Anyway here is our latest recipe (yes I say OUR because this is a collaborative effort between Cash and I). Its pathetically easy to make, and this recipe is for a whole batch you can keep in the fridge and plop in the lunch box all week.
This recipe is also super flexible... I will explain what we put in and why, but you can substitute to your hearts content. Making this more of an inspiration than a recipe I suppose... anyway...
1. Boil Pasta, drain, rinse with cold water until cool, drain.
You can literally use ANY pasta here. I like short noodles like rotini or penne because they make good finger food (I would like to note that my three year old does in fact know how to use a fork. Unfortunately "ability" and "desire" are not one in the same). If this was purely my recipe I probably would have chosen whole wheat but, Cash chose "rainbow noodles" because, duh.
2. In large bowl, add a can of chickpeas, about 1/4 cup chopped olives, and about 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half.
Or you know, whatever. I put the chickpeas in for a protein boost. Who doesn't love chickpeas? Plus, all you have to do is drain them and dump. So fantastically lazy. The olives go in for some healthy fat, and because they are tasty. Cassius LOVES olives of all sorts, but kalamatas are his fave so that's what I used here. I know olives can be hit-or-miss with kids... chopped up pickle might be a good flavorful replacement. Avocado would be a good healthy-fat swap, but wouldn't keep as long, unfortunately. If your child eats dairy, a handful of cheese cubes is another idea.
As for the tomatoes Cash likes them and they add a little bit of veggie-ness. Steamed broccoli or chopped cucumber would be great options too. Again, if this were all me, I would have stuck with red tomatoes. Yellow tomatoes weird me out. Cash however thought they were THE COOLEST thing he had ever seen and was completely inflexible about their inclusion.
Well anyway, stir it up, and that's it! I don't include a dressing of any kind because the olives and tomatoes add enough flavor and since I know he is going to eat this will his fingers, I figure I will spare his preschool teachers the mess (you're welcome).
I stick that in his lunch box with maybe an apple, and sometimes something else exciting he picked from the store (this week he wanted those mini cans of V8).
*PS this works for grown ups too you know - I had this in the fridge for Cash and caught Jack making himself a bowl & sprinkling some feta on top*