If your children are enrolled in the Iowa City Community School District’s PK-12 Online Learning Program (the fully-online option), you can pick up free school lunches every weekday school is in session from 12-1 p.m. at select schools.
Children don’t need to be present — just roll up to the staff member in the parking lot and tell them how many lunches you need. These are free to everyone regardless of income level through at least December 2020. The details and the schedule are online.
These free, easy meals have been a godsend to my family.
My kids gobble down much of the fare every day — but there are always some items left over they don’t eat that day, and a surplus can build up, because the school district cycles through a limited array of menu options.
Because I hate to waste food, we’ve come up with some creative ways to use up the leftover or “less liked” options:
Frozen Yogurt Bark (using school lunch yogurt cups)
- Whatever cups of school lunch yogurt you have on hand
- Whatever toppings you have on hand or want to include: granola, shredded dried coconut, berries or other diced fruit (fresh or frozen), chia seeds (our families’ favorite!), honey, peanut butter, chocolate chips
- Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper.) If you only have a cup or two of yogurt, you can just use a plate.)
2. Spread the yogurt in a thin layer around the surface using the back of a spoon.
3. Add desired toppings – sprinkle/dollop/drizzle as much as you like on top.
4. Freeze until solid; then remove and break apart into chunks for eating.
- 6 cups milk, divided (1 school lunch milk carton = 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 heaping cup long grain white rice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ground cinnamon to taste (optional)
Shepherd’s Pie (using school lunch mixed vegetables)
- 8-16 ounces of mixed vegetables (at minimum, 3 of the little school lunch packages of vegetables, and you can use more)
- 1 lb. ground beef (or turkey, or vegetarian meat “crumbles”)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- Box of instant mashed potatoes, pre-made mashed potatoes from Hy-Vee or Costco, or mashed potatoes from scratch (if you’re making them from scratch, you’ll need 2 pounds of russet potatoes, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup milk, and salt and pepper to taste)
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 pounds baby carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks