Morning prep time: 5 minutes per lunch (15 minutes for 3 lunches). We had leftover smoked and roasted chicken, so I made chicken salad for dinner last night. For speed, I microwaved all of the frozen rice for all three lunches at once. I’m also trying to use up our fruit before it goes bad (a hazard of buying lots of fruit at once). My lunch also had:
- a small barrel-shaped onigiri (rice ball) that I made with pre-frozen rice. It had been shaped like an animal or something, but that shape didn’t fit in today’s box, so I reshaped it with wet, salted hands and wrapped it in a strip of pre-cut nori. Freezing rice in certain shapes doesn’t commit you to using it in the same shape — just nuke it and reshape as you like.
- a cherry tomato wrapped in thinly sliced onion and smoked salmon, skewered with a pick to hold it together. I used a little V-slicer to slice the onion quickly (no need to dirty a cutting board and knife). I saw this recipe in a Japanese cookbook and thought it had promise, but I can’t say I was overly impressed with the result. It tasted just okay and was a little messy putting together. Capers would improve the flavor.
- a wrapped cheese triangle
I wound up watching one of Bug’s little friends this afternoon during playgroup. She always gets excited about Bug’s bentos, so I made her a little snack (on left) to supplement her lunch. They’ve got the same fruit (blueberries, grapes and strawberries with slits cut into them for easy toddler eating), pre-frozen rice (frozen shaped as both animal onigiri andthe box), and chicken salad or roast chicken. The rice is sprinkled with furikake (flavored savory sprinkles for rice), and I brought along an individual pack of Anpanman furikake that the kids enjoyed dipping their rice (and cheese sticks!) into.
Post-game analysis: I should have given both of them roast chicken to make them equal and to make it easier for little hands to pick up and eat (without needing a fork).
- Need for speed: A mommyâ€™s lunch manifesto
- Food safety for packed lunches
- How to pack a bento lunch and use â€œgap fillersâ€
- Choosing the right size bento box
- Biggieâ€™s list of top speed tips, tutorials and equipment reviews