Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beating Lunchtime Boredom

It's been a long school year and now the kids are either heading back home for the summer or perhaps slowing down the homeschooling pace a bit. Now is a great time to rethink what you will serve them for lunch over the next few months. Put away the peanut butter and consider these fun and appetizing ideas.

Cracker Lunch:

Our children always enjoyed this departure from traditional sandwich fare. Cut sliced cheese and deli meats into 2-inch squares and give each child a dollop of tuna or chicken salad. They may then build their own hors d'oeuvres with whole-grain crackers served on the side. With a bowl of broth soup and a piece of fruit, this makes a delightful, hands-on lunch meal.

Free-For-All Tacos:

This is a good idea for the day you clean out the refrigerator. Tacos made with simple fillings of any leftover meat, shredded cheese, and vegetables can be mixed and matched for variety. Try chicken breast seasoned with taco seasoning and paired with shredded green cabbage. Serve with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, black olives, or any other sides you prefer. With younger children, I would suggest using the smaller tortillas for easier handling.

Roll Ups:

Tortillas are also good for making rolled sandwiches. These may also be varied depending on whatever is available on hand. After filling and rolling, cut the sandwiches into 2-inch pinwheels and secure with toothpick skewers. Kids love these colorful finger foods. A favorite from my mother's kitchen is Ham Roll-ups. Smear soft tortillas with cream cheese. Lay a large, rectangular piece of deli ham (dried with a paper towel) across the prepared tortilla. Lay a dill pickle spear (dried with a paper towel) at one end of the ham slice and begin rolling it up in the tortilla to the other side. Cut and secure as mentioned above. Try beef, cheddar, and horseradish; lettuce, turkey, and tomato with mayo.; a hot dog, mustard, relish, and onion; scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa warmed up. Use your imagination and make them colorful.

Bon app├ętit!