Archive for the 'corn tortillas or masa' Category
I’m not one to spend a lot of time making decorative food art, but I’m not totally averse to giving my four-year-old son fun lunches. My speedy versions use playful accessories and visually interesting food instead of ornate food sculpture. The first lunch below is more of an exercise in accessories and shortcut cooking for dinner, while the second lunch is more interesting-looking food with a review of frozen potato Smiles.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Fast chicken mole enchiladas (loose recipe below) with a squeeze bottle of crema (sour cream), sauteed asparagus, nectarine slices, and cheese cubes.
Morning prep time: 10 minutes, using leftover enchiladas that I’d packed up the night before after dinner. In the morning I filled the condiment bottle with crema, sliced the nectarine and sauteed two stalks of asparagus. (Read on for the enchilada recipe, a review of shaped potato Smiles, lunch details, and an additional Sloppy Joe lunch.)
Published by Biggie on October 27th, 2008 tagged bento, corn tortillas or masa, food jar, for kids, leftover remake, meat, poultry, recipe, review | 50 Comments »
Amorette’s note: I’m sorry about the ongoing spacing problems. I’m still trying to get the hang of this!
Although it can get a bit effort-intensive, there are a few ways to exactly duplicate a logo, font or photo in your bentos. One of the least expensive ways is to use wax paper and do a transfer.
Published by Amorette on September 6th, 2008 tagged Amorette, bento, corn tortillas or masa, decorative, tips, tutorial or how to | 2 Comments »
Polenta (boiled cornmeal) is a natural candidate for a Leftover Remake, as you can have it warm and creamy at dinner when it’s fresh out of the pot, then pan-fry the solidified leftovers for subsequent lunches. Dish up the soft polenta in bowls for dinner, and top with a flavorful braise or stew. To save the excess for pan-frying, pour the fresh polenta onto a wooden cutting board, smooth out the surface with a spatula or spoon, and let it sit for a few hours until it’s solid. Run a piece of unflavored dental floss or cooking twine under the polenta mass to free it up, and store in the refrigerator in plastic wrap for up to four days. Slice and fry in a nonstick frying pan with a little oil until it develops a crusty exterior. Use your imagination with shapes: make polenta fries, polenta croutons, polenta slices, even cut-out shapes using cookie cutters. Fun finger food for the kids!
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Homemade Tuscan-style squid and green peas in tomato sauce, fried polenta slices, and quick tomato and cucumber salad.
Morning prep time: 13 minutes, using leftover Tuscan squid and polenta. In the morning I fried the polenta slices, and cut up the cucumbers and tomatoes while warming the peas and squid in the microwave.
Ingredient: I ran across a new vegetable for me at Alemany Farmers’ Market the other week: tiny cucumbers with bumpy skin, each about two inches long. Initially I wasn’t sure what they were, but the sellers started passing out samples and encouraging us to try them. Mini cucumbers? How could I resist! The skins are hard and bumpy, and they’re filled with tiny seeds. This makes them well suited for pickling or cooking in soups or stir-fries, but they’re edible raw after a wash for food safety. (Read on for details and an additional Japanese fried chicken lunch.)
Published by Biggie on July 16th, 2008 tagged bento, corn tortillas or masa, fish or seafood, food jar, for kids, glutenfree, lactose free, leftover remake, poultry, soup or stew | 14 Comments »
There are so many different ways to make grilled cheese. Grilled panini, quesadillas, pupusas, croque monsieur, Welsh rarebit, cheese on toast — you name it. My three-year-old’s current favorite is a grilled cheese sandwich made in a waffle iron, an idea we found in Toddler Café: Fast, Healthy, and Fun Ways to Feed Even the Pickiest Eater (one of the cookbooks in my growing collection). Today’s lunches took us south of the border, with cheese and bean-stuffed pupusas made with corn masa, and cheese quesadillas on a flour tortilla. These are fun in a bento lunch if you’re okay with room-temperature grilled cheese, as they hold together as easy finger food for the younger set.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Mini crab cakes (Handy brand from Costco, reviewed earlier), grilled asparagus with a sesame-soy glaze (recipe from Steven Raichlen’s How to Grill), raspberries, and pupusa wedges filled with bean and cheese. These were smaller slices of full-sized pupusas from a restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission district, but I’ve made mini pupusas for lunch before with assorted leftovers like pulled pork and cheese. I would have liked to include a non-spicy dipping sauce like crema sour cream, but the school lunchroom restrictions at his preschool rule out liquid dairy due to a food allergy.
Morning prep time: 8 minutes, using frozen crab cakes, leftover asparagus and pupusas. In the morning I heated the crab cakes in the microwave, the pupusa in my convection toaster oven, and cut the pupusa and asparagus into bite-sized pieces for little hands. (Read on for details and an additional quesadilla lunch.)
