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Posted on Aug 8, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Lactose Free, Phyllo or Pancake or Other, Poultry | 15 comments

Speedy teriyaki & pineapple meatball lunches


I overslept this morning, so today’s lunches were a true test of the speed lunch system (“This is not a drill!”). Having ready-made meatballs in the fridge provided a quick protein; you can also make them from scratch ahead of time and freeze a stash of them. We did wind up being late, but that was because I stopped to snap photos before running out the door. Darn you, lunch blogging obsession!


Contents of preschooler lunch: Blackberries, teriyaki & pineapple chicken meatballs, plum tomatoes, honey-simmered kabocha squash with butter, and sliced pita bread. These meatballs are my favorite — Aidell’s brand, sold at big stores like Safeway and Costco (other store locations listed here). Nice short ingredient list, also good in soups or wraps.

Morning prep time: 4 minutes, using leftovers and convenience food. The pita was already cut from dinner the night before, and the kabocha was leftover from lunch the day before. So all I had to do in the morning was cut a few meatballs in half to fit preschooler mouths.

Packing: Bug & I shared a single container of pita bread (although I photographed it with both lunches), so his lunch wasn’t as large as it looked. Packed in two 350ml containers from a Lock & Lock lunch set. This is the container I always reach for when I’m in a hurry. I like its built-in subdividers — all I have to do is fill three little spaces and I’m done, no real thought required for arrangement (easy on my brain when I’m slammed). Unfortunately I don’t know of a reliable U.S. source for these, so I’ll just apologize in advance.

Contents of my lunch: Same as Bug’s, but I packed little skewers of plum tomato and store-bought marinated bocconcini (mozzarella balls) instead of the blackberries. Bug didn’t like the look of the bocconcini when I was packing, so I omitted them from his lunch and tried to make them look fun in mine to see if they would pique his interest when we ate. No such luck with Bug, but all of his little friends were interested in the little Anpanman-themed picks. Anpanman is a popular cartoon for kids in Japan, with characters based on food (the villains are Bacteria Man) — pretty amusing.


(Disclaimer: I have no commercial affiliation with Aidell’s or any other business listed here.)


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  1. I love the Aidell’s products! So easy to prepare and so delicious. (And they say which ones are gluten-free right on the front of the package.) Chef Bruce himself comes to our farmers’ market sometimes.

  2. @1 from Stephanie:
    I really liked the clear gluten-free labeling on the Aidell’s products during our nine months of GF eating (and of course, it doesn’t hurt that they taste quite good! Nice flavor combos.). I met Bruce once at an Aidell’s dinner at The Left Bank in Marin a few years ago — the man really knows meat, not surprisingly. :-)

  3. All my Lock and Lock containers come from Uwajimaya (in Seattle and in Portland). I have bought them in a sweet little package deal (one single-compartment container, one three-compartment container, a water bottle, and a nice zippered bag to carry all the pieces) and as single boxes in a variety of sizes and configurations. They are inexpensive, sturdy, and durable.

  4. There is a Korean grocery store near me that I am pretty sure sells lock&lock stuff. I happened to notice the last time I was there because I remembered you mentioning the brand on your livejournal.

    I’m going to check next time I go, but I was just wondering what the general price range was for those lunch sets you linked to.

    Thanks. :)

  5. @4 from jamie:
    I’ve seen the lunch sets for anywhere from $10 to $20, depending on the store. The non-insulated sets are cheaper, the insulated sets with the navy blue cases are more expensive. I really can’t say enough good things about them — great design.

  6. @3 from Melynda:
    Great news that Uwajimaya carries the Lock & Lock lunch sets! Seriously, if folks can find these, pick one up — you won’t regret it. I run the entire thing through the dishwasher all the time (lids & drink container included) and they hold up like troopers.

  7. So cute. I have got to try those meatballs, sounds like something everyone here would love.

    And I’m coveting the 3 compartment Lock&Lock container. I am limited to the ones I’ve found at Target and neither of them are that one.

  8. @7 from Shannon:
    The meatballs are really tasty; worth a try sometime. Good luck locating that particular Lock & Lock container; if you find a source (even if it’s local) could you let us all know? Thank you!

  9. Thanks for the tip about the meatballs - we will definitely be trying them soon!

    And now I’m on a quest to find Lock & Lock containers …

  10. This won’t help any of your American viewers, but I’ve found the Lock & Lock containers at Zellers in Canada (in Calgary, at least). They had a pretty big selection at the store I saw them in.

    I didn’t pay too much attention to the prices, since I couldn’t justify buying any - I have a Fit&Fresh Lunch on the Go set, which has done admirably for my work lunches.

  11. @10 cayenne sea:
    Excellent info for our Canadian readers, cayenne sea — thank you. Did you happen to notice if they had the divided rectangular containers like the ones above?

  12. I found a similar container yesterday at our local woolworths in Australia. Its a 2 piece lock set by a company called Sistema. (Thier klip it range). The bottom half has a divided container while the top half flips off and has a internal lid. It then clips together. Its going to be my substitute bento until I either 1. find real ones, or 2. can afford the ones on ebay.

  13. @9 from CFO:
    I hope you like the meatballs, and good luck with those Lock & Lock container! They really are quite durable.

  14. @12 from Zelda:
    Great info, Zelda! Thanks. Actually, Australia is one of the countries where you can find these exact Lock & Lock lunch sets online. I don’t remember the name of the store (sorry), but they’re definitely available at good prices Down Under.

  15. I’m fairly sure they did have the divided containers because I nearly bought one despite not needing it (and having no cupboard space!). Next time I’m in the store I’ll take a quick look though to make sure.