Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let's Do Lunch!

Ever stare empty eyed and empty minded into the fridge, the back of your mind panicking because you need to make something, anything for lunch--and you can't think of one single solitary thing that sounds good? Yeah, me too. Maybe if I share some of my lunch ideas with you, then you can share some of yours with me and we'll all come away richer!
I don't have pictures for our entire lunch menu, but I do have a few.

Here goes:
1. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (duh).
Home made bread makes a big difference with sandwiches for me.
2. Meat and cheese sandwich. This is Ezra's fave and he'd eat it everyday. I use whole wheat bread, Kirkland brand deli thin sliced ham and Havarti cheese. My favorite combo is Kirkland brand turkey, cheddar, ice burg lettuce and mayo. Serve with a dill pick or cucumber slices on the side and also some sort of easy fruit--apple, orange, grapes, etc.
3. Tuna fish. Chicken of the sea. Wait, I don't get it, is it chicken or fish? Hehe. Name that blonde. My kids like tuna without the sandwich. I simply open two cans of tuna, drain, add mayo and pickle and stick it in a bowl for them. Easy as pie. I usually serve wheat thins and cheese and bell pepper slices to fill in the empty spots.
Yesterday when I mixed up our tuna, we were out of pickles. So I changed things up a bit. I added mayo to the tuna, placed it on a bed of ice burg lettuce, grated some cheddar over the top and glopped on some pineapple salsa. Delish!
4. Grilled cheese and tomato soup. I use my favorite Trader Joe's tomato soup. If it's just the kids and I, I only use cheddar cheese. If Daddy is home, or we have friends over, I try to spice it up and add some Gouda, Munster or pepper jack. This particular day I added carrot juice to the tomato soup to infuse some health value. I thought I'd get away with it since I didn't add that much. Plus, it's orange. For the first few bites I was in the clear. Then Caroline mentioned that it tasted different. I stalled for the next few bites. Ezra chimed in that it wasn't the same. Finally I admitted what I had done. They were fine with it for a while. But then the carrot juice started to get a bit overpowering. The "earthiness" sort of sneaks up on you. I guess I won't try that again because usually they love tomato soup. I also got distracted by the lateness of the hour and trying to get Ezra to school on time and burned the sandwiches. Win some, lose some.
*You can put tomato soup in a sippie cup for your messy toddler. Caroline used to love drinking it up--made lunch more of an adventure for her and clean up less of an adventure for me!
You can add carrot juice to other things with better success--like smoothies. Carrots have a lot of natural sugar and lend a real sweetness to an otherwise tart smoothie. I like the taste best in a smoothie when mixed with orange juice. The citrus overpowers the earthiness of the carrots. And when I feed my family a smoothie filled with spinach, carrot juice and flax seed I can feel like a super mom for a minute or two.

5. Not so healthy--but a BIG hit with the kids--corn dogs. If you want to enjoy the meal as an adult, you can add some Trader Joe's sweet potato fries. I like TJ's better than Costco's. I could eat the whole bag. That happens to be 5 servings. Don't ask how I know. They are that yummy. Usually we have bell pepper slices with our corn dogs.

6. Mac and cheese. Old stand-by. Kids love you for it. Any fruit or veggie as a side goes with this. Or apple sauce. Endorsed by Mr. Potato Head.

7. Bagels and cream cheese. Often we add lunch meat. The kids don't enjoy adding spinach, but I do! I buy the honey whole wheat bagels at Costco and store them in the freezer. They mold very fast. They defrost easily, though. They are not my favorite bagel, but they are the cheapest and easiest to freeze and defrost. The very best way to consume said bagels is to spread on the cream cheese, add some fresh turkey (the kind you stick in a freezer bag for later on Thanksgiving day), a thick layer of spinach and a thin layer of cranberry sauce. Home made or the jarred version that Trader Joe's sells year round. Yum!

8. Quesidillas. We usually have left over black beans in the fridge, so I generally throw some in for added protein and fiber. Serve with sour cream and pineapple salsa for dipping. These go great with a fruit smoothie or a carton of yogurt.
(You can see that Ezra's top tooth is finally growing a mate. And he lost his fifth tooth last week--down on the bottom. I paid him a dollar to pull it last Tuesday night because it was sticking straight out and disgusting me. I wanted to pin him down and twist it out even though he was screaming. And that's pretty much not allowed. So, instead I bribed him to do it himself.)
9. Dipping Day. When you don't feel like making anything, don't. Just slice up a variety of veggies: carrots, celery, cucumbers, baby tomatoes, bell pepper slices, snap peas, etc. Place them with a container of dip, such as Uncle Dan's on the table. Add some apple and pear slices and a jar of peanut butter. Put out some cheese and crackers if you're worried bellies won't fill up enough on fruit and veggies with dip. Try not to gag when your kids dip their peppers in peanut butter and their pears in Uncle Dan's. It was all going to mix together in their bellies eventually. Aunt Megan taught us another version of this that she calls "slices". She slices up apples and pears, smears peanut butter on the sides of them and then adds various toppings--nuts, dark chocolate chips, etc. It was rather nummers.

And no matter what you eat--don't let your siblings dress you--or you'll look like that!
I am fresh out of lunch ideas. Please, share some of yours with me!


