Archive for the 'pasta or noodles' Category
Once a year, volunteer language teachers come from Japan to help out at my son’s school, and do a month’s homestay with families from the school. Part of the homestay deal is that the host family is to pack the teacher a daily lunch to eat at school. So that means that I’m back to making adult and child versions of the same lunch while “A-sensei” is with us — I’m finding it stimulating.
It was initially a little weird to be making bentos for a Japanese person. (You know, will she like our food? I don’t want them to look so thrown-together that the other senseis at school wind up gossiping about it.) But we’ve gotten used to each other over the past couple weeks, so I’m less self-conscious now and am learning her food likes and dislikes. The result? I’ve slipped back into my regular old speed bento habits for both lunches.
For this meal I fell back on pasta frittata, a simple egg dish that incorporates leftover spaghetti from the night before. Now whenever I make pasta I just go ahead and make extra, knowing that leftovers will get remade into breakfast or lunch the next day.
Contents of adult bento lunch: Pasta frittata made with leftover spaghetti, shrimp & tomato sauce (see the full pasta frittata tutorial). Sauteed orange bell pepper with garlic & soy sauce, and green grapes.
Morning prep time: 20 minutes for the two bentos, using leftover pasta for the frittata and including prep/cooling time for the frittata and peppers. Thoroughly cooling all foods before closing them up inside a bento box reduces the amount of condensation inside of the box, improving food safety and making it easier to remove the lid of the bento box. (Click for lunch details and a kid-sized version of the same lunch.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on March 8th, 2010 tagged bento, eggs, fish or seafood, for kids, leftover remake, pasta or noodles | 21 Comments »
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Pasta shells & cheese with sauteed enoki mushrooms, carrots, broccoli and Aidell’s chicken/apple sausages. The side car holds kiwifruit, a plum, and raspberries.
Morning prep time: 5 minutes, using leftover mac & cheese. In the morning I prewarmed the thermal food jar with hot tap water while I cut the kiwi and warmed the pasta in the microwave. I added a little splash of water to the pasta before warming to help revive the texture. (Read on for packing details and an additional lunch of pork stew with fennel, leeks and prunes.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on March 10th, 2009 tagged bento, food jar, for kids, meat, pasta or noodles, poultry, soup or stew | 9 Comments »
One thing I’m starting to adjust to is my four-year-old’s growing appetite. It’s easy to look at the bento box size guidelines and figure out what size is right for your child, but they don’t stay that age (and appetite) forever! When he was three, a 350ml box was just perfect. Now that Bug is four, though, I’m finding he needs more of a 400ml lunch. This doesn’t mean I need to throw away the smaller boxes, though! Supplement them with a small side dish container that holds a small portion of fresh fruit, for example.
Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Pepperoni and mushroom pizza, roasted asparagus, blueberries and crispy Asian pear slices.
Morning prep time: 7 minutes, using leftover pizza and asparagus. In the morning I cut up the pizza, asparagus and pear. (Read on for full packing details and an additional pasta lunch with a raw heirloom tomato sauce.) Read the rest of this entry »
Published by Biggie on December 9th, 2008 tagged bento, for kids, meat, pasta or noodles, vegetarian | 15 Comments »
Bento lunch cookbooks can be challenging to put together. Should they focus more on standalone recipes or an arrangement of full lunches? Decorative food or speed? Bento lunch principles or practice? Japanese-language bento cookbooks are often highly visual, with color photos on each page that both stimulate and inspire the reader while informing them of how-to steps at a glance.
Up to now, I haven’t seen books in English that capture the spirit of a Japanese cookbook for children’s fun bento lunches, making Hawaii’s Bento Box Cookbook: Fun Lunches for Kids the first example to date. (Read on for the full book review.)
Published by Biggie on October 30th, 2008 tagged bento, pasta or noodles, review, tips | 15 Comments »
First off, welcome to new readers finding their way here from yesterday’s article in The Washington Post on packed lunches and bentos (free registration required to view the article). The article calls me “the Rachael Ray of bentos” because of my focus on speedy lunches, which I found to be pretty amusing. So does this mean I need to come up with a catchphrase like Yum-O now?
If you’re new to bento-style lunches, be sure to read the Bento FAQ for an introduction. I’m on the road at the moment posting only sporadically, so please accept my apologies for not being as responsive to comments as usual.
My husband likes to barbecue on the weekends when we have people over, so earlier this summer he smoked some pork butts on the DIY flowerpot smoker for about 15 hours. We generally have people over when we do this, and it yields so many leftovers that I divide some into smaller portions, double-wrap, and freeze it for later when we’ll really appreciate it. It makes great fodder for Leftover Remakes, where I use leftovers to make a new dish. In the past I’ve used leftover pulled pork in dishes such as pork sopes, a straight sandwich packed in a Mr. Bento-type thermal lunch jar, as a pizza topping, or even plain.
In a play on a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, one evening I sautéed some chopped-up cabbage, added a portion of the leftover pulled pork, seasoned it with a little jarred tomato-based pasta sauce, and added the mixture to some Annie’s boxed shells & cheese pasta. To maximize payoff for the times when you take time to cook, make more than usual and freeze the excess planned leftovers to use in other dishes. A list of freezing tips is on the Top Tips page.
Contents of preschooler dinner: Roasted salmon and broccoli, cherry tomato, and shells and cheese pasta doctored with sautéed cabbage and North Carolina-style pulled pork. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)
Morning prep time: 10 minutes, using all leftovers. In the morning I revived the texture of the leftover pasta by microwaving it in a microwave-safe dish with a little splash of water, and tossed the broccoli with some vinaigrette so that it would have some flavor when eaten at room temperature. (Read on for packing details and an additional preschooler bento lunch.)