I have been working on this post for weeks, making phone calls and researching. I wanted to get this post up as soon as I could. Unfortunately, there are still some areas that haven’t posted their plans for free summer meals for kids.
Santee School District will be providing summer drive-thru meal distribution from June 14 through July 30, Monday-Friday, from 10:00-10:30 am, at Pepper Drive and Rio Seco schools. Extended school year (summer school) and students attending Project Safe will be provided with food.
San Diego Unified School District has partnered with San Diego Parks and Recreation to have food available at neighborhood schools and Recreation centers throughout the city of San Diego. The complete list of locations can be found here. Times vary by location.
Grossmont Union High School District will be providing lunch for kids 2-18 all summer. Kicking it off, they will be giving out meal boxes on Monday June 7 from 11:30 to 1:30 on a first come first serve basis in the same area where lunches are distributed. Summer meal distribution starts on June 14th 11:30-1:30 Monday through Friday.
Other school districts may be offering free lunches this summer, but currently there isn’t much information available.
If you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.
I’ve seen this kind of recipe before and I had never made it because it’s really hard to pick decent fresh cauliflower, and honestly, frozen cauliflower is always kinda… soggy (?) when you defrost it and cook it.
We’ve been getting a lot of cauliflower in our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box over the past 5 weeks, so I figured it was time to give it a shot.
This recipe is easy. And tasty. It does not duplicate potato skins. I don’t care what any low carb/potato hating website tells you.
Loaded Roasted Cauliflower
2 heads of cauliflower, leaves and stem removed, cut into bite sized pieces
2 T. Olive oil or your favorite cooking oil
salt and pepper
1 cup shredded cheese
1/2 cup bacon crumbles (use real bacon, not baco’s)
4 green onions, chopped
Sour Cream (optional, but tasty)
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place cookie sheets lined with foil into oven to heat up with the oven.
While oven/pan is heating, toss cauliflower in oil, salt & pepper.
Once oven is heated to 450, remove pan, spread cauliflower out in a single, well spaced layer.
Bake for 8 minutes, then turn veggies to roast evenly.
Return to oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
Remove from oven. Top with cheese and bacon. Broil for 2-4 minutes, until cheese is melty and bacon is hot.
After removing from broiler, top with green onions and eat up ASAP.
Serve with sour cream, or salsa. Or both.
This serves 2-4 people as a side dish, or be greedy and eat the whole recipe as a main dish. I won’t tell anyone. I make this at least once a week.
This recipe is gluten free. You can make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon.
Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get us to eat more veggies. But honestly, you can only eat so much mixed green salads and steamed broccoli. My prior attempts at oven roasted veggies were basically a hot pile of steamed veggies that lacked any of the qualities of oven roasted veggies I knew- none of them were sweet, with crispy edges, tender but not soggy. Thankfully with our CSA box coming straight to our door weekly, were getting tons of tasty new veg to try!
I did some reading in a few cookbooks, websites, and asked some of my friends who are chefs/professional cooks. The secret to perfect oven roasted veg? Space. Room. The veggies need space for the heat of the oven to circulate and heat them evenly.
Second tip: place the pans in the oven and allow them to pre-heat. Once the oven has pre-heated, pull your pan(s) out and place your veggies on the pans, then back in the oven.
Third tip: Half way through roasting, turn over/flip your veggies to ensure they are getting equal roasting time in that hot pan. I say pan, but I use a baking sheet lined in foil, like this one.
It’s all about high temp and short cooking time- 450 degrees! Your veggies will be done in less than 45 minutes and you’ll be feasting away! And anyone can make roasted veggies- as long as you have the following:
Aluminum Foil (I like it because it makes clean up easy)
1-2 lbs of your favorite vegetables, chopped up into evenly sized pieces (the secret to having them come out perfect)
3 Tablespoons oil (I like canola, avocado, or grapeseed)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon (or more, depending on how seasoned you like your veg) fresh cracked pepper
With the CSA boxes we’ve been receiving weekly, making roasted veggies is a snap. Here are cooking times for a few in season veggies. These times presuppose that you have cleaned/peeled as needed, and cut them into 1-inch pieces as needed. Cooking time is for 1 lb.
Beets: 20-25 minutes
Carrots: 20-25 minutes
Brussels Sprouts (Cut off the bottom, and cut in half): 15-20 minutes
Onions (I usually quarter and slice them): 15-20 minutes
Garlic (peel each clove- if they are large, cut in half) 15-20 minutes
Green Beans: 15-20 minutes
Potatoes/sweet potatoes: 20-30 minutes
Zucchini/summer squash: 15-20 minutes
Bell Peppers: 15-20 minutes
Asparagus: 10-15 minutes
If you’ve got something that isn’t on this list that you want to roast, I suggest starting with 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then flip the veggies over and see how they are doing. If they are brown and caramelized on one side, give it another 10 minutes for the other side to cook, then test for doneness with a fork. If they need longer, give them another 5 minutes and test again.
The box was bursting! I’m so excited. Here is what we received in our box:
Sugar Snap Peas
Baby Bok Choy
Mountain Meadow Mushrooms
And the incredible Large Bouquet of Flowers! I divided the bouquet into two vases, and they are in Little Bit’s Room and on the mantle. There are a variety of add-ons berries, honey, eggs, jams, etc available each week.
