And there is nothing I hate more than driving home from the grocery store hungry, cranky, and knowing there is absolutely nothing in the fridge to eat. Yes, if I'm coming home from the store, technically there's food in the house, but I need to get the kids eating immediately or have something that will be ready to eat by the time I unload the groceries. In the past, this might have been when I bought lunch on the way home. This is not the case anymore, since there is virtually nothing these kids can or will eat that can be purchased quickly. Forget healthy. At this point, we're desperate.
But we do mangage to eat lunch. And usually it's relatively healthy. Here are a few of our favorite easy, go-to lunches:
1. "Lunch Snack" - This is Ella's name for it. Essentially, she grabs a plate and puts a bunch of nibbly kind of stuff on it. Usually some combination of pepperoni, chips, fresh fruit, chickpeas, and cucumbers.
2. Nachos - tortilla chips, homemade refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, and homemade salsa . .. one of my favorites.
3. Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter - Yay! The quaker ones are now gluten-free! This is good because the kids like them best. Ella says they taste like popcorn. Um, ok. They spread peanut butter or sometimes refried bean and hot sauce on them, and we serve them with whatever fresh fruit and veggies we have lying around. Frozen peas are also an appreciated side dish in the summer.
4. "Sushi" Rolls - We have actually made sushi rolls at home, but this is neither quick nor convenient. I do miss a flour tortilla (mmmmm . . .) but the girls seem to like the corn tortillas (still haven't been able to locate rice wraps locally) to make what normal people call pinwheels or roll-ups. My children call them sushi rolls. I heat a corn tortilla just to soften it, then we fill it with their favorite stuff (mustard, lettuce, and pepperoni/salami for Ella; ketchup, lettuce/tomato, and ham/turkey for harper), roll them up, and slice them. Serve face up like sushi.
5. Pizza - This is a difficult one, because there is only ONE gfcf frozen pizza that I can find with soy cheese on it. No one in this house will eat pizza without some form of fake cheese, so don't even bother suggesting any of the tasty looking cheeseless roasted veggie ones. Maybe one day, just not today. Now, I like the Amy's rice crust, soy cheese spinach pizza, but sometimes we want a change from spinach, you know? I'm getting much better at making my own crusts, so I figured I'd make a double batch last week and see how well they freeze. Then I took it a step further. I prebaked the crusts about fifteen minutes, allowed to cool completely, then topped with homemade pizza sauce, soy cheese, and our favorite toppings. Then I froze the pizzas on a cookie sheet before storing them in plastic bags in the freezer.
(My apologies to the olive-haters.)
We had enough for us to eat on Friday night, plus I made four small pizzas for the freezer.
But the real test happened today, when I finally tired of rice and beans (we're slowly rebuilding the little one's digestive system) and popped one of these babies in the toaster oven. All I can say is wow. I personally think it was even better, because in it's frozen state I was able to place the pizza directly on the rack, giving the crust a little more crispness than when I bake them fresh. No picture of it baked. Sorry, it was gone in five minutes. So, now the plan is to make a huge batch of crusts and several pizza varieties, so we can have the pleasure and convenience of pizza night once again, without having to spend two hours making the darn thing.