stress free lunch buffet

a special lunch buffet from last Sunday

I don’t know a single parent who isn’t feeling at least a little bit overwhelmed with all the cooking, cleaning, entertaining and e-learning that is going on right now at home… and this is before even mentioning the fact that so many parents are trying to navigate all of this while working at home too! 

with three kids and a husband now at home full-time, one of my biggest struggles has been figuring out how to have healthy meals available without actually turning the kitchen into a restaurant-style establishment!  

the first week of self-isolation here in turkey was officially the girls’ spring break; so that week we let things slide. it didn’t go well. it seemed breakfast lasted all morning and lunch lasted all afternoon! by the time dinner rolled around no one was in the mood to cook and i could never really grasp who was hungry.

once school started things started to calm down; breakfast figured itself out, thank goodness, and for lunch we have started serving a lunch buffet.  it may seem counter intuitive to have so many things out on the table, but in reality, having a main cooked dish that can be eaten room temperature, a soup ready on the stove, and salady vegetable fixings has made life so much easier.  the girls’ e-lesson lunch breaks don’t necessarily coincide every day and erim often has calls or online meetings that happen mid-day. this way we can all come and go and eat when we have time without the stress of trying to coordinate cooking and eating times.

here are a couple of easy ideas that don’t require recipes and the recipe for the delicious lunch we had today is in the next post… 

i’ll be posting new lunch buffet ideas and recipes throughout the coming weeks too; if you happen to make one of them please send me a photo and your thoughts; and feel free to share any favorite ideas of your own!

easy ideas from the past two weeks:

grilled chicken salad– this is a winner! All you really need are lots of greens, cucumber and tomatoes, and some grilled chicken.  My girls also like some corn and grated cheese and I added some oven-baked tofu for a vegetarian option.

cheese and spinach quesadillas– super simple, just grate some cheese and chop some spinach, and heat a tortilla, or lavas here in Turkey, in a pan.  Add the cheese and spinach, top with another tortilla and wait for the cheese to melt. Flip once to get a nice even toasting on both side. Serve with a salad, some soup or even just some chopped veggies. (I made mine with vegan cheese and it was delicious!)

chicken lettuce wraps- this time we sautéed some chicken with soy sauce, had large leaves of lettuce on hand, and added some chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, grated carrots, and sliced peppers. The girls made their own thai-style chicken wraps; I added cashews, cilantro and some pea protein to mine.

ham and Cheese sandwiches- no need for instructions on this one I think 

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