Grown-up twists on your favorite childhood lunches

September 6, 2017

It’s back-to-school season, and for many, this time of year brings on a lot of nostalgia. You know, memories of fresh notebooks, shiny new packs of gel pens, and counting the hours until that most special of times: lunch. Because let’s be honest, lunch was the best part of the school day. You got a break from classes, time to catch up with your friends, and maybe even the chance to make doe-eyes at a crush or two.

It’s back-to-school season, and for many, this time of year brings on a lot of nostalgia. You know, memories of fresh notebooks, shiny new packs of gel pens, and counting the hours until that most special of times: lunch. Because let’s be honest, lunch was the best part of the school day. You got a break from classes, time to catch up with your friends, and maybe even the chance to make doe-eyes at a crush or two.
And because our palettes weren’t all that sophisticated, for the most part we even got excited for things like sloppy joes, rubbery grilled cheese, and those iconic slices of rectangular pizza (you know the ones). We downright craved foods that our adult selves probably couldn’t be paid to eat at this point.
The good news is, there are plenty of delicious recipes that will call forth days of yore without offending your grown-up tastebuds. In fact, some of the recipes are so good you’ll wonder why you ever enjoyed eating certain foods any other way. We promise!
So without further ado, here’s a list of classic school lunches that have been MAJORLY upgraded .
1Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes A post shared by amanda~cole~ 💋 (@1anw_cole) on May 15, 2016 at 11:22am PDT

Nothing takes us back to school like a good ol’ sloppy joe. But all joes are created equal, and these Philly Cheesesteak-inspired sammies are a cut above the rest.
Here’s the full recipe.
2Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots
A post shared by Josh Scruggs (@foodsweatbeer) on May 13, 2017 at 5:36pm PDT

If you enjoy bacon, then you know adding it to literally anything is the ultimate upgrade. Enough said.
Here’s the full recipe.
3Fish Sticks A post shared by InstaFoodie (@bianca_eats) on Aug 31, 2017 at 3:42pm PDT

Of all the not-so-great mystery foods served in school cafeterias, fish sticks might be everyone’s least favorite. But these whole wheat, breadcrumb-coated sticks just might change your mind.
Here’s the full recipe.
4Carrot Macaroni and Cheese A post shared by Casey Everhart (@jeverhart05) on Sep 4, 2017 at 12:40pm PDT

This mac and cheese recipe is a bit on the fancier side. Ingredients include freshly ground white pepper, tarragon, penne rigate, and 3 lbs of carrots. Yes, carrots! Which means it’s not only a tastier option, but it’s also more nutritious.
Here’s the full recipe.
5Sheetpan Pizza (aka, rectangle pizza!)
A post shared by Simply Recipes (@simplyrecipes) on Aug 19, 2017 at 10:24am PDT

Did someone say pizza? WE DID! You just can’t go wrong with pizza — especially this one with spinach and artichoke.
Here’s the full recipe.
6Roasted Garlic Fries A post shared by BSKT Cafè (@bsktcafe) on Sep 4, 2017 at 8:22pm PDT

You definitely won’t find these in the freezer section, and unlike the french fries you were served at school, these are low in fat and high in vitamin C and potassium.
Here’s the full recipe.
7Grilled Chicken Tacos A post shared by Taco Fanpage (@tacohellyes) on Sep 4, 2017 at 6:09pm PDT

We’re pretty sure these tacos look nothing like whatever your school served on Taco Tuesdays. Made with yummy grilled chicken breasts/thighs, fresh tomatoes, avocados, and onions, and then topped with sour cream. If this isn’t an upgrade, we aren’t sure what is.
Here’s the full recipe.
8Grilled Cheese A post shared by NYC Food Coma (@nycfoodcoma) on Sep 6, 2017 at 8:30am PDT

It’s hard to mess up a grilled cheese sandwich, but somehow the ones found in our school’s cafeterias were never quite this gooey and delicious. This particular recipe uses sourdough bread and Monterey Jack cheese, and even adds some sliced andouille sausages.
Here’s the full recipe.
9Sausage-and-Three-Cheese Lasagna A post shared by Da Giuseppe (@dagiuseppe_cocinaitaliana) on Sep 4, 2017 at 1:59pm PDT

Stuffed with sausage and covered in an ooey gooey three-cheese mix, this lasagna will have you going back for seconds…and thirds.
Here’s the full recipe.
We have a feeling your tastebuds will appreciate the upgrades. You’re welcome in advance!

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