Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcakes

I posted these tonight on my Facebook, and since the recipe was requested several times, I decided to not wait till tomorrow. In fairness, I had no compelling reason to post it tomorrow, except I wanted to show off the bento with the cupcakes first, before sharing the recipe. So promise you'll come back tomorrow and ooh and ahh at the bento too?

BentoLunch.net - Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcake Recipe, perfect for leftovers and lunches

Either way, simple simple recipe. We've sampled them hot and cold and they are good both ways. I may start experimenting with homemade meatballs and other types of pasta (I bought standard white spaghetti for this, we usually do whole grain; and we had bought really cute mini frozen meatballs). But for now, we used easy to find, easy to prep items!

Spaghetti & Meatball Cupcakes:
3-4oz dry spaghetti noodles (about 1/3 a regular package)
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Spaghetti sauce
Frozen meatballs

Preheat the oven to 350.
Prep a muffin pan and spray well with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil.
Boil water, break the spaghetti noodles in half, cook per package directions.
Drain, rinse with cool water so you aren't working with hot noodles.
Mix noodles with one well-beaten egg and 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.
Place a scoop of noodles in each muffin cup, in kind of a nest-like formation.
Place a frozen meatball in the middle of each cup (again, think like an egg in a nest).
Spread a teaspoon or two of spaghetti sauce around the meatball; do not spread to the edges, it will stick.
Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 or until the pasta sets.
Let cool before removing from the pan.

**I used the edge of a butter knife to loosen the cupcakes before removing them, and cooled them on a dinner plate instead of a rack, to make sure they didn't fall apart.

***We also have vegetarian "meat"balls in the freezer from a blog review. I see vegetarian potential in these too. As well, a friend just pointed out that they could be gluten free by switching the pasta and making your own meatballs (or using GF ones).

Linking up a few places:

craft
Tip Junkie handmade projects

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 92

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ben's Music Bento

I got Ben up this morning, helped him get dressed, and made him breakfast. As he was sitting at the kitchen table, he told me that he had music as his special today and that the music teacher gives a bonus ticket to kids who wear a music themed shirt on music day. Well, since he was already dressed, and I didn't have a clean music themed shirt for him to wear, I told him he could have a music themed lunch and to see if that worked.


Ben has a turkey and muenster sandwich on multigrain rounds, topped with a cheddar music note. To go with that, he has carrots, blueberries & strawberries, and strawberry yogurt. It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon), we just use a tiny square of Press&Seal to help keep the yogurt sealed better.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hormel February - Heart Healthy Meals

February is the month for Heart Awareness, Healthy Hearts, etc. I'm never entirely sure what the official title is, but I do know it's February.

Mr. Ben participated in Jump Rope for Heart last week at his school and he was the top fundraiser! He raised over $250 for the American Heart Association and was so proud to get to do this. I shared with him how my one grandma and one grandpa both passed away from heart related issues and that he was helping to raise money to help learn more about heart diseases and help doctors be able to fix things. It's always fun phrasing things for the six year old set, isn't it?

Now, we're also trying pretty hard to be heart healthy ourselves, because someone (who shall remain nameless, but isn't F or B or me) has a wee bit of high cholesterol and as the person who cooks, I'm tasked with the job of helping it bring it down.

Hormel offered these tips to help with more heart healthy meals:
  • Substitute high-fat foods for lower-fat counterparts. Use liquid oils when cooking like olive and canola oil instead of solid fats like butter and margarine.
  • Reduce fat and keep an eye on salt consumption by trying out a variety of spices and seasonings. Bouillons are a great way to add seasonings without adding fat. Try beef flavored Herb-Ox® bouillon sodium-free granules that are perfect to add a unique flavor
  • to gravies, marinades, soups, stews, rice dishes, pasta dishes and stir-fries.
  • Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, which is great for your heart. Grabbing a handful of vegetables is a quick, perfect, heart-healthy snack during the day. Use the leftovers to throw into a pasta dish later in the evening. If you’re on the
  • go, try the small, compact, and delicious CHI-CHI’S® Snackers® with carrots or celery.
  • Consume at least 4 servings of nuts, legumes, and seeds each week and avoid more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages each week.
Lean proteins help to provide you with a sense of fullness and keep hunger at bay in between meals. Try a Hormel® Always Tender® pork roast for dinner, packed with 18g of protein, in either a roast flavor or onion and garlic roast.

I'd love to hear your heart healthy tips too! Especially recipes, since I'm trying to be extra careful with cholesterol, and while I generally cook fairly healthy, I don't usually monitor these things.

Disclosure: I have received product and information from Hormel Foods in exchange for being a Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger. All opinions expressed within the post are my own.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quick Like a Bunny Bento

Mornings happen way too early around here. F&B have to be at school for 7:30am (really) and if I don't have their lunches ready the night before, it is a mad dash in the mornings. Hence the much simpler bentos as of late.

This bunny bento manages to proof you can have a wee bit of cute without a whole lot of time.


Faith has a ham and cheese sandwich on multigrain rounds topped with a quick little bunny cutout. His eye was cut from a bit of cucumber peel. On top, there are caramel crisps; to the right carrots with ranch and sliced strawberries. It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 91

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

End of the Week Bento

We got back from skiing last night, so today's lunches were a little creative. And I don't mean normal-creative for me, I mean, scrounging through the pantry and fridge to come up with something that bore a slight resemblance to lunch. In the end, I had soup to heat up in the freezer, so they each had a thermos of beef & veggie soup, yogurt, and string cheese. Not bad, and we hit the grocery today!

I did have another bento on my camera, so you're getting that one instead. That one looks like a bento.


