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Posted on Nov 12, 2007 in Bento, For Kids, Pasta or Noodles, Poultry | 13 comments

Mother & son bento lunches with pasta

Mother & son bento lunches with pasta



Pasta & persimmon bento lunch

Contents of my lunch: Stir fried snow peas and red bell pepper with Thai oyster sauce, roast chicken, crisp Fuyu persimmon slices, and penne all’arrabiata with sun-dried tomatoes and pepperoncini. Not shown: a drink container filled with blueberry juice mixed with water. I also could have made a pasta frittata using the leftover pasta, instead of packing the leftover pasta as is.

Morning prep time: 12 minutes, using rotisserie chicken from Costco and leftover pasta that my friend Debbie made. In the morning, I restored the texture of the pasta by microwaving it briefly with a splash of water, cut the persimmon crosswise for visual appeal, and quickly pan-fried the vegetables with this recipe (but with fresh peppers instead of roasted). I like the persimmon cut like this; this lunch is even prettier with a full slice.

Packing: After packing the bento box, I let the lunch cool with the lid off while I finished getting ready for the day. This reduces condensation inside the box for maximum bento food safety. With two growing and feisty kittens in the house, though, it’s become more difficult to just leave lunches out to cool — there’s a very real risk of finding a curious cat trying to sneak a snack. (Hooray for squirt guns for discipline!) Lately I’ve taken to putting the boxes on top of the refrigerator behind the knife block where the cats can’t get at them. Lunch packed in two 350ml tiers of a Lock & Lock bento set, with handy drink container and insulated carrying case.
Pasta bento lunch for preschooler

Preschooler lunch: My son’s bento contains the same food as mine, minus the persimmon.

Packing: The flavors of the chicken and vegetables were complimentary and my son isn’t very picky about food touching, so I dispensed with food dividers (edible or plastic) and separated the snow peas and bell peppers for a nice color contrast. (Confession: If I weren’t taking photos and blogging this, I probably would have just dumped the stir-fried veggies in together without worrying about color contrast…) Packed in two tiers (180ml and 100ml) of a 4-tier Thomas the Tank Engine nesting and stacking bento box set.

Verdict: Pretty good over time. Bug ate all of the pasta and snow peas, and most of the chicken at preschool. After school he ate the rest of the chicken and one of the peppers (and the sliced persimmon from my lunch!). I was surprised that he downed the spicy pasta at dinner the night before; it seemed to be fine as long as he just stuck with the pasta itself and didn’t eat the add-ins (sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoncini, etc.). If I hadn’t seen him wolf this down earlier I would have hesitated to pack something spicy that he might not be able to eat.



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  1. I know how you feel with the kittens. Last night mine got into the broccoli raab that I left on the stove while I ate. What kittens like broccoli raab?!

  2. Ooh feisty kitties…. that’s actually part of why I can’t/won’t get a kitty/cat (well and I already have a dog)- it freaks me out taht they can jump so darn high! They can literally get into ANYTHING! That would terrify me, I guess I have too much stuff everywhere and my place isn’t kid proof too so the kitties would definitely wreak havoc…
    This looks delicious btw, and I laughed to myself because I recently purchased a rotisserie chicken for bento- well, mine was just for bento, but obviously you fed your family with it too :)
    Looks great, Biggie!!!

  3. @1 from eudyptes: Broccoli raab!?!? What the…? It really is amazing what they’ll get into. Ours have lately taken to knocking over little trash cans around the house and playing with (i.e. scattering) whatever they find. Um, the house is filled with children’s toys & cat toys; I’m not sure why they feel compelled to scrounge little scraps of paper…

  4. @2 from Yvo: I’ve had cats before, but never two kittens (siblings) at the same time. Wow, bundle of energy! One of them can even jump high enough to reach a lightswitch and turn off the room lights. (Cooling bentos are definitely in danger — they’d love to get into some rotisserie chicken just like we did!)

  5. Ours do the same thing with trash. They love it, always running around with tissues or wrappers! They also can’t leave the dining room rug alone, they flip up the edge and play with it. My husband put chili flakes on it to keep them off. We’ll see how it works

  6. Kittens!! Pictures are required, even if you have to get them to curl up in a lunchbox to fit the blog theme. ^_^

    My friend raised four kittens at the same time, three from the same litter. They get into so much trouble but play together so well. Next time I adopt a cat, I’m getting them in a pair like that.

  7. Might I ask, where do you purchase your Fuyu persimmon ?? I usually only find the tomatoe shaped ones that have to be extremely ripe otherwise its so tart you get cotton mouth?

  8. so cute! i love that they’re called moose and squirrel! ours are charles babbage and ada lovelace.

  9. @8 from TyR: Ah, those tomato-shaped ones are Hachiya persimmons — I’m not that fond of them. I’ve been getting the Fuyu persimmons at different produce markets: New May Wah on Clement, farmers’ market, 22nd & Irving, etc.

  10. @9 from eudyptes: My husband used to have a pair of cats named Boris and Natasha, so we’re following the theme… Love babbage and lovelace!

  11. Love your website. My daughter just started school so I am new to lunch packing. Question… do most of your bentos require heating up at school or does Bug just eat them room temp? Like the potato fried things with tonkatsu sauce - if heated in microwave, won’t it get soggy? And I notice you mix fruit in there too….

  12. @12 from Angela: Welcome to the site, Angela! Most of my bentos are eaten at room temperature unless I’ve packed them in a thermal food jar or lunch jar like a Mr. Bento — prior to last month we ate most of our bentos outside at parks or zoos where there were no kitchen facilities. I wrote about this in more detail in this post; it might help answer some of your questions…

  13. I love your website! I’m going into my freshman year at highschool (yay!), and of course, the food there is inedible. Thanks for the bento ideas!