I f you’re anything like me, it’s about this point in the homeschool year — if not sooner — that you find yourself in a lunchtime rut, unable to come up with any new, tasty ideas.
Another problem I’ve had lately is my kids’ changing tastes — things that used to be favorite are now met with groans of dislike. I thought I’d share our current top ten favorites to give you some ideas (and so I can refer back to it later when I forget about foods the kids have enjoyed in the past).
If you’d like to share some of your families favorites in the comments, I’d be grateful for some new ideas.
1. Pizza. Every Tuesday is pizza day. I buy the dry crust pouches and Ragu Quick Sauce, which makes it quick, easy, and slightly more nutritious and much tastier than frozen. I usually add a side salad with mine. A favorite, and tasty, alternative is a pizza roll.
2. Macaroni-and-bacon casserole. I make this for lunches rather than dinners because Brian hates it. Thankfully, the kids love it, since it is one of my favorite comfort foods from childhood.
3. Tuna. The girls and I are big fans of tuna salad. Even Josh, who doesn’t love it, typically doesn’t complain about eating it, particularly when it’s in the form of a tuna melt. Brianna and Megan’s preferred way of eating tuna is on club crackers. I like a good, tuna-stuffed tomato, particularly in the summer with a red, ripe, juicy tomato.
4. Ham roll-ups. These are so easy and everybody except Brianna likes them (and, since she is the only one who likes Ramen noodles, that’s what she has when we have ham roll-ups).
I just place a couple of slices of ham lunch meat on a flour tortilla and top with shredded cheese. Then, I roll it up, brush the top with melted butter and bake long enough to melt the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, I usually turn on the broiler for a minute or two, just to get the ends crunchy…but definitely not anything even hinting of burnt or the kids won’t eat them.
5. Chicken nuggets with macaroni and cheese. This is one of those things that used to be a favorite with all the kids, but now Josh grumbles about it. I went ahead and included it since 2/3 of the kids still like it.
6. Ham pinwheels. Another simple menu option, for ham pinwheels I just spread cream cheese on a slice of lunch meat ham and roll it up. I used to cut the rolled up ham log into one-inch or so slices, making them look like a pinwheel. Recently, I’ve cut out that step, making it an even quicker and easier meal, since the kids could care less about how it looks.
7. Homemade “lunchables.” I cut ham and/or turkey into club cracker size rectangles and serve with sliced cheddar cheese, crackers, and fruit or applesauce.
8. Lasagna. My kids love lasagna and actually prefer the store-bought to homemade usually. Yes, I know they’re weird. I have avoided lasagna for lunches because it seemed pricey — until I realized that the store-brand smaller size was much more reasonably-priced than the name-brand family size. It’s just the right size for the kids, too, since I don’t care for it and just make myself a salad. It’s so simple since it only has to be nuked in the microwave for 15 minutes. No hassle or fuss involved.
9. Taco rolls or cheese quesadillas with Spanish rice. Josh doesn’t care for the taco rolls, but it’s no big deal to make him a cheese quesadilla or ham roll-up instead. The girls love this one.
10. Hot dogs or pigs-in-the-blanket. For a little variation on a plain old hot-dog, I’ll roll the hot dog in a crescent roll and bake instead.
And, in case you’ve followed my blog for awhile and were wondering, no, I didn’t lose all that weight eating this stuff. My lunch of choice is my almost-daily super salad or my pasta bowl (which has now become a quinoa bowl). Yum!
What are your family’s lunch time favorites?