Simplify School: From Dinner To Lunch Box

  • Recipes for using up dinner leftovers for the kids lunchbox

    I’m all for making lunch box packing easier for us mummas. I get it: packing a lunch box that comes home untouched is exhausting and über-deflating. Well fear not, there is an answer – re-purposing dinner from the night before. The end result? A yummy lunch box that’s quick to pack and gets eaten. It’s genius and oh so easy to do.

    Let me give you some ideas of how you can re-purpose last night’s dinner into a super yummy lunch box meal:

    Dinner was:

    Lunchbox is:

    A little tip:

    Chicken Stir Fry

    Rice paper rolls

    Wrap the stir fry in rice paper sheets for a portable lunch option. Just wait for the stir fry to cool completely before you get your rice paper groove on, otherwise you’ll end up with mush.

    Spaghetti Bolognese

    Leftover spaghetti cups (checkout the recipe for this one below)

    These are addictive; my babes now like these better than the real thing. Oh, and they freeze GREAT!


    Toasted sandwiches

    Slice everything thinly (even the salad) and make these up. No need to keep the sandwich warm, they’re just as good cold.


    Meatball rolls

    Channel your inner ‘Subway sandwich maker’ when making these babies.

    Indian Curry


    Use a double quantity of sushi rice and ‘mash’ it together so it’s nice and thick and holds together.


    Soup – Whip out the thermos and heat the soup up the morning and pour in

    I use a thermos for 90% of my lunchbox lunches in the colder months. The options are endless.


    Meatloaf sandwich

    Really ‘mush’ the meatloaf into the bread so it stays put.

    Now let’s get our leftover spaghetti cups on. Oh and don’t think these cups always need to be made with ‘meat’ spaghetti – they work really well with lentil and vegetable-based pasta sauces too.

    Leftover Spaghetti Cups Recipe

    From dinner to the lunchbox

    Leftover spaghetti cups

    My easy ways to turn last night's leftovers into lunch box lovely.

    Prep Time:
    Cook time:
    Servings: 9


    • cooked spaghetti: 1 cup
    • bolognese sauce: 1 cup
    • grated cheddar cheese: 1 cup
    • eggs: 2


    Recipe to use up leftover spaghetti

    Step 1:

    Preheat your oven to 180°C degrees and line a muffin tray with 9 cup cake cases. Chop the spaghetti into 2-3 cm pieces. If you’ve used penne or a smaller pasta, just follow this same method – it will work perfectly.

    Step 2:

    In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and stir them through the remaining ingredients until well combined.

    Step 3:

    Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and place in the oven to cook. You know they’re done when they look ‘set’ and they’re nice and toasted on top.

    Stacey Clare's Nutritional Tip: 

    You can eat them just like this (babes that are just starting to enjoy solids will love them this way) or pop them in the fridge or freezer to enjoy cold in the kids’ lunchboxes.

    More good ideas for lovely lunch boxes:

    Images: Stacey Clare