Each Monday in March, we’ll be receiving a CSA box from Yasukochi Family Farms full of locally grown and sourced produce. I love Yasukochi Farms because everything in the box is all grown using organic farming methods while possible and using local, responsible and sustainable farming. The other thing that is incredible is the convenience of having these farm-fresh items delivered straight to your doorstep (with no additional delivery fee). It saves me a trip to the store where all the produce has been transported, touched, and picked over. My CSA Box is packed just for me!
No matter if you have a small or large household, Yasukochi Family Farms has you hooked up! There are two box sizes: Regular (feeds 1-3 people), or Jumbo (feeds 4-6 people).
If you don’t live in the delivery area, you can check out Yasukochi Family Farms at many of the local Farmers Markets in Southern California. A complete list can be seen here.
What am I making with all of these tasty veggies:
Last night we had roasted asparagus.
I made up a big salad for the week with the spring mix, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and bell pepper.
I also chopped up the bok choy, celery, carrots, snap peas, and onion and made a stir fry kit to have later in the week for lunch (with rice and Thai stir fry sauce)
The USDA has a nationwide database that is accessible here (for my readers not in the San Diego, CA area).
And if you are in need of food for your entire family, but you find yourself not qualifying for P-EBT or other social services, I recommend that you check out Facebook. There are tons of local groups of neighbors getting together setting up Tables of Hope. In San Diego, there are several. Tables of Hope are small groups of neighbors that have set up food distribution tables within neighborhoods to help those who might be experiencing food insecurity.
Churches and community organizations are offering free food distributions that require no proof of need, like Faith Chapel in Spring Valley. They are offering free produce each Friday through mid-August. You can find out more info here.
And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.
There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.
Copycat Strawberries Gone Bananas (from Jamba): 1 cup apple juice (or milk), 1 frozen banana, 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.
The Big Orange Smoothie: This one is the big kids’ favorite and is a version of one of his Jamba Juice favorites that is no longer on the menu. 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup frozen peaches, 1/2 c. frozen mango pulp, 1/2 cup chopped carrots, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.
Green Berry Surprise: The surprise is the spinach. You can’t see it or taste it! 1 cup water & a scoop of protein powder (Or milk of your choice), 1 cup frozen berries, 1 frozen banana, 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.
Tropical Freeze: 1 cup juice (I like to mix orange and the pineapple juice from the can if you used canned pineapples until it’s 1 cup), 1 frozen banana, 1/2 c. frozen mango pulp, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1/2 c. frozen peaches, 1/2 cup ice (or more, depending on how thick you like your smoothies). Blend all ingredients- makes 1 BIG smoothie or 2 kid-sized.
The nice thing about smoothies is that you can use fresh or frozen fruit or veggies, any kind of juice, it’s all up to you!
Milk: Dairy, Oat, Hemp, Soy, Almond, or other nut milk. Your Choice.
Juice (Apple, Orange, and Carrot are popular)
Water and a scoop of protein powder
Some of our favorite fruits include:
Bananas (I peel and slice overripe bananas and put them in ziploc bags, so they are ready to use!)
Strawberries- 99 Cents Only and Dollar Tree both stock 12 oz bags of strawberries. If you can’t find them in season, this is a great alternative.
Peaches- I usually buy them frozen.
Mangoes- 99 Cents Only sells Mango pulp, which is just the good parts of mango formed into a brick and frozen. I love mangoes, but I hate peeling and slicing them.
Mixed berries- 99 Cents Only sells mixed berries, which is usually strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
Pineapple- Either canned in its own juice or frozen chunks. Frozen Pineapple is good straight out of the bag. Fresh pineapple is a lot of work to process just to turn into smoothies.
Tasty Veggies we enjoy in our smoothies:
Carrots- I usually chop them up small so they are easily incorporated.
Spinach- It blends in well and isn’t noticeable.
Talk Back: I’d love to hear what your favorite smoothie flavors are!
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It’s a pretty common complaint that kids eat A LOT during the summer. There are lots of causes: Increased activity, change in schedules, and let’s face it- kids just eat a lot. This can increase a families grocery budget at a time when they are already spending extra money on activities for their kiddos.
Distributions take place in our nonprofit partners’ parking lots. The majority of the food distributed consists of fresh fruits and vegetables which is part of the Food Bank’s Nutrition Initiative to provide healthy, nutrient-rich food to our clients.
Neighborhood Distribution Program sites welcome anyone in need of food assistance. I.D. and documentation ARE NOT required, and there are no income or asset restrictions for this program.”
White onions, red potatoes, watermelons, honeydew melons, oranges and Washington apples were available today. And it’s not just a few of each. Each person who came through got a bag of white onion, a bag of red potatoes, 1 large watermelon, as many honeydew melons as they wanted, a bag of oranges, and a dozen apples.
This produce is often “ugly” or considered an “allowable second” (a production term used in several industries for an item that is functional but may not be perfect looking), but it’s always tasty and nutritious.
If you’ve got hungry faces that need food this summer, I recommend stopping by your local distribution at least once this summer. If you aren’t in the San Diego County area, check with your local food bank for Neighborhood Distribution Program.
Don’t forget that there are tons of free summer lunch locations all over the state of CA (for more info on San Diego locations, check out this post). Text FOOD (Or COMIDA for a list in Spanish) to 877-877, or call 211 and you can find a list of free summer lunch locations near you.
And if you need further help, here is a post with food resources in San Diego County. If you are outside San Diego County, Feeding America has a really great Food Bank Locator.
Talk Back: What is your kids favorite summer snack?