28 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.

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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

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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
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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
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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
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One-Pot Bacon Cheeseburger Pasta

When the weather's too chilly to grill, 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
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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
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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
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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
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Homemade Fish Sticks

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

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

There's sweetness from the honey, chewiness from the raisins, hints of chocolate and cinnamon, and a bit of crunch. To save a few for later, wrap individual bars and place in a resealable freezer container. When you want a satisfying treat on short notice, just grab one and let it thaw for a few minutes. —Tasha Lehman, Williston, Vermont
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Favorite Baked Spaghetti

This is my grandchildren's most-loved dish. It feels like a special dinner and is so cozy for cooler months. —Louise Miller, Westminster, Maryland
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Favorite Chicken Potpie

This is the best chicken potpie recipe! 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. —Karen Johnson, Bakersfield, California
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Hot Dog Roll-Ups

Not only do my grandchildren love these cheese-filled hot dogs, they enjoy helping put the meal together, too. It's the perfect solution when you need a last-minute lunch. —Lyletta Searle, Morgan, Utah
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Meatball Alphabet Soup

Bite-sized meatballs made from ground turkey perk up this fun alphabet soup. A variety of vegetables are mixed in a rich tomato broth seasoned with herbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Hearty Salisbury Steaks

I love serving Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and vegetables. It's the essence of down-home goodness. And it always disappears fast! —Dorothy Bayes, Sardis, Ohio
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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.