Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Potato cheese soup


It was a perfect day for soup this cold winter day.
Potato cheese soup was the entree today.
Instead of the beloved bacci roll, we served crackers.
This soup is very good and almost all of the students had it.
Clementines were offered on the fruit bar as well as bananas and apple slices.
Wow boiled eggs are really popular. We go through about a hundred or so per day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese



Macaroni and cheese as well as plain pasta were on the menu today.
Steamed green beans were served as the veggie option.
My experiment with the pictures of trays from various grades was kind of a failure.
All of the students ate their pasta first before I could take a picture and so all of the trays looked the same.
I will try again.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

veggie lo mein noodles with egg rolls

Veggie lo mein noodles and vegetarian eggrolls were served today.
Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, cabbage and green onions were grilled with lo mein noodles.

Forgot to take a pic today but Katherine had a great suggestion about pics,
Katherine suggested that I take pictures of student trays from different grades, this way you will get to see
what the students are choosing as their side dishes, once we give them their entree.
It can be an entirely different meal, eaten by students who are sitting at the same table.
Some of our students eat fruit and salad as their main entree with half of a sandwich.
Most of our students eat the daily entree with salad and fruit as side dishes.
So it will be interesting to compare the grades and what they choose.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Chicken gravy over basmati rice was served today.
The chicken is roasted, chopped and added to the gravy.

I make 75 cups of basmati rice.
Don't tell anyone but the rice has onions in it, as well as parsley.

Wow the curry was outstanding. This is a recipe from Katherine.
We had some brave students who tried it for the first time and loved it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Beef stew was the main entree today. It was perfect on this cold winter day.
Our stew is full of potatoes, carrots and of course beef.
Don't tell anyone but its also full of onions, they are pureed.
We always have a vegetarian option, todays was lentil soup.
This is my favorite soup. I have never had a better lentil soup.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Egg Salad



As always, Mondays are Family Group lunches. Today the special sandwich was Egg Salad on french bread. The sandwiches were served with chips, an individual Tillamook cheddar cheese and Sun Chips.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup


Today we served chicken noodle soup. We offered a minestrone soup as a vegetarian option.
Bacci rolls are a sought after item at lunch time, and most children would eat ten if they were allowed.
A crusty on the outside and soft on the inside warm roll is hard to pass up.
Salad bar was absolutely devoured today.

Just a great day today. As I read all of the nice notes the students wrote the lunch ladies, I am reminded of how fun my job is. Truly it is hard work, but when a student wishes he could bring us with him to high school, thats when I know I have done something right.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beef and bean burrito

Today we served beef and bean burrito for the first time. They look identical to our regular bean and cheese burrito so I did not
bother with a picture. The reason that we strayed from our regular bean and cheese burrito is we wanted to liven things up a bit and try something different.

I am always asked by students, "why can't we have meat and cheese together." So I would like to explain to those parents and students who do not know about kosher rules and how they apply to the lunch program.

So the most important kosher rule in the lunch program is no pork, or shellfish. There are other things to avoid but pork and shellfish are really the only things that I would come into contact with.

The next kosher rule and the most confusing to students is no meat and dairy products served on the same plate.

We realize that most students at McGillis do not eat a kosher diet, but we really believe that it is important to serve lunch in a way that is accessible to all. We accommodate students with allergies to nuts and dairy, even gluten. Myself and one other lunch employee consider ourselves vegetarian. There are at least four vegetarian students at McGillis. So options are available daily.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich were the entrees today.
Very popular lunch.
This morning we came in early to prepare food for all of the students that
came to our "cool school" so early.
For breakfast we served pumpkin chocolate chip bread, bagels and vegetarian sausage egg and cheese muffins.
Juice and milk were served as well.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chicken Tenders and lemony smashed potatoes


Today we served chicken tenders. These are very lightly breaded chicken breast pieces.
On the side we served lemony smashed potatoes. Klondike rose potatoes are steamed first and then smashed, lemon zest and a bit of olive oil is added.

We served oranges, apples and bananas on the fruit bar.
The salad bar had a roasted veggie pasta salad today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

quesadillas and the big surprise

Today we served quesadillas. There was the option of a veggie (roasted zucchini, mushrooms and corn) quesadilla as well.
Spanish rice was served along with oranges, apples and bananas.

