Save on Pinterest

30 Classic School Lunch Recipes That Will Bring You Back to Your Childhood

Remember when lunch was... fun? For most adults, lunch is usually an uninspired salad or a sad deli sandwich, but it doesn't have to be that way! We may not get recess anymore, but these nostalgic school lunch recipes will help restore some excitement to your midday meal.

1 / 30

Cheesy Pizza Rolls

The cast-iron skillet browns these delicious rolls to perfection. My family can’t get enough. Use whatever pizza toppings your family likes best. —Dorothy Smith, El Dorado, Arkansas

Get Recipe

2 / 30
Mom's Macaroni and CheeseTaste of Home

Mom's Macaroni and Cheese

The wonderful homemade goodness of this creamy Velveeta mac and cheese makes it a staple side dish in my mother's kitchen and in mine as well. It has tender noodles and a crowd-pleasing golden crumb topping. —Maria Costello, Monroe, North Carolina

3 / 30
Arts and CrackersTaste of Home

Arts and Crackers

A bit of fun with some cookie cutters and a tasty fruit topping transform simple cheese and crackers into a treat kids will love. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

4 / 30
Sausage French Bread PizzaTaste of Home

Sausage French Bread Pizza

I never seem to have pizza dough on hand, but that doesn’t stop our family from enjoying pizza. We top crusty French bread with creamy Alfredo sauce, sausage and veggies. It’s great to serve at a party for children or teens. —Cherie Sweet, Evansville, Indiana

5 / 30
One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger PastaTaste of Home

One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

When the weather's too chilly to grill burgers, I whip up a big pot of this cheesy pasta. Believe it or not, it tastes just like a bacon cheeseburger, and it's much easier for my young children to enjoy. —Carly Terrell, Granbury Texas

6 / 30
Indiana-Style Corn DogsTaste of Home

Indiana-Style Corn Dogs

One of the best parts of the many fairs and festivals in Indiana is the corn dogs! My family loves corn dogs, so I fix them fairly often at home. —Sally Denney, Warsaw, Indiana

7 / 30
Pepperoni Pizza Baked PotatoesTaste of Home

Pepperoni Pizza Baked Potatoes

These tasty taters were a spur-of-the-moment recipe I created from leftovers! It's a true mash-up meal that combines two dinnertime favorites into one super-fun meal. —Dawn E. Lowenstein, Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania

8 / 30
Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot BakeTaste of Home

Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Bake

This bacon cheeseburger tater tot casserole is the perfect dish to bribe your kids; homework, chores, piano practice—consider them done! —Deanna Zewen, Union Grove, Wisconsin

9 / 30
Homemade Fish SticksTaste of Home

Homemade Fish Sticks

I am a nutritionist and needed a healthy fish fix. Moist inside and crunchy outside, these are great with oven fries or roasted veggies and low-fat homemade tartar sauce. —Jennifer Rowland, Elizabethtown, Kentucky

10 / 30
Pizza JoesTaste of Home

Pizza Joes

These Italian-style sloppy joes are an easy twist on the classic. The meat can be prepared early and kept warm until it's time to eat. —Joanne Schlabach, Shreve, Ohio

11 / 30
Makeover Li'l Cheddar Meat LoavesTaste of Home

Makeover Li'l Cheddar Meat Loaves

My husband goes wild for my mini meat loaves, but this family-favorite recipe wasn’t very healthy when I first received it. The Taste of Home Test Kitchen experts slashed the calories and fat while keeping the original’s tender and delicious qualities. —Jodie Mitchell, Denver, Pennsylvania

12 / 30
Tangy Pulled Pork SandwichesTaste of Home

Tangy Pulled Pork Sandwiches

The slow cooker not only makes this an easy meal but keeps the pork tender, saucy and loaded with flavor. —Beki Kosydar-Krantz, Mayfield, Pennsylvania

13 / 30
Chewy Honey Granola BarsTaste of Home

Chewy Honey Granola Bars

These bars have sweetness from the honey, chewiness from the raisins, hints of chocolate and cinnamon, and a bit of crunch. They freeze well, too. — Tasha Lehman, Williston, Vermont

14 / 30
Favorite Baked SpaghettiTaste of Home

Favorite Baked Spaghetti

This yummy baked spaghetti casserole will be requested again and again for potlucks and family gatherings. It's especially popular with my grandchildren, who just love baked spaghetti with all the cheese. —Louise Miller, Westminster, Maryland

