Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Serious Homeschooler Issue: "What's For Lunch?"

As a homeschooler, I am concerned about many things for my children. What will they study? What math curriculum (or not) is best? When should we work on essay writing? etc...

But, there is an even more crucial subject that we cover everyday and can put the house in an uproar if it is not completed, and that is "lunch."

After a busy morning of homeschooling, we all get very hungry. The "What's for lunch, mom" question begins to fly around the room. It would often be met with a response like "Make some sandwiches" or "Have some yogurt and fruit." As my children have grown and are still growing, they are not thrilled w/ the aforementioned answers to the "What's for lunch" conundrum.

I came across a brilliant idea to help answer the question with a satisfying response. This answer was easy on the wallet and acceptable to the palate. Beans and Tortillas!

Directions on how to have a great lunch that is healthy, delicious, fairly simple, and inexpensive:

  1. Place pinto beans in a crock pot w/ enough water to cover by 3 inches. I normally use about 5 cups of beans. Soak overnight.
  2. When you get up in the morning, turn the crock pot on high (check to see if you need to add more water. Sometimes the beans absorb much of the water). Cook for about 3 hours. Check for doneness w/ a knife by breaking a bean in half. If tender, they're done.
  3. Warm your tortillas. We do this by either wrapping a stack of tortillas in foil and placing in the oven on 375 degrees until warm (about 15 minutes), warming them one at a time on a hot cast iron skillet, or popping them in the toaster one by one for a more crisp tortilla. Make sure to watch them carefully in the toaster. They can burn quickly if you are not careful.
  4. While tortillas are warming, drain cooked beans in a large strainer. Put beans in a bowl or back in the crock pot (turn on low). Mash the beans and add a shake of onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, & a dash of salt. You could also add a small can of chopped green chillies for more flavor. Take note to add more of the spices if you use more beans. Keep taste-testing to get flavorful results.
  5. Prepare any desired toppings (i.e. lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions, peppers, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.) . We stay very simple.
  6. Serve mashed beans in tortillas and top w/ your choice of the above.

That's it! This is our favorite lunch. You could also serve freshly prepared raw vegetables on the side. If you have a capable child to prepare this lunch, that is very helpful, too!

Prepare a large amount of beans so you will have enough for more than one day of lunches. Just heat them in the crockpot that morning.

I purchase our tortillas at a Save-A-Lot store for 99 cents a package (10 tortillas). I buy the tortillas with the least amount of ingredients listed as possible to avoid all of the preservatives and chemicals. These are normally refrigerated due to their perishable nature.

For those of you skittish to any prepping, feel free to use canned beans!



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