And I mean really easy...we've enjoyed these simple ideas many times, especially when the cupboard is bare right before shopping day! Also, in an effort to stretch $$, I like to see what I can make with ingredients on hand.
Rice- plain ol' unromantic rice. I have a rice cooker, which I love to use when I don't have time to keep track of rice on the stove top. Brown rice with butter and seasonings-usually the kids add their own salt and pepper. That's it! Hot, steamy rice will fill their tummies. I rarely buy instant rice ( regular rice is probably a lot cheaper) but I imagine that would be a fast lunch idea, too.
You can be as fancy or plain as you like-throw in some leftover cooked hamburger and/or chopped veggies and stir-fry a bit.
Popcorn and smoothies-we like to pop our corn fresh in a hot-air popper and then add butter and salt to taste. Blend some of the following together to make tasty smoothies: yogurt, fruit (bananas are great! we love frozen blueberries, too), ice-cubes, orange juice or other juices, milk, even ice-cream!
Refried Bean tortillas- I mentioned these here...look near the end of the post.
Grilled cheese sandwiches- got bread? got cheese of any variety? You're good to go! If you happen to have fresh tomato on hand then you can get really fancy.
Quesadillas-same idea, only using tortillas! Butter the outsides and fry lightly on the skillet while the cheese melts.
Beans-put together with rice and you have a complimentary protein! If you remembered to soak them the night before, you can simmer them in the morning to make soup, or add to rice, or make your own refried beans, and so on.
Noodles-like the rice, you can experiment by adding cooked meat or veggies. Or, serve them with lots of butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder, a little oregano, and Parmesan cheese!
Leftovers-no explanation needed here! It's great to have extra, say, lasagna or soup on hand from the night before. Or mix and match leftovers, like the roast beef hash mentioned here
Eggs-have eggs and not much else? Make deviled eggs with the kids and have a "finger food" lunch with any other odds n' ends you have that need to be used up. Bits of lunch meat? Fruit? Cheese? Stick 'em on toothpicks and the kids will be thrilled. Or, if you have bread you could make egg sandwiches. Boil the eggs like you would for deviled eggs, mash them up, add some mayo and spices and there you go!
Biscuits-no bread in the house? Make a batch of biscuits and serve as is, with jelly and honey, or slice and melt cheese on top. Most everyone has the ingredients for biscuits-flour, salt, baking powder, shortening or butter, and liquid (can be milk, buttermilk, or water. I regularly make biscuits using each of those and they always turn out good).
Potatoes-they really are a wonderful vegetable and great staple to have on hand. Mid-morning, pop some in the oven to bake. Add toppings-cheese, little bits of leftover meat, sour cream, crumbled bacon, etc.
Fried Potatoes- My siblings and I loved making fried potatoes for lunch when the fridge was empty! Chop them into bite-sized chunks and fry in hot oil. Drain well, salt, and there you go!
To any of these lunches add yogurt, carrot sticks, sliced apples, or other fruits and veggies you may have on hand. If you don't have any of those things-don't worry. Your kids will survive just fine. Pass the fried potatoes please!
Do you have any lunch ideas to add here? I'd love to hear them!