Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

Recipe Search

School Lunches from the Kitchen


September is here with all of its joy of new school clothes and school supplies for the kids, while parents make renewed resolutions for organization toward a healthy and happy family lifestyle. I am a Grammy now, with all of that behind me, but still so clear in my memory. In fact, I have vivid memories of the lunches my mom packed for me and today, when I have thermos tea along with a ham, lettuce and mayo sandwich on a bun, my mind goes right back to my school desk at Sir James Douglas Elementary. The sandwich was always neatly wrapped in wax paper with a unique fold on top. If lunches can have such a lasting impact on a person, I like to think that it's food, not only for the body, but for the mind and soul. Maybe this is why I still like to help out my kids with a bag of pizza buns or pinwheels to put into the freezer, knowing that moms just get way too busy to keep up . . . and again, it's toward more than food for the body.


A variety of homemade buns, rolls, cookies and  muffins will take a few hours of focused time to prepare but will go a long way toward stress free lunch packing for the next month. All of the suggested recipes freeze well and are ready to pack into a lunch bag along with some veggies, yogurt, cheese and fruit.

With this post I just want to share a few favorite ideas. I'll add the links and more suggestions.



The pizza buns are made with a quick French bread dough, pizza sauce, cheese and bacon bits. One recipe makes about 30 buns. The banana chocolate chip muffins make a nice treat in miniature size for younger kids.


These sausage rolls are posted as a recipe on my personal blog, but I will give you the method here quick. You will need half of a skinny farmer sausage, quartered lengthwise, so that you have four long strips of sausage. Then, using 3 cups of the  the Basic Large Biscuit Mix, mix in 1 egg and 1 cup buttermilk. Roll it out to about 16 X 12 inches and divide it into four strips to roll the sausage up in. Cut these long rolled up sausage strips into small segments to make two dozen sausage rolls. Bake at 400 F about 15 minutes or until golden. The treat in this lunch is a mini chocolate zucchini muffin.


Cheese stuffed breadsticks are also made with French Bread dough. I made these with half whole wheat, half unbleached white flour. The recipe makes 24 to 32 bread sticks.



Maybe you have someone who prefers salads to sandwiches. A favorite pasta salad is a great idea. I added some left over rotisserie chicken into this lunch and some raisin oatmeal cookies which I have not posted, but there are a lot of cookies on this site to choose from. Plain mini meatballs (without the glaze or sauce) are also good in a lunch.



I was sure I had posted this quiche, but found out it's one I can still do in the future. A friend of mine told me her grandchildren love taking quiche in their lunch. They are easy to prepare. You can use frozen pastry tarts and simply fill them about 3/4 full with your choice of quiche filling. Bake at 400 F about 20 minutes.



Bev's Ham and cheese pinwheels have become a favorite just in this past year. If you love to roll out pastry and play with it, this is for you. These treats are a bit of work but very rewarding as the recipe makes about 60 pinwheels. Pop them frozen into a lunch bag and they will be good at noon. I use the cooked ham that comes cut square (375 g package) and quarter each slice for the perfect size on each pinwheel square. You can use only cheese if you like. If your school is not a peanut free zone, try the rice crispy chocolate rolls for a treat. Dried mango or apple slices might be something your kids like.



Biscuits, along with a few favorite things to nibble on may be a nice change for some. Split them to add butter or jam.


And last but not least, an old family stand by, are plain or whole wheat buns for sandwiches. Shape them large for bigger sandwiches or small, almost touching when you put them on the pan, so that they turn out more like a soft roll. Some kids love the "no crust" feel. Slice them before freezing, so that they can be filled on the day of, while frozen. If you want to minimize processed meats, use egg or tuna salad, homemade roast beef, chicken or ham. Home cooked meat is easiest to slice thinly once cooled.

I hope that lunch making can be an enjoyable time for whoever prepares it. Sometimes parents need for their kids to prepare their own lunch but again, to eliminate stress, prepare or delegate someone to peel and chop vegetables once a week and keep them in sealed containers with a bit of water. Ripen fruit on the counter, then wash and put in fridge when good to go. Have sandwich options and snacks readily available. If you pack a lunch and find out it does not get eaten, find out what needs changing. Sometimes younger children just feel like they do not have enough time to eat. Some like to know what is in their lunch in order to look forward to it. Some like a surprise. Know your own child to work toward a happy lunch experience. One day this too will only be a memory.

For more ideas, try a search of cheese straws, muffins, pizza muffins, vegetable muffins,wiener rolls, meat buns, baked oatmeal, cookies or school lunches in the recipe search window near the top of the sidebar.



Orange Peach Jam


Combine this jam, slightly runny and rich in citrus flavor, with cream cheese on a bagel OR with a barbecue sauce to use as a glaze on baked meatballs. I have given quite exact numbers when it comes to the fruit, but it does depend on size of fruit.

Ingredients for one batch:
(the goal is approximately 7 cups raw fruit blended before adding sugar, equaling 8 cups cooked, for one batch. I recommend doubling the amounts and cooking two batches)
  • 9 ripe peaches
  • 3 seedless oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 tablespoons Certo Light or 1 pkg regular pectin

 Method:
  1. Wash jars and lids. Place clean jars in 225° F oven to keep hot. Place lids in small pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and turn off element, covering pot to keep lids hot.
  2. Peel peaches, quartering them to remove pit. In blender, blend only for a few seconds until barely smooth. Can have a few tiny chunks. Pour into large bowl. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Peel oranges with potato peeler. Remove pith (white part) and discard. Blend orange segments with the orange rind until thick and smooth, for about 1 minute.
  4. Combine blended oranges and peaches. Measure out 7 cups (or at least 6) to pour into large stainless steel pot.
  5. Measure 1/4 cup of the sugar, blend with pectin and stir into fruit. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, bring to boil on high heat.
  6. Add 4 1/4 cups sugar all at once and continue stirring until it comes to a full boil once more.
  7. The whole top layer should be bubbling before setting the timer. Boil for three minutes, while stirring and making sure it cooks hard the whole time. If it splatters quite a bit, turn down the heat just a tad.
  8. Using a canning funnel, ladle hot jam into jars and cover with lids to seal. Repeat process if cooking more batches.
  9. Cool sealed jars at room temp before storing. Jam thickens as it cools.
I prefer storing jam in the fridge or freezer, so that it keeps fresh tasting, but you do not have to if it is sealed. You can tell if it's sealed if the center of the lid is slightly inverted rather than rounded. Do not push it in by hand.