School holiday lunches your kids can help make

Veggie-loaded spaghetti cake. Picture: Supplied

Veggie-loaded spaghetti cake. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 3, 2023


For parents, one of the best things about the weekend and school break is not having to pack school lunch boxes. But then, what do you give them for lunch when they are home?

When it comes to keeping the kids well-fed during the school holidays, we know it can be a challenge. If you struggle to find quick, easy and affordable meal ideas, we have you covered!

Croque-madame. Picture: Supplied


Serves: 2


For the cheese sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

⅔ cup milk

Pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of ground nutmeg

30g (about ¼ cup) grated mature cheddar or Gruyère cheese

For the croque-madame

4 slices thick sour dough or country loaf

2 tbsp butter, softened

2 tbsp whole-grain Dijon mustard

½ cup cheese sauce (as above)

6 thin slices of ham

120g (about 1 cup) grated mature cheddar or Gruyère cheese, divided

For the eggs

1 tbsp butter

2 large eggs

Salt, for sprinkling

Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Start by making a cheese sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour and stir for about one minute.

Gradually whisk in milk and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and cook until sauce thickens, for about two minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in the cheese. Allow cooling for 10 minutes.

To assemble the croque-madame, lightly toast the bread. Spread with softened butter on each slice, then flip over two slices and spread each with 5 ml mustard and 15 ml cheese sauce.

Top each slice with three slices of ham, 60 ml cheese, and the remaining bread slices. Spread the top of each sandwich with 30 ml sauce and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Place sandwiches on a baking tray and bake until cheese is melted and golden brown on top, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the eggs, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Crack in the eggs, and fry until whites are set for about three minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, and top each sandwich with an egg. Serve immediately.

Recipe by the South African Poultry Association.

Broccoli soup. Picture: Supplied

Broccoli soup


1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ onion, chopped

4 cup broccoli florets

2 cups of water or fat-free veg broth

½ cup milk


¼ tsp pepper


Heat oil in a saucepan on medium flame.

Add garlic and onion, and sauté till onions are light brown coloured.

Add washed broccoli florets and stir for one minute.

Add water or veg broth and bring it to boil, then cook it covered for 15 minutes on simmer until broccoli is tender.

Remove from heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

Blend the mixture to smooth the purée.

Transfer the purée to a saucepan. Add warm milk and stir it continuously to avoid curdling the milk.

Bring the soup to a boil and season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy hot broccoli soup with some croutons on top.

Recipe by Food for Life.

Veggie-loaded spaghetti cake. Picture: Supplied

Veggie-loaded spaghetti cake

Serves: 8


320g spaghetti

250g brown mushrooms, sliced

1 large onion, diced

1 large carrot, peeled & diced

200g baby spinach

200g cherry tomatoes, halved

250ml cream

150ml milk

4 large free-range eggs, beaten

100g cheddar cheese, grated

Olive oil, for cooking

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grated parmesan, for serving


Preheat the oven to 180˚C.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Cook the spaghetti until al dente.

Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.

Set aside.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.

Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add a fresh glug of oil and cook the onion and carrot until tender. Add the baby spinach and switch off the heat, just letting it wilt.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, and cheese.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Add all the veggies and the spaghetti to the cream mixture and toss to combine.

Mix well so the veg is evenly distributed throughout the spaghetti.

Transfer the mixture to a baking dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top and the filling has just set.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the top with grated parmesan.

Slice into chunky wedges and serve with a green side salad.

Recipe by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.