food? 

Ryan: My daughters are a big part of my motivation for cooking. So many of my own childhood memories tie back to food, and I really wanted to create that for my family. My daughter and I started a YouTube channel where we make ice cream. We both love ice cream, but a big reason that I wanted to start the channel together was to share that experience in the kitchen. Food is a huge part of who we are as a family. I love to think about the time that we cook together as creating memories for my girls.

How does Blue Apron fit into your life? Show us by tagging #letsblueapron on social for a chance to be featured in a future article. 

5 Family Dinners for Weeknights

Family dinner. Just because it happens all the time, doesn’t mean it’s not challenging. There are multiple mouths to feed, a range of tastes to account for, and all too often, there’s a time crunch. However, that doesn’t mean an easy family dinner is impossible. These Blue Apron recipes are surefire crowd-pleasers that everyone will love. 

A family pasta dinner 

chicken pasta
Creamy Chicken & Pepper Pasta
with Capers & Parmesan

This vibrant pasta dish brings together seared chicken and sweet peppers with a rich, creamy sauce. It gets its deliciously varied flavors and textures from Calabrian chile paste, roasted red peppers, and briny capers.

Kid-friendly enchiladas 

cheesy enchiladas
Cheesy Pork Chorizo Enchiladas
with Shishito Peppers & Rice

These enchiladas are filled with flavorful chorizo—a type of Mexican spiced pork sausage—with fresh sweet peppers in a light tomato sauce until tender. It’s all baked under a layer of melty monterey jack cheese, for a dinner everyone will love.

Schnitzel and sides

Pork Schnitzel & Chive Sour Cream
with Prosciutto-Potato Salad & Roasted Romanesco

Schnitzel is a traditional German dish where meat (typically pork) is pounded thin, breaded, and fried. This dish is paired with romanesco cauliflower for a healthful side. 

A cheesy family favorite

family dinner enchiladas
Pork Chorizo & Corn Quesadillas
with Romaine Salad & Guacamole Ranch

Chile-spiked quesadillas, melty cheese, and a crisp salad make a dinner that every member of the family will love. 

A veggie-filled family dinner that’s fun to eat

Family dinner chicken cups
Chicken & Brown Rice Lettuce Cups
with Tahini-Soy Sauce

Crunchy lettuce and togarashi-spiced chicken come together for a delicious meal that can be eaten with your hands. 

Lunch Ideas for Kids

Parent & Child Sharing a Healthy Lunch for Kids

Jessica Halper is a Blue Apron Chef, MPH, and Registered Nutritionist. Here are four of her lunch ideas for healthy meals kids will love. 

The perfect healthy lunch for kids will fill them up, help them focus, and keep them happy. These lunch ideas incorporate things that kids love, like bright colors and food you can eat with your hands, along with hearty vegetables that pack a powerful nutritional punch. If you find yourself making more lunches at home these days, try taking one of these kid lunch ideas for a spin. 

Recipes for Healthy Kid Lunches

Rainbow Hummus & Veggie Spread

Kids love the beautiful colors in this nutritious lunch. While creating the whole hummus rainbow takes a bit of prepwork, these dips can all be made in advance. When it’s time for lunch, just arrange them on a plate with a few vegetables and pita triangles. 

Pink Hummus

Serves 6

  • 1 15-oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup roasted beets, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the drained chickpeas, tahini, chopped beet, lemon juice, garlic and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with any cut-up vegetable of your choice and enjoy!

Green Hummus

Serves 6

  • 1 15-oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup tahini 
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ avocado, pitted and halved
  • 2 cups spinach or any green of your choice (kale, arugula, etc)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the drained chickpeas, tahini, avocado, spinach leaves, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with any cut-up vegetable of your choice and enjoy!

Golden Hummus

Serves 6

  • 1 15-oz can of cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup tahini 
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the drained chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, turmeric and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until well combined.
  2. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve with any cut-up vegetable of your choice and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pita Pizzas

This spin on a pizza night is perfectly suited for a quick kids’ lunch. Nothing sparks a kid’s culinary mind like creating your own pizza. This lighter option uses whole wheat pita breads, which count towards two of three recommended daily servings of whole grains (when made from 100% whole wheat flour). Incorporate some kid-friendly color, and sneak in a few extra vitamins, by topping your pizza with a variety of vegetables .

