School Lunch

Josie making salad And now it’s time for everyone’s favorite time of day–even more favorite than the ever present “What’s for dinner?”– Yes.  That’s right: What the heck do you put in your kids’ school lunches!!??

I grapple with this issue mostly with my middle child.  Josie is a very high-brow girl when it comes to culinary delights.  I believe I once mentioned that when asked what she’d like for lunch at school (since her food was coming home practically untouched) her reply was “Ummm… bruschetta please.”

Josie is not a big meat eater, is currently gluten free, and later this month will have braces.  Can you say: food restrictions?  Yipes.  We gotta step up our game here folks.

So I thought about it and decided work with her strengths.  Thank heavens she’s a foodie!  Josie’s auntie gave her a cookbook for Christmas and I have to say, it’s helping quite a bit.  Not only does it give us some good ideas, but as a third grader Josie is now able to prepare most of the items on her own.  This effort, in and of itself, is lending itself to consuming lunch at school.

This is the cookbook we are currently using:

Trader Joe's cookbook I have cleverly blocked out the first letter of a couple choice words in an effort to not give free advertising to this store.  I like Vrader Hoe’s, but I must say they could use a little competition.  Also, while it is darn handy to use ingredients found at a single stop, many of these so-called “recipes” are just instructions for pre-packaged foods.  I mean seriously: some “directions” say “open the frozen food box, put in oven, bake and serve.”  Hmmm… This is not really considered cooking in my opinion… how ’bout you?  But I digress.

In any case, if you’ve got some kiddos old enough to make a go in the kitchen, I do recommend getting something like this.  Libraries carry cookbooks, btw–so don’t get on Amazon if you’re not sure you really need it.

Josie’s Caprese Heaven

Ingredients: 1 cup Ciliegine whole milk fresh mozzarella balls, 1 cup sugar plum tomatoes sliced in half, 2 tbsp. refrigerated Genova Pesto (contains walnuts), a few sliced olives (we like kalamata), pinch ‘a salt, black pepper to taste.

Directions: Mix and serve!

Tip: The original recipe does not contain olives.  After our first taste test, however, both Josie and I agreed that the salad was missing a little something.  “We shouldn’t add any more salt” she said… (Man I love this kid) “I know!  How about some olives?”  It was the perfect choice.  To keep chilled during the school day we place salad into thermos and put in fridge over night.  Serve with some rice crackers on the side and wah-lah!

Best tip of all: She who prepares also cleans up!

Advertisements

Savory Late-Summer Tomato Pie

whole tomato pie

(Quick, before my internet crashes again!  I hate Charter Communication and I don’t care who knows it!)

OK.  So the without-a-doubt exquisite photo you see above actually started from another completely amazing photo you will now see below:

Didi's tomatoes! These are Didi-delivery tomatoes.

Didi has a patient (she’s a physical therapist) who has a hobby farm and he brought her these tomatoes which she shared with me.  Do I have some awesome girlfriends or what?

So to thank Didi I baked her (OK, yes, and myself) a tomato pie.  Didi called me, pie in mouth (it’s hard to stop once you start) to say that the pie rocked–which I already knew but it’s still fun to hear.

My mother is a gluten free girl and she breaks her routine for two foods I make: pina colada pancakes and this here tomato pie.

Yes.  It’s that good.

Michelle’s Late Summer Tomato Pie

Ingredients (most measurements are approximate): pie crust (see below), 2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1/3 cup chopped basil, 3-4 crushed garlic cloves, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 3/4 cup cubed bread or bread crumbs

Directions: pop your pie crust in the oven at 375 for 5-10 minutes while you prep everything else.  Then mix tomatoes, basil, garlic, half of the amount of each of the cheeses.  Place in crust.  Add bread crumbs, rest of both cheese to top of pie.  Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.

Pie crust from scratch: 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup butter, 4-5 tbsp. cold water.  And no, I do not make my crust from scratch.  Although I generally avoid prepared food items, the non-baker in me cannot reconcile the effort that goes into a pie crust that, when completed, tastes the same as a store bought one.  Sorry.  Just comin’ clean.

slice tomato pie

And now, if you’ll excuse me…