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POCKET FOODS: A SIMPLE TRICK TO MAKING WASTE-FREE AND TIME-SAVING LUNCH

When I was in elementary school, I lived for pizza pockets. Besides being delicious encased little pizzas, they were the perfect no-fuss, easy-to-pack lunch food. Not that I would ever say no to pizza now, but pizza pockets just aren’t the healthiest. Now that I’m (somewhat of) an adult, I’m more conscious of what I eat and like to switch things up while being able to retain the convenience aspect of lunches.

There’s no better way to do that than to take the concept of pocket foods. There are already delicious popular pocket foods like pizza pockets, empanadas, and pitas. Having them homemade just means that you can make it your own, keep it healthy, and eat it fresh. If you aren’t already making pocket foods, we have some easy recipes to get you into the routine and help you save time. Don’t forget to involve your kids, too–it’ll be more exciting for them to eat healthy foods that they prepared themselves.

Try these three pocket foods to save you time and reduce waste.

1. Pizza Pockets

As an adult, I find that pizza pockets are just as delicious as they were when I was in elementary school. Only now, I make it fresh with ingredients that I love.

Ingredients:

Pizza Dough:

1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup water or milk

2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together before whisking in water and olive oil. Mix well, allowing a dough to form.
  2. Knead the dough on a floured surface about 10 times. Allow it to set for another 10 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough into 8 pieces, rolling each into a ball.

Pizza filling:

3/4 cup tomato sauce

1 ½ tsp mixture of basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary

2 cups shredded cheese

1 cup meat of choice (e.g. sliced pepperoni)

1 cup chopped vegetables (e.g. green peppers, mushrooms)

Instructions:

  1. Take the 8 pieces of dough and roll them out flat into a thin crust.
  2. Add your ingredients onto each dough, allowing enough room around the edges to enclose and stick.
  3. Baked in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

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2. Pita Bread

The pita bread conveniently comes with a pocket (it’s kind of like the marsupial of breads), which makes it a perfect pocket food. A pita pocket’s filling totally depends on the size of the pita–recipes are hard to gauge! So here are some terrific pita pocket pairings to give you an idea of just how amazing your convenient lunch can be.

Eggplant and red peppers

Eggplant and red peppers go hand-in-hand like peas in a pod! Their textures and flavours complement each other brilliantly. Roast both ingredients until a little charred, and add a bit of mozzarella in your pita, and a generous dollop of tomato sauce. Quick and easy pocket food in no time.

Apples, goat cheese, and walnuts

Apples, goat cheese, and walnuts are toppings you often find in a spinach salad to offset the grassy flavour. You won’t need to cook any ingredients to make this delicious pita pocket happen. Just layer in the spinach, cut up apples into chunks, and mix in some goat cheese and walnuts!

Radishes, avocados, and hummus

If you’ve ever had hummus with your avocado toast, you would know how splendid this combination is. The refreshing taste and crunchiness of radishes will add a healthy dose of colour and flavour to your delicious lunch.

3. Empanadas

Empanadas are pocket foods originating from Spain, and are popular foods in Latin America as well. Meat is a common filling for empanadas, but the best part about them is that you can use pretty much anything as there is already a big variety. They are also a great way to use up any leftovers. Stuffing empanadas with leftovers will only save you time as they’re already cooked and flavourful!

Empanada Dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2  tsp salt

6 tbsp unsalted butter

1 egg

1/4 cup water or milk

1 tsp baking powder

Empanada Filling:

1 lb ground beef (about 2 cups or less)

1 onion, finely chopped

2 chilis, minced

½ tsp chili powder

3-4 roma tomatoes diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Break the meat up and cook in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until brown.
  2. Add onions and jalapenos to cook for another 5 minutes before adding chili powder and tomatoes. Cook until thickened before gently stirring in fresh cilantro. Add salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix all the empanada dough dry ingredients in a bowl. Add in butter and mix. Slowly add in just enough water to form a dough. Knead the dough before rolling it out and breaking it into smaller balls.
  4. Flatten out the balls, and add in the fillings, leaving just enough room around the edges to allow it to fold and stick. Place the empanadas on a parchment-lined sheet, and brush the pastries with egg wash.
  5. Baking in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway.

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Have you tried making pocket foods for lunch? Share with us your experience, if it has helped, and we also want to know your favourite recipes!

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