As homeschoolers, we have a unique predicament when it comes to food: we have to feed our families three times a day, every day. Lest we spend all of our money and time on food, we need some good options! Here are a few of our lunch regulars, which are both easy and economical:
Mexican ravioli - I found this idea in a Taste of Home magazine some time ago, and have been making it ever since! Simply cook up a bag or two of frozen ravioli (I get mine at Wal-mart for $2 - $3 per bag, and it takes a whopping 5 minutes to cook.) Drain, then add a can of enchilada sauce, a can of sliced black olives, and top with shredded cheese.
Burritos - Also starting with a basic frozen item, I get those $3 packs of bean & cheese burritos. I think there are 10 in a pack. The bag is orange. Anyway, these provide at least two lunches. The burritos cook for 3 minutes in the microwave, then we dress them up with sour cream, salsa, and cheese since they are a bit dry. I serve them with cous cous with a little olive oil and parmesan, green beans or corn, and a nice salad.
Baked potato - A big bag of potatoes is just $3 or $4. Red potatoes have the best flavor, though they are smaller so each person will need more than one. I "bake" them in the microwave for 8 minutes, and fill them with a little butter, steamed broccoli, a few chopped mushrooms, bacon bits, and a sprinkle of cheese. If you are afraid your kids won't eat the broccoli, start with a few pieces chopped really small, and add a bit more each time you make this. I did this with both baked potatoes and homemade pizza and now I fill both with broccoli and my kids don't even flinch; it's normal to them now. Yes, at first I got a lot of, "Oh, mom, What did you do? You ruined it!" But I forced them to eat it anyway and now loading things with veggies is just the way we do things.
We also make what I call "Texas baked potatoes" to change things up. These are definitely not healthy though, so serve some good veggies and a salad with them! I microwave the potatoes then fill with barbecued pulled pork, Ranch dressing, broccoli, and cheddar cheese. So delicious!
Flickr/ Robert Banh
Raman noodles - Again, not necessarily healthy, so serve with veggies. After watching Ponyo, I came up with this one. I boil broth for ramen noodles and I drop an egg (out of shell) into the broth for two minutes to start cooking. Then I add the ramen noodles and simmer them for three minutes, as the egg continues to cook in there as well. I turn off the heat and toss in some chopped ham pieces, mushrooms, and green onions. Tasty and more hearty than plain ramen, and it's fun to watch Ponyo while eating, and every now and then yell, "Ham!"
Photo: Stock Xchng
Super salad bar - Okay, here's where I make up for the not-so-healthy lunches. Sometimes we have a super salad bar for lunch. I put out bowls with different salad options, such as: boiled egg wedges, sliced carrots, sliced bell peppers, mushrooms, chopped broccoli, lettuce of course, sliced tomatoes, chunks of cheese, sliced cukes, artichoke hearts, and croutons or chinese noodles. For protein and to make it more filling, I either serve the salad with cooked shrimp or fish or a scoop of tuna salad. Then the kids get to make their own salads, but I require either a minimum number of toppings, colors, or both.
What do you make for lunch in your homeschool home?