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Posted on Jul 20, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Lactose Free, Meat, Sandwich or Wrap | 8 comments

Sloppy Joe lunches

Sloppy Joe lunches

DIY Sloppy Joe lunch

Contents of my lunch: A do-it-yourself homemade Sloppy Joe sandwich (filling on the side), asparagus with poppyseed dressing, cherry tomatoes, garlic cheese wedge, pear and blackberries.

Morning prep time: 5 minutes, using leftovers. The Sloppy Joe filling was leftover from dinner the night before, so in the morning I just made the asparagus and fruit. For the asparagus, I microwaved it with a little water, drained, and tossed with premade poppyseed salad dressing.

Packing: Because Sloppy Joe filling is so moist, assembling the sandwich ahead of time would ruin the bread and leave you with a soggy mess at lunchtime. The solution is to make it just prior to eating, so I packed the meat filling in a separate metal container (review here) to keep the juices away from the rest of the lunch until I was ready to eat. To prevent the pear from browning, I tossed it with a little lemon juice mixed with pear/peach juice. The main lunch is packed in an 810ml Clex box by Asvel.

Click for preschooler and husband lunches…

DIY Sloppy Joe lunch for preschooler

Contents of Bug’s lunch: Same as mine, but with store-bought tabbouleh instead of asparagus (he hates tabbouleh one day, loves it the next…).

Packing: At two years old, Bug is easily frustrated by difficult-to-eat foods — Sloppy Joes on hamburger buns at dinner the other night nearly did him in. To better contain the filling and make the sandwich more manageable for little hands, I hollowed out a hot dog bun with my fingers, creating a nice little hole for the meat filling. This worked beautifully, and Bug was able to eat the whole sandwich by himself without crying in frustration (saving me from getting more gray hair). Success! Packed in two 350ml containers from a Lock & Lock lunch set.

DIY Sloppy Joe lunch

My husband’s meal was the same as ours, packed in a deep Chinese-made bento box and metal side dish container.


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  1. LOL I love your comment “saving me from getting more grey hair” ahahahhaha funny. Btw, I used your tutorial for the Dashimaki Tamago, it worked beautifully, thank you SO MUCH for posting it!!!! It was super yummy!

  2. ooh i love sloppy joes! this is a good idea for when school starts again. thank you!

  3. @1 from Summers Love:
    I’m so happy the rolled omelette tutorial worked for you — hooray! Once you get the hang of the basic technique you can crank those babies out in a hurry, adding other ingredients on the fly or shaping them however you like. If he had a vote, Bug would eat them every day (but they are more time consuming than scrambled eggs, so I veto if I don’t feel like spending the time…).

  4. @2 from Tala:
    Funny, I just got this month’s Saveur magazine, and guess what’s featured? Sloppy Joes! Good timing, I guess — I just got a sudden craving for them this week and had all of the ingredients on hand. Bug’s first Sloppy Joe!

  5. @5 from aJ:
    So happy Marcus is recuperating from his surgery! It’s always interesting to figure out what qualifies as a “manly man bento” — brushed metal containers or plain black boxes seem to appeal, and cute food decorations are anathema…

  6. combining ideas from this bento and the one where you used dinner rolls as sandwich bread; try hallowing out a hamburger bun, filling it with the sloppy joe mix, and freezing it. I wrap mine in foil before freezing. I definitely like them hot, so I nuke them before I eat them, but you might get enough of that effect just by nuking them before placing them in the bento for a day.

    One issue is that the center tends to stay cold after the outside is all the way warm, so it does need to be in the microwave longer than you’d think (unless you just want it to thaw naturally throughout the day)

    sorry for the long post!

  7. @7 from Amanda: When you do this, does the inside of the dinner roll touching the filling get soggy when you reheat?

  8. nope! but I always reheat in a microwave right before I eat, even if I bring it for lunch. I’ve never tried bringing one pre-heated before lunch.