Let me first say that I totally understand whatever has brought you to utilize school lunches. Times right now are hard and being able to save even a few dollars from each day’s food budget can and does add up quickly. There is never a reason to feel shame or embarrassment with picking up your free lunches…. Our taxes are intended to help in exactly this type of way. We all pay Uncle Sam at some point and few of us ever see the type of benefit that receiving free lunches can offer. Use what help is available to better the quality of life for your family.
On to the recipes and break down…. For today we received 3 lunches for our 3 school aged children. we actually have 5 children but 2 are not school aged and so we do not get them lunches. that brings our total up to 7 people… 7 hungry mouths in a time of economic uncertainty beyond what had been felt since before the last 3 were added to our family. We need to stretch every cent and waste none of the crumbs.
Our lunches included 2 milks per child (1 chocolate and one white…. both 1%), what was called a “cheese omelette” but was actually a powdered egg round with cheese goo in the middle, a sausage patty, a taco “sloppy joe” … taco meat and cheese in a container plus a hamburger bun, carrots, and diced peaches. That is not a lot of food for even the child it is intended to feed, let alone the lack of flavor. Before sprucing these meals up, my children often drank the milk and threw the rest away. We can’t have that right now. We must make the best of what we have and so those ingredients need to be used and adapted. What I ended up making was filling and hearty. I added a few low cost ingredients that totaled $6.80 and we had leftovers.
Breakfast: Baked oatmeal with spiced peaches. Using 1 carton of milk and the 3 tubs of peaches.
Lunch: Breakfast hash. Using the egg rounds and sausage patties.
Dinner: Taco Soup. Using the taco meat, hamburger buns, and carrots.
Baked Oatmeal with Spiced Peaches
3 cups rolled oats
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 cup diced canned peaches (3 school provided tubs)
1 Tbs vanilla
1 cup milk (1 school carton)
syrup if desired for topping
Mix oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a bowl.
Combine peaches, eggs, vanilla, and milk into a separate bowl.
Mix wet ingredients into dry and thoroughly stir together.
Once mixed, pour into a 7×11 baking dish or whatever size you have (smaller will take
more time bake, larger will take less).
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 min. Serve warm with optional syrup drizzle.
Cost: Sugar and Spices 1.00, Eggs .25, Oats .50 Total $2.00
- 4 small potatoes
- 1/2 med onion, diced
- 1/2 med bell pepper, diced
- 7 eggs (3 egg rounds from school plus 4 normal eggs)
- 3 sausage patties
- 1/2 cup (1/2 school milk carton)
Fry diced potatoes in skillet with enough oil to coat the pan.
Sauté onions and peppers, once soft add chopped sausage. continue cooking.
Beat eggs and add milk, salt, garlic, and pepper based of family preference. Add to onion mixture.
Cook thoroughly and combine with fried potatoes. Serve with salsa, toast, in a tortilla, or as is.
Cost: Eggs .50, Potatoes .50, Onion and Pepper .50, Spices .25 …. Total $1.75
- 1 cup taco meat (3 portions from school)
- 1/2 large can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 can black beans
- 1 quart of beef stock/broth
- 1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 3 hamburger buns
- 1/2 cup butter
- Taco seasoning
Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and heat.
Chop all veggies and add to the pot. Sauté then add crushed tomatoes and beans.
Stir in taco seasoning to taste then add the taco meat and broth.
Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30 min… stirring occasionally.
As soup finishes, heat butter and additional taco seasoning in microwave until melted.
Brush open buns with melted butter and seasoning then top with mozzarella.
Broil until cheese is melted, slice and serve alongside soup.
Cost: Butter .75, Tomatoes .50, Beans .80, Seasoning .50, Broth .75 Total $3.30
The total cost for my whole family of 7 (plus a dinner guest) was $6.80 or .97 each for the whole day!