Rainbow Pita Pizza

Serves 4

  • 4 whole wheat pita breads (choose brands that specify 100% whole wheat and at least 4g of fiber per round)
  • 6 oz tomato puree (choose brands that specify no added sugar)
  • 6 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 1 Cup yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Cups spinach or kale leaves, washed
  • ½ tsp dried oregano, basil or all purpose Italian seasoning
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Arrange your topping on a whole pita. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool and serve. 

White Pie Pita Pizza with Honey Drizzle

Serves 4 

  • 4 whole wheat pita breads (choose brands that specify 100% whole wheat and at least 4g of fiber per round
  • 6 oz shredded provolone
  • 2 Cups spinach or kale leaves, washed
  • 2 Cups red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsps honey, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Arrange your topping on a whole pita. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool and serve. 

Green Pie Pita Pizza with Feta Cheese

Serves 4

  • 4 whole wheat pita breads (choose brands that specify 100% whole wheat and at least 4g of fiber per round)
  • ½ Cup pesto sauce
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ Cup mushrooms sliced
  • 2 Cups spinach or kale leaves, washed
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano, basil or all purpose Italian seasoning
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Arrange your topping on a whole pita. Bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool and serve

Love cooking with your family? Try this miniature apron, perfect for kids.

How to Make Time for Family Dinner When You’re Crazy Busy

Claire King is a trained chef, master flower arranger, and mother of two. Here’s how she balances all of that while working from home.

Simple Roasted Chicken Dinner
Bon appetit

I try to have my whole family sit down for dinner every night but, with two kids ages 3 years and 6 months, it takes a bit of organization. Working from home has added an extra layer of complexity. Somehow, it seems like I have even less free time than I did before. I certainly haven’t been able to find the large chunks of time to set aside for cooking. After a few weeks of tweaking, I  figured out how to make family dinner happen by planning well ahead of time. 

Here’s how I’ve been cooking in 10-20 minute sessions throughout the day. I’ve found that by breaking up the effort, I’ve been able to get all of my office work done and get dinner on the table by 7pm. If you have kids and are trying to work from home as well, this method can be a stress-free (fine, stress-reduced) way to get the quality family dinner you crave.

Claire’s Schedule

  • 10:00 am: First up is a walk around the neighborhood. I love having this time to prepare myself for the day.
  • 10:30 am: Back from my walk. Time for coffee and emails with my littlest co-worker, George. After the first round of emails I prep the cabbage for dinner tonight (Step 1).
  • 12:00 pm: Lunch break! While I prepare lunch I also prepare my chicken and snap the ends off of my asparagus (Step 2)
  • More emails while my co-worker George slacks off
  • 5:30 pm: Time to get the chicken in the oven and also finish prepping my asparagus (Step 3).
  • Playtime with Arthur while the chicken cooks
  • 6:30 pm: Chicken is ready! Time to flip the cabbage and get it back in the oven (Step 4)
  • 6:45 pm: I also make some grits with sour cream, butter, salt & pepper. Instant grits are ready in about 7 minutes.
  • 7:00 pm: Ta da! Chicken, cabbage, asparagus, and grits managed to all come together for a big family dinner.

Make Claire’s Favorite Weeknight Family Dinner Recipe

Roast Chicken with Cabbage, Lemon Asparagus and Grits:

Chicken Recipe adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 large head of green cabbage 
  • 1 whole chicken, giblets removed, approximately 3 lbs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, separated
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2 bunches asparagus
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup instant grits
  • ⅓ cup sour cream

Step 1: Spread 1 tablespoon olive oil into the bottom of a 12” cast-iron pan. Core and cut cabbage into 1” pieces and snuggly fit them into the bottom of the pan.

Step 2: In a small saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Season the cabbage with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of the cabbage. Brush on 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Snap off the ends of the asparagus and place on a sheet tray. 

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place chicken in the oven and roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 in the breast. Spoon the remaining butter over the chicken as it roasts.

Thinly slice lemon and place on a sheet tray with asparagus. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and spread everything out evenly. 

Step 4: Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven. Transfer chicken to a platter and flip the cabbage. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the cabbage is nicely browned with some crispy edges. Transfer the prepared asparagus to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile make the grits according to the package directions. Finish grits by stirring in sour cream, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, salt and lots of pepper. 

Step 5: Transfer chicken, asparagus, and grits to serving bowls and enjoy!

