Sometimes it is not what you serve but what you call it that counts. Here are my top 25 lunches. Hope you like ‘em.
1. Pouch Salad: Slice pita pockets open with a pizza cutter (older kid job). Stuff with what is on hand: lettuce, bacon bits, shredded cheese, sprouts, celery curls, carrot shreds, halved cherry tomatoes, etc. Put ranch dressing in a small container to dip pocket into or drizzle ranch over the top.
2. Hot Turkey!: Turkey and Pepper Jack sandwich grilled until golden brown.
3. Silly Pizzas: Slice open a English muffin or a pita into a circle shape. Add pizza sauce and grated cheese over all and then mushrooms, broccoli, pepperoni, and other pizza toppings to make faces. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 7 minutes or until cheese is golden. Listen to “Silly Pizza” song from Signing Time. (from SigningTime.com)
4. I See Stars: This is a peanut butter and whatever (banana, jam, honey, strawberry sandwich) but here is the kick… make it out of one slice wheat and one slice white. Cut out a shape with a star cookie cutter from the middle of the sandwich and flip it around so you have white stars on a wheat background. (from Family Fun)
5. Breakfast burritos: Tortilla with scrambled eggs, salsa, cheese and pinto beans. (idea from McD’s)
6. Curly noodle Soup: Chicken Noodle Soup made with Ramen Noodles.
7. Octopus and Seaweed: Hot dog with the lower half of the hot dog shaped like eight legs over spinach fettuccini. (I think this idea is from www.FamilyFun.com See them as I am not able to explain it that well.)
8. Little Dippers: Just put out a bunch of veggies, fruits, and cubed leftover meat with a few kinds of dip. Guacamole. Salsa. Cinnamon Dip: a cup of plain yogurt, a dash of cinnamon, and a half teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mix and serve. PB Dip: ½ cup peanut butter, 1 tsp. honey, a smidge of cayenne pepper. Mix and serve. Great for using up your odds and ends in the fridge.
9. Quicky Chicky: Boneless skinless chicken cut into cubes, 2 tsp. paprika, ½ tsp. salt, ½ cup flour, ¼ cup sesame seeds, black pepper, garlic salt, 1 cup oil. Shake chicken cubes in a sealed bag with the seasonings. Then fry in a hot skillet with a smidge of olive oil until golden. Drain well on paper towels. These can be stored in fridge for four days or freezer for three months. We eat them hot or cold.
10. Stabbed Lunch: Just whatever you have on hand on a skewer. Lots of times we have this the day after we have garlic shrimp and steamed broccoli for dinner.
11. Cut It Out: This is for the day after we have pasta for dinner and most kiddos are able to do this themselves. Use small cookie cutters to cut shapes out of sliced cucumbers, sliced mozzarella cheese and a plastic knife to cut cherry tomatoes into two. Add the shapes to cooked and chilled leftover pasta noodles. Add Italian dressing to the top or leftover marina sauce.
12. Mystery Meat and Potatoes (Go And Burn Everything): Basically hash or fried potatoes and leftover ground beef. The name comes from Gabe liking his very well done.
13. Covered Moss Sandwiches: An open faced grilled cheese with broccoli stashed under the cheese.
14. Let’s Wrap: Tortilla or flat bread spread with sour cream. Sprinkle ranch dressing mix over the sour cream. Then add a layer of deli roast beef or very thinly cut leftovers. Add lettuce, carrot shreds, and sprouts. Wrap it up!
15. Sailboat Sandwiches: In a roll cut with a large ‘V’ shaped wedge at the top – like Subway used to do – stuff with “salad” mix. We use shrimp salad but tuna, egg or chicken salad works too. Then slice a piece of cheese diagonally. Put the cheese sticking straight up on top of the roll so that the cheese looks like sails. (from Family Fun)
16. Inside Outs: Take a piece of bread and flatten it (kid job). Place flattened cheese on top of a slice of cheese, then lettuce and then add a piece of meat on top. Messy but the kiddos think it is funny to eat the bread on the inside of a sandwich.
17. Quesadillas: Two tortillas with cheese and leftover Chicken Enchilada inside grilled until crispy and cheese melted.
18. Chinese Fried Rice: Heat a smidge of oil on med. in a skillet, slowly add three beaten eggs, cook until set moving as needed. Then remove them from the pan. Add two cups of chicken broth or water with bouillon cubes, and 16 oz of the diced frozen veggies stir fry type or any that your kids like, season to taste with soy sauce (I use about 2 Tablespoons). Heat that until boiling. When veggies are half done add 2 cups of leftover brown rice. Heat until rice is warm and veggies are done. Add in eggs until warm and serve.
19. PB and J Pizza: Whole wheat pita with jelly as the pizza sauce and small dollops of peanut butter placed around as if it were a topping. Also add sliced bananas and strawberries.
20. Macaroni and Cheese with Peas: Cooked noodles with cheddar cheese mixed in and peas sprinkled on the top.
21. UFOs: from Family Fun. Spread cream cheese or peanut butter around the bagel and add a half bagel with a hard boiled egg in the hole. You can add raisins, carrot curls, bananas, or whatever on top of the cream cheese or peanut butter.
22. “You’ll Never Get This Again” Soup: Keep a tub in the freezer for the extra bits of leftover veggies and things that freeze well. Mid morning put the frozen tub in a Dutch oven in the oven. Add a can of tomato sauce, some cooked ground beef or cooked beef cubes. Turn on at 325 until warm. Never have the same leftover bits so it never turns out the same twice.
24. Homemade Lunchables: Ritz crackers with lunch meat and cheese in the shape of a circle the same size as the cracker.
25. Baked Potatoes with toppings