The Ultimate Lunchbox Cheese, Veg & Bacon Muffin

As if what to cook for dinner isn’t stressful enough, preparing the kids school lunches is the ultimate headache, especially if their school lunches keep coming home untouched and the dog needs to go on a diet.
While there is much discussion about childhood obesity, my kids are lean and my daughter actually is on a weight-gain regime. This means our kids need the full fat, the cheese and can have a bit of bacon without concern. Our problem is that they don’t eat, NOT that they over-indulge.
The other thing I’m now appreciating about our kids is that they’re not simply fussy but discerning. They both have fairly refined palates and can comment about particular tastes and textures, which is pretty impressive for their age. That said, I’ve worked in market research and so they’ve never got away with “yuck” or “nice”. They’ve always had to explain or walk me through why they’ve liked or disliked my cooking.
Lately, we’ve also been watching Masterchef where we’ve all been watching the contestants prepare their meals and then heard the judges reviews. Back on the home front, I have been elevated to Masterchef (or cook) and Geoff and the kids have become the judges. Unfortunately for the dogs, they were cast as “home viewers”, hungrily watching the action and praying for a few crumbs. Sorry!
So after all this Mastercheffing of sorts at home, it is hardly surprising that the humble sandwich isn’t good enough. They want more.
I made these on the run before school this morning as we’d run out of bread, wraps and the kids lunches had started coming home again. Of course, there were no guarantees they were going to eat these but they do love cheese and bacon rolls and I thought they’d probably enjoy this “healthed-up” alternative.

My first observation was that these went quickly and my son, fussy eater numero uno, devoured two straight out of the oven before he went to school. This is a glowing endorsement, as he is even very particular about the chocolate he eats. He did comment about the “garlic flavour” which was the onions so take it easy with the grated onion. A little bit goes a long way.The cheese was still hot and gooey. I had mine a bit later and again noticed the onion flavour but also the beautiful bacon flavour. The top was also pleasantly crunchy.
Yes, we will definitely be making these again and wanted to share our efforts on the blog.
xx Rowena

A look inside our muffins.

A look inside our muffins.

Cheese Veg & Bacon Muffins

Makes 12

Cooking time: 30 minutes
2 cups self raising flour

3 cups vegetables We used: ½ cup grated carrot
½ cup corn kernels
½ cup grated zucchini
a tablespoon grated onion (go light on the grated onion!)
½ cup finely sliced baby spinach leaves

1 1/3 cups grated tasty cheese.
½ cup milk
3 eggs
60g butter, melted
bacon pieces, optional
12 cubes of tasty cheese
fresh thyme, optional
1. Preheat oven 180°C (160°C fan forced) and grease a 12-hole (1/3 cup) muffin pan with cooking spray. I lined mine with muffin cases.
2. Take eggs out of the fridge. They fluff up better when beaten at room temperature.
3. If you are adding bacon bits, slice bacon into squares and fry in a large frying pan until crunchy. Put aside and cool. I use bacon with a bit of fat so it crunches up.
4. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and create a well.
5. Grate carrot, zucchini,onion and add to flour.
6. Finely slice baby spinach leaves. Add to flour.
7. Add grated tasty cheese and fresh thyme to flour mix. Blend well.
8. Melt butter in the microwave on high in a mug for around a minute and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
9. In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs together and add cooled melted butter.
10. Pour wet ingredients into the veggie flour mix and stir gently with a large spoon until the ingredients are just incorporated. The flour should be mixed in and the mixture should resemble a batter. So, depending on the wetness of your veggie mix, you might need to add an extra splash of milk as I did.
11. Place a tablespoon of mixture in each muffin hole. Each muffin needs to be around the same size to make sure the muffins bake evenly.
12. Push a cube of tasty cheese into each muffin and spread mix back over the top so the cheese is “buried” inside the muffin. The cheese will melt during cooking and flow through the top, while leaving a scrumptious, cheese interior.
13. Sprinkle crunchy bacon bits over the top if desired. You can also stir some through the mix if desired.
14. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean.
15. Cool in the tin before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. That is, if someone doesn’t nab them while they’re hot. Mine vanished very quickly and this time it wasn’t the dog!

This recipe is loosely based on muffin recipes by Julie Goodwin and Curtis Stone infused with a bit of me. Next time, I’m going to try adding some olives and you could easily swap the thyme for fresh basil.

8 thoughts on “The Ultimate Lunchbox Cheese, Veg & Bacon Muffin

  1. New Journey

    They look yummy….Both my kids worked in the caferteria at school starting in 5th grad through 12th…so they had lunch there…made it really easy on me….LOL hope all’s well on the other side of the world..all good here in California…

  2. merrildsmith

    I’m glad you found something your kids like. It’s funny, but I don’t really remember the school lunches my girls took. They always ate them though. My younger daughter, who has been a vegetarian since third grade, pretty much ate peanut butter and jam every day. I did bake cookies often, and sent in extras for their friends. It’s was very different watching her pack her school lunches as a teacher–mostly humus, vegetables, and yogurt–very organized and packed the night before. 🙂

  3. Minuscule Moments

    I say Yum Rowena, but my son would not touch them due to too many bits, he is so, so fussy. I might make them with just a few of the ingredients here that he would eat. He loves bacon. He loves all the wrong foods. Thanks for sharing it, it inspires me to try again with my two fussy eaters lol.

  4. roweeee Post author

    I know what you mean about the bits. It always annoyed me that my kids ate well elsewhere and not at home and then I twigged about the bits. They also won’t eat dark chocolate. This is the Curtis Stone recipe using creamed corn. If you like the look of it, you can leave the corn niblets out. The other ingredient I struggled with is mushrooms due to the slimy texture. I now either slice them very finely or pulverise them and usually get away with it but it took persistence!! xx Ro

  5. roweeee Post author

    My Dad ate peanut butter sandwiches the entire time he was at school apparently. Not so easily done these days due to peanut allergies. My daughter only has one girl in her class but that’s all it takes. My son is milk intolerant and is allergic to chocolate although he still eats eats it. He gets a rash behind his knees.
    Your daughter has grown up just how I’d like mine to grow up. Responsible, independent and organised. Small steps!! xx Ro

  6. roweeee Post author

    Our schools mostly don’t have caferterias although they have canteen. My kids have canteen occasionally but it adds up so I try to send lunch in.
    Would love to be in sunny California at the moment. Weather has been much better today but it’s been freezing, even if not quite in the literal sense. There have been some heavy snowfalls in places which are usually lucky to get a dusting and the wind chill has been painful. We are in denial over Winter here so are completely unprepared for it each year and in denial. Where did that come from? We’ve had a few mild winters too and have been lulled into a false sense of warmth.

  7. New Journey

    Sorry about the weather….its crazy all over the world, Boston got all the snow this last winter, our Sierra Nevada’s hardly got any….and even more crazy it just snowed in the mountains last week…way weird here…they are talking about rain next week at our place…totally uncalled for in July…we will take it, but crazy weather…they announced California got more rain in July than we did in January….Wish you sunshine and happiness…..kat

  8. merrildsmith

    That is so sweet of you to say, Rowena! I am indeed fortunate to have two very wonderful daughters who have grown up to be caring and responsible adults.
    I wasn’t sure if peanut butter was something that people ate in Australia, so now I know! I don’t know what the nut policies are in their schools now. She would have been in trouble if she couldn’t eat peanut butter when she was in high school. I remember when I sent in cookies for musical rehearsals, I labeled the ones that had nuts.

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