Schools out…what’s for lunch?

Grilled Cheese Comforts
Image by Sifu Renka via Flickr

Schools Out

The kids will be out of school in a couple of weeks and my life will change dramatically. My quite days of working at home will vanish into thin air and be replaced with hungry boys. These are boys who can eat more than their fair share of the family’s grocery budget.  They have been known to eat one week’s worth of groceries in 3 days. I need to have a plan.

I need to make some big adjustments this year.  I want them to be self-sufficient and responsible in the kitchen. My expectations are not very lofty or grandiose. I just want them to be able to fix their own lunch and even mine occasionally. We will keep the menu very simple. I will make sure the fridge is stocked with all the makings of a healthy simple lunch. Our favorite and the simplest are the Panini press sandwiches. We can make all different kinds of concoctions with one kitchen tool. I plan on using it a lot this summer.

I love the press because I don’t have to worry about the kids turning on the big gas stove and the mess is contained to one Panini Pan. If you don’t have a Panini pan you can use the same pan you would for grilled cheese. I just got my first Panini press this past Christmas and I used a basic fry pan up until then.

There are endless ideas for hot grilled sandwiches. I’ll encourage the kids to come up with their own new creations. I plan on keeping the fridge stocked with deli meats and assorted cheeses. Fresh veggies and fruits pre-cut and ready to go, make it easy for the kids to choose healthier accompaniments to their sandwiches.

Try some of our unusual super tasty creations.

Hot Grilled Cheese and Meatball Sandwich

2 slices buttered bread

1 leftover meatball or spaghetti sauce with meat (slice meatball into thin slices)

2 leaves of basil

1/3 cup mozzarella cheese shredded

With one buttered side slice of bread down, layer all ingredients and top with the other buttered slice with the butter facing the outside. Fry in press or in fry pan until golden brown over med-high heat.  Flip the sandwich and cook the other side. Serve with extra spaghetti sauce warmed for dipping.

Try my favorite – French Steak and Cheese Sandwich

1/3 loaf of French bread outsides buttered

4 slices thin cut leftover steak meat (sprinkled with salt and pepper)

2 tablespoon Boursin Herb Cheese or your

1 tsp chopped red onion

With one buttered side slice of bread down, start with the cheese by spreading it on the opposite side of the butter. Layer all other ingredients and top with the other buttered slice with the butter facing the outside. Fry in press or in fry pan until golden brown.  Flip the sandwich and cook the other side.

The kids always love Nutella and these “Chocolate Grilled Monkey” sandwiches are a huge hit.

2 slices of white bread buttered

2 tablespoons Nutella

½ Banana, sliced thin

¼ cup Toasted nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds)

With one buttered side slice of bread down, spread Nutella layer nuts and banana and top with the other buttered slice with the butter facing the outside. Fry in press or in fry pan until golden brown.  Flip the sandwich and cook the other side.

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5 thoughts on “Schools out…what’s for lunch?

  1. Perfect use for those little sandwich makers. I used one once upon a time, but now I use a smaller iron skillet on top of my sandwich which is in a larger iron skillet. Works for me, but for kids… great idea!

    1. Thanks Jan! I really don’t care for all those kitchen gadgets but this one is a keeper for the kids. They love the freedom to cook without “mom” hovering over their shoulder.

  2. I love the idea of kitchen gadgets, but after the new wears off it ends up i the back corner of a cabinet and I forget I have it.
    Micro-Baked potatoes are something else your kids could do on their own. I just recently heard about Potato Bags for baking potatoes in the microwave. It’s fast, easy & safe for kids. When I heard about it I made a bag and it does make great potatoes. Here’s how I did it if you don’t already know what I’m talking about.
    http://larrupin.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/one-potato-two-potato/
    And did you know you can make French toast and freeze it? Then your kids can stick it in a toaster oven & it’s ready to eat.
    Now if I could get mine to clean the kitchen as eagerly as he messes it up when he’s hungry!

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