Spaghetti with meat sauce (124)

Spaghetti with meat sauce, red grapes, butterscotch drop, sesame crackers, almond cookie, brie wedge.sesame crackers,


One can only eat so much of the big birthday cookie without needing a little something else. (No need to worry I had less then half of a wedge of this gargantuan treat!)The only problem is I have limited items in our freezer and little desire to be in the kitchen since I spent so much time in there over the past three days.

Luckily I did have some pre-cooked meat sauce and spaghetti nests in the freezer. So the entree of today’s bento was born. A nice bowl of spaghetti usually begs for grisini but I’m out of that too so I added some crackers and brie as well as a light, buttery almond cookie from a local French bakery. A handful of red grapes finish out today’s ideal meal nicely and it all took less than ten minutes in the kitchen.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 9:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Chili Cheese Potato (119)

Upper Tier: Red & Green Grapes, Brie Wedge, Crackers, Little Debbie Petite Yellow Cake. Lower Tier: Chili over Baked Potato.


Why when it’s hot outside do I feel like making chili, soups, and stews? I want these during cold weather because they just warm the belly but when it’s hot I don’t want to do anything that requires use of the oven and heats up my nicely air-conditioned home.

There are a few ways to get by during the summer without heating up the kitchen though.

This weekend many people will be celebrating the great american barbecue and letting dad fill up on his share of beer while leaving grill marks on anything that can take the heat.

I love me a good barbecue but besides the grill I do find myself using another great invention a lot during summer. The crockpot.

My crockpot gets plenty of use for soups, chilis, stews and anything else I can get to cook nicely without a great deal of effort or electricity.

Today’s bento features a great crockpot meal. Chilli con carne. This chili is a combination of ground beef, pinto & kidney beans, tomatoes, green chili, and a variety of seasonings.

Chili is something I make a few different ways and I will serve it on rice, spaghetti, potatoes, inside tortillas, or in a bowl with a variety of toppings.

This chili does have a baked potato hiding under it and is topped with cheddar cheese and green onions. Yum!

To complete this ideal meal I have the last of the grapes as well as some crackers and cheese, and a Little Debbie Petite Yellow cake.

A hearty and delicious meal to finish out the week.

Now crack open a beer and get ready to fire up that grill for this Father’s Day weekend. Happy Father’s Day!

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Meatloaf & Potatoes (117)

Top Tier: Chocolate Pudding, Red Grapes, Vanilla Wafer Cookies, Brie Wedge. Bottom Tier: Meatloaf, Green Beans, Au Gratin Potatoes.


I made a batch of Pastitsio (Greek lasagna) yesterday but since I wasn’t sure of how well it would be received by the family I also made a meatloaf with the remaining ground beef & pork.

I make meatloaf probably every four to six weeks. It’s a favorite with the whole family but I often just make it for sandwiches. This time I made the meatloaf and it went straight to the fridge since the Pastitsio was a hit.

I intended to just slice it up for sandwiches but my husband requested a hot lunch so I made some Au Gratin potatoes and decided it looked good for a bento too.

This bento has the meatloaf and potatoes along with green beans for the main course. To finish off this ideal meal I added a wedge of brie, some red grapes, two vanilla wafer cookies, and some creamy chocolate pudding. Yum!

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Greek Bento (116)

Greek Salad, Pastitsio (Greek Lasagna), Green Grapes, Crackers, Pepperjack Cheese Wedge.


Do you ever find yourself needing to the grocery store so much that it prompts new recipes? Today I really needed to go to the store. I’m running out of pretty much everything. Produce, dairy, meat. You name it and we need it.

Well, unfortunately I had no car and the hundred degree temperatures don’t encourage me to go outside to walk anywhere. But I still had to cook dinner.

Hmmmm. Well I have some ground beef and ground pork. Maybe I could make lasagna. No tomatoes? Really? Hmmm. Guess I’ll make a white lasagna. Greek lasagna? That sounds interesting. I’ll give it a shot.

A few substitutions were needed since the recipe called for ground lamb, oregano, white cheddar, and more parmesan than I had in the fridge. I used a blend of ground beef & ground pork, fresh basil, and white american & feta cheeses. Overall though this recipe was a success!

My husband was quite pleased with the bechamel sauce and the feta and white american cheese melted beautifully and gave a nice complement to the hint of cinnamon in the meat sauce.

Today’s ideal meal includes a sliver of this greek lasagna along with a simple greek salad of greens, black olives, red onions, and feta. Rounding out this meal are some huge seedless green grapes, and crackers and cheese.

Now I guess I’ll need to talk my husband out of the car so I can do some grocery shopping for tomorrow’s meal prep.

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Taco Salad (108)

White Peach, Little Debbie Petite Chocolate Cake, Seasoned Ground Beef, Tortilla Chips, Hot Sauce, Mixed Greens with Shredded Cheese and Chopped Tomatoes.