Recipe: Strawberry Balsamic Hand Pies

Lauren Katz is a trained pastry chef. These strawberry hand pies honor her childhood tradition of strawberry picking every summer in Ohio. 

strawberry hand pies with cream
What could be better than grab and go pie?

These strawberry hand pies are cute, sophisticated, and easy to eat. They’re the perfect way to make use of beautiful summer produce. The simple filling shows off the flavor of the strawberries, and the balsamic vinegar adds a touch of complexity. 

Strawberry Balsamic Hand Pies 

Pie Dough

  • ¾ Cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsps cold, unsalted butter, small diced
  • Ice water

Pie Filling

  • 4 oz fresh strawberries, small diced
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2-3 tsp granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
  • 2 tsp  balsamic vinegar
  • 4 grinds fresh black pepper, optional
  • A pinch of salt


  • AP flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Turbinado sugar, optional

1. Make the dough. Bowl method: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the diced butter. Using your fingers, gently work the butter into the dry ingredients until coarse crumbs form. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until a shaggy dough forms (it should take anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons).

Food processor method: Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the diced butter. Pulse a few times, until coarse crumbs form. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until a shaggy dough forms (it should take anywhere between 1 and 3 tablespoons). 

2. Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap form into a ball. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. *The dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. 

3. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 375°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl. Gently mix to combine.

4. Form the hand pies. Lightly flour a work surface. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a circle, about 7 inches in diameter (it does not need to be perfectly round, a rustic circle will work just fine). If using a cookie cutter, stamp in the middle of one side of each dough round. Transfer to the prepared sheet pan.

shaping strawberry hand pies
Ready to fold

5. Divide the filling between the rounds and arrange in the middle of the unstamped side, leaving 1/2-inch border. Lightly coat the circumference of each round with water, then fold the stamped (or empty) side on top of the filling. Using a fork or your fingers, press the top layer of dough into the bottom layer to completely seal. If not using a cookie cutter, use a sharp knife to make 2-3 slits in the top of the dough.

6. Evenly coat the top of the hand pies with the beaten egg, then the turbinado sugar, if using. 

7. Bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before serving. Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe: Miniature Key Lime Pies with Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

miniature key lime pies
Go ahead, have a whole pie

A single serving Key lime pie is an adorable treat. These are perfect for a small gathering, or just to make and freeze for yourself. Making these is a lot like making a full-sized pie, you’re just doing everything in miniature. If you don’t have miniature pie tins, you can bake these pies in ramekins or muffin tins, just be sure to grease the sides of the pan well to prevent the filling from sticking. 

Miniature Key Lime Pie with Coconut-Graham Cracker Crust

Servings: 4

Equipment: 4, 4-inch pie tins


  • 4 graham cracker sheets, crushed (a heaping ½ cup crushed)
  • ⅛ Cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ Cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 Tbsps melted unsalted butter


  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Key lime zest, from about 2 Key limes 
  • ½ Cup sweetened condensed milk (about 7 oz)
  • ⅓ Cup Key lime juice (juice of about 6 or 7 Key limes)


  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Toasted flaked coconut (optional)

1. Prepare the crusts. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place graham cracker sheets in the bowl of a food processor or a ziploc bag. Pulse or crush until you have the consistency of sand. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, coconut, and salt. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter. Stir until evenly coated. It should look like wet sand at this point. 

2. Bake the crusts. Place the tins on a sheet pan. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the crust mixture to each tin. Using your fingers and/or the flat bottom edge of a measuring cup, shape the crust into an even layer on the bottom of the tin and up the sides. You may have extra crust. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. The crust may slump down the sides of the tins while baking. Let cool slightly and, if necessary, use the measuring flat bottom of the measuring cup to carefully push the crust back up the sides of the tins. 

3. Make the filling. While the crusts bake, combine the egg yolks and the Key lime zest in a separate mixing bowl. Whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. It should be almost the consistency of hollandaise sauce. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to whisk until slightly thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the Key lime juice and whisk until just combined. 

4. Bake the filling. Pour the filling into the cooled crusts (you will have extra filling). The filling won’t rise, so you can pour to the top of the crust. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the filling is set on the edges. The center may still be a bit jiggly. 

5. Cool & chill the pies. Transfer the baked pies to a wire rack and let cool completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

6. Serve your pies. If desired, top the finished pies with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

For more pie, check out Blue Apron’s guide to making pie for any size party.