Lets just be honest here, the real news regarding lunch today is chocolate milk. Chocolate milk was a surprise for most of the students and they were so excited that screams of happiness were heard from the other side of the building. Chocolate milk will be served as a treat, maybe once every three months. Parents, I want you to know that I realize that chocolate milk is a high
sugar drink and most of you do not approve. I really believe that some foods if treated as a special occasion can be consumed in moderation. I promise that chocolate milk will remain a special treat and be served very infrequently.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sloppy sloppy joes


Today we served sloppy joe sandwiches. This is not a sloppy joe that you open a can of sauce and stir in ground beef.
This recipe is home made and full of veggies. Diced onions, celery, bell peppers and tomatoes are added.
Emeril Lagasse featured this on his cooking show. I have omitted some of the heat that he adds to all of his dishes.
Very popular lunch. Low fat cottage cheese was offered on the salad bar today and wow it was popular.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bean and cheese burritos


Bean and cheese burritos were served today. Corn was offered to the younger students as well as tortilla chips and salsa.
The older students were offered a corn and bean salsa on the salad bar.
The fruit bar offered grapes and apples.

The picture is of the corn salsa. Cilantro, red onion lime juice and jalapeno made this delicious.

Ask your student to try tofu on the salad bar next week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tortellini and the ugly squash


Today we served tortellini with homemade tomato cream sauce, and broccoli.
Tortellini is very popular and a surprising number of students opted to try the sauce.
Grapes, bananas and apples were offered on the fruit bar.

Ask your child if they noticed the "ugliest squash" on display atop the salad bar.
This is called a peanut squash.
I found this beauty at the Murray farmers market.
I will display it for another week and then cook it and offer it at lunch for only the bravest students.
The farmers were very excited to sell me loads of butternut and acorn squash.
One farmer from Lehi remembered that he was here as a construction worker building our new addition.
Its a small world and McGillis is becoming quite a recognized school around the valley.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pizza and Peaches


Today we served pizza as the main entree. Carrots, celery and grapes were side dishes served.
The salad bar was popular today. Oranges, sliced apples and peaches were fruit options.
Sadly this is the last lunch that farm fresh peaches will be served.
The farmers tell me that the season is near the end. I will miss my weekly farmers market trips.
Apples will be available and there is a farmer that will supply them to the school directly.
It is sad to see the summer end.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beef Stew or Garden Pie


Today we served Beef Stew. It is truly delicious and was perfect this fall day.
As a vegetarian option we served Garden Pie.
Garden Pie is kidney beans and peas andcarrots and bell pepper and other veggies, topped with mashed potatoes and baked.
Most students were cautious to try the Garden Pie but those that tried it really liked it.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Chicken Caesar Wrap was the entree today.
Marinated chicken breast on a pita topped with romaine lettuce, olives and tomato.

Friday, October 14, 2011

sustainable pathways

Today McGillis students had a tour of the kitchen and I spoke about the whole process that is lunch.
We talked about where our food comes from.
We talked about the kitchen being designed to be energy and water efficient and use natural lighting.
I showed them the equipment that it takes to feed 400 people.
Lots of students commented on the size of cans and boxes of food.
Most students got to walk into our refrigerator and see our dish washing machine.
I showed the students how much water the dish machine takes to wash all of the dishes from one day (39 gallons).
Students were shown the difference between smart packaging and bad packaging.
Students were shown yesterdays food waste and we talked about ways that our garbage can be decreased.
I hope that the students had fun learning about the kitchen.
The process of looking up details about the efficiency of the kitchen was eye opening for me.
I learned that we are more efficient than I had thought, but we can do better.
Feeding 400 people is a huge responsibility.
Food safety is my number one priority, but I see that it is also important to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.
We can all do a better more thoughtful job.
I have set new goals in the kitchen regarding reducing our carbon footprint.
I look forward to the future at McGIllis and am inspired by our students regarding sustainable pathways.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hot dogs

Hot dogs are always a hit at McGillis. We don't have them often but our students really like them.
As always a quality all beef hot dog is used. Veggie dogs are offered for vegetarians.
Steamed french green beans will be served as a side dish as well as chips.

Salad bar fact.....Soy beans now top the list as most popular salad item.
Who knew?

