Pork bun lunches
Contents: Steamed pork buns (baozi) and sauce, tangerine teriyaki tofu, edamame, cherry tomato, and pepperonata (roasted red peppers in rustic tomato sauce). Not shown: 100% raspberry juice cut with water in the bento set’s drink container. I got a package of the pork buns from my local Chinese bakery, but I’ve also seen them frozen in Asian markets.
Morning prep time: 8 minutes, using pre-made food and leftovers. The pepperonata was from a jar, the tofu was pre-marinated and just needed a quick pan sear. I steamed both the pork buns and frozen edamame together in a big microwave steamer for a minute, then let it sit enclosed in the steamer afterwards for a minute to finish steaming (definitely improving the texture of the bun). I used pre-filled sauce containers of mixed soy sauce and rice vinegar for speed.
Packing: I went ahead and packed the warm buns, tofu and edamame in the boxes, then let them cool with the lids open for optimum packed lunch food safety. The moist pepperonata was well contained in this particular container with built-in dividers; if packed in a non-divided box it would have required separation or draining and drying. Packed in two 350ml containers from my Lock & Lock insulated lunch set.
Contents of preschooler lunch: Steamed pork bun and sauce, cherry tomato, edamame, and doctored macaroni and cheese with ham, sauteed red bell peppers, onions, zucchini, green onions, and jarred mild ajvar (roasted red pepper and eggplant spread) for a little something different.
Morning prep time: 6 minutes, using leftovers and pre-made items. I microwave steamed the pre-made pork bun and frozen edamame together, and briefly microwaved the leftover mac & cheese with a tablespoon of milk to restore the texture before packing (I don’t like the gummy texture it has straight out of the fridge).
Packing: Packed in the 280ml and 180ml tiers of a 4-tier nesting bento box (Thomas the Tank Engine).