Monday, March 3, 2014

18 Ideas to Get You Out of the Homeschool Lunch Rut

Sandwiches happen. Life is busy and we get tired, but when sanwiches happen too often, it can be quite boring! Here are 18 easy ideas to get you out of the homeschool lunchtime rut:

1. Jazz it up! Grilling a sandwich can turn it into something new, but don't be afraid to get creative. Try different types of bread, experiment with cheese, or add a little something unexpected. Here is one of my kids' faves. It's a grilled apple and muenster, on cinnamon raisin bread. Easy, different, delicious. 

2. Leftovers! I often make a few extra servings of any dinner my kids love. They can easily be reheated for lunch, a day or two later. Pictured here is meatloaf (drenched in my mom's secret sauce).

3. Hot Dogs! Simple enough, and all kids love them. Serve 'em up with some raw veggies and dip. Voila!

4. Pasta Salad! Your favorite pasta salad can be prepared the night before, and served cold the next day. This is our favorite. It's a lemon-dill crab pasta salad (I'll try to post this recipe sometime).

5. Beefy Biscuits! My kids LOVE these. A lot of the time, I'll prepare the meat mixture the night before. Then, all I have to do the next day is assemble and bake.  

6. Quick Quesadillas! Shred some left over chicken, and sprinkle it with chili powder. Put it on a tortilla, along with some shredded cheese, and top with another tortilla. Then just grill like a sandwich. Easy.

7. Tater Tot Casserole! Some make this creamy, with a mushroom soup base. I prefer a tomato base. Just brown a pound of ground beef, add veggies, and stir in your favorite type of sauce (think sloppy joe sauce, spaghetti sauce, cream of mushroom soup). Then top with frozen tater tots and shredded cheese, and bake. Kids love it.

8. Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Tops! Take some leftover chicken and frozen mixed veggies, and mix with butter, flour, milk, chicken broth, celery seed, thyme, rosemary, and salt & pepper. Top with frozen or refrigerated bicuits, and bake. Easy and filling!

9. Spinach, Tomato, and Bacon Mac & Cheese! This, or any type of jazzed up mac & cheese, is a quick delight. 

10. Turkey Burgers! Frozen turkey burgers can be fully cooked in a pan, in less than 10 minutes. Talk about a quick and healthy lunch! Serve with a side salad, and life is good.

11. Ramen Noodles! Boil some frozen mixed veggies with the noodles, and you quickly have a tasty meal.

12. Breakfast for Lunch! We do it for dinner, why not lunch? Provided that you didn't eat eggs for breakfast, whip up some for lunch. Scrambled eggs, toast, and a side of fruit is as quick as assembling a sandwich.

13. Pizza! We typically eat pizza for dinner, every Friday night, but once in a while the kids talk me into it for lunch. It's always a winner. I don't know why I fight them on it. Just spread a refrigerated pizza crust on a pizza pan. Brush the edges with garlic butter. Mix together 3oz. tomato paste, 1tbsp. olive oil, a splash of water, 1/4 tsp. each oregano, thyme, basil, and white sugar, and a dash of garlic powder. Spread over the dough, top with shredded mozzarella and your favorite toppings, and bake. Lunch just got real.

14. Chili! On cold days, chili can be a great lunchtime comfort food. I'm talking easy chili, not your grandma's recipe that takes all day(but is totally worth the effort). Brown ground beef, add a can of undrained tomatoes, and a can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained. Season to taste, and heat through. Boom! Lunch.

15. Grilled Chicken Salad! Another easy way to use leftover chicken and/or veggies. Use your imagination. Nearly anything can be put on a bed of crisp lettuce.

16. Chicken or Tuna Salad! We all have our favorite chicken or tuna salad recipes. Whip one up the night before, for a grab and serve lunch the next day.

17. Do It Yourself Lunchables! Sliced cheese, lunch meat, crackers, and a side of fruit can be a fun and oh-so-easy lunch.

18. Franks, Beans, and Rice Casserole! This one takes a little over half an hour to bake, but the prep work is minimal. So if you plan ahead, this is an easy and tasty lunch.

Here's to breaking that lunchtime rut!


  1. Some good ideas. Have you ever tried tuna noodle casserole? That is one we like. I will have to try the last one, casseroles are my go to.

    1. I think you just bumped the list up to 19, Jessa! We too love tuna noodle casserole. Why didn't I think of that? Thanks!

  2. Was waiting on this. You always talk about what your cookin for lunch lol

    1. Haha! Thanks for stopping by again, Sophie. Always great to hear from you.