I missed yesterday’s post, due to entertaining my crew since they got called off yesterday, and they are home again today. I’m ok with it, because it’s frigid outside!
Which leads into the post for today.
Its always interesting to have to have lunch, especially if you’re not ready for it. In most cases, we just do leftovers. Like on weekends, or I stock up on sandwich stuff for them.
Then you have the off times. School breaks, school closings, and those in between times. What do you do?
Well, depending on the time of year, you pre-plan out your food. I can’t stress that enough. Pre-planning, time management, and not being afraid of leftovers are your bffs. If you look at your meals as if it’s more than just one meal, and ‘recycle’, you’ll be in great shape.
Example: I made my shells, and I had meat leftover, along with some vodka sauce. When I went shopping this last time I bought an odd amount of spaghetti sauce, because you just never know. It worked in my favor. Now, I got dinner for another night or…….lunch for today. Spaghetti and rerun the salad we have in the refrigerator.
You guys know that trick, I think every parent knows that trick. What do you do if the leftover option isn’t a choice?
Well, this is where it gets interesting. This is where creativity comes in, and you can put the little ones to work. If you can bigger ones like myself, they may help, may not, but I always tell them, if you want it t go faster, wash your hands and come help. If not shut your face, and stop complaining.
It’s been a year since I had to have that convo.
Of course you have the chili option, but have you thought about homemade soup? Some soups don’t take any longer than 30 minutes, which is what I stick to if I’m on the spot for lunch. This is where you look in your pantry and fridge and see what you have to work with. That chicken no one wanted to eat, it can work. Even cooking up a pound of hamburger would work.
My mom used to make this hamburger(or in my house it with be turkey) soup, that was fantastic. Real simple, and done in 30-40 minutes tops.
What you’ll need:
1-3 pounds ground meat
1 1/2 cups of vegetables(you can be creative on choices)
Flavored broth, or 3 cups of water, and seasonings to your liking.
2 cans of diced or stewed tomatoes
This is the base of the recipe. I always change it up depending on the season. Like today, if I make it, I’ll add rice to the recipe, and make cornbread or biscuits.
In any event, you can use this as an educational opportunity for your school aged kids, and a culinary opportunity for your older kids.
Cooking the meat(if needed) until meat is browned, and draining(if needed). Add the meat, vegetables, broth/water mix, and tomatoes to a pot and simmer for 30 minutes, to cook in the flavor. Now, before you get to all that, you probably wondering about the veggies. You can have fresh veggies(which will take longer to cook). If you choose this route, this is where he little ones gets involved. Measuring out the veggies, starts them out in math early, or keeps their fractions fresh. As for the older ones(if they are old enough to chop veggies), they can cut up the veggies and began learning techniques of cooking for themselves, or fine tuning it.
Then you could take the route I do during the week, which is using canned veggies because sometimes these kids are just hungry! In this case, you have assistants(kids), that help with the opening, draining and adding the ingredients. I try to get them involved, because it’s a great way to bond and talk, not to mention teach them math and cooking. Simple lessons, simple recipe, and hang out time. Can’t beat that right?
Now, there is two other options. One is cheaper option, that if I’m being really lazy I do with the kids, and honestly, they can make on their own if in the teens stage. The other is awesome if your trying to clean out the fridge.
First one, is something I created by accident. Top ramen isn’t the best option in food quality, but convenient. It’s not the option though. If you have soup, you use the noodles, just the noodles in a can of soup. place the noodles in a microwavable bowl, and pour the soup over the noodles, cooking for 3-5 minutes. This works in your soups that are mainly veggie soups or soups with no noodle. It’s filling and quick. You can do cook it that way, or boil all together on the stove.
The second option, my kids love to do. You’ll need:
Sub sandwich bread
any other toppings you like on sandwiches
Heat your oven or 350. Cut up lettuce, tomatoes, and any veggies you want to have on the sandwiches. Build an assembly line. Built your own hot sub I minutes. We like to put the Italian dressing on, and meat and cheese first. Baking for 12-15 minutes in foil. Then taking out the sandwich, and letting everyone build their sandwiches with whatever they choose. Almost like pizza hut with sandwiches. Pull out the chips or salad and serve.
BOOM, your good, cleaned out the fridge and everyone is happy. We make it fun by playing out it’s like a deli. Super Samurai is the owner, and I’m the slicer. Ms Hyperdiva is the picky customer, and Wise One is the customer who’s in a hurry. Funny moments in my kitchen.
The point: lunch can be difficult or made the best of with extra help. It doesn’t have to be perfect or glamorous. Just tasty and enough for everyone. Make it fun, feed them, and keep it pushing. No reason to make anything difficult, right?