This was Ben's from Friday and includes a ham and cheese stuffed muffin, sliced hard-boiled egg, carrots, blueberries, and a few pretzels. Friday was our "finish out the fridge" day, in case you were wondering.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Croissant Bento for F&B

We're back! We headed out to ski for the long weekend, to celebrate the husband's birthday (it's actually during the week, but we always take advantage of it being close to President's Day). In the process, I learned that the host I use for photos has a bandwidth limit that I was at, so had to fix that too. In case you were here yesterday, that's why there was no background and lots of "You've exceeded your bandwidth" graphics. I think everything is working now ...

Anyhow, this was lunch last week for F&B. One of the lunchroom monitors stopped me and told me that they always have such good lunches, which was nice to hear. And Ben's little friend still wants to live with us for the food.


Both kids had ham & cheese croissants with a wee bit of mayo (Faith had lettuce too), along with some veggie straws and a few caramel crisps. To the right, they had carrots with hummus and strawberries & blueberries.

It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon), because I needed the croissant to fit without being squished.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 90

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day Bento

F&B have school parties this afternoon, which are more than likely laden with sweets, so we opted for a much simpler bento today than yesterday. The noticeable lack of treats has to do with the fact that I know what my kids are bringing to school (we made zebra nibbles and candy cane lollipops for their classes) along with only a few of their friends (cookies & cupcakes have been mentioned). So we're doing healthier lunch and enjoying the class parties later.


Faith has a ham and cheese muffin from the freezer stash, carrots with cucumber hearts, strawberries, and organic applesauce (from my baking stash, you can switch it with oil) topped with a sprinkle of hearts. Cute, simple, and reasonably healthy. At least until 1:30 today.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine's Bento, one day early

Why one day early? Because I had too many ideas and needed to share. Some bento friends & I all have posts live today to check out and get some great ideas for tomorrow's lunches. There's a link at the bottom of this post that will let you hop to another fun bento blog.



F&B both opted for ham and cheese sandwiches, with decorated tops. Faith has layered hearts and Ben got Xs and Os. Up on top of those are carrot hearts, similar to all the sausage style ones. Cut a carrot in a diagonal through the middle, flip a piece over and piece them together. I use toothpicks for ours, but F&B are old enough to not eat those. To the right, we've got strawberries for both, plus blueberries for Ben, and vanilla yogurt with some cute heart sprinkles that Nana sent.

It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon), just use a small square of Press&Seal over the yogurt to keep it from leaking.

Just click here to hop to the next blog. Karen from What's in John's Lunchbag has some sweet ideas for you too.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The "When Mama is Sick" Bento

Apparently, the world does not stop because I am sick, and certain little people still demand food.

This is where the concept of a freezer stash is most handy--grab entree, shove in box, add sides, and GO! I always precut my fruit and lately, I've been prepping yogurt and granola containers in advance, so it's really just a matter of putting it into a container.

The pictures are kind of bad, but mostly, I wanted to go back to sleep once the kiddos were safely ensconced in school.


They had macaroni and cheese muffins, carrots, strawberries for Faith, strawberries & blueberries for Ben, and separate yogurt & granola containers. They ate, they enjoyed, and I didn't have to think about it, not too bad.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 89

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bento o' Randomness

While I still owe you all Day #5 of muffin mix ups, F&B only have 3 days of school this week and I have a lot of things that need to be finished. Hence, we have the bento o' randomness today


Miss Faith has a couple of mini zucchini-parmesan muffins, cheese cubes, carrots sticks, strawberries and creme brûlée crisps. As odd as I thought the bento was, she enjoyed it quite a bit.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pizza Bento for Ben

The boy was in the mood for pizza, so pizza it is!

Granted, it's not fancy pizza, just leftover frozen pizza that we had the other night and Ben wanted to save some of his for a bento.


So the boy has two small slices of the leftover pizza, some carrot sticks, two mini blueberry muffins, and some frozen blackberries. After the picture, we managed to squeeze in a few more blackberries before packing up for lunch. Unfortunately, frozen blackberries don't photograph especially well, but they defrost nicely by lunchtime.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Groundhog Day Bento

Day #5 of muffin mix-ups is on hold to because it's Groundhog Day!

Or, as Ben put it last night, "I think tomorrow is an important day. I think they said Grouch Day." Since he showed up in our room around 4am, then got up for good when Shaun got up for PT and was fully dressed & playing when I woke up at 6:30am, I'm going to wager a guess that it really will be Grouch Day too.

However, lunch first!


Ben has turkey and cheese on multigrain rounds, topped with what I hope looks like a groundhog! He's made out of sharp cheddar with features from provolone and sugar eyes. I cut a small oval from the bread so he is actually popping out of his hole. If he doesn't look like a groundhog, just humor me, it was really early! To go with that, Ben has veggie straws and some grapes/strawberries/blueberries. He's also been on a yogurt kick, so he has a separate container of strawberry yogurt topped with granola for a treat. It's packed in our Easy Lunchboxes (also available on Amazon).

Up for some more cute groundhogs? Check out:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What's for Lunch Wednesday, Week 88

What's for Lunch Wednesday

Welcome to "What's for Lunch" Wednesday!!!

Thanks so much for joining in last week if you did and looking forward to seeing all the fun lunches this week!

Want to join in?

Just choose a bento (please, just one bento or post or link) you've made from the last week you want to share, copy the URL of that post from your blog (you may need to click on the title to get it), and enter it into the linky below.

Click on the "Add Your Link" button to add yours and follow the steps, it's simple, I promise!


 

© Shannon Carino 2006-2013, Design by Custom Blog Designs