Summer is here!
Everyone is spending the mornings out and about - working on the gardens, walking around town, or heading to the Intervale. And that means hot, tired, and hungry kids in the kitchen at lunchtime! I'm looking to expand my sandwich and salad repertoire in the coming weeks. It's hard to sit down to spaghetti and meatballs after a sweaty morning of playing outside, no matter how much we may love them!
The Green Preschool is heading to the Intervale every Wednesday morning. It's a long walk, and they have so much fun it's hard to make it back to BCS in time for lunch. So last week the teachers asked if they could have lunch to-go on Wednesdays for a while. Yesterday I made them a few containers of cold sandwich filling with cucumbers, shredded carrots, diced cubes of cheese and a little ranch dressing, and packed it with pita bread, apples, and crackers.
I'm excited about this challenge, and plan to search around in my cookbooks this week for some fun and healthy picnic options.
I'm also making the switch from store-bought ranch to homemade. I'm trying out this recipe first, I'll let you know how it goes!
No-Mayonnaise Ranch Dressing from all-recipes.com...
I'm happy to be back...
cooking again. I had a terrific vacation but was glad to be shopping on Sunday for red peppers, cheddar cheese, quinoa (a first - coming up this week!) chicken, tortillas, yogurt, berries, broccoli, and a big bag of bread flour. Tomorrow we'll have tacos with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, salsa, AND some fresh cilantro the Green Preschool brought back from their outing to the Intervale today. Delicious ~ thanks Emily!!
Lunch today was a school-wide favorite, good old macaroni and cheese. Peas with butter for the babies and little toddlers, crunchy carrot sticks for the bigger kids. Sliced cantaloupe. Milk.
There was a good bit of macaroni and cheese left over, but by the time I left for the day the teachers had taken care of most of it ~
We are busy planning our June Family Dinner for next Thursday, June 24th. Heather and I decided on the menu, but I'm thinking of throwing in a surprise or two....
And HERE is the recipe I promised last time... Baked Spinach and Rice! My husband stumbled upon this site a week or two ago- Cooking with My Kid. If you need some fresh meal ideas I recommend it. Whether or not you want to involve your kids in the cooking process, this is delicious, healthy, kid-friendly food. The truth is, all of the recipes I checked out looked great, but I was especially intrigued by this one. I tried it and it's delicious. It looks and tastes like it took a lot of time and thought and yet, it's easy as pie to prepare and has only five ingredients. You can even go ahead and chop up some fresh spinach if you have it and use that instead of the frozen! I'm going to adapt the recipe for lunch and put it on the menu next month.
Baked Spinach & Rice Recipe
Prep Time: 25 mins (mostly unattended) Cooking Time: 30 mins
1 package rice pilaf
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup lowfat milk
Defrost spinach and squeeze dry. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cook rice according to package directions and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in chopped spinach, cheese, milk and eggs. Pour into greased square baking dish and cook for 30 minutes or until set. Let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into squares for serving. Serves 4 to 6.
Thank you Lynn Monty for coming to visit us at BCS and writing a lovely article about our food program for the Hometown section of the Burlington Free Press!
To read the full article just click here.
I'm also excited because I learned a new recipe today that I think the kids will love, and that will make good use of any greens ( like spinach, chard, kale, etc) we might get from our farm share this season. I'll keep it a secret for now but it will be my next post, after my own kiddos have taste tested!
Here is the recipe for Erinn's delicious squash soup, served at our last Family Dinner. This is Vermont so even summer will hold a few days when soup is called for. Make two batches and freeze some, it reheats beautifully and can be thinned with water, broth or milk. Babies love it too.
Lunch Lady Squash Soup
Served at our May Family Dinner
(Food processor or blender required to get really smooth soup)
2 Medium/large butternut squash peeled, seeded, chopped into 2 inch pieces
6 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 Medium onion peeled and chopped
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
About half a cup of milk or cream (optional)
Place squash, onions, and broth into large soup pot. Bring to a low boil then reduce the heat and simmer until squash and onions are very soft and mushy. In small batches process the mixture in the processor or blender until it is very smooth , adding small amounts of milk or cream if desired. Season with salt , pepper, and garlic powder to taste.