Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Recipe Swap - School Days Are Here Again

Welcome to the Offering Hospitality Recipe Swap, month 2!
This month's challenge is make ahead lunch recipes!

Whether you are a homeschooler (like me), your kids to attend school elsewhere or are packing a lunch for yourself or your hubby, a few extra minutes each morning would be much appreciated (right?). So, I kind of took the idea of once a month cooking and came up with the idea of make ahead lunches. These can either be prepared that night before or possibly up to a week ahead of time. Using our time wisely can help us better serve our family and make more time available for other forms of hospitality. How sweet would it be to place one of these into our loved ones lunch box? Just make a batch, individually wrap, freeze and then the morning they're needed place one in each lunch you make. If you're at a loss for ideas and need to get those creative juices flowing, head on over to parents magazine and read their great ideas of healthy options for school lunches.

Now, onto my recipe...

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Bento Box
Meatball Recipe:
1lb ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
about a Tbsp of milk
one egg
tsp minced onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
one small can pineapple tidbits, drained juice reserved
1-2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 500 F. In a large bowl, mix ground meat, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, minced onion, minced garlic, salt and pepper until completely combined. Roll meatballs; place close together on broiler pans or rimmed cookie sheets . (I use my pampered chef bar pan) Bake for 15 minutes or until internal temperature is 160F. Cool.
While meatballs are cooking and cooling, mix the cornstarch and brown sugar in a sauce pan. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce and red wine vinegar; stir. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Cool.
To freeze and use when needed place cooled meatballs and sauce into a freezer bag. Add pineapple tidbits to bags. Seal and freeze.
To cook after freezing:
Oven: Place meatballs and sauce into an ungreased baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350F for 30 minutes or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.
Slow cooker: Place meatballs and sauce into slow cooker. Cook on low for 2 to 5 hours or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

Packing the bento box:
Place meatballs w/ sauce into appropriate compartment. Add a serving of rice to another, cucumbers and grapes as well. For a more grown up bento box, add a nice salad with some Asian ginger dressing to complete the meal.

For more great bento recipes, check out this cookbook.
Not sure what exactly a bento box is? It's just a partitioned lunchbox. Like Tupperware that fits all together perfectly. Here is an example:
Available through
Don't feel like you can't make this dish because you don't have a bento box. Any containers can be used.

Hoping each and every one of you have a blessed school year! -Crystal

We're looking forward to seeing what recipes you might have to share with us this month! Don't forget to grab one of our Recipe Swap buttons and post it on your site along with your Back-to-School Recipe! If you haven't already snatched a button, here is the code to do so:

<a href=""><img src="" height="128" width="150" border="0" alt="Hospitality"></a>


  1. My recipe isn't a make-ahead recipe, but it's a fun recipe for for little ones. :) Peanut Butter Play dough recipe:

  2. Make-ahead lunches....what a GREAT idea! I researched freezer-cooking strategies and menu-planning before the birth of our newest addition and was great inspired! I hadn't even thought of make-ahead lunches! Good idea! THanks for sharing! Enjoying your blog!

  3. My kids usually eat PB & J sandwiches but my hubby and I eat leftovers or The Ultimate Turkey Sandwich. As home schoolers, I like to keep things quick and simple for lunch since our kitchen table is also our school table.

    Here's my recipe