Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lunch For A Bunch Recipe - With Pictures!

Several of my friends have attempted to make Lunch for a Bunch (AKA LFAB) and have failed. Or worse, they haven't even attempted it for fear of failing!

Fear no more - this post is to enlighten those who have not had the benefit of watching someone make this delicious meal in person, which I took for granted since I watched my mom make them throughout my childhood and learned the fine art of LFAB from the master herself.

It's not too difficult, but there are several tricks that aren't mentioned in the original recipe that's made its way through the grapevine. Once you've made a few, you won't even need the recipe anymore. Enjoy!

Lunch for a Bunch

This is a family favorite that I use every time I bring food to a new mom or a family in need, because it’s so tasty and reheats very well!  6-10 servings depending on serving size.

  • 1 pkg. Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
  • For prep ease, the ingredients required to prepare as directed are:
  • 1 c hot water
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 pkg. (16 slices) ham lunch meat
  • ¼ c. butter, melted
  • 1 T dry Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

  • Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix can be hard to find. I've had good luck finding it at Albertsons/Vons/Safeway, and sometimes at WalMart. If your store carries it, it will be on the baking aisle with the flour and other box mixes. It used to be in a blue box, but about a year ago they re-branded into a yellow box.  Of course the Dough Boy makes an appearance.  Hoo-hoo!

    Hot Roll Mix - thank you Pillsbury Dough Boy!
    Ingredients needed to prepare hot roll mix as directed

    The other ingredients are not hard to find - the Ranch dressing mix will be with the salad dressing, etc. Grate your cheese and get your ham open before you start on the dough so assembly will go smoothly and quickly.

    Ingredients to assemble the LFAB

    One other thing I like to use (but my mom never had while I was growing up) is a silicone bundt pan.  Any bundt pan will do, but having a silicone one makes things a lot easier because you don't have to spray/grease it - the LFAB slides right out no problem.


    Prepare dough as directed on package, but DO NOT LET IT RISE AS DIRECTED. If you make the mistake of letting it rise, you will not be able to roll it out flat.  I like to pull an Alton Brown and mix the dry team first (mix + yeast) then add the wet team after (water, egg, butter).  Make sure your water is hot, not warm or boiling - its heat is what wakes up the yeasties to do their thing.  

    Dry Team

    All mixed up - it is supposed to be wet and sticky.

    Now it's time to knead and roll. HEAVILY FLOUR YOUR KNEADING/ROLLING SURFACE. I have a nice silicone mat I use, but you could even use your counter top as long as you flour it to prevent sticking. 

    No really, lots of flour.

    Knead the dough 10 times. I took a ceramics class in college so I could do this all day. Very relaxing.

    Kneaded and ready to roll

    Unless you have a non-stick plastic roller, you'll want to flour your rolling pin and/or dust some flour on top of the rolled-out dough periodically to keep it from sticking. Roll dough into an 18x24 rectangle.

    Rolled and ready for layers of deliciousness

    Mix dry Ranch dressing with the 4 tbsp of butter. I use a small prep bowl to melt the butter in the microwave and a fork to "scramble" the ranch dressing powder into it. I pour the mixture evenly around the rectangle before spreading so I don't have to drag too much across to the corners. Then I use a silicone brush to smear it over the dough. A flat spatula works just as well.


    Sprinkle on cheese, then position ham slices in one layer, with slightly overlapping edges. 


    Roll up tightly starting from one long end and pinch ends. Carefully place seam side down in your Pam-sprayed (or silicone) bundt pan.

    Ready to rise

    Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. I use my microwave since it just got steamy heating up the butter and water I used to mix the dough. It may not look much different to you but compare the previous and next pictures. You can see it's bigger and puffier after rising.

    Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. It should be GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious). Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. If you turn it out too early, it will completely lose its shape due to gravity. 
    Mmmm GBD!

    Turn out onto serving platter or cooling rack to serve or continue cooling. If you've never done this, here's a tip - put the platter/rack upside down on top of the bundt pan, hold both on either side, and turn them at the same time. Remove the bundt pan (which is now on top) and viola! You have revealed the beautiful bundt shape on top.

    Can't you just taste it already?

    Serve warm or make ahead of time and reheat in the microwave or a toaster oven. Make your own variations - we've tried turkey & swiss and swapping the ranch for marinara and using pepperoni and mozzarella!

    Mmmm just the right balance of bread, cheese and meat.

    My kids love carrots with the greens still on top.  They also love LFAB.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Everyone, meet Caleb!

    Well I'm 3 weeks late with this post but can you blame me?  I've been a little busy.  :-P 

    Caleb was born 6 days late at 1:21 pm on Thursday, 8/18/2011.  He was 8 lb 2 oz, 19 1/4 inches long, happy and healthy!

    Here, have some pictures!

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    39 weeks

    Yes I am indeed still pregnant.  :-P  Every day that passes makes it more likely that tomorrow is the day, right?  :-)

    Everything is great, now it's just a waiting game.  Glad things seem to be winding down on the 2 projects I'm involved in at work.  Makes it easier to not stress about passing things on when Caleb does eventually come.

