After a much needed vacation, can you believe that the kids will be going back to school soon? It seems only like yesterday when the summer solstice had began. It’s time to bid farewell to the days of trying to keep the kids busy and hello to a much busier, bustling time of making sure they make it to school on time and are well fed for lunch. One of our favorite ways to fuel hungry kids are packing simple lunches that are both healthy and appealing such as pasta salads. While kids are known for being notoriously picky eaters, most can’t say no to colorful, flavorful dishes that are as fun to eat as they’re delicious. Say hello to our latest creation: an Heirloom Tomato Orzo Salad. Packed with scrumptious lemon-oregano chicken and plenty of wonderful vegetables like organic bell peppers and olives, this Greek-inspired recipe is perfect as a lunchbox treat or late summer party side dish. We finish it off with fresh, thick slices of our heirloom tomatoes because hey, why not?
As you can see, Heirloom Tomatoes are not quite like regular tomatoes. Their deep, varied coloring and asymmetrical shapes make them every bit as intriguing as they are beautiful. Heirloom tomatoes come in many sizes and are specially bred from seeds that have been passed down from previous generations. Unlike the red, ripe Roma tomatoes you see in grocery stores, heirloom tomatoes can range from bright, striped yellow to dark purple and much more. Melissa’s special selection of heirloom tomatoes may include popular varieties such as Brandywine, Evergreen, Zebra and Jubilee. Don’t know what else to do with these plump, gorgeous fruits? Try them in a simple Heirloom Tomato Toast, Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Cream Cheese Frittata.
Heirloom Tomato Orzo Salad
- 1 lb of heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1 and 1/4 cup of dried orzo pasta
- 1/2 cup of green olives
- 1 cup of organic red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup of organic green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
For the lemon-oregano chicken
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1. Begin by making the lemon-oregano chicken. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, garlic, oregano, kosher salt and pepper. In a zip-loc bag, place the chicken breasts together with the marinade and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken breasts onto a baking sheet. Bake the chicken for about 45 minutes. Make sure to baste the chicken with the juices from the pan occasionally.
3. Remove the chicken from the heat once cooked. Allow to cool before cutting into smaller pieces. Set aside until ready to assemble the orzo salad.
4. Cook the orzo pasta according to the package instructions. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Place the orzo into a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
5. Place the heirloom tomato slices into a separate bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and top off with salt and pepper.
6. Take the orzo salad out of the refrigerator and toss with the balsamic vinegar, chicken, sliced bell peppers and olives. Arrange the heirloom tomato slices on top of the orzo salad. Garnish with fresh basil.
What are your favorite go-to kid-friendly lunches? What are some other meals your kids like to eat during lunchtime?