Monday, November 15, 2010

Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are a wonderful, hearty school lunch food for the winter months.  Preschoolers and adults like them, and they can be dressed up in so many ways to make a fun meal.  Our salad bar morphs into a baked potato bar for the day, and I’ve found that it’s been very easy to upgrade the fixins: 

Last year, defrosted chopped broccoli
This year, fresh, chopped broccoli, blanched, and bright green

Last year, sour cream
This year, sour cream mixed with fat-free plain yogurt (and no one even knows!)

Last year, dried powder chives
This year, sliced fresh scallions

Last year, potatoes wrapped in foil
This year, no foil (500 fewer pieces of foil in a trash and less work for the kitchen.  The one negative about no foil is that the potatoes don’t stay as hot once out of the oven.)  

Here are some other things we continue to served on the bar (and possibilities for future upgrades): bacon bits (chopped bacon), shredded cheese, canned baked beans (lentil salad), chopped tomatoes, bottled salsa (house-made salsa). 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Small changes

Improving the menu this year has been all about making small changes rather than drastic ones.  For example, we still serve hot dogs, but instead of the usual accompaniment of rice and beans from a boxed mix, we made a brown rice, carrot, and raisin salad.  The recipe we used is based off of one from the “Recipes for Schools” section of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution website.   
We baked off a pan of brown rice and tossed it with shredded carrots, raisins, and sliced scallions for a bit of color.  Then we mixed the salad with a sweet and sour dressing of orange juice, honey, and mustard.  We served our salad hot.  Some of the older students were really skeptical about it but then admitted they liked it after they tried it.  To find the recipe on Jamie's website, click on the link above and click on the Recipes with Menu Planner pdf.      
On a side note: Many a thanks to our school nurse and nutrition director, Beth. She printed out copies of all the School Revolution recipes and brought them along to a meeting when we were writing the November menu.  The last two months have been really hectic in the kitchen, but when  there are others trying to help me improve school lunch, it makes it that much easier :)