Lo mien noodles and veggie egg rolls

Lo mein noodles and veggie egg rolls were the entree today.
This lo mein is a dish just full of veggies.
I use the six foot grill to stir fry broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, green onions, celery, garlic and carrot.
I boil the noodles first and then add them to the veggies on the grill.
Sesame oil and soy sauce as well as sesame seeds are added to the stir fry.
The egg rolls that we serve are also full of veggies.
Most of the kids don't mind the veggies because the egg rolls are crispy.
We have an oven that truly is amazing. It has a "fried" setting that really gives food a fried taste and look.
If you ever have a chance come in and let us show you this oven.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Veggie hummus wrap

Veggie hummus wrap was the featured sandwich today. Pita bread topped with hummus, sliced tomato , cucumbers, spring mix,
and a bit of cheese. Sides were apple slices, string cheese, baked chips, juice box.

Friday, October 7, 2011

sorry no posts

So sorry I have not posted anything for a few days. Ian our new dishwasher has injured himself and has not been able to work. We have been very busy trying to keep up with out him. Hope to have a new post soon. Thanks for your interest and patience.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

tamales or quesadilla? Wich did your child opt for?

Homemade tamales are so much work and I love them, but I've decided to do this only twice a year. Tamales were the main entree today, but we also offered quesadillas as a more kid friendly option. As I look back on all of the students who opted for the quesadilla I am rethinking tamales place on the menu. We also served spanish rice and churros for a sweet treat.

The fruit bar offered farm fresh plums, bananas and apples. This variety of apples are called Gingergold and they are now my new favorite.

Salad bar update.... Kids are really enjoying the salad bar and eating a record amount of greens. FYI we use romaine lettuce, a mixed greens blend and spinach. Ask your student if they have tried the cusabi dressing. Cusabi is wasabi cucumber ranch.
We are still enjoying fresh baby orange tomatoes from the farmers market as well as peppers and even broccoli.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Egg salad sandwich the easy way

Egg salad sandwich was the featured sandwich for todays family group lunch. I count two eggs per pre ordered sandwich. So I boiled, cooled, then painstakingly peeled 300 eggs. Ha ha, actually that last part was true in the past but is now a sad sad memory. The eggs now come pre boiled and pre peeled and I love it. Now all I have to do is put the eggs through an egg slicer and stir in mayo and dijon mustard, and seasonings. I really do not understand how I had the time to do this when I had to start with raw eggs. As I think about it, lots of food items come in a more convenient form. This kind if thing is a huge trend in the food service industry. I can get onions and peppers already diced or sliced in 5 pound bags. Most produce items come in pre sliced or diced options. I would say that a food establishment of our size most often uses these options.

Lots of companies offer meat that comes pre cooked, both for convenience and also food safety. People do not always cook their meat to the proper temperature, and when it comes this way it is a safer product. Think about raw meat and everything it comes into contact with being a possible source of contamination. My Sysco salesman tells me that reheat and serve meat is a huge trend in the industry. At Mcgillis we use this option only for chicken nuggets. This kind of precooked meat can cost more than raw meats.

Another trend is aseptic packaging of foods. This is a high heat and sealing process that keeps food from needing refrigeration, If you go to the supermarket and see packaged dinners that look like they belong in the freezer section, these are aseptically packaged.
Its like pasteurization. As long as the seal remains intact the food has a very long shelf life, even without the use of preservatives.
Our juice among other things are packaged this way.

Technology brings lots of changes, some bad, some good. I am thinking that pre boiled pre peeled eggs are a change for the good.

Monday, September 26, 2011

pasta with brie

Bowtie pasta with brie is so easy. Chopped tomatoes and basil are added to garlic sauteed in olive oil
and slightly cooked down. Brie cheese is added on top of the tomato mixture and melted.
All of this is stirred into hot pasta and topped with toasted pinenuts.
Always check for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper accordingly.
I prepare 50 lbs of pasta.

