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Scratch Cooking To-Go

Emergency Feeding

One of the most challenging things in emergency feeding is identifying scratch cook recipes that can be easily packaged, transported, and stored until ready to eat. Brandy Dreibelbis, Director of School Food Operations at the Chef Ann Foundation, curated a list of the top recommended foods for districts to serve to-go style.

Scratch Cooking To-Go

Emergency Feeding

One of the most challenging things in emergency feeding is identifying scratch cook recipes that can be easily packaged, transported, and stored until ready to eat. Brandy Dreibelbis, Director of School Food Operations at the Chef Ann Foundation, curated a list of the top recommended foods for districts to serve to-go style.

Brandy’s Recommendations

Pork Green Chili Burrito

In my opinion, burritos are one of the most versatile foods. So many different ingredients and flavor combinations can be used to create a number of different burrito flavors. The Pork Green Chili Burrito is one of my favorite choices. The slow cooked pork butt, black beans, spicy green chili and melted cheddar cheese create the perfect flavor combination! I like my burritos ‘San Francisco Style’ meaning the tortilla is packed full of ingredients, wrapped in foil and designed to be eaten on the go. Perfect for any outdoor setting or busy lifestyle.


Black Bean Burger

This Black Bean Burger recipe is one of my favorite veggie burger or beef alternative recipes. The black beans are mixed with a variety of veggies, herbs and spices giving it a delicious flavor. It is ideal for serving as a cold entree, as the burger actually sets up better when flash frozen first. Play around with a variety of toppings. My favorite is avocado with a spicy mayo on top!


Combo Sub

Being an East Coast girl, I love a true east coast hoagie! This is a simple recipe with 2 types of deli meat and cheese served on a hoagie roll. Add shredded lettuce, tomato slices and onion for that real ‘hoagie’ taste. Add a pinch of dried oregano and granulated garlic for some extra flavor. This is a simple recipe that can easily be served ‘to-go’ style and kids of all ages will love it!


Cheese Ravioli

K-8 / 9-12

What school-aged kid doesn’t love a simple cheese pasta and marinara dish? The simplicity of this speed scratched dish, along with the fact that this can easily be served warm for lunch or as frozen ravioli with cold marinara over it, packaged in the same ‘to go’ container, makes it one of my top choices. This is a great comfort food to serve in your program that is sure to become a kid favorite. Some pasta companies will even take commodity cheese to help with the cost.


Cheese Calzone

I love this calzone recipe because it’s the perfect hand held item to serve to go style. Serve hot or serve it cold for a future meal. Either way, the kids will love this tasty Italian meal on the run. Our recipe is for cheese and marinara sauce, but you could easily experiment with other flavors like peppers and onions or even ground sausage inside. Use the same dough and cheese to create other ethnic recipes like a Greek Empanada or Black Bean Empanada, recipes also found on The Lunch Box.


Southwestern Quinoa Salad

I love quinoa because it’s packed with protein and a great way to introduce kids to whole grains. It’s easy to cook and can be combined with just about any kind of flavor. Our recipe takes on flavors from the Southwest and combines it with quinoa and a simple dressing. That’s why our Southwestern quinoa salad is one of my top choices to serve in your school food program.


Ham and Cheese Croissant

This item is the most simple item on my list and I selected it for just that reason! This sandwich can be served as part of your breakfast or lunch meal. There are many great whole grain croissant products available now, most programs have commodity sliced ham available to them and cheddar cheese is a common item in school food programs. I like mine served warm when there is a slight toast to the croissant and the cheese is just starting to melt. Serve warm or cold.


Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

This is a great way to get protein, whole grain and veg all in one tasty hand held item! I love the combination of chicken, spinach and creamy cheese! It’s also a great way to introduce kids to spinach. Quesadillas are a familiar item that can be filled with a variety of flavors and ingredients based on what you have available in your kitchen. Easily serve cold for a future meal or warm for a hand held meal on the go.


Veggie Lasagna

K-8 / 9-12

This is a great recipe to incorporate veggies into a popular Italian dish that most kids are familiar with. Our recipe utilizes squash, so it’s very appropriate for early fall when we see large squash crops all over our country. Not crazy about squash? Try subbing in mushrooms or green zucchini as well.


Caprese Sliders

Coming in at number ten on our list is the Caprese Slider recipe. This is the best time of year for tomatoes so take advantage of it and try this simple recipe for caprese sliders. It’s only 3 ingredients and a nice seasonal vegetarian menu item to put on your menu. Really simple to wrap and serve in any type of to-go school setting.

Additional Recipes

These recipes are easy to prepare and package for serving to-go style.

Spicy Sausage Sandwich

Quinoa Patty

Beef and Broccoli Stirfry

Chicken Fajitas

Turkey, Bacon on a Bagel

Mediterranean Cous Cous

Pineapple Fried Rice

K-8 / 9-12

Chicken Salad with Fruit

K-8 / 9-12

Maple Peach Muffin

Teriyaki Tofu Bowl

Discover More

Recipes and menus are the heart of school food change. Our recipes have been developed by school food professionals, kid-tested, and perfected in school kitchens.

Discover More

Recipes and menus are the heart of school food change. Our recipes have been developed by school food professionals, kid-tested, and perfected in school kitchens.

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