Published by Biggie on April 10th, 2008 tagged bento, corn tortillas or masa, fish or seafood, for kids, sandwich or wrap, vegetarian | 22 Comments »
Looking back, I realize I haven’t been packing as many adult bento lunches lately as I’ve been focusing on cranking out Bug’s daily preschool meals in time to run out the door. Over the past month I’ve gotten more comfortable with our new morning routine, though, so I think I’m about ready to restart making my lunches in conjunction with his. Today we have a backlog of three of my three-year-old’s lunches; stay tuned for more of the mother/son lunches, the variations adjusting for different appetites and cuteness levels.
Contents of Wednesday preschooler lunch: Mac and cheese with grilled red peppers and green onions, wasabi and green onion smashed potatoes, grilled mushrooms, pineapple sausage, and sliced persimmon. This meal is too carb-heavy for my liking, but there you go.
Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using all leftovers except sausage and persimmons. A friend had left some mac and cheese at our house from feeding her one-year-old, so I nuked this with a splash of water to restore texture, chopped some leftover grilled peppers and green onions (scallions), and packed. I sliced and heated the sausage through in the microwave for maximum food safety.
Packing: I used a plastic food divider to separate the savory sausage and mushrooms from the sweet persimmon slices. (You can also use edible food dividers, or wash and reuse the plastic food dividers.) The lunch is packed in a 360ml Disney Cars bento box, which in turn went into an insulated Shinkansen lunch bag with a wide base designed to carry bento boxes flat, not tipped over on the side. I got the lunch bag at the Sanrio store in Stonestown Mall in San Francisco for US$15. (Click any photo for a larger view.)
Verdict: Good over time. Bug left a third of the mac & cheese, and half of the mashed potatoes. I guessed his body knew when to stop on the carbs!!!
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Contents of Thursday preschooler lunch: Pork tamale with husk removed, slice of crisp Fuyu persimmon, and apple wedges. No vegetables, though — I fell short.
Morning prep time: 6 minutes. I used frozen tamales, so was able to cook one quickly in a microwave steamer and slice the fruit in the morning.
Packing: To make the tamale as easy to eat as possible and avoid lunchtime frustration at preschool, I removed the corn husk wrapper before packing and cut up the tamale in the box. At home Bug usually likes some crema or yogurt with his tamale, but because his preschool has an allergy policy ruling out liquid dairy (milk, yogurt, etc.) I skipped the sauce altogether. While Bug is unimpressed with persimmon when it’s cut into wedges, for some reason he’ll eat it up when it’s cut crosswise like this to showcase the inside pattern (go figure!). I dipped the apple wedges in lemon juice mixed with Splenda before packing to keep the fruit from browning, and perched the persimmon slice on top. The lunch is packed in one 350ml tier of a Lock & Lock lunch set, and a 150ml Anpanman side dish container.
Verdict: Thumbs up. Bug ate everything but a couple of apple wedges at preschool, then downed the apples at a playground afterwards as a snack.
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Contents of Friday preschooler lunch: Chicken drumstick, frozen spaghetti cup, grilled mushrooms and red bell peppers, grape tomatoes, and green beans with vinaigrette.
Morning prep time: 9 minutes, using leftover roast chicken from Costco, frozen pasta from my emergency freezer stash, and leftover mushrooms/peppers. In the morning I made one dish in the mini microwave steamer: the green beans.
Packing: I wrapped the end of the drumstick in decorative aluminum foil to make a clean â€œhandleâ€, and used a little cow-shaped reusable plastic food cup (from Daiso) for the mushrooms/peppers. A reusable silicone baking cup squished into the remaining available space to held the green beans, and I plugged the gap with little tomatoes to keep the lunch stable during transport. Lunch packed in a 470ml Afternoon Tea box without the removable divider, to accommodate the drumstick.
Verdict: Too much food, and Bug burned out on the mushrooms and bell peppers that keep reappearing in his lunches. He demolished the chicken, green beans and most of the spaghetti, but left the mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes. If I were to redo this lunch, I could have done a leftover remake with the mushrooms and peppers by putting them into a mini gratin, mini frittata, fried rice, mashed potato or squash. Having at least one big divider in the box would have helped contain leftovers for after-school snacking, though — his leftovers slid all over the inside of the box, making them unappetizing.
- Allergy restrictions in the school lunchroom
- Preventing fruit from browning
- Need for speed: A mommyâ€™s lunch manifesto
- Choosing the right size bento box
- Biggieâ€™s list of top speed tips, tutorials and equipment reviews