Once in a while you need to make a dish that you can enjoy. This stew is perfect for a fall romantic dinner while the kids are at the babysitter, or just to have a simple grown up dinner while still feeding the little ones something they will eat too. You get this started in the morning so you won’t feel like you are cooking two meals right at dinner time.
This is a great last minute sauce that gets made with pantry ingredients. All you need is some frozen or canned pumpkin, tomato paste, water and a few dried spices. This is also an easy treat on a snow day when you don’t feel like going to the store.
Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the way the leaves turn the landscape into a brilliant patchwork quilt, the nights turn cooler, and Winter squash, leafy greens and root veggies take center stage on the dinner table. Pumpkins are much more than a porch decoration. They are one of my favorite Winter squashes. The smaller pie or sugar pumpkins are the ones to buy to make a cheap and easy DIY pumpkin puree. I bought a pie pumpkin that will make 3 to 4 cans worth of puree for the same price as 1 can!
Halloween is right around the corner and kids love spooky food. Use that to your advantage and sneak some beets into them! This is a perfect protein packed meal and can be served with baked blue corn chips, raw veggies, or even rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla for a wrap. After a yummy dinner like this you can send your kids out to get candy with a clear conscience.
Cooler weather brings visions of Halloween and pumpkin in everything! Pumpkin brownies, pumpkin cookies, even pumpkin soup are the norm, so why not mix a little of that winter squash into your nutritious bowl of oats?
Nothing is better than a good bowl of soup for dinner. This is soup fills you up with nutritious red lentils and tons of veggies. Serve it with a thick slice of toasted whole grain bread for a super easy weeknight meal. It’s a great dish to make the day before you go to the grocery because it uses pantry staples.
With more people choosing to go meatless on Mondays and even beyond, you want a few vegetarian lunch ideas in your arsenal. Since everyone is telling us to eat more grains, fruits, and veggies it also makes sense to pack some of that in the lunches that you send your children off to school with.
From carrot dogs and sloppy joes to a warming vegetable korma over rice brought in a thermos, eating vegetarian can be something your kids look forward to. Once you have served them a few vegetarian lunches they will definitely find a few favorites.
Marinated Carrot Dogs
From Busy Vegan
soy-free and gluten-free (served on gluten-free buns)
Makes 4 but can be easily doubled or even tripled.
- 4 carrots
- 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or low salt soy sacue
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/2 clove garlic minced)
- a dash or two liquid smoke
- pepper to taste
Fill a pot about half-way full of water, heat it on high until it boils. Turn down to medium heat and add the carrots. Cook until you can just pierce it through with a fork. You want it to still have a snap when you eat it. Run cold water over them to stop them from cooking more.
Combine the other ingredients to make the marinade. Use a container that has a tight lid so you can easily shake it without spraying it all over your kitchen. Put the carrots in the container and marinade for a few hours to up to a few days. If you marinate them longer they take on more of the vinegar flavor. If the carrots are very skinny I would not marinade them for more than 1 1/2 days so they don’t taste too sour.
To serve heat the carrots in a 350 degree oven or on in a grill pan on a hot grill until heated through. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve in a toasted hot dog bun with your favorite toppings. After you cook them, you can also serve them at room temperature which makes it perfect for a school lunch!
More vegetarian school lunch ideas:
- Mexican Quinoa
- Vegan Sloppy Joes (put the filling in a thermos and the bread on the side)
- Vegetable Korma
- Raw Carrot & Walnut Pesto Sandwich
- Tempting Tempeh Sandwich with Vegan Garlic Aioli
When the leaves start turning bright colors and you start searching for your favorite sweater, you can be sure it’s time to get your kids ready to go back to school. For us, that leaves us on the hunt for healthy, homemade hot lunch ideas.
In addition to that list of school supplies, think about picking up a thermos. It’s the best way to send a hot, homemade lunch with your kids (or even your husband).
Use these recipes as a starting point to packing a hot lunch that they’ll be happy to take to school. All soups and stews work beautifully in a thermos!
I also love to make hot lunches in the slow cooker because it is a great time saver. You can be doing other things (like sleeping) while your child’s lunch is cooking. Another plus is that it’s piping hot when you’re ready to fill up your thermos!
Hot Lunch Idea: Slow Cooker Loaded with Veggies Mole Chili (gluten-free)
From Healthy Slow Cooking
Prep time: 15 minutes
Slow Cooker Size: 4 quart (double the recipe if using a 6 to 7 quart slow cooker)
Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours
- 2 cans cooked kidney, black, or pinto beans (or 3 cups homemade)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, minced
- 1 yellow squash, minced
- 1 small eggplant,minced
- 1 handful kale or other greens, chopped finely
- 1 handful mushrooms, minced
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups fresh)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered chilies (if your kids don’t like spicy foods use ancho chile powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon lime zest, finely grated (optional)
- 1 Tb cocoa powder (or 1 oz. grated unsweetened chocolate)
Prepare the veggies and then add everything to the slow cooker and cook 8 hours on low. Taste and add salt if needed.
Serve leftovers over steamed brown rice, in burritos or tacos, or just plain topped with fresh chopped cilantro.
More recipes that are perfect hot lunches:
- Ridiculously Easy Lentil and Vegetable Stew
- Pasta Fagioli
- Vegan Nacho Cheese Dip (send baked tortilla chips and veggies for dipping)
- Slow Cooker Tomato Soup
- Toasted Quinoa Mexican Soup
Image credit: H is for Home
This recipe is inspired by the Kitchn’s Lemon Braised Chicken & Beans with Mint Pesto.
I love summer because of the variety of fresh herbs that are available at the farmers market or in your own backyard garden. If you can’t get your hands on lemon basil, lemon thyme, or lemon verbena don’t worry. It will taste just as good with the regular varieties and you can add that lemony flavor with lemon zest instead.