Meatless Monday with Meals Plus

Meatless Monday is an easy way to come together as a school community to help the planet, and promote healthy eating habits. Over the last 3 years, Meals Plus has collaborated with school cafeterias across the county, and compiled the most popular recipes, while still meeting USDA meal pattern regulations. Among these popular recipes are meat-free options that can be found in every free Customer compiled Cookbook in our White Paper Library.

Download a meatless recipe today!

The Bistro Egg Sandwich2015 Customer Cookbook

Pizza Soup – 2016 Customer Cookbook

Mushroom, Cheese and Black Bean Enchilada – 2017 Customer Cookbook



You’re Gonna Lava This Recipe for National School Lunch Week!

This week is National School Lunch Week!

For NSLW 2017, we are featuring recipes from our 2017 Meals Plus Customer Cookbook. This cookbook will feature 40+ delicious school meal recipes submitted by Meals Plus Customers, and school lunch recipes using USDA Foods. The cookbook will be available to download for everyone this Fall.

Today’s featured recipe is a ‘Volcano Bowl’, submitted by Yorktown Community Schools (IN).

25 – bread bowl, (Super Bakery)
100 – meatballs, (JTM)
1 qt. + 2.25 c. – marinara sauce, (Red Gold)
1 qt. +2.25 c. – mozzarella cheese, (Land O’ Lakes)


  1. Wash hands.
  2. Clean and sanitize work surface.
  3. Repeat step #1.
  4. Put on a pair of disposable gloves.
  5. Using vegetable spray, spray the inside of a full-size steamtable pan.
  6. Place 1 quart + 2.25 cups marinara sauce into pan, cover and set aside.
  7. Repeat steps #1, #2, #3 & #4.
  8. Place 100 meatballs into a full-size steamtable pan.
  9. Place in steamer for approximately. 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160° F.
  10. Cover and place in a preheated warmer and hold until serving time.
  11. Place marinara sauce in a steamer for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160° F.
  12. Cover and place in a preheated warmer and hold until serving time.
  13. Repeat steps #1, #2, #3 & #4.
  14. Place 1 quart + 2.25 cups of cheese into a ¼ size steamtable pan. Cover and place in the cooler and hold until serving time.
  15. Place 25 bread bowls into a full-size steamtable pan. Cover and set aside until serving time.


To Serve:

  1. Wash Hands.
  2. Put on a pair of disposable gloves.
  3. Place a bread bowl on the lunch tray.
  4. Place 4 meatballs inside the bread bowl.
  5. Using a 2 oz. spoodle, cover the meatballs and bread bowl with the marinara sauce.
  6. Top meatballs with 2 oz. of mozzarella cheese.


Eggs-cuse My French Toast, but It’s National School Breakfast Week!

This week is National School Breakfast Week!

This Homemade French Toast is one of the breakfast recipes from the 2016 Meals Plus Child Nutrition Cookbook, which you can download here. The cookbook includes recipes from Meals Plus Customers and school breakfast recipes using USDA foods. Its hard to beat a recipe this good!

Homemade French Toast

Toast2Yields: 100
Serving Size: 1 piece
Food Group Components: 1 oz. eq. meat/meat alternative, 1 oz. eq. wgr grain
Recipe Type: Entree
Allergens: Milk, Wheat


5 lb. + 9 oz. – pasteurized whole eggs, frozen (USDA Material #100045)
1 c. – sugar, granulated
1/2 c. – cinnamon, ground
1/2 c. – vanilla extract
3 qt. + 3 c. – milk, low fat, 1%
100 pieces –  wgr wheat bread, 1 = 1 oz. eq. wgr grain
1 oz. – pan spray, butter flavored


3 days prior to day of service:

  1. Pull eggs from freezer. Open cases and remove cartons from case.
  2. Place cartons on sheet pans with space between to allow for thawing.
  3. Place pans on lowest available shelf in cooler to thaw. CCP: Hold below 41° F.
  4. Wash hands thoroughly.

Day of service pre-prep:

  1. Clean and sanitize prep area.
  2. Pull 7 full sheet pans and place at workstation.
  3. Spray pans thoroughly.
  4. Pull bread, cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, and place at workstation.
  5. Pull eggs and milk from cooler and place at workstation.
  6. Pull 2-gallon mixing pitcher or bowl. CCP: Prepare foods at room temperature in two hours or less. TOTAL time of food at room temperature shall not exceed four hours.

Day of service continued:

  1. Wash hands thoroughly.
  2. Pour eggs into large pitcher or bowl.
  3. Add sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Whisk well.
  5. Add milk to egg mixture.
  6. Whisk well.
  7. Wash hands thoroughly and put on gloves.
  8. Spray sheet pans completely with butter flavored pan spray.
  9. Spread bread out on sheet pans, 15 pieces per pan, 3 by 5.
  10. Pour egg mix into smaller pitcher.
  11. Pour 1/4 cup egg mixture over center of each piece of bread, slowly drenching.
  12. Allow egg mixture to soak into bread.


