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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Backwards Edition!

Today the Works for Me Wednesday is a "Backwards Edition". These are always fun! So, here's what I could use your help with: LUNCH!

Since we homeschool, we are home and I'd like to fix healthy, fun meals for my kids, but I'm at a loss. I often have to cook breakfast (blood sugar issues for one sone - gotta have a full meal) and of course dinner, so I hate to cook again at lunch time. I find myself resorting to Spaghettios and canned soup, which is fine *sometimes*, but I don't like making these regular fare.

Can you suggest some fun lunch ideas for my kids - that require minimal cooking....and, perhaps, that they could fix for themselves? I bet some of you moms who send your kids to school have some great lunch box ideas that would work!

Thanks for your ideas!


The Not Quite Crunchy Parent said...

Sigh- i hear you!

One idea is to make a vegie and dip tray. You can put it back in the frig after lunch and pull it out again before dinner for those pre-dinner snacks.

I also often pre-cook a bunch of noodles and keep them in a bag in the frig. then at lunch just pull them out , reheat with hot water and offer, grated cheese, butter, jar tomato sauce or some other topping.

Quesidillas work well too- minimal cooking involved.

Ann said...

I send lunch every day. They usually have:
sandwiches (2x/week)
Make your own pizzas (you could toast them in the toaster oven, mine assemble at school and eat cold)--english muffins + sauce + cheese + favorite toppings
Breakfast for lunch (I make a big batch of pancakes or french toast one day and send left overs another day)
Mac&Cheese, tuna noodle hot dish, macaroni, hamburger and tomato hot dish, etc.
Grilled cheese (we add things like jelly!) and soup

At A Hen's Pace said...

Oh, I wrote a post on this subject for a Works for Me tip!

Here's the link in case that didn't work:


Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

We do a lot of untraditional lunches. Instead of sandwiches we do cheese trays with fruit and hearty breads. I'm a bog soup fan in the winter.

Have I been here before? This is a great looking blog. I love the name and all the nursery rhyme theme. And I see you post on the Holy days! I think I need to do some browsing.

Emily said...

A while ago I made up a chart and put it on the fridge that had items from each food group in it and a note to "choose 1" or "choose 2". Then the kids could put together their own lunch and it was basically balanced. I don't mind if lunch is a la carte and everyone is eating something different, but some days we sit down and have a planned meal that I have put together for them for lunch, to balance those days when everyone is preparing/eating something different.

If you want to see my fridge list LMK and I'll email it to you.

oh amanda said...

Great advice already!

I'm with the first comment, make some big batches of pasta salads (hot or cold) and then eat them for days! lol!

One of my faves is tortellini w/peas and balsamic vinegar (or just butter & olive oil). It's good hot/cold.

Also, pasta w/chopped apples, raisins, shredded carrots, cubed cheddar cheese and tuna. Then add a couple of tablespoons of mayo & ranch dressing mix (or I guess you could just add some ranch...) and stir it up! It sounds weird, but it is SO good!

Niki said...

Homemade soups can be frozen or canned and easily heated up, veggies and dips, cracker and cheese plate, meat and cheese rollups, chicken salad, tuna salad, quesadillas, salads, etc.

TwoSquareMeals said...

I'm so glad you posted on this! My family is still small enough that we can get by on leftovers from dinner many times. Since my husband hates leftovers, the kids and I have to use them up some way, no saving them for another dinner.

When we can't eat leftovers, I do a lot of cheese toast (slap sliced cheese on bread and pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds-so much easier than grilled cheese). We eat it with peas or cherry tomatoes and applesauce. My kids like frozen peas, so I don't even cook them.

I also do fried rice with leftover rice and leftover bits of veggies and meats. (I save even small amounts of leftover veggies and meats for this and never have to throw away when there isn't enough for a full portion.)

I'd love to see Emily's chart for when my kids are old enough to make their own lunches!

Kerry - A Ten O'Clock Scholar said...

Oh, THANK YOU - so many wonderful ideas! I'm taking notes! And I've asked Emily if she might be able to post her chart on her blog. If she does, I'll be sure to link to it. (Everyone say, "Pretty Please, Emily!") I love the idea of letting them choose!

Jeanne (At A Hen's Pace) - I'm coming to read your post!

Amy said...

Lots of GREAT ideas! I tend to rely on leftovers for lunch - very easy in Lent since we primarily eat soup.

Scribbit said...

My kids like different breads--tortillas, bagels, croissants, that kind of thing. YOu could put asparagus on a bagel and they'd think it was cool.

Totallyscrappy said...

My youngest is a snacker rather than a meal eater. He is always happiest when his meals look like a collection of snacks... hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cheese and crackers, chicken strips, meat slices, cottage cheese, cut up fruit or veggies, breakfast and granola bars, etc. Of course, he'll never turn down a pizza (Have you tried English muffin pizzas?) or a hot dog!

Jean in Wisconsin said...

I mentioned on my blog today how we handle left overs--soup is great for microwaving a bowl at lunch time. A few other ideas off the top of my head:

Microwaved potatoes topped with a can of tuna mixed with a dab of mayo

Pre-made hamburgers, frozen. Pull them apart for a quick meal. Always have hamburger buns in the freezer, too. (These have to be cooked on a griddle, though.)

Bratwurst--precook and freeze. We don't eat pork, so our brats are all beef--not much fat there. Those buns in the freezer, too, and they can be warmed in the microwave.

Tortillas with cheese, melted in microwave.

Canned salmon mixed with a dab of mayo. Dip Ritz Whole Wheat crackers into it.

Brown hamburger, add tomato sauce and pizza spice (mushrooms if you like). Freeze small portions in miffin tins. Remove and keep the chunks in a bag in the freezer. At noon, pull out a chuck and microwave. Toast an English muffin. Top the muffin with hamburger mixture, top with cheese.

Make a double batch of meat loaf. The 2nd half, cook small balls in muffin tins. Freeze. Microwave for lunch.

Vegetables: V8, lettuce salad (with lots of toppings on hand), baby raw carrots, celery filled with p-nut butter, baby tomatoes, cucumber or zuchini slices, wedges of cabbage, raw green onions dipped in salt (mom taught me this one. LOL!). Radishes...I have a container with a grate in the bottom just for vegies. I fill the container, and the kids make them disappear!

Fruit: Lots of options here!

Carbohydrate: tortillas sprayed with Pam and sprinkled with cinnimon and sugar. Microwave on paper towel 1 minute.

Left over pasta (I make extra because my kids love this microwaved with a bit of cheese on top). English muffins, bagels, homemade bread.

I require they eat a protein, a fruit, a vegy and a carb at each get-your-own meal.

:-) Jean

Kimmie said...

Hi Kerry;

I always make 'big' when I cook, this of course gives us left overs.
A fast soup...boullion cubes, water, some olive oil, some tiny noodles (or whatever kind of noodles you have)...seasoning (you pick)...make sure you don't over cook the noodles ;-) Of course you could throw some veggies in, frozen stuff is simple...(broccoli, peas, mixed bag)...though fresh is nicer (chop a few carrots...I use a funky wavy slicer, as it makes the carrots "fun."
Pocket breads (I get mine by the case from our food co-op) can make fun 'stuffed' sandwiches or through some sauce on top, cheese them up and you have a mini pizza!
Tortillas can make wraps of any kind, or through some cheese in and fold in half, and melt in your skillet until melty.

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted