Ask Not What You Can Do for Your Country, Ask What’s for Lunch: Today is National Brown Bag It Day!

Welcome to National Brown Bag It Day. It’s a fun, unofficial holiday that Kathey Jo’s Kitchen enjoys. The brown bag has been around for a long time. Nowadays, few people bring their lunch from home. Working moms didn’t have the time in the morning to pack a good lunch. Today is the perfect day to go “retro,” and brown bag your lunch. There are good reasons to brown bag it. First, it can save money over time. Second, homemade or foods packed from home always taste better. It’s the perfect day to go back in time and brown bag it. What’s your favorite lunch to pack? Tell us here at Kathey Jo’s Kitchen!

Picadillo-Style Chicken Taco Salad


  • 12 ounces uncooked ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 14 ½ ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped peeled potato (1 small)
  • ¼ cup snipped pitted dried plums (prunes)
  • ¼ cup chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives
  • 2 corn tostada shells
  • 6 cups shredded lettuce
  • ¼ cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (1 ounce)
  • Sliced green onion (optional)
  • Snipped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. In a large skillet cook chicken and chopped onion over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink, using a wooden spoon to break up chicken as it cooks. Drain off fat.
  2. Add coriander, cumin, and salt to chicken mixture in skillet; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, potato, dried plums, and olives. Bring to boiling; reduce heat.
  4. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Uncover; cook about 3 minutes more or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Meanwhile, heat tostada shells according to package directions until crisp.
  6. Arrange shredded romaine on a serving platter. Spoon chicken mixture over romaine. Sprinkle cheese over all. Coarsely crush the tostada shells; sprinkle over salad.
  7. If desired, garnish with green onion and/or cilantro.


Deli-Style Submarines


  • 1 16-ounce loaf French bread
  • ½ 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream ranch dip
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • ¾ cup shredded carrot (1 large)
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced cooked roast beef, ham, or turkey
  • ½ of a medium cucumber, seeded and shredded
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese


  1. Cut French bread in half horizontally. Spread dip on cut sides of bread.
  2. On the bottom half of the bread, layer lettuce, carrot, roast beef, cucumber, and cheese. Top with top half of bread. Cut sandwich into 8 portions. Secure portions with decorative toothpicks.
  3. For a lower-fat sandwich, substitute light dairy sour cream ranch dip for the regular sour cream ranch dip.
  4. If you’re preparing this sandwich more than four hours ahead, store the sour cream ranch dip separately.

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