Some of my favorite meals are salads and warmer weather encourages me to make a variety of these tasty meals.

Today’s ideal meal is a taco salad made of mixed greens, tomato, cheese, tortilla chips, and ground beef (kept separate to warm at lunchtime). In addition, I’ve added a white peach and a new Little Debbie Petite Cake in chocolate. A simple and tasty way to end the workweek. 🙂

Summer officially kicks off with this being Memorial Day weekend and many people enjoying an extended weekend. Break out those barbecue grills and have a great time with family!

Published in: on May 28, 2010 at 9:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Cinco de Mayo Bento (96)

Mini Ground Beef Tacos, Mini Cheese Crisps, Spanish Rice, Salsa, Guacamole, Mango Chunks.

Today is Cinco de Mayo which in Arizona is a pretty big deal. Literally translated to “Fifth of May” Cinco de Mayo is a commemoration of the Mexican army’s victory over the French forces in the Battle of Puebla on this date in 1862.

It seems to be a bigger holiday in the US than in Mexico and I know our area is no exception. There have been local celebrations beginning this past weekend and they will culminate with a lot of Mexican food and cerveza well into the evening.

Our home will give a nod to the holiday with a Mexican dinner though there will be no mariachi’s playing or sombrero’s worn. 🙂

Today’s bento also shows respect for the holiday with mini tacos, mini cheese crisps with guacamole and salsa, spanish rice, and mango chunks.

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!

Published in: on May 5, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lasagna Lunchbox (92)

Meat Lasagna, Brussel Sprouts, Red Grapes & Kiwi Flowers, Breadsticks, Chocorooms.


I’ve been prepping for our move this week and find myself exhausted and very sore.

I don’t want to say “I forgot” that I’m still recovering from surgery but I really thought I was doing better. My pain level has been 1-2 (you know that great 1-10 scale they use) and my energy level has been increasing daily.

Well a couple of days packing (no moving boxes, I promise) prove that it doesn’t take much to overdo it. I’m now back in bed and feeling pretty worthless other than letting everyone know what’s on the schedule for the day and trying to ensure they get it done. Thank goodness I have plenty of supervisory experience! 🙂

The move will go great with the help of my son and his wife and the packing will be finished by Friday.

The least I can do to support these efforts is make sure everyone is eating well. And I can do this without a great deal of work by using another make-ahead meal from the freezer.

Today’s contribution is a meat lasagna, along with brussel sprouts, and breadsticks. To round out this ideal meal I’ve added some red grapes and kiwi as well as chocorooms for dessert.

Two more days till we move…

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 9:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mostaccioli with Meat Sauce (81)

Mostaccioli with Ground Beef & Spicy Marinara, Blueberry Yogurt, Cabbage, Carrot & Tomato Salad.


Today has been a lazy day. So much so that I forgot to make my bento until it was time for lunch. Oops!

This ideal meal consists of mostaccioli made with a simple marinara of fresh tomato, basil, red pepper and a little crushed red pepper to spice it up a bit and ground beef for protein. To this I added a simple salad of green & red cabbage, carrots, tomato, and ranch dressing and finished off with a blueberry greek yogurt.

The greek yogurt is so good I may have to use this for my lunch again tomorrow. Maybe with some fresh fruit and granola. Hmmm.

Guess we’ll see what I come up with for that tomorrow…

Published in: on April 15, 2010 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meatloaf Sandwich (77)

Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich, Strawberries, Thank You Berry Munch Cookie, Blueberries, Caesar Coleslaw.


Another speed bento today to keep down my time in the kitchen.

This bento features some leftover spicy meatloaf. The meatloaf has a little spice of it’s own from crushed red pepper, black pepper, and tabasco then I add pepperjack cheese and pepperoncini on the sandwich to give it even more kick. Yum!

Along with the sandwich I have a “Thank You Berry Munch” Girl Scout cookie, more strawberries and blueberries, a quickly prepared caesar coleslaw with green & purple cabbage, carrots, red onion, green & black olives and some caesar dressing.

An ideal meal for a relaxing Friday.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Published in: on April 9, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Beef & Cheese Burrito (71)

Tortilla Chips, Black Olives, Salsa with Sour Cream & Cilantro, Raspberry Gummies, Ground Beef & Cheese Burrito.


Today’s bento was a quickie due to both time and energy. I’ve been trying not to use my lack of energy as an excuse to eat poorly (or even worse; not eat at all).

Inside the burrito is shredded colby jack cheese and a combination of finely minced carrots, celery, and onion cooked along with ground beef. This makes it hardly noticable to sneak some veggies in when nobody is paying attention. 🙂

The burrito is paired with chips & salsa and I’ve added an olive pick and some gummi fruit to finish off this ideal meal.

Happy Friday!

Published in: on April 2, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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