    That's it for now!  Can't wait to introduce Caleb to everyone.  I just know he's going to be adorable like his dad.  :-)

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    37 weeks! Holy Moly!

    Well Caleb is officially full term!  I'm starting week 38 and man oh man is it hot!  We're at 20+ days over 100 degrees in a row, so I'm staying inside a lot, and sometimes I venture out to someone's pool.  :-P  I think I'm going to start walking around the half-acre backyard in the mornings.  I used to take the pups on walks earlier in my pregnancy, but being so close to the end and it being so hot, I don't think it's a good idea to be that far from home by myself in the heat anymore.  Hopefully the pups don't mind me walking around in circles.  I'm sure they'll think I'm nuts!

    Just like I'm sure most new moms are, I'm a mix of anxious, nervous and excited.  I can't wait to meet the little alien who's been kicking my spleen for 9 months, but I know there's only one way to get him out!  Hopefully the delivery will go smoothly without complications.  But even if not, Heath will be there, Shelley will be there, and my doctor and nurses will be there, so I'll be ok.  Here's hoping Caleb comes sooner rather than later... it could be today, it could be a month from now!  We'll surely post pictures when the big day comes!  :-)

    For now, here's a picture of me and my gigantic belly!

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    35 weeks... home stretch!

    Well, Caleb is almost officially full term!  It's only a matter of time now  :-)  We can't wait to meet him and find out who he's going to be.  Everything is going well, I don't have much to complain about (no swelling, low BP, etc).  We had a couple of great baby showers and have everything we need... except the baby!  :-)  Here's hoping everything goes smoothly and Caleb makes his debut happy and healthy in the next few weeks!

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    10 weeks left!

    What's up blog followers?  I really hope I get better about posting here since not everyone in our circle of family/friends does Facebook, which is where I normally post stuff.  Let's see, what's happened in the last few months?

    We recently got a 3D sono and it turns out Caleb is a little Heath clone, hee hee. We already have a ton of hand-me-down clothes from friends, which is a great blessing.  I'm getting a little overwhelmed with all the baby paraphernalia since I know virtually nothing about caring for an infant, but we're signed up for some classes at the hospital and I'm sure my mom and MIL will be over here a lot telling what I should and shouldn't be doing. I just want him to get here happy and healthy - I'm sure we can figure the rest out from there. :-)

    The first question people have been asking me when they find out I'm expecting is whether I'll be going back to work. Of course I am, I work from home, I don't have much of an excuse not to. ;-) I'll probably take 10 weeks or so off, depending on how much short-term disability pay I can get my Dr. to approve me for.

    After that the questions get a little more personal, like, will I be getting an epidural and such. I think there's enough proof that natural childbirth is in general better for mom and baby, that we're going to try the Bradley Method of husband-coached natural childbirth. We're not going through the 12-week course or anything - I just got a book about it - but I figure I did so much yoga-type breathing to get past my nausea the first 4 months of this pregnancy that I can maybe use the same technique to get through labor. It's hard to say because I have no idea what my pain tolerance will be, and I'm not so hardcore that I'll refuse to get an epidural if I really need one. I've had so many friends have great experiences with them. I guess I just want to try to go all-natural and if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. Kinda sounds like a cop-out but that's actually the attitude my Dr. recommends - she says the people who have these set-in-stone birth plans where XYZ will happen no matter what are the ones who have the most complications and end up having the exact opposite birth experience they want. Like I said, I just want him here happy and healthy, and the rest we'll figure out when we get there. :-)

    Anyhow, that's pretty much my life right now. I've got 10 weeks left till my official due date. Seems like a short amount of time when I say it that way. 2 1/2 months sounds longer, I'll go with that. ;-)

    Thursday, April 21, 2011


    Well, I officially suck at updating my blog on any kind of regular schedule.  :-P  I'm a lot better at posting updates to my Facebook page, I just forget to come over here as well.  Lots of updates, though - so let's not dwell on that.  :-)

    First things first - we found out we're having a BOY!  :-)  His name will be Caleb Coten White.  I've always liked the name Caleb, and Coten is Heath's middle name - it was his great granddad's name.  The name flows really well if you add an extra Texas twang to it, which I'm sure everyone in Heath's family will find effortless.

    I've found that since this is the first grandbaby on BOTH sides, everyone is freaking out.  Like it's not a big enough deal already.  ;-)  I'm surprised at how well I'm dealing with the pressure, the worrying, the preparation.  It's a good thing Heath's cool-headedness has rubbed off on me after 5 years of marriage, or I'd probably be a basket case by now.

    Anyway, here are some pictures of Caleb at 20 weeks, me at 21 weeks, and the bedding we picked - rocket ships!  Our next sonogram will be 3D in a month at 28 weeks.  Super excited about that, I hope we get some great images to share!