Scratch Cooking in Schools, Just Like Mom Used to Make

Celebrating one of the great new trends in school cafeterias, National School Lunch Week (October 9-13) is highlighting the incorporation of scratch cooking to lunch menus! As part of the “Recipes for Success” theme, we’re featuring delicious looking scratch recipes, like a Hearty Vegetable Soup from a Texas lunchroom and a homemade Arroz con Pollo and Gazpacho Soup dish from a cafeteria in Vermont on the blog and on Tray Talk Facebook.

At Priddy Independent School District in Texas, nothing says made-from-scratch like a delicious bowl of hearty vegetable soup!

ESC Regions 12 -Priddy ISD
This homemade hearty vegetable soup offered at Priddy ISD (TX) brings new meaning to scratch kitchen.

Featuring a variety of ingredients including fresh cut potatoes, carrots, corn, peppers and green beans, this tomato-based soup and fresh garden salad combination is restaurant quality with at-home nutrition. Served with crackers, low-fat milk and fresh-cut watermelon, this school lunch presents a beautifully colorful tray, appealing to all of those students that eat with their eyes. For recipe ideas to serve a family meal inspired by this healthy school lunch, check out these ideas from Cooking Light.

Montpelier Public Schools in Vermont have incorporated international flavors in their scratch cooking to offer a unique school lunch – like arroz con pollo and refreshing gazpacho soup. This spicy chicken and rice dish brings all the flavors of a home cooked meal to the cafeteria.

Montpelier Schools
This arroz con pollo (rice and chicken) dish served with chilled gazpacho soup, showcases both scratch cooking and international cuisine to Montpelier Public Schools (VT).

The fresh gazpacho soup is made to perfection with tomatoes from Montpelier High School’s very own garden. Bring this school menu favorite to your dinner table with this family-friendly, healthy recipe from Family Circle. For a healthy version of gazpacho, check out this simplified recipe at Skinny Taste.

According to the 2017 School Nutrition Association Trends Survey, there was an increase in scratch participation of foods by 61 percent of school nutrition professionals who responded. Preparing school lunch entrees from scratch allows schools to utilize more fresh ingredients and fewer preservatives. Seasonal and local produce can often be incorporated into homemade school meals as well, a trend that is seen in the restaurant world with farm to table options. Stream to School. Sea to School. Farm to School. Classroom to Cafeteria. Garden to Lunch Tray. Schools are using fresh ingredients where they can. Scratch cooking does require schools to have a well-trained staff, adequate equipment and storage, and carefully planned out menus.


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