Morning prep time: 8 minutes. Last night we had yakisoba (Japanese fried noodles with meat and veggies), so after dinner I pre-packed our boxes with the leftover noodles. This morning all I had to do was slice some fruit, and make a quick egg scramble with frozen peas to round out our lunches. Here’s Bug’s lunch, with the orange slices cut next to the rind to make it easy for little hands to eat.
Because the finished dish is going to sit at room temperature until lunch, Japanese bento cookbooks advise stirring the eggs with chopsticks like this until they’re broken up and thoroughly heated through for optimum food safety. This presents some packing complications, however. If you pack this loose egg dish with other food in a non-divided container where the lid doesn’t touch the food, the eggs/peas will roll all over everything else. My divided Lock & Lock container (below) was perfect for this, but I wound up needing to put a little “surprise animal cap” over Bug’s eggs after I took the photo. Wrapping the smaller sub-container in plastic wrap would provide the same stabilizing effect, just not as much fun.
Another tip I picked up from a Japanese bento cookbook was to use little individual servings of coffee creamer (or half & half) when making a small amount of eggs for a packed lunch. It gives a nicer flavor to the eggs than plain milk, but I don’t usually have cream or half & half in the house. It seems like a waste to buy a large container of cream just for a few eggs, so I pocketed a couple of these from a restaurant where they came with my coffee.
My lunch is the same, with a couple of strawberries. In a minor Leftover Remake, the fried noodles also incorporate Moroccan grilled lamb from dinner the other night, as well as bacon, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, onion, red bell pepper, green onions and beni shoga (pickled red ginger). Packed in a 350ml container, this was too small for me according to the bento box size guidelines, but I packed light as I knew we’d be shopping at Costco after lunch, where Bug and I snack on samples.
Quick speed equipment note: a nonstick mini fry pan and mini spatula are very convenient for cooking small amounts of lunch food (saves on cleanup too). Years ago I received a little 8″ frying pan in a cookware set as a wedding present, but I’ve started looking at it in a new light since working through a Japanese cookbook about making your child’s entire bento in just one mini frying pan (“Mini Fry Pan Hitotsu de Mainichi Tsukaeru Enji no Obento“, full review in my write-up of children’s bento books). Very handy.
- Moroccan lamb lunch
- Lamb & hummus wraps
- Choosing the right size bento box
- Biggie’s list of top speed tips, tutorials and equipment reviews