Cobblestone said...

Not full meal deals, but...
plain yogurt topped with honey or jam, popcorn with cheese or buttered popcorn with milk (a la Almanzo), pizza sandwiches - bread or English muffins w sauce & cheese & maybe pepperoni, toasted. Chocolate chips for dessert.

kdk said...

My boys like rice, black beans, shredded cheddar and salsa, with shredded lettuce. Costco chocolate-covered raisins for dessert.

NaomiG said...

We are more snackers than lunchers. However, if we are making lunch, a lot of things on your list are also on ours. I do nachos though too, with the Juanita's chips from Winco. Cheap, and the best chips in the world--I try to keep four bags on hand because we go through them that fast. If I have taco meat cooked up and corn tortillas and cheese the girls can grate cheese and assemble their own tacos, which is nice. We also do apples and cheese and some sort of lunch meat, or pepperoni if I really want happy kids. And, leftovers are ALWAYS available, sometimes they like them and sometimes they're all for me and Garrett. This was timely since I've actually been trying to get more variety of meals like this on hand... do you have a good bread recipe? I've never found one that I love. I don't have a bread machine, and don't really want one though. My grocery list for the next time I'm at the store includes stuff for green smoothies for me and Garrett (and the kids if they want them.)for lunches because I despise the sound of a blender and I might kill someone if I have to hear it before noon, and also Greek yogurt with granola and frozen thawed berries. I foresee that being a breakfast or lunch type of item. Both of my kids are adept at frying eggs, so they do that for lunch sometimes, and if I have English muffins on hand they'll make egg sandwiches for lunch. We also do celery with peanut butter and raisins. Usually we have one biggish snack at around 11, and one again at around three, with little snacks in between. The snack thing drives me crazy, but it seems to be the only way they can eat, and I know it's healthier, so I'm trying to get to the point where they get their own snacks, and clean up after themselves.

Oooh, that's a long comment. Oh well. :-)

Anonymous said...

lol wow we eat the same :) except for the kraft mac n cheese, that i leave to my roomie, who consumes it everyday in high amounts lol, gross...i got rather spoiled on my mom's homemade and now i use trader joe's rice pasta for it and everything else..rice pasta with all tj's great pasta sauces(no sugar!), rice pasta with butter and salt, rice pasta with olive oil...everyone likes it, it's a super great immitation to white, i think your kids even would :) other ideas are yeah yogurt with jam is the best, yogurt with tj's crunchy organic peanut butter, tortilla chips with their green salsa, or make your own nachos on a tray, done in 5 minutes on high broil...another fav of mine is pizza triscuits, a family tradtion- pizza or pasta sauce and any kinda cheese on regular triscuits, i like using havarti or gouda(i have been known to eat the entire baking tray of them lol) and ditto on TJ's sweet potato fries, i'll eat a whole tray of themt oo ;)..havarti and gouda is soo good in grilled cheese and guess what...i purposely burn my grilled cheese!! yum ;) Try the Tuscan Pane wheat bread(roundish oblong loaf- green wrapper) for grilled cheese with the gouda and you got yourself one yummy gourmet grilled cheese(maybe just for you ;)) and there's always pizza done in 10 mins on a pizza stone- i use the whole wheat crusts from fred meyer, grr can't think of the brand at the moment, so that's fast and easy- u can make up so many different combos on them with cheeses and spices...i use the natural thin sliced hormel ham on it and it crisps soo yummy and perfect on it for a little bit of meat :) I also add the green salsa in my quesadillas :) The frozen taquitos at TJ's are pretty healthy too and good. Another thing I do with crackers constantly is eat cream cheese on of my favs. Peanut butter and honey or jam on triscuits is another fav. Also cheese puffs with yogurt or cottage cheese.. Frito Lay actually has a seemingly healthy natural cheese puff. ~Cath(what would i do without tj's?!)

Adkins Family said...

I would love to come over for some homemade bread pb&j's! Mmm. Travis always used to try to trade Nathan lunches at school b/c Eileen always made sandwiches with homemade bread.

Lunch at Costco is a favorite of mine! :) Pita chips and hummus with cheese and carrots/apples are a standby here. Pasta with olive oil/butter salt and shredded parm (you can always add chicken).

gourmetgirl said...

Bagel sandwiches...oh yeah!!! I grew up on the East Coast and therefore cannot eat the frozen grocery store kind...but I digress...One of my favorite bagel shops back East added cream cheese and green chilies with smoked turkey and cheese and turned the sandwich into something really special. I also will smear the bread with olive tapenade with lunchmeat and cheese...but these might just be ideas for lunch for you and "daddy" and not the kids depending on their tastes!

Mike, Alice, and Hank the DOG said...

I don't have any lunch suggestions...but I will come to your house on Tuna Day! We don't get to have that at this house and I love it. You made it sound extra good! Tomato Soup day I will stay home.....!! NOT a favorite. Your lunches are working...your kids look healthy, happy, and cute as can be!

robyn said...

Sounds like our lunch menu...

How about some Ramen noodles with an egg dropped in while it's cooking and some frozen vegetables on top (peas/carots/corn are best).