Lunchers, Start Your Engines!

Okay, peeps! Shopping List has been out for a few days, and we’re ready for our first official Lunch-Making day (which, as I said before, will have less emphasis on actual cooking this time through, just to get you into the swing of things)!

Remember, the purpose of this project is not really to give you recipes – many of these lunches, you’ve already had and/or made, and are super easy to figure out if you haven’t. The true goal of this series is to show you guys the workflow behind creating 100-200 lunch servings in one sitting, and to enable you to customize it to craft your own system, if that’s what you choose to do. So after you’ve shopped for ingredients, go to the Round One Worksheet. Please note Step 22, where I specifically instruct you to celebrate for having just assembled enough food to sustain a small army. If wine isn’t your thing, use apple juice. Just be sure to celebrate.

The Worksheet breaks down the flow of your Round 1 Cooking Day for you, letting you see an easy and practical way to make everything fit (and a suggestion or two for dinner with the items you’re already making. When you’re being a total Boss by making your entire household lunches for weeks to come, you really don’t need the added stress of dinnering).




I’ve already had a bunch of questions about reheating and packing the lunches for school, so you can expect a post in the coming weeks with snazzy pictures of all my food containers (I know, I know, be still my heart). Because, as we all know, the only thing better than a duck-face selfie, is a picture of Tupperware, amiright?

I’ll also review my favorite lunch boxes, thermoses, and other packing materials soon.

Alright! Comments? Questions? Duck-face selfies? Or pics of you celebrating your Step 22? You know what to do!


Posted on July 31, 2016 in Cooking, Lunches

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Responses (8)

  1. Sarah
    August 18, 2016 at 10:01 am ·

    Things I learned from Round 1 while I wait for the last flash freeze:

    1: This was about a 4.5 hour project, including clean up (though I made the sauce almost 2 weeks ago because I had bought Farmer’s market tomatoes and we were leaving on vacation) minus the shopping. I did make black beans in Instant Pot yesterday — using dried beans as it’s cheaper and less salt.
    2. Fresh Basil is hard to find in 8 oz quantities — I ended up buying 4 of those growing plants at Kroger
    3: I love my kitchen space (except I still hate my corner sink, which for this project doesn’t matter as I was the only participant)
    4. The recommended Cuisinart Food Processor rocks! Where have you been all my life?
    5. A three ring binder with clear sheet protectors to paw back and forth through the worksheet and recipes is essential. Fortunately, I had anticipated this — Yay me!
    6. Put the red peppers on a lower rack when broiling, not up high like I do for other things — less charring 🙂
    7. Oh ye of little faith, you CAN make that Corndog muffin recipe in your 6 qt Kitchenaid — just a little more mess (don’t go above the first speed!) and a little ginger hand mixing wet ingredients in initially did the trick.
    8. For Breakfast Burritos, I used regular sized tortillas as well as Burrito sized as I have a smaller kiddo. I just used half the egg in the smaller ones. This yielded 15 small and 13 large for me.
    9. Same for the Pesto wraps, but I could have been more generous with the fillings as I had some left over but ran out of tortillas. This yielded 15 small and 15 large (Had one tortilla left over from Breakfast Burritos).
    10. Sorry, Emi I used pre-shredded cheese…I love the Cuisinart, but being new at this, I decided to be easy on myself. I did shop at ALDI and bought the cheese for $3 per pound. The solid stuff was actually a little ($0.19) more expensive per pound.
    11. I need more freezer space. I have regular freezer and a small upright already… Or I need to apply the KonMari Method to my freezer in addition to my sock drawer. Didn’t have time for that today…see below.
    12. Do this on a day in which going to work at 3pm isn’t what’s on the agenda…No wine was imbibed 🙁 Coffee and a popsicle had to be sufficient…

    Oh and the apples, I used the Cuisinart to slice them…didn’t need the spiral thingy. Wait until you see my dehydrator….

    On to Round 2 tomorrow or Saturday morning! My sauce is now in the fridge thawing!

    I have some pics, but they’re on my phone. I’ll figure that out another day…

    • Emi Ponce de Souza
      August 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm ·

      Hi Sarah,

      Holy cow, this is great! And thanks for the time breakdown, as well – that is incredibly helpful!

      I’m so psyched that you’ve discovered the unbelievable magic that is the Food Processor!!! A good friend of mine kept telling me she didn’t see the point to getting one “because she never made pestos or salsas.” My soul cried for her for months until it occurred to me to review my last two weeks’ of dinner menus with her, showing her how I use my Cuisinart more often than I use my toothbrush (that’s only a slight exaggeration, by the way). Her kitchen life has never been the same!
      And such great tips for all the other recipes! Please please please do review any other Rounds you try (by the way, make sure to reprint the spinach-cheese turnover recipe, if you’d printed it previously, because it’s been slightly edited for ease of use!) – so helpful, and so good to hear what’s going on in other people’s kitchens!

      Would love to see your pics when you have’em!


  2. Jamey Eklund
    August 18, 2016 at 10:39 am ·

    What food dehydrator should I buy? I have 3 kids, ages 3-7. Need to make lunches for 5 people:)

    • Emi Ponce de Souza
      August 18, 2016 at 10:55 am ·

      Hi Jamey!

      I absolutely ADORE my Nesco dehydrator, and have owned and used it religiously for several years now. Since the trays all disassemble, you can literally take it apart and fit it in any kitchen easily (some other dehydrators take up a lot more counter space just because they don’t break down). Super easy to use and clean! Though your little ones are still young, between all of you you’ll probably go through food pretty quickly, so consider buying some extra trays as well – the dehydrator comes with five trays, and allows you to expand up to twelve (!!!!), so make a batch of apples, maybe, and see how long that lasts you (in my household, probably three days, as long as I’m rationing 😉 ), and then expand accordingly.

      Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


  3. Sarah
    August 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm ·

    Oooh… More. I used a pastry cutter to chop the broccoli in the bowl. I have an industrial dehydrator that I love. I burned up one with plastic trays in past.

    • Emi Ponce de Souza
      August 19, 2016 at 12:28 pm ·

      Brilliant! And your dehydrator looks like it may have eaten my oven and dishwasher both for breakfast – AWESOME! 🙂

  4. Angie
    August 19, 2016 at 8:33 am ·

    I second the Nesco food dehydrator. I actually bought it a long time ago and almost threw it out in the move two years ago…hubby saved it (which he pointed out) and now I have a new found love for the thing. I just ordered extra trays on Amazon … easy peasy:)

    I am still trying to talk the hubby into the extra freezer. He helps me prepare all of these things and is starting to see we are running out of freezer space. We have two full size refrigerators and he’s refusing to plug in a third freezer that he has to worry how to hook up to a generator when we lose power:/

    I do not own a food processor but I use a Vitamix…so far it has worked for everything….except for I use pre shredded cheese…LOL sorry Emi:)

    • Emi Ponce de Souza
      August 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm ·


      Love love love that you’re using your dehydrator again – isn’t it the greatest?
      As far as the freezer goes, the FDA does specifically say that a closed, full freezer will maintain its temperature for 48 hrs without power (a half-full one will maintain it for 24 hrs), so food does not need to be thawed or refrigerate or transferred anywhere, as long as you kee the doors closed. So even if your power goes out Saturday, your lovingly-prepared lunches should be safe till Monday when the repair guy comes! Just sayin’ …

      And a Vitamix is freaking awesome, you’ll get no argument from me there! Glad you’ve got your method and your groove and you know what’s working for you! Thanks for your note! 🙂


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