Gotta keep up!

I was doing so well having a weekly-ish post in the beginning… then life.

Since Trinity is part of the Federal School Lunch Program, there is a program assessment every three years. Guess what year this is? Yep, 3rd year and I had the privilege of hours of paperwork, learning a new language (government) and adding a few more gray hairs to my curly mane. The assessment took place on November 19th. All my energies went to getting everything filled out and ready for the state. I seriously aged through this process; having stress dreams about procurement and if I have enough ingredients to make pizza waffles for the next day’s lunch. Thanks to Ms. Vera for her countless hours of translating the forms and paperwork and Karen Ulrich (from the state) who was so patient and helpful through the whole process. Happily to announce that we did great. All is good here with the Trinity Lunch Program. Michele should be happy.

Highlights of the month:

On November 9th I had the privilege of serving a few Veterans lunch. I decided to serve them (and the kids) a mess hall favorite, Creamed Beef over Toast (SOS). It’s known with a different name, but there are kids involved so I’m keeping it clean. I read a blog of a woman who loved having it for dinner as a kid because it was the only time she was allowed to say “that” word. LOL

Anyway, it was a hit, for both the Vets AND the kids. I was really surprised the kids would love it so much considering it’s not the most appetizing looking meal. Some actually asked for the recipe – and that is strange! As I promised the kids, below is the recipe scaled down family size.


    • 1 pound ground beef
    • 1 package onion soup mix
    • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon of beef bullion (optional)
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
    • Bread, toasted


  1. Brown ground beef and onion soup mix in skillet and drain. Stir in Worcestershire Sauce. Set aside.
  2. In same pan melt butter and add flour to make a roux. Stir until smooth.
  3. Add milk and beef bullion. Stir until thick.
  4. Add cooked beef mixture and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over prepared toast and enjoy!


The Chicken Enchiladas (in a white sauce) went over well too. Little did they know I snuck some chickpea puree in them – love hiding things like that. They got their legume requirement in without even knowing it. Recipe does not include the chickpeas, but if you want to sneak them in too, puree a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas in a food processor with some of the enchilada sauce until smooth. Then smear on tortilla shell before putting chicken filling and rolling.

This month’s menu has a few lunches that the kids voted on in the past. There are star values on them to remind them they liked it. 🙂

That’s it for now. I hope to get back at keeping you up to date. If there are any lunches your kids are craving, don’t hesitate to email me.


Garbage and Porcupines

Mummy Dogs are always fun. Just had to take advantage of the day. Lunch included monster teeth (corn nibblets), mini pumpkins (sliced carrots), and rice pilaf. I couldn’t come up with a good enough name for that one. They also enjoyed some seasonal Apple Cider. Gotta love that stuff!

Ok – so maybe using “garbage” as an adjective for Chili Nachos was not a good idea. Kids were asking if I put garbage in it. I like the kids… I wouldn’t do that. (Some of the looks I got from them when I said I would never put garbage in their food makes me think they still don’t trust me). It just means that there is all sorts of goodies in it. And I might add, it was DELICIOUS! There was ground beef, meatloaf blend beef, kidney beans, baked beans, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, shredded carrots, and peppers. I kind of emptied the fridge. Only thing missing to comply with the federal lunch program was grains; they got it in the corn chips and a side of popcorn.

Wednesday – not much to say. Got mixed reviews on the Baked Pineapple Chicken Bowls. Used popcorn chicken instead of following the recipe. The picture sure is appetizing, don’t you think?


porcupinesliderPORCUPINE SLIDERS! Not sure if your kids came home and told you about the taste test they had of this. It was a hit. Kids kept asking for more. So the next time you see it on the menu…

Story behind the slider. The Porcupine Slider is the grand prize winner of a nation wide school recipe challenge. Sliders contain ground turkey, brown rice, craisins, and spinach among other seasonings. It was surprisingly good and like I mentioned above, the kids loved it.

It’s all about rolling and baking!

I have to admit, I am really enjoying this lunch lady gig. No client complaining about the logo not being big enough, or wanting to add 100 more call to actions to a 4″ x 3″ ad (just so you know, it’s not possible AND if we were able to, it would look horrible and would defeat the purpose of the ad. Side note: when working with a professional designer – take their word for it… they know what they are doing). I’m loving my deadline being at 11:45am every day. God has been in the kitchen many a time helping lunch get out in time. LOL Seriously, my first Friday pizza, the pilot light was out on the oven, didn’t realize it until 20 minutes before lunch was supposed to be served. I am proud to say, I have not yet had a late lunch. I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

So, this week we had a couple new recipes. Monday we had Grilled Cheese Roll Ups. Yes, I am obsessed with rolling things. Got the idea from those dang Facebook food videos. I’m also into waffles too. Don’t be surprised if waffles show up on the menu again.

Tater Tot Taco Pie is a great dish to make. It’s all in one! You can’t go wrong with that. Of course, the recipe was adjusted to make for more mouths and to comply with standards.

Here is my favorite Mac n Cheese recipe. My snobbiest mac and cheese aficionados love it. The recipe is for the slow-cooker, but you can make it on the stove top and finish it off by baking it (half hour @ 350 degrees). I omit the eggs.

