This time of year brings long hours for farmers out in the field. Often, this work is done all day—through lunch, dinner, and even past bedtimes. While I am inside taking care of things at home, including our daughter, my husband is working. This means in order for us to see him, (and for him to eat!) we often go ride along with him over dinnertime. While every family has their way of doing things, field meals for us typically mean tractor meals. We don’t stop for a picnic very often. Instead, we make it a working dinner so he can get done earlier. Everything he eats needs to be something he can pick up and eat with one hand!
Forks not allowed.
However, even if you aren’t trying to feed farmers—many of these recipes are great to add to your collection! If you ever need to eat on the go, want to mix up what you take to the park for a picnic, or even just want a fast meal for dinner, any of these would be perfect.What is listed below is the main part of the meal. I’ll usually send some grapes or an apple, sugar snap peas, chips, or another simple side as well. Oh, and slipping in a treat tends to be popular too!
Don’t forget the extra bottle of water, hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and a couple napkins!
1. Crescent Roll-Ups
Not only the simplest, but often the most requested too. Lay out roll of crescent dough, layer a couple slices of deli meat, some cheese, and a drizzle of sauce. Roll them up and bake until golden brown. We often do ham and cheddar with a sweet and smoky Hawaiian barbecue sauce, but there are so many variations. Another good alternative is turkey and swiss! It helps to put the sauce inside, rather than any needed for dipping, as it makes it a little easier to eat.
2. Steak Sandwiches
Sometimes, tractor meals tend to seem a little monotonous. I like to mix it up with a sandwich like these—somewhat unexpected, yet still within the realm of being able to eat with one hand. I know my husband starts to miss steak since he doesn’t get to sit down to eat near as often!
3. Meatball Subs
We simplify these, and purchase frozen meatballs, although you could certainly make your own. Otherwise, all you need is marinara or spaghetti sauce and hoagie rolls. Heat up the sauce and meatballs together and spoon onto the rolls. (Tip: If you hollow out a little of the inside of the rolls, they fill easier and are less messy to eat!) Sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake until the cheese melts.
This is my favorite way to make calzones! By doing them as one long roll, braided, you eliminate having to shape and seal each calzone. Plus, it keeps the center nice and hot until cut, so it’s easy to deliver extra hot to the field on a cool night.
5. Soup & Sandwich
You may be wondering how we pull this one off—soup seems the opposite of what we should be serving to eat in a tractor! Unless we’re stopping to eat however, these aren’t heavy soups. We serve roasted red pepper, tomato basil, or other similar consistency soup in a travel mug alongside a sandwich.
6. BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon, & Cheddar Quesadillas
This recipe from Iowa Girl Eats is another fun one to use when you need to mix it up a little. Sweet and savory, these are easy to eat, and definitely add a fun twist away from sandwiches. We’ve used barbecue pulled pork in place of chicken as well.
7. Hot Dogs or Brats
Simple enough, it doesn’t need a recipe! Mix it up with different flavors such as cheddar jalepeno brats, so it doesn’t get boring. Especially good on a nice fall evening to heat up the grill one last time!
8. Fajita Wraps
With a few simple changes, you can make fajitas a little less messy! Instead of eating them in a folded tortilla, make them as a wrap like in this recipe.
9. Chicken Caesar Wraps
Grilled chicken, tortillas, and a Caesar salad kit are all you need. Like most of these recipes, the simpler the better since this time of year runs short on time. This is one of my favorite meal “hacks” and I love these for lunch during the week! Caesar salad kits are sold alongside the bagged lettuce. All you need to do is mix up the ingredients included, add some grilled chicken, and roll up in a tortilla or wrap.
10. A true Iowa staple: Ham Balls
If you live near a Fareway, you may even be able to pick these up pre-made. They’re never quite as good, but great for when you don’t have time to make them from scratch! If you are making them yourself, make them a little bit smaller than normal so they are bite-sized. Sure, it might take a fork, but it’s manageable…and not another sandwich.
What are some of your favorite meals to make during Harvest time? I’d love to hear them—from tractor meals to the dinner table. After all, we’ll need some good recipes for when we’re finally all eating around the table again!
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