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Posted on Aug 29, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Meat, Pasta or Noodles, Sandwich or Wrap | 14 comments

Noodle box lunches

Noodle box lunches

A couple of simple presentation tricks today. The first is salami curls: fold a round slice of salami into quarters, which is fast and simple but adds a little visual twist. The second is stuffing a mini bell pepper with soft cheese after removing the ribs and seeds from the top. This quickly adds flavor without being messy to eat. I used a baby spoon to stuff the cheese down into the small bell pepper, but a chopstick or utensil handle would also do the trick.

Yakisoba lunch

Contents of my lunch: Mini bell pepper stuffed with a garlic and herb cheese triangle, salami slices folded into quarters, white peaches, and yakisoba fried Japanese noodles with Chinese sausage (Hsin Tung Yang brand), cabbage, carrots, bell peppers (yellow & red), onions, green onions and benishoga red ginger. I riffed a little on the yakisoba by going heavy on the vegetables and using dried Chinese sausage in place of the classic sliced pork.

Morning prep time: 6 minutes, using leftover yakisoba packed the night before during dinner cleanup. Having half of the lunch already packed gave me time to work on the rest of the meal, and it was actually calming to know that lunch was almost done. Definitely pack ahead of time if you’re organized and the food you’re packing is sturdy enough to survive an overnight rest in the refrigerator!

Packing: To prevent the fruit from browning, I dipped the peach slices in lemon juice mixed with cherry grape juice to cut the sourness. Instead of a plastic food divider, I used mint to separate the peaches from the salami. So it was edible and complemented the delicate flavor of the peach when eaten together. I thought about eating it at the end of the meal as a breath freshener, but decided the freshness of the mint would be nice with the peaches instead. Packed in a 580ml two-tier Urara Dragonfly box.

Mac & cheese lunch for preschoolerContents of preschooler lunch: A quarter of a tuna melt (open-faced sandwich of tuna salad topped with sliced cheese then melted in the broiler or microwave), marinated cucumber and tomatoes with feta cheese and sanbaizu sweet vinegar sauce, and doctored shells and cheese with zucchini, fake crab chunks, onions, carrots, bell peppers and tomato-based pasta sauce. This lunch is too carb-heavy for my liking, but there you have it. The tuna melt worked well in a packed lunch as the melted cheese contained the mess and smell of the tuna salad (see Tips for Packing Smelly Food).

Morning prep time: 5 minutes, using all leftovers.

Packing: I used a disposable condiment cup with a lid to contain the marinated veggie “salad”, and briefly microwaved the cold mac & cheese with a splash of water to restore the texture before packing. Packed in a 350ml Power Rangers box.

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  1. Hi Biggie – I love your site and read it every morning. I would love to buy some of the bento (plastic and not plastic) that you use. I was inspired by your site to pack lunches for my husband every day. However I am in NY and don’t have access to the stores you purchase from. Could you please post more online stores when you can. Thanks loads

    Tali

  2. WOW! Just stumbled upon your website! Its great! Keep up the good work!

    Tom
    hiltonheadpopcorn.com

  3. I’m wondering if you found that your peaches picked up the taste of the salami? If so how to you remedy that?

  4. @3 from Jens: The peaches didn’t pick up the taste of the salami because I put two large mint leaves between them to prevent just that.

  5. @2 from Tom: Thanks for the kind words, Tom!

  6. @6 from lalalady7: I’ve seen the lunches you make, and they’re lovely — nothing to sneeze at!

  7. Ooh, I love the cheese in the mini bell! I’m going to steal that idea. ;)

  8. Beautiful bento today! I think my bento style is very similar to yours as I typically use leftovers (we do a lot of stir fried stuff over noodles and rice) and pack most of my lunch in the evening while cleaning up dinner. This makes the morning so much smoother!

    Also, I just had to brag to a community that would appreciate this. Today one of the “lunch ladies” at my son’s school told me that she always checks out the lunches that I pack and she thinks they are “amazing”. Cool beans, huh?! :)

  9. @7 from J9: Thanks for the nice words! In turn, I need to tip my hat to the Japanese bento cookbooks and magazines that inspire me to be creative in packing lunches.

  10. that looks deeeeeeeeeeeelicious!

  11. @12 from Melinda: Thanks Melinda, yakisoba always hits a nice nostalgia spot for me, and somehow the Chinese sausage worked with the dish.

  12. I know this is an older post, but the visual is gorgeous. Using the mint as baran is ingenious!

  13. @14 from Mimi: Thanks, Mimi! I was inspired that day…

  14. HI WE ARE THE TECHNO CHIXZ HAHAHA OK SO Anyway’s, I like your website; put a middle school lunch on here! Thanks :) PEACE AND LOVE BIGGIE!