Thursday was Gramma’s Pasta Sauce. Can’t give that recipe since it’s, well, not mine. Thank you Mrs. Strzelec for coming in and cooking the sauce from scratch! It’s her mom’s mom’s recipe. Right off the boat. Don’t let her last name deceive you. This girl is Italian. The school smelled INCREDIBLE! I hope the kids appreciated the sauce. I know us adults did!

This coming Monday is Mummy Dogs.

Recipes for week of October 17th

This week we had some successful lunches, so I figured I would share.

In the theme of Taco Tuesday, we made Taco Lasagna. Full disclosure, I hadn’t tried the recipe before making it, but it did look and sound tasty. Due to having extra carrots I needed to use, I added shredded carrots to the layers. It’s up to you if you want to do it as well – always great sneaking in veggies.

Taco Lasagna

Last week’s Taco Pizza Rolls went over well as well. I made the pizza rolls whole grain to comply with the federal program. Thanks Michele. :/

Wednesday we had meatloaf cupcakes! I’m convinced, make anything the shape of a cupcake and kids are willing to eat it. No special recipe here, use your favorite, bake it in a muffin pan. If I had time I would have frosted the cupcakes with  the mashed potatoes, but lunch creeps up pretty fast, mashed potatoes were served on the side.

Today we had Chicken Broccoli Alfredo. Click here to download a pdf. I added frozen broccoli (that’s what I had on hand) you can fresh steamed broccoli.

Lastly, continuing with pizza themed Friday, I’m making pizza waffles. I changed up the recipe a little since I’m making the biscuits from scratch… and they have to be whole grain, I made Italian Herb Biscuits, using half whole wheat flour and half white and used milk instead of buttermilk. I’ll be serving them with a side of sauce for dipping, offering both plain cheese and cheese and pepperoni. Did a taste test with the 7th & 8th graders – they really liked it. 😀

Pizza Waffles

Italian Herb Biscuits

Bon Appetit!

Asian Green Beans and Ground Beef over Brown Rice

Today I served Asian green beans and ground beef over rice, roasted cauliflower and fresh sliced strawberries and  bananas.

The main dish was a hit. Kid’s brave enough to try it loved it. Lunch was actually a big hit too in the amount of kids that showed me they ate all their lunches (had a few kids finish up some straggling rice).

I can’t take credit for recipe. I had to make some alterations since the original recipe would have been too hot for small mouths.

Recipe called for a lot more Chili Garlic Sauce, I split it with sweet and sour sauce. At home I make it with sweet chili sauce. My kids love it. Also, recipe is with ground turkey, but I used ground beef because that is what we had available at the school. Everything in today’s meal was fresh, nothing frozen.

Click for Recipe

Roasted cauliflower was a hit as well. No special recipe for that. About 1 1/2 T of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt, roasted in a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Bribery seems to be working.

To encourage kids to eat ALL of their lunch, I started a reward program. Lunches consist of a main meal, usually some type of meat dish, grain or bread, 1/2 cup of fruit, up to 1 cup of vegetables (usually 2 different types), and milk. I know, it’s a lot for some of the kids to eat, but we are on the Federal Lunch Program so this is required for us to serve. I’m really working on making all the food tasty and kid friendly.


Kids grades 3 and up need to eat all that is placed on their lunch plate, milk included.

Pre-school, kindergarten and grades 1 & 2 are required to eat the main meal, all of 1 vegetable, most of the fruit and all of the milk. Sweet looks help, but don’t always work. I have made some kids work for their treat… eating an extra spoon of baked beans – and they are willing to do it.

The reward this month are fruit snacks that they can eat a later time after school or whenever their teacher allows them to eat it.

They get to vote!

Not sure if any of your kids have told you, but when I cook up a new recipe, they get to vote. This gives me some feedback on whether I should make it again.

Their choices are:emojis

It’s been fun having the kids come up to me and let me know what they thought of lunch. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten any resounding “Hated it.”

Meet the Lunch Lady

Hi there! My name is Elisa Jones. I have 2 kids that attend Trinity. Elliot who is in 8th and Amelia who is in 4th. I am the new Food Service Director here. Food Service Director in that I do EVERYTHING. I menu plan, prep, run the kitchen, serve, clean, do dishes, sweep, and then there is all the paperwork. The kids just know me as the lunch lady. I take no offense. There is a saying to “always be kind to the lunch lady.” It sounds better than “be kind to the food service director.” LOL

I love to cook. That’s how I got here. I don’t have a background in cooking other that cooking for my family. I enjoy eating as well, so I try to find healthy recipes that taste good. I also love working out. I’m into crossfit and boxing. Lifting heavy and punching… gotta love it.

Before starting my new career here as the lunch lady, I was an art director for 26 years. Realizing that I was getting too old for what is now “cool” (I don’t understand twitter or snapchat, nor do I want to), I decided to put my creativity in a different medium, food.

If you ever have a day off and would like to help out in the kitchen… I would love it! If you have a family recipe or would like to cook up a lunch, I’m IN! Let me know when and we can make arrangements. This October 27, Amy Strzelec will be making her grandmother’s authentic Italian sauce with meatballs over penne (the sauce is the only thing that is authentic, the meatballs are frozen and the penne is barilla :D)

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email me. You can also leave a message with Judeen if you call.