Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love #2 and Helene's Meatballs


Friday, September 23, 2011

Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love #2 and Helene's Meatballs

Wow!  What a great response to our first Allergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love linky party!  Thank you to everyone who submitted links to great lunchbox menu ideas, and thanks to all of you who stopped by and browsed through our inspiring submissions.  By popular demand, we will definitely be running this link party every Friday... I guess it's not just me who needs new lunchbox ideas!

The post that received the most views from readers was "Pack Your Lunch," submitted by Andrea at From Seed to Stomach.  Andrea shared a whole list of ideas to fill lunchboxes with quick and healthy choices...she sounds super-organized and completely on top of the whole meal thing... something I aspire to be, but frequently fall short :)

Today I'm sharing one of my boys' favorite lunches... Meatball Wraps.  I use my grandmother's recipe for meatballs (updated to use ground turkey instead of beef), and I found some surprisingly tasty gluten-free tortillas to use for the wraps (La Tortilla Factory Ivory Teff Wraps).  The boys have access to a microwave at school, so luckily they are able to heat the meatballs... they taste so much better that way. This week I rounded out their meals with a little green salad and some sliced figs.  I love how the figs count as a fruit serving, but are so sweet they feel like dessert!

This meatball recipe is very quick to put together, but takes 3 hours to cook on the stove, or 6 hours in the slow cooker, so plan ahead.  I like to make a big batch and use them for lunches all week, but you could certainly freeze some instead.  It's kind of funny that my Irish grandmother passed down such a delicious Italian recipe, but I think someone told me she got it from a neighbor :)

Helene's Meatballs

3 lbs ground turkey (or a mixture of veal, pork and beef)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup gluten-free flour (I used white rice flour)

2 (24-oz) jars or cans of tomato puree
2 jars or cans of tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried oregano

Start the sauce by combining the tomato puree, tomato paste, onion, pepper, garlic, sugar, salt and oregano, either in a large pot on the stove or in your slow cooker.  Add one 24-oz can full of water. Heat on medium on the stove, or turn your slow cooker on to high.

To make the meatballs, mix together turkey, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Roll into 1.5" diameter balls, then roll in flour and drop into sauce.  When the sauce starts to boil, turn it down to low and let simmer, covered.  On the stove, cook for three hours, stirring about once an hour so the meatballs don't stick to the bottom.  In the crock pot, cook for six hours on high.  Makes at least 25 meatballs, depending on how large you roll them.

Now let's party!  You can link up a whole lunchbox, or a recipe that's lunchbox-friendly (as many as you like).  Your submissions don't have to be free of all allergens, just the ones you're avoiding.

(Shared with the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom and Inspiration Friday at At The Picket Fence and Show Off Your Stuff at Fireflies and Jellybeans and the Gallery of Favorites at Premeditated Leftovers and Fresh Bites Friday at Real Food Whole Health and Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home and Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now and Friday Flair at WhipperBerry and the Creative Genius at Creative Paige and Weekend Wrap Up at Tatertots and Jello and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sister's Stuff and Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal and Whatcha Got Weekend at Lolly Jane Boutique and Once Upon A Weekend at Family Ever After and These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks and Nifty Thrifty Sunday at Nifty Thrifty Things and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist and Melt In Your Mouth Monday at Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom and Gluten Free Wednesday at the Gluten Free Homemaker and Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.


  1. Oops! I thought it was asking for my name! *nincompoop moment* Are you able to change "Hannah" to "Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Protein Bites", or delete it and I'll re-add? :S

  2. That meatball recipe sounds wonderful! I am definitely going to try those!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Visiting from Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Link Party!

  3. Thanks for inviting me to link up! Hope you enjoy the blondies. :o)

  4. Thanks again for hosting..I was was dragging my feet this morning on packing a lunchbox...nice to get some more ideas! Check the ingredients on your tortillas, I got those one time not realizing they are made with corn too...oops! My baby paid the price! We prefer the brown rice tortillas, but you have to heat them up on the stove w/ some oil to make them tasty and pliable...otherwise they are a disaster! My husband like his with a slathering of chipotle 'cream cheese' and all they other sandwich fixings! may I'll post that one soon...

  5. @ Tessa ~ Ahhhhh, maltodextrin and corn starch! I missed that :( Hate it when that happens... thanks for the heads-up! So it sounds like the brown rice tortillas would harden up if I used them in the kids' lunchboxes? What would happen if they microwaved them when they got to school? I guess my search for allergy-free bread-like substances continues! I tried making my own gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free bread in the bread maker yesterday, and ended up with a brick! :)

  6. This is a wonderful idea! I am excited to find some new recipes that I can use in my family's lunchboxes!

  7. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for introducing me to your blog. You have so many wonderful ideas. I just linked a recipe for an egg free, milk free, flour free, sugar free, oatmeal cookie that everyone always loves. I am also your newest follower. Hope you will follow back.

  8. The tortillas got me too!! The brown rice actually have a pleasing crunchiness to them...have you tried the chimchangas recipe on my blog yet?...that would be a good example. As a sandwich, the oil seem to keep the tortilla supple until lunch a test run. Also, instead of the awful bread scenario that I have relived over and over, try making sandwiches with a favorite pancake or waffle...very novel and MUCH easier than yeasted breads! Sweet pancakes = nut butter and jelly sandwiches, savory ones = all the rest!

  9. Thanks for hosting! I posted my GF apple cupcakes and tomato pie... the GF pie crust I made is very sturdy, doesn't get soggy, and can be eaten like a pizza slice... a perfect treat I'd like in my lunchbox lol!

  10. Wow! Thanks so much for the invite to your linky party. So many great ideas!

  11. So glad that you're sharing lots of lunch box ideas! I'm getting in a rut only a month into the school year, and need some fresh inspiration. I bet the ideas would work as snacks, too. :)

  12. Wow...can't imagine cooking with those restraints! Thanks for linking up to the Creative Genius Link Party! Don't forget to link up again Friday!

  13. Good to know about the menu that can be served in the box else life gets very difficult and boring for the one struck with such allergy.

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