Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The lunch box cook-up

I usually cook one recipe at a time but was inspired to do a big lunch box cook-up to try and save myself time when packing the daily lunch boxes. Instead of scrounging around in the cupboards trying to fill the lunch boxes, my freezer is now packed with food (for this week anyway!)

Now... don't think I bake like this all the time because that would be untrue.  I also use packets in the lunchboxes as well as sandwiches and fruit, the same as most parents but freshly baked food is a hit with my kids and doesn't take that long, if you can get yourself organised.

From start to finish it took me 2 hrs to make these 5 recipes:
  • Apricot balls
  • Mini quiches
  • Mini cream cakes
  • Anzac biscuits
  • Pikelets
I hope you enjoy these recipes and keep them in mind when you need something to fill the lunchboxes. 

Apricot balls - only 2 ingredients!

Super healthy and a great snack for any time of the day or night.  My kids absolutely love them and with only 2 ingredients and only a few minutes to make, they are a winner in my opinion!

Makes approx 30 balls
  • 1 ½ cups dried apricots (270g)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
1.  Add apricots & oats into a food processor.
2.  Process to form a sticky dough.
3.  Roll into small balls & refrigerate until set.

Note - you can also add desiccated coconut for a flavour variation.
Storage - in fridge, in airtight container for up to 1 week.

My eBook '3 ingredients or less - 18 sweet treats' can be purchased for only $4 from my website www.foodbefore5.com.au

Mini quiches

These are handy to have in the freezer for a lunch box snack or kids party food.   

Makes approx 48
  • 4 slices of puff pastry
  • 4 slices bacon, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced 
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup cream
  • ¾ cup grated cheese
  • ½ Tbspn chopped parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 180 °C. Spray a mini muffin pan with oil. 

2. In a microwave safe bowl, add onion & bacon & cover with plastic wrap. Microwave  for 2 mins or until soft.

3. In a separate jug, add eggs, cream, parsley & salt. Whisk to combine.

4. Using a cutter or the rim of a glass, cut out 12 circles from each pastry sheet. Push them into the muffin pan.

5. Place a small amount of bacon & onion mixture into each case.  Pour a little egg mixture into each case & sprinkle with grated cheese. 

6. Bake for 12 mins or until puffed & golden.  Repeat with remaining pastry & mixture. 

Tips - try adding diced tomato, capsicum, fetta, spinach or mushrooms.  


In fridge for up to 3 days.
In freezer, in airtight container for up to 3 months.  To reheat, cook in preheated oven for 10 mins.  

Mini cream cakes

A great lunch box filler that taste great with honey drizzled over them.

Makes approx 24  
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 3 Tbspn sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180 °C. Grease a 24 mini muffin tin.

2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together.

3. Spoon into muffin tin & bake for 10 mins or until golden. Leave in tin for 5 mins before transferring to wire rack to cool.

Storage - at room temperature, in airtight container for up to 2 days. 

Anzac biscuits

A classic recipe that will never go out of date.  Awesome to keep in the freezer. 

Makes 25
  • 1 cup plain flour, sifted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 125g butter
  • 2 Tbspn hot water
  • 3 Tbspn honey
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Preheat oven to 160°C.  Line an oven tray with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, coconut & oats.  Stir to combine.  

3. In a saucepan, add butter, hot water & honey & cook over medium to high heat until 
combined. Remove from heat.  Add bicarb of soda & stir.  Pour over oat mixture & stir to combine. 

4. Place tablespoons of mixture onto oven tray, leaving space between each one for spreading to occur. Flatten with a fork.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 mins or until golden. 

6. Cool slightly on tray before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Storage   - Room temperature, in airtight container for up to 5 days.
                - In fridge, in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
                - Freeze, in airtight container/freezer bag for up to 2 months.


This is my grandmas's recipe for soft & fluffy pikelets. Makes approx 25.
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 30g butter, melted
  • spray oil

1. Sift flour & bicarb of soda into a large bowl. 

2. Add sugar & stir to combine.  Add eggs.  

3. In a cup, warm milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add vinegar to the milk.  Then add this to the pikelet batter & whisk.

4. Add melted butter & whisk until smooth. 

5. Heat a non stick frypan over medium heat.  Spray with oil.  Spoon small amounts of batter for each pikelet into the pan.

6. Cook for 2 mins or until bubbles appear on the surface.  Flip pikelets over. Cook for a further minute or until cooked through.

7. Transfer to a plate & cover.  Repeat with remaining mixture.

Serving suggestions include strawberry jam & cream or lemon juice & sugar. 

All of these recipes are from my cookbooks which are all available from www.foodbefore5.com.au

Food before 5 - $19.95 free postage
Kids party food eBook - $5.95
3 ingredients or less, 18 sweet treats eBook - $4


  1. Awesome post. Inspired by reading this I just did a giant lunch box prep myself. I had to tweak a few things based on what I had but it went good. Mine took me a bit longer than two hours but I also have three boys under 5 running around me today.
    Thanks for the great idea. I shared your post on my blog facebook group, and will be sharing it on my blog in a future post if that's ok?
    I did: Pickelets, the apricot balls (but did half raisins, added honey, rolled in coconut), raspberry mini muffins, mini pizzas and rice krispie bars.

    1. Hi there, thanks very much! I don't mind at all if you post on your blog :)

      A big cook-up is much more challenging with 3 kids running around but hopefully worth the effort. I'll try and post another cook-up soon.


  2. Hi Amanda,
    Thanks for some great ideas! A couple of questions - do you freeze your pikelets? Also, are the cream cakes like scones and can they be frozen?
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Kate,most definitely I freeze pikelets. Great to go straight from the freezer into the lunchbox. The cream cakes are like little scones and I freeze them too. Any other questions, please let me know.
      Amanda :)

  3. Thanks Amanda, much appreciated.