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.
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!