Lunch Menu Ideas

Do you get stuck in a rut when it comes to lunch ideas? Me too! A crock pot can be a wonderful “kitchen lady” (the term we affectionately called our cafeteria workers) in helping you to spend less time on food preparation and more time with your daily routine of school and activities with your children.

You can put all of the ingredients together the night before. Just assemble it the next morning if you are trying to save time or don’t want to interrupt your school day. Be sure and check to see how long the cooking time is for each recipe so that your meal will be ready in time for lunch.  ( I have had to go to Plan B before because the food wasn’t ready!) I hope you enjoy the recipes I have selected.

Creamy Crock pot Tomato Soup (food.com)

This recipe serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sweet basil
  • 2 cups heavy cream (for less fat substitute half & half)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine the undrained tomatoes & chicken broth; still well and add oregano & basil.
  2. Cook on high for 4-6 hours. Strain tomato chunks and place in blender; puree until no bits remain.
  3. Add cream to the tomato/broth mix in the crock pot and stir well.
  4. Add the tomato puree back to the broth mix and heat through.
  5. Serve in bowls.

Serve carrot sticks and apple slices with your soup and if you have time make grilled cheese sandwiches.

Creamy Potato Soup (allrecipes.com)

This recipe serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 8 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • bacon, cheddar cheese, scallions for garnish
Directions:
  1. Place the potatoes, onion, butter, chicken bouillon cubes, parsley and water into a slow cooker. Set on low and let cook for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. At least half an hour before serving, stir together the milk and flour until no lumps remain and mix into the soup. Cook for an additional 30 minutes or until the soup is thickened.
  3. Ladle into bowls and add bacon, cheddar cheese, scallions for garnish.

Serve with a slice of bread (whole grain would be my choice, but necessarily your children’s!) and a salad or raw veggies.

Sloppy Joes

This recipe serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. hamburger
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can Manwich
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and cook on high for 4-6 hours.
  2. Stir occasionally to break up the beef as it is cooking.
  3. Serve on hamburger buns.

Serve with chips, dill pickle spears and diced peaches or fruit cocktail.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (food.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn’t quite 2 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stuck) butter or margarine, cut into pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Polish or turkey sausage, cut into serving sized pieces

Directions: 

  1. Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart sauce pan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.
  3. In a crock pot combine cheese/butter mixture and add the sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well.
  4. Add drained macaroni and stir again.
  5. Add kielbasa to the top of the macaroni so only those who want a piece can be easily served.
  6. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 2-2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Serve with diced peaches, Mandarin orange slices, or strawberries.

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