Frozen spaghetti cup lunch
Contents of preschooler lunch: Frozen spaghetti cup, pineapple & pork sausage, mushrooms, unsauced broccoli, molded hard-boiled egg, and dried apricots.
Morning prep time: 20 minutes, mostly inactive prep time to make a batch of molded eggs. I used the multi-boiling technique to cook the broccoli, mushrooms, and rinsed eggs all at once in the same pot, saving both time and energy. Had I made the eggs in advance I could have made this lunch in 5 minutes using a previously frozen spaghetti cup. If I didn’t have proper egg molds, I could have used commonly available ice cream sandwich molds instead (tutorial here). (Click any photo for a larger view.)
Packing: I had previously frozen spaghetti cups in paper baking cups set into Tupperware, so I was able to just grab one from the freezer and drop it into the lunch as is (pasta was cut up prior to freezing to make it easier for preschooler eating). I used paper cupcake liners for the pasta because I hadn’t yet bought silicone baking cups, but you can definitely freeze food directly in the silicone cups. (I confirmed this by freezing the silicone cups, then immediately squishing them in my hands when they came out of the freezer cold. No damage; they didn’t even get stiff.) I dropped the drained broccoli into a reusable silicone mini baking cup for purely aesthetic reasons (color contrast) — there’s no practical reason for the cup unless you or your child are sensitive about foods touching. Dried apricots fill the gap in the lunch to keep it from shifting during transport. Lunch is packed in a 350ml Power Rangers bento box with inner cups removed to accommodate the food.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Bug tore through everything except the apricots at preschool, and then finished them up in the car afterwards. Success!