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Posted on Jun 20, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Lactose Free, Meat, Sandwich or Wrap, Tips, Tutorial or How-to | 17 comments

Making dinner roll sandwiches

Making dinner roll sandwiches



Contents: Boiled egg shaped like a fish using an egg mold, mango and blueberries, donut nectarine, and mini hot dog sandwiches made out of dinner rolls, cocktail sausages and julienned red leaf lettuce.

Morning prep time: 10 minutes, using previously boiled and molded eggs. This070620a morning I just cut the mangoes and made the sandwiches. Tip on making sandwiches with dinner rolls: cut them in half, and use a knife (or your fingers) to remove some of the soft bread inside. This makes room for the filling and holds it securely inside the sandwich, especially handy with soft fillings that fall out such as egg salad or tuna salad. I used a similar technique with tuna salad sandwiches on ciabatta rolls, and a different technique in the preschooler lunch below.

Packing: The dinner rolls were small enough to fit whole inside of a regular bento, so I070620b packed them in the Lock & Lock lunch set (two 350ml containers and a drink container). My little squeeze bottle for ketchup was too large to fit in this box, so I tucked in a spare ketchup packet that I’d saved from restaurant take-out. Putting ketchup on the sandwich at the last minute helps keep the bread from getting soggy. The little red pick was for the fruit (no need for a full-size fork).

Contents of Bug’s lunch: Same as mine, above, but with a cherry tomato to plug the gap, and the egg is shaped like a pig using ice cream sandwich molds as described in my old tutorial. Bug decided he didn’t want the lettuce in his sandwich, but everything else went down the hatch successfully. Hooray!

Morning prep time: 10 minutes, as above. To make room for the sandwich fillings, I sliced off the very top of the roll and hollowed it out with a knife, similar to the technique for my sandwiches above. You could also use your fingers to pick out the bread after you’ve sliced off the top, but a knife is a bit neater. Use the top of the roll as a lid to the sandwich.

Packing: Mea culpa! There was really no need for the paper food cup under the egg today, I just added it for color contrast in the picture. More environment-friendly alternatives would be something edible like lettuce, a silicone muffin liner, or just popping the egg straight into the box.

Lunch in a Box is nominated for Best Food Blog in the Blogger’s Choice Awards. If you’d like to cast your vote for speedy lunch packing, click here (you can vote for multiple blogs in the same category).



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  1. …remove some of the soft bread inside…

    This has been a reading from the Book of Alton; Season Eight, Episode 11. [reverently] Yuuummmmmmmm.

  2. Amen, sister! That, and about a half dozen of my bento cookbooks.

  3. Hi Biggie,
    You inspire me. I love reading your lunch box blogs. I live in SFO Bay area. I already went to Kamei, Daiso and Ichiban Kan after reading your blog. Spent around $100 in these stores :) I have two school going kids ages 8 and 4. Both picky eaters. I hope packing bento style will excite them.

    How would you pack the lunch if the main dish needs to stay warm whereas desert/fruits needs to stay cold? Would you pack them seperately wrapped in thermal cloth?

    Where do you get those little pig/elephant/bear shaped container?


    • Hey, thanks Asha! I hope this helps with your picky eaters — some of my friends have started doing the same with their kids too (good results so far, but you never know, right?).

      The best solution I’ve seen so far for the warm/cool combo would be: 1) an insulated bento kit (Ichiban Kan has a selection for $20 - $25, and Kamei has a couple behind the counter for about $33) with tiny ice pack slipped inside, or 2) a food jar + bento combination (toss them all inside an insulated bag, or wrap the bento in an insulated cloth with a tiny ice pack). The thermos-style containers really have superior heat retention.

      For the “pig/elephant/bear container”, are you talking about the sauce containers linked on this page? If so, I broke down last year and placed an eBay order (maybe Tokyo_Gift?) for them after we wound up canceling our Japan trip (military coup in Thailand killed our travel plans there, Japan would have been a follow-on). If you’re talking about the pig/elephant insulated bag and furoshiki, I got those at Ichiban Kan.