Place sheet pans of homemade French Toast in preheated   convection oven at 350° F for 15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165° F is reached.

CCP: Heat until an internal temperature is reached of 165° F for 15 seconds. SOP: Batch cook as necessary to insure best end product and nutritional. Hold baked French toast in   warmer preheated to 140° F. CCP: Hold above 135° F.

Serve 1 slice of homemade French toast with topping of choice.

Nutrients per serving:

Calories – 140
Chol (mg) – 110
Sodium (mg) – 200
Fiber (gm) – 2
Iron (mg) – 2
Calc (mg) – 107
Vit A (IU) – 206
Vit C (mg) – 1*
Protein (gm) – 7
Carb (gm) – 19
Tot Fat (gm) – 4
Sat Fat (gm) – 1
Sugars (gm) – 0
Trans Fat (gm) – 0.000*



WATCH: What’s New with Meals Plus Menu Planning and Nutrient Analysis

Meals Plus Menu Planning and Nutrient Analysis software is designed to standardize and streamline your district menu planning. Meals Plus Menus is USDA-approved for nutrient analyses required in the school meal programs and for use in certification of compliance with lunch meal requirements.

Our system was built specifically for K12 school cafeterias and consists only of features necessary to run your program. Call 1-800-541-8999 or email us for more information.


Meals Plus Customer Spotlight: Linda Miller, Perkins Local Schools (OH)

Linda Miller of Perkins Local Schools (OH) is a long-time Meals Plus customer that is still finding new ways Meals Plus can help her child nutrition operations. She recently implemented the Menu Planning and Nutrient Analysis program, which helps her stay on top of allergies, menu components and has been “a huge time saver” for her. Get to know Linda in this “Meals Plus Customer Spotlight” and click here to “meet” other food service directors from across the US!

The Dish: How long have you been using Meals Plus?
Linda Miller: I have been a Meals Plus customer since the Fall of 2002. Ben Hooks (CEO) came to demo the system and helped set our school up. As more requirements have been placed on the shoulder of food service directors, I have come to rely on my Meals Plus cafeteria software more and more.

TD: What duties and responsibilities does your position entail?
LM: I am responsible for everything from soup to nuts and bolts! I manage my staff, order food, prepare bids and menus, along with the nutritional analysis of those menus. I am responsible for the upkeep of my software and tons of paperwork that the Meals Plus system helps me with, and even order the equipment and repair parts when necessary. Anything within the Food Service Department winds up on my desk. Meals Plus has made my job easier. Our school is up for review this year and I will be using many of the reports to prepare for the review. Thank you, Meals Plus!

TD: What aspects of your position do you enjoy the most?
LM: I truly enjoy my interactions with the students and my staff. They are what my job is all about.

TD: What do you like to do in your free time?
LM: I have two grandchildren, ages three years old and six months old. They are the light of my life. My husband and I both enjoy gardening, so I’m busy in the summer with flowers and preserving all the vegetables from the gardens. I also enjoy cooking, cross stitch, knitting, crochet and sitting down with a good book.

TD: What is your favorite lunch when you were in school?
LM: Pizza burgers and the wonderful homemade cookies our lunch ladies made every day! I have some of those cookie recipes from my high school days that I still make.

Thank you, Linda, for being a part of the Meals Plus Family!

Nutrition analysis software

Tips from Cynthia Sevier, SNS, Child Nutrition Operations Consultant

In our white paper, “Managing the Money on the Pantry Shelves,” Child Nutrition Operations Consultant Cynthia Sevier, SNS, shares tips to managing your child nutrition department’s inventory. Menu planning, supply chains, food costs, tracking foods and more are examined. Below is the “Procurement” section of this free white paper.School_food_inventory

After a menu has been developed, the procurement processes of product search and bid development begins.

Some argue that the menu cannot be developed before a product search is done. However, the cost of experimenting with products on menus that have not been tested with students could prove to be costly.

Whichever is preferred, menus must be completed in adequate time to order commodities and to develop bids. In order to accommodate changes in student preferences, availability in the market or changes in commodity purchases, plan menus with some flexibility.

Inventory management includes the purchase of quality products at reasonable prices. Inferior products may result in a decrease in participation or spoiled inventory that has be discarded. The possible success of a recipe begins with quality ingredients.”

For more tips on managing your district cafeterias’ inventory, download your free copy of
Managing the Money on the Pantry Shelves: Inventory Management for Your Child Nutrition Department