The new school year has started and we vowed to give our children something other than a sandwich for lunch. We've been making this same vow for the last three years. Try not to judge. There is no better time to start a lunch series dedicated to providing delicious and nutritious meals for both our kids and admittedly ourselves! Oh yes, each recipe we feature is not only a take on popular lunch meals but are adult friendly as well. The entire family will find these recipes tasty and filling. We hope that you will not only be spectators of this six week series, but that you participate by making the meals and letting us know how your family enjoyed them. First up is our take on a popular dish that kids love: Mac and cheese! In our recipe, we added spinach for a veggie serving, Greek yogurt for extra creaminess and protein, and a breadcrumb topping for a crunch factor. We tested this on our children and they were a little hesitant about the spinach at first, but when they tasted the dish they asked for seconds. It could have something to do with the crushed bacon in the topping but we won't complain. This recipe will be enough for a week's worth of lunches for two children. Since this is very filling, you will only need a side of fruit for a complete meal.

Make a batch on Sunday, reheat each day, and pack it in their thermos so it stays hot until lunch time. How easy is that?!

Spinach Mac and Cheese 1 box of small shells pasta

3 cups of spinach(more if you like)

1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt

1 stick of butter, melted(reserve a tablespoon)

3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp of garlic powder

1 cup of whole milk

1 egg

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

3 slices of bacon, cooked and finely chopped

Salt and pepper Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Boil the pasta until al dente, about 6-7 minutes. In the last two minutes, add the spinach. While the pasta cooks, fry the bacon until very crispy. Set aside to cool. Combine the yogurt, butter, cheddar cheese, and garlic powder and noodle mixture in a large bowl. Add the mixture to a casserole pan. Lightly whisk the milk and egg. Pour the milk mixture in the noodles until about 3/4 full. The milk should not cover the noodles. Finely chop the bacon. Mix the bacon with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and remaining melted butter. Sprinkle the bacon mixture over the mac and cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until brown and crispy and the mac and cheese has set(you shouldn't see milk when sides are pressed with a fork). Enjoy! Now go make this dish and save some time and your sanity! :-)

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