As usual we served plain pasta for those students who prefer boring pasta.
Roasted broccoli was served, as well as farm fresh nectarines and peaches.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

bbq chicken sandwich

Family group lunch Monday

On Mondays the students are put into groups with older and younger students and an adult. The groupings stay the same for the entire year, and its a great way for students to become friends with kids who are not in their class. The group always has a moral topic of discussion to chat about between bites. Each Monday a different sandwich is featured. The most popular sandwiches are bbq chicken, chicken salad and caprese. Besides the featured sandwich we also offer peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese. The students pre order their sandwich the week before so we know how many to make. Besides the sandwich we also pack string cheese, chips(baked), a juice box and a piece of fruit.
Sometimes a small bag of carrots or a cookie will be served.
Each family group order is put into a large picnic style bag and one representative from each group comes and picks it up.
The lunches are eaten picnic style all around the school.

It sounds a lot easier than a regular lunch day, with no dishes, or time spent serving each child. However, Mondays are not easier, as I am here on Sunday preparing for tomorrow. It takes a lot of effort to feed the entire McGIllis school at one time.
I prep the chicken on Sunday, so that there will be time to prepare, wrap and sort all of the family group lunches on Monday.
With some careful planning, and hustle, hot foods are served hot and cold foods are served cold. We try hard to make this an enjoyable lunch for all. Most students like the change of pace and scenery from the dining hall.
For us in the kitchen, its a day to catch up on our cleaning schedule, and planning for the upcoming week.

I really like the idea of the students becoming friendly with students of other ages. At the soccer game last week, I overheard a student cheering, his mother asked him who he was cheering for, he smiled as he answered, " my family group friend".

Friday, September 23, 2011

tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich

1/2 cup olive oil (I use 1/4 cup)
1 large carrot diced
1 large onion diced
3# tomatoes chopped use fresh or a very good brand of canned tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
pinch to tablespoon of sugar
feta cheese for serving

Heat a large stock pan over medium high heat, add oil, add onions and carrot. Stir and cook til onion is translucent, and carrot begins to soften (about five minutes.)
Add tomatoes and basil and stir to combine. Bring to a boil , then cover the pan and simmer until all veggies are soft, (about 30 minutes.)
Add salt and pepper to taste. Add sugar to taste. If you like this consistency serve as is, I use a blender to puree this soup. You can also add water if you like.
This is the recipe for the tomato soup that McGillis students love. Its a favorite with grilled cheese.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

chicken drumsticks




Eeeek my new recipe failed me. The Rosh Hashanah inspired sauce for the chicken did not turn out well. It did not thicken at all and luckily I had another pre made sauce on hand to substitute. Well I had high hopes for the sauce, but the students really liked the chicken so it was not an absolute failure. It was a four napkin lunch and I saw lots of happy faces while they held their chicken leg with their hand.

It is always scary for me to try some thing new. I can pre plan and calculate servings over and over but it is always scary when those little faces see something new. Most times they like new things but I never know for sure.

We also served farm fresh cantaloupe and corn.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

mac and cheese

Macaroni and cheese was served today. As usual we served plain pasta as an option. I really like this shape of pasta, its a long corkscrew called Cavatappi. It holds the cheese really well.

We had some peaches that really needed to be used so we peeled and sliced them. Katherine made a quick crumble topping and baked them. It tasted great even without sugar or butter, just sweet ripe peaches and a crumble topping.

Italian plums and bananas and kiwi were offered at the fruit bar today.

Salad bar fact... Peeled hard boiled eggs and black olives are the salad bar favorite this week. Fourth and Fifth graders love them.

New Entree Thursday. Never served at McGillis before..... Chicken drumsticks made with honey and apple juice in honor of
Rosh Hashanah. If its a hit I will post the recipe Thursday. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

chicken and rice with curry veggies

Roast chicken in gravy was served over basmati rice. Veggie curry was offered as a side dish.
The curry has asparagus, green beans, broccoli, onions, chard, carrots, coconut milk, and a bunch of other yummy ingredients.
Grapes, plums and kiwi were fruit options today.
The students really like this lunch and almost half of the upper grades love the curry.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

farmers market


Just got back to McGillis from the farmers market. Oh the smells of fall are in the air .Squash, pears and apples were every where.
My farmer friend was pleased to give me his favorite apple, Akani. Its a smaller sweeter apple and mostly red. I bought two cases with the promise that he would bring me more next week. I found Italian plums that are so sweet and just the perfect size for small hands. I bought plenty of cantaloupe, enough for the whole school. Farmers are so glad to hear about the McGillis School and I make lots of friends when I want to purchase such large amounts. Usually the farmers make the prices lower if people buy in bulk.

