K-12 menus: Variety is the spice of life

Flavor and fun keep them coming back for more

Life can be tough for K-12 menu planners, especially when dealing with finicky eaters—and honestly, what kid isn’t one? It can be difficult to keep kids from getting bored while meeting strict K-12 Child Nutrition Program guidelines and staying within budget.

Maybe it’s time to think about adding something a little less common and a lot more interesting to the menu—something that kids will love and staff will appreciate for its versatility and easy prep.                                                                                                           

An exciting new option                                  

Introducing the pierogy, the trending, high-personality Eastern European dumpling that’s popping up on lunch trays and plates everywhere. For anyone who’s never heard of them, these fun-filled pasta pockets stuffed with whipped potatoes, real cheese and other ingredients have their origins in Poland and Ukraine. Traditionally served sauteed in butter with onions, pierogies’ popularity is spreading through foodservice programs everywhere, where it’s being discovered how easily, economically and creatively they can liven up menus every day.

Mrs. T’s child nutrition-certified, high protein pierogies, made with 51% whole grain dough, are leading the way for K-12 operators. Not only is every cheesy, delicious bite filled with flavor, they’re naturally vegetarian, which makes them perfect for Meatless Monday initiatives, a hot trend in schools all across the country. For example, all New York City public schools (with their 1.1 million students) will have 100%-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday beginning in the fall of 2019.*

But even if they don’t abstain from meat, students will still love pierogies. They’re dippable, shareable and awesomely delicious—and that makes school lunches something to look forward to again!

Staff will love pierogies, too

Pierogies are amazingly easy to prep, spice and sauce, taking on the same flavor profiles as other big-time kid favorites like mac ‘n cheese, pasta and marinara and more. They can also be served sprinkled with parmesan and Italian spices with pizza dipping sauce, as after school “Pierogy Pizza Cruncher” snacks.                                                                 

With quick and easy prep—they can be boiled, steamed, sauteed or baked—and typical holding times of 45 minutes or more, pierogies are the perfect kid-friendly solution. They’re great for everything from warm, comforting soups and Asian-style stir-fries to spicy Mexicali Taco Lasagna, not to mention a wide variety of craveable center-of-plate recipes.

A fun, easy choice                                                          

As a fun, flavorful food that offers a multitude of deliciously different meal choices for students, staff and teachers, pierogies are sure to be one of the most-requested items on the menu. What’s more, they’re a cost-effective way to add the big, bold flavors, excitement and unexpected menu options kids crave—and they’re perfect all year long.

For more information and recipes, and to check out our new K-12 in-school program, visit mrstsfoodservice.com.                                                          

This post is sponsored by Mrs. T's Pierogies