15 / 30
Favorite Chicken PotpieTaste of Home

Favorite Chicken Potpie

Chock-full of chicken, potatoes, peas and corn, this recipe makes two golden pies, so you can serve one at supper and save the other for a busy night. This is the best chicken potpie recipe to have on hand when company comes over. —Karen Johnson, Bakersfield, California

16 / 30
Meat Loaf MuffinsTaste of Home

Meat Loaf Muffins

Serve these tangy meat loaf muffins for dinner or slice them up for a take-along sandwich lunch. They're just as flavorful after freezing. —Cheryl Norwood, Canton, Georgia

17 / 30
Easy Meatball StroganoffTaste of Home

Easy Meatball Stroganoff

This recipe has fed not only my own family, but many neighborhood kids! They come running when I make this supper. It's one of those things you throw together after work on a busy day because you know it works. —Julie May, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

18 / 30
Lunch Box PizzasTaste of Home

Lunch Box Pizzas

When you have these fun-to-make mini pizzas, it's no challenge finding lunch fare that the kids enjoy. Plus they pack nicely in sandwich bags and travel well, so there's no mess. —Rhonda Cliett, Belton, Texas

19 / 30
Crispy Sage Chicken TendersTaste of Home

Crispy Sage Chicken Tenders

One of my mom's favorite chicken recipes used fresh sage. Her version was smothered with gravy, but we like these panko-crusted tenders as they are. —Deb Perry, Traverse City, Michigan

20 / 30
Crunchy Peanut Butter Apple DipTaste of Home

Crunchy Peanut Butter Apple Dip

My mom got this peanut butter dip recipe from a neighbor years ago. She always made it for us kids in the fall when apples were in season. Now I make it for my children. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia

21 / 30
Sloppy Joe PastaTaste of Home

Sloppy Joe Pasta

Since I found this quick-to-fix recipe a few years ago, it's become a regular part of my menu plans. Everyone loves the combination of sloppy joe ingredients, shell pasta and cheddar cheese. —Lynne Leih, Idyllwild, California

22 / 30
Hot Dog Roll-UpsTaste of Home

Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-and-bacon filled hot dogs, but they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution to a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah

23 / 30
Parmesan Fish SticksTaste of Home

Parmesan Fish Sticks

I wanted a healthier approach to fish sticks and developed a baked tilapia with a slightly peppery bite. My husband and sons love the crispy coating. —Candy Summerhill, Alexander, Arkansas

24 / 30
Cheese FriesTaste of Home

Cheese Fries

I came up with this recipe after my daughter had cheese fries at a restaurant and couldn't stop talking about them. She loves that I can fix them so quickly at home. Plus, the frozen fry packets can be refrigerated and reheated. —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina

25 / 30
Barbecue Chicken PizzaTaste of Home

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

My husband and I love this BBQ chicken pizza recipe, especially when we take it up a notch by adding other toppings that we love, including smoky bacon and creamy Gorgonzola. My mouth starts to water just thinking about it! —Megan Crow, Lincoln, Nebraska

26 / 30
Chilled Fruit CupsTaste of Home

Chilled Fruit Cups

This refreshing frozen salad is easy to assemble ahead and serve to a group at breakfast - or any time of day. It's a convenient and colorful addition to a holiday buffet. —Andrea Hawthorne, Mozeman, Montana

27 / 30
Waffle SandwichTaste of Home

Waffle Sandwich

Breakfast for lunch or dinner? Why not, when the recipe's this easy! I like to serve it with some crisp, juicy sweet apples. Sometimes I add raisins and nuts to the filling of the waffle sandwich for sweetness and crunch. —Michele McHenry, Bellingham, Washington

28 / 30
Meatball Alphabet SoupTaste of Home

Meatball Alphabet Soup

Bite-sized meatballs made from ground turkey perk up this fun alphabet soup. A variety of vegetables mix in a rich tomato broth seasoned with herbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

29 / 30
Hearty Salisbury SteaksTaste of Home

Hearty Salisbury Steaks

I love serving Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and vegetables. With its down-home taste, this meal disappears fast! —Dorothy Bayes, Sardis, Ohio

30 / 30
Mom's Chicken TetrazziniTaste of Home

Mom's Chicken Tetrazzini

Rotisserie chicken turns this baked spaghetti into a warm, cozy meal our family craves. If we have leftover turkey, we use that, too. —Jennifer Petrino, Newnan, Georgia

Amber Garrett
Amber Garrett is an entertainment and lifestyle writer with passions for cooking, baking, interior design and genius lifehacks. She loves going to the theater, volunteering and hosting tea parties.