On the Matter of ‘Maters

bwc-spaghetti-and-meat-sauceRound, red and near-perfect, tomatoes are a versatile piece of produce that add flavor and texture to soups, salads, stews and so much more. And don’t get us started on heirloom varieties—their misshapen bodies and colorful skins are almost too gorgeous to eat. (We said almost.)

Any way you slice it, tomatoes can be a culinary hero. The many varieties and uses of tomatoes were featured in the August 2019 edition of School Nutrition, in the article “On the Matter of ‘Maters,” written by Kelsey Casselbury. And the story included several recipes. But should you need more ‘mater inspiration, here are two savory recipes students will gobble up: Classic Spaghetti and Meat Sauce and a trendy Ranchero Pork Burrito Bowl.

Spaghetti and Meat Sauce


100 (1/2 cup spaghetti, 2/3 cup sauce)

Per Serving

339 cal., 17 g pro., 12.7 g fat, 38.5 g carb., 4 g fiber, 607 mg sod.

Meal Pattern

2-oz-eq. meat/meat alternate, 1/2 cup red/orange vegetables, 1-oz-eq. whole grain

17 lbs., 8 ozs.                       Ground beef, 80/20

1 lb., 12 ozs.                         Onions, frozen, diced

1 lb., 12 ozs.                         Green bell peppers, frozen, diced

1 1/2 cups                             Italian spice blend, no salt

2 Tbsps.                                 Salt

#10 can + 6 cups                 Canned tomatoes, diced

1 1/2 qts.                                Tomato paste

#10 can + 1 qt.                     Tomato sauce

2/3 cup                                   Worcestershire sauce

2 3/4 qts. + 3 1/2 gals.        Water

6 lbs., 4 ozs.                          Spaghetti, whole grain-rich

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet and drain. Press the beef to remove excess fat.
  2. Add the onions and green bell peppers to the ground beef mixture in the skillet. Sauté the beef mixture for two minutes or until onions are lightly browned.
  3. Add the Italian spice blend and salt. Stir, and then add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 2 3/4 qts. water.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook the sauce for one hour, stirring occasionally. CCP: Heat to 160°F or higher for 15 seconds.
  5. While the sauce is simmering, boil 3 1/2 gals. water. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions and drain.
  6. To serve, portion 1/2 cup of spaghetti with a #8 scoop or 4-oz. spoodle. Portion 2/3 cup sauce with a #6 scoop and serve over spaghetti. CCP: Hold and maintain the product at a minimum temperature of 135°F. Quick-chill leftovers within six hours to 41°F or lower.

Recipe and Nutritional Analyses: Mississippi Recipes for Success, https://mrs.mdek12.org

Meal Pattern Analysis: Rebecca J. Polson, CC, SNS, Instagram: @ChefRebeccaK12

Ranchero Pork Burrito Bowl



Per Serving

428 cal., 17.7 g pro., 16 g fat, 55 g carb., 10.6 g fiber, 649 mg sod.

Meal Pattern

2-oz.-eq. meat/meat alternate, 2-oz.eq. whole grains, 1 cup vegetables (1/2 cup dark green, 1/4 cup beans/peas/legumes, 1/4 cup red/orange)

100 each                   Whole-grain tortillas, 8-in.

8 cups                        Long-grain brown rice, dry

1 gal.                          Water

1 gal., + 9 cups         Pinto beans, cooked

6 lbs., 4 ozs.             Boneless pork loin, cooked, shredded

1 gal., + 9 cups         Prepared hummus

100 cups                    Romaine lettuce, shredded

11 1/2 lbs.                 Tomatoes, chopped

12 1/2 cups               Cilantro, chopped

12 1/2 cups               Green onions, chopped

  1. Place the tortillas in the warmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Place 8 cups of dry brown rice into a 12” x 20” x 4” steamtable pan. Pour 1 gallon of boiling water over the rice and stir. Cover the pan tightly.
  3. Bake the rice in a 400°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the water is absorbed from the rice. Remove from oven.
  4. Heat the pinto beans and pork according to manufacturer instructions.
  5. To assemble, gently press a tortilla into a bowl—there will be some crimped/overlapped edges. Carefully spread 1/4 cup (#16 scoop) of hummus evenly on the bottom of the tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup cooked rice, 1 cup shredded lettuce, 1/4 cup pinto beans, 1 oz. shredded pork, 1/4 cup tomatoes, 2 Tbsps. cilantro and 2 Tbsps. green onions.

Note: Bush’s Best Easy Entree Texas Ranchero Pinto Beans and Bush’s Best Classic Hummus Made Easy can be used in this recipe.

Recipe, Photo and Nutritional Analyses: Bush’s Best, www.bushbeansfoodservice.com

Meal Pattern Analysis: Rebecca J. Polson, CC, SNS, Instagram: @ChefRebeccaK12

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