Lets talk veggies, I found some beautiful peppers, red green and almost white. I found yellow cherry tomatoes, red and pear shaped baby tomatoes. Two types of green beans which I will roast and put on the salad bar. Lovely armenian cucumbers and red onions will look and taste wonderful on the salad bar. Fresh red potatoes will go in our veggie curry as a side to chicken and rice
Now here is the part that will cause moaning and whining aplenty from the rest of the kitchen staff.......... corn on the cob!!!!!!
I bought lots and lots of corn. It will take quite a bit of work to shuck corn. Cleaning all of the hairs and trimming each ear.
Oh well fresh corn only comes around one season a year.

Friday, September 16, 2011

chicken teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki was served today. Basmati rice and edamame were the sides.
I steam the chicken, then shred it, baking it with the teriyaki sauce.
Most students really like edamame, but a few teachers thought they were lima beans!
Im not against lima beans but I certainly would not serve them with chicken teriyaki.
We served a variety of fruit today.

I am off to the farmers market again this weekend. Looking forward to a new variety of apples.
The farmer I have been buying from expects pears as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce sicilain




Home made fresh tomato sauce sicilian style was served on the spaghetti today. Katherine made chocolate cake from scratch.
We believe that a treat should be just that, a treat. At McGillis we do not serve sweets very often (about once a month), but when we do they are home made and wonderful.

An interesting tidbit about the salad bar, we use a spring mix and romaine blend with spinach. Lots of students pile the lettuces on to their tray and a student recently asked me for arugula ! It made my day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sandwich option

This year we are pleased to add a turkey sandwich to the list of sandwiches that students can opt to eat instead of the main entree.
We know that some students are putting the turkey on their salad and so we are offering it with or without the bread.
Its a great quality turkey no preservatives, no fillers.

Peanut Butter and Jelly is another sandwich available daily. Ingredients are Adams peanut butter no sugar added and I use a strawberry preserve that the majority of the students like.

Cheese sandwich is the last option. Its pretty plain, just a good slice of real cheddar cheese.

Mustard and Mayo are available in the dining hall to put on the sandwiches.

The bread that I use is Granny Sycamore honey whole wheat. Its been a journey to find the bread that suits the majority of our students. If its too grainy, the students really dislike it. Whole wheat is a must.

I try to make healthy, tasty main entrees that all students enjoy, but its impossible, so sandwich choices are available daily.
Sandwiches are served with the same sides that the main entree is served with, unless it is an additional starch like a roll.

chili beans




Chili beans with black, pinto and white beans. A bit of cheese and a few corn tortilla chips go a long way in tempting kids to eat the chili. Our yogurt is organic vanilla and low fat. Fruit options continue to be farm fresh apples and bananas. Today we tried garbanzo beans on the salad bar and were surprised so many students liked them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

farmers market and our new salad bar




Every weekend I have gone to the Murray Farmers market and purchased peaches, apples, pears, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and anything we can use for lunch. I have made some good friends with farmers and hope to continue our arrangement even after the market ends. Different varieties of apples arrive weekly and our students really enjoy the different tastes. I love the colors and smells of all of the different vegetables and fruits. The students have enjoyed all of this bounty at the salad bar, where they get to choose all that goes on their salad.

baked potato bar

We had baked potato bar today. Baked potato with every imaginable topping, cheese sauce , mushrooms, broccoli, onions.
We served fresh peaches and apples. The salad bar was a big hit today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chicken Tenders(fritters)




We had baked chicken tenders with lemon smashed potatoes and fruit salad.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pancake Bar




We're playing catch up!

Last week we had pancake bar...a student favorite. It's an indulgence we allow twice a year.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alfredo Pasta




PASTA ALFREDO was served with or without sauce. The sauce was homemade and had lots of steamed veggies like zuchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and carrot, broccoli and cauliflower . Vanilla organic yogurt and farm fresh peaches, and bananas were sides.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bagel Sandwich




We're back!

Today for lunch we had bagel sandwiches. Grades K-1 were served half a bagel while everyone else had the option between a whole or a half. With the bagels there was cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and olives. We had peppers and onions as well. On the side we served grapes and pretzels and of course we also had the salad bar!