  4. Thank you so much for your instant reply. Hugs to you.

    Yes I was talking about the sauce containers, I could not find them at Kamei/Daiso/Ichiban Kan. In fact, none had egg molds either. But seems like Ichiban Kan of SMTO has egg molds in their Monday’s consignment, I’ll chk them out tomorrow AM. You bet IchibanKan is so addictive.

    Where did you get Asvel 350ml white bento box?

    I have the thermos food jar from Target for each of my kids. I pack things like hot mac n cheese/rice/soup/pasta in it, after I have kept hot water in it for 15 min. or so. Do you think packing it further inside the thermal bag (Ichiban Kan), will help keep it warm?

    Is it not advisable to pack warm food in the bento box like Asvel? And if you do, will it stay warm if it is kept in thermal cloth?

    Your presentations in Asvel boxes look so cool. But then all the food in there is at same temperature right?

    Well, bored you enough with too many questions. I am so excited to pack bento style once the school re-opens for my 4 year old coming Monday.

    Thank you so much once again for the best blog. I have already voted for you on bloggers choice award. Wish you all the very best.

    • Good info on the egg molds! I wonder if the other branches will get them at the same time. I’ll find out next week, I suppose. I’m not sure how much packing the food jar in a thermal bag would help, but it certainly couldn’t hurt anything! You can try packing warm food in a thermal-wrapped bento box, but my experience is that it doesn’t stay warm very long at all. Those cloths work much better keeping things cool with a little ice pack.

  5. Regarding e-bay and other online-stores. I live away from any good real asian stores. When I recently found panko at this local but very minimal thai shop (yes panko) I about did a happy dance on the spot. So ordering in things is sometimes the only solution. One place has gorgeous stuff. The one rate 40 dollar international shipping is less gorgeous.

    • Cool, panko at Thai markets! You know, even my local big supermarkets here have panko, so I need to remember that it’s not always the same where other folks are. Ouch on the shipping, though…

  6. This is a nifty little lunch! I hope you know how helpful your site is! I’ve recently started a “self-improvement” plan (I do not care for the term “diet” ;-) and have been using bento lunches to help control portion size and keep variety and interest high. I have failed in the past when salad everyday got so monotonous.

    I’m using a lot of your tips and tricks and lots of folks at work are starting to comment on how fun my lunches look!

    Keep up the good work - it’s very much appreciated!

  7. can i ask what kind of camera you use? all your pictures are so close up and clear =] my pictures are no where near as good as yours and my camera even has a “cuisine” setting lol.

  8. Thank you so much for so many wonderful ideas. I have just started packing bentos for both my children and plan to continue as my oldest starts Kindergarten in the fall.

    If I may ask, where did you find the nesting Thomas boxes? My younger one would love them.

    • Thanks Shannon! I got the nesting Thomas boxes at Moritaya in San Francisco’s Japantown for TOO MUCH MONEY (don’t tell my husband!). There’s store location info in my SF shopping guide linked in Top Speed Tips (I’m not affiliated with any of those stores, BTW — just have strong opinions).

  9. Oh, I have never done that…taking off soft part from the roll will stablize sandwiches, you are right. Thanks - as usual!

    • I saw it first on Alton Brown’s Good Eats, and then in Japanese cookbooks. It totally works, which is good because Bug gets easily frustrated if food falls back onto the plate (he’s a neat one!).

  10. D’oh! A quick search in gmail reveals that I missed an entire e-mail from you. I see it now, will reply offline.

  11. LaVida, $12 is a very good price (cheaper than what I paid) if the bag is insulated like my navy blue one. It’s a little high if it’s not insulated, like my light blue one. But remember that these things are virtually impossible to find in stores here, so I’d snatch it up if I found one for a non-extortionate price (as long as it’s Lock & Lock brand and not an inferior imitation).

  12. Callista, don’t feel guilty! I never made my husband lunch until he was misdiagnosed with celiac disease, at which point my protective nurturing urges kicked it. It was also easier to get motivated to make lunches for my toddler, too, as that meant we could stay out and about at playgrounds, etc. for longer and not need to break for lunch (or carry around a huge bag stuffed to the gills with Tupperware). I don’t know that I would have gotten into bento-making in such a major way if it weren’t for those two.