national school lunch week 2012 — monday

its national school lunch week!  what does that mean?  well when i asked my fellow lunch ladies they had no idea.  we all fantasized about having the week off or perhaps even getting our lunch catered.  however when i looked up national school lunch week, i discovered that the school nutrition association sets a week aside to celebrate new programs, recipes, accomplishments and what makes your school lunch unique.

i have decided to celebrate national school lunch week by eating lunch at work everyday.  yes this lunch lady won’t be bringing her lunch this week she’s eating off the hot lunch line.  school lunch programs have a bad rap.  most the time everyone is horribly applaud by what we serve our kids and i’ll admit i’m sometimes applaud too but it’s also not the school lunch programs fault.  when the government doesn’t invest in better quality ingredients there is only so much you can do to create 600 lunches with a budget of $3.00 per lunch.

each day this week i’m going to try and create a yummy lunch with all items that are available to students and staff who get the hot lunch.  all items you see on my plate can be recreated by the average student.

so what was for lunch today?……………..cheese pizza with a side salad

meatless monday — “lets do dinner!!! IV”

october i have declared is the beginning of soup season.  for the latest “lets do dinner!!!” dinner party i created an apple-butternut squash soup.  i am one of those cooks that finds a recipe and then never follows it.  that was the situation when creating this soup.  i had never made an apple-butternut squash soup before.  when purchasing the ingredients i strictly followed the recipe, however things began to change the instant the ingredients were brought into the kitchen.

first of all i don’t think the editors of that recipe proof read their ingredients list.  the list said 1 1/2 lbs of apples peeled and chopped and 2 butternut squash equaling 5lbs peeled and chopped.  at first i thought this seemed like a lot but figured i’d be pureeing it so i went with it.  1 1/2 lbs of apples peeled and chopped and 5 pounds of butternut squash peeled and chopped later i realized the recipe was WRONG!  and the funny part is the serving amount on it said 12 appetizer servings…..for who?  king kong?!

1 1/2 lbs of apples….check

ever tried to cut up a butternut squash before?  it’s a bitch and that’s the nice way of putting it.  but i do have a trick for you……heat them up on low heat in the oven for about 15 minutes, they then cut like butter.  once i realized the recipe was wrong i threw it out the window and started throwing in anything that seemed like fall into the pot….pumpkin beer, apple cider, curry powder.  purred with a tartine topped with goat cheese and dinner was served.

fall in the form of soup

to join in on this soup season kick-off were my friends ingrid and ray.  chowing down on chive-horseradish bread and wine a-flowing  the topics of conversation included…..what muscican would you want to have over for dinner? (i said james taylor), what famous person would you have over for dinner?  which led to a debate on how some people would be better to go out to eat while others were ideal to have at home, example brain williams would be ideal to come to you house while bill clinton you’d probably want to go out with.

very hungry friends

chive-horseradish bread oh so yummy

to end the fall themed meal i created a chocolate-pecan pie.  what is more fall than pecans and honestly adding chocolate to any dessert is usually a very good idea!

might have eaten the rest of this pie for breakfast

a little side note on this meal.  ingrid and ray weren’t the only ones who got to enjoy it.  at work i was telling the story of cutting up the 6 1/2 pounds of ingredients.  the ladies got all excited about the soup.  so on wednesday i brought in the leftovers.  while the kidos might have been served chicken poppers the lunch ladies were chowing down on apple-butternut squash soup topped with goat cheese.

RECIPE:  APPLE-BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

5 gala apples — peeled and chopped

1 large butternut squash — peeled and chopped

1/2 cup onion — diced

3 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP curry powder

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup apple cider

1 bottle pumpkin beer

* in a large stock pot sautee onion in olive oil  with curry powder till golden brown.  add apples and butternut squash mix throughly, add in vegetable broth, cider and beer, bring to a boil.  simmer mixture for 20-30 minutes, until butternut squash is soft.  transfer mixture to a food processor or use a hand held processor to puree mixture.  puree till smooth or leave slightly chunky, its your own personal  taste.  top soup with goat cheese and or tartines.