Monday, January 25, 2016

Keema Quesadillas and School Lunch Box -- Week # 3

It is week #4 of packing lunch but I am posting Lunch for Week #3. And I can feel the weariness in my bones. Some days I feel like just giving it all up and let the kids eat cafeteria food. And trust me, I would have done it if they would agree to eat food at the cafeteria every day.

Last year, Little Sis was very excited to buy her lunch at the school cafeteria. I wasn't ready. But after much persuasion I gave in and signed her up, putting money in her lunch account. LS's excitement was palpable and you would think she was going to eat at a Zagat rated restaurant instead of the school cafeteria. She scanned the menu for hours and picked a day when she thought that the lunch would be to her liking. The school lunch menu has a pretty balanced offering although I have never seen the school lunch with my own eyes and would really want to see if the lofty menu translates to a healthy meal in reality. I mean what if they are saying Whole wheat Mac and cheese on paper and are actually opening up a box of Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese. None of my kids' schools allow parents in the cafeteria during lunch so I guess I will never know.

So anyway slowly I found LS's interest in cafeteria food had started waning. She didn't scan the school menu with as much zeal as before. I realized she likes the independence of picking her own lunch at the school cafeteria but the food not so much. Ah well!

Big Sis's middle school has a really good cafeteria from what I hear. However BigSis is not much of a meat eater and does not like cold-cut sandwiches or tuna sandwiches or egg salad sandwiches or burgers. So her choice at the cafeteria becomes very limited. Most of her friends pack a big lunch from home too and so she prefers lunch from home to eating at the school cafeteria.

A home-cooked lunch is not that difficult with little planning of course.The fact that there is a fall back option of the cafeteria does bring some peace too.

This was a 4-day week and I had to do only a 3 day lunch plan. Some of the stuff that I packed for the kids this week, also doubles up as dinner. What did you pack in your kid's school lunch box ?

Quesadillas with Chicken Keema-Black Beans-Bell Pepper

This is a great and easy dish to make with ground chicken and Taco Seasoning. A big bowl of Keema/Black Bean can be made ahead and used during the week any which way.
You can send 
Keema with white rice on Day 1,
Keema with with pasta on Day 2 and
of course make Quesadillas finally

Here is how I do it.

Heat Olive oil in a frying pan.

Add about half of an onion finely chopped.

When the onion is soft, add 1 green bell pepper chopped in pieces and 1 yellow or red bell pepper chopped in pieces. I usually chop in small pieces as I will stuff this keema in the quesadilla

Throw in 2 clove of garlic finely minced

Saute until the peppers are soft

Now add 1 tomato chopped or half a can of chopped tomatoes

Add a good amount of taco seasoning and fry the tomatoes for few minutes. I use Trader Joe's Taco seasoning which is amazingly good. If you don't have taco seasoning, a mix of cumin powder and garam masala powder should do the trick.

Add the keema(1 lb) to above. Stir to break any lumps and cook till the meat is not raw. The ground meat will release some water and you have to keep stirring till the water has totally dried up.

Add salt and add a can of drained black beans(7 oz can). Drain the black beans and then add.

Fry for a few more minutes. Add some more taco seasoning if you wish. The resulting dish has to be dry with no gravy so make sure that it is moist but dry.

Once the keema is cooked and you are happy with the way it tastes, you can either eat it or make these quesadillas for lunch.

To make the Quesadillas use Flour Tortillas or home made rotis.

First toast/warm the already cooked roti or Tortialla.
Put a cooked roti/tortilla on a Tawa or griddle. Cook both sides until warm and keep aside. Do same with the second Roti/Tortilla.

Now place the warm roti/tortilla on the tawa and put the keema on the open face of the tortilla. Sprinkle shredded cheese on it. At low heat, place the other tortilla/roti on this one and press gently until the cheese melts. Carefully flip it all together and cook the other side for couple of seconds.

 Let it cool a little and then cut in halves or quarters.

Next morning, warm and wrap in aluminum foil for lunch

Pasta with Home Made Marinara sauce

Need To Buy -- Whole Wheat Pasta, Garlic, Tomatoes, Olive Oil

Oven roasted Tomato Soup with Bread -- This is a great soup for anytime. I make it a little spicy but my kids like it that way. I add peppers to roast along with tomatoes for this soup if I have them. You can make a big batch of this and it will be good for two meals.

Need to Buy -- Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers(optional), Organic Vegetable Stock(optional), Red Chili Pepper, Olive Oil, Garlic, Milk

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  1. Thanks for providing me the useful piece of post by posting the details of lunch and snacks being given to the children by yourself. Since, i am a newly married young man working as a research paper writer in one of the leading online custom paper research writing website, my wife is a house wife who will looks after myself and our children. Since she too don't know about which are all will be healthy for the children, mostly i will prefer the dishes which are all listed out here in your blog and for sometimes i will ask with my parents.

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  4. Omg I totally know what u mean. I have small kids, and they want only American food because other kids eat it, but I refuse to learn unhealthy cooking, so I basically make regular desi food but make it look american by adding extra sugar, salt or deep frying it. And that's always a good trick lol

    1. I don't think I meant that at all. Neither do I think American food is unhealthy. I meant that the food at the school cafeteria is not as great as it sounds. Sorry, but I don't understand why you have to add extra sugar, salt etc. to make Indian food taste American ? They are two distinct flavors each with their pros and cons. Just pick the right choice.

    2. How is adding adding extra salt or sugar or indeed deep frying making it anymore healthier? And desi food isn't necessarily healthy... entirely depends on how it's made!


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