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Posted on Mar 27, 2008 in Bento, Food Jar, For Kids, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Meat, Sandwich or Wrap, Soup or Stew | 7 comments

Corned beef bento lunches

Corned beef bento lunches


I made corned beef and cabbage for our St. Patrick’s Day dinner, so leftovers made their appearance in my three-year-old’s packed lunches last week. Surprisingly, he was a big fan of the cabbage and carrots, not so much the meat and potatoes.

Packing Tip: When packing moist foods in a standard bento box, be sure to drain them of excess moisture first. This helps prevent spoilage if the food hits room temperature before lunchtime.

Corned beef & cabbage bento lunch for preschooler

Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Cabbage and carrots in broth, corned beef, boiled potatoes, and orange segments.

Morning prep time: 5 minutes, using dinner leftovers. In the morning I pre-warmed the thermal food jar with hot tap water while I microwaved the vegetables, and cut up the beef, potatoes and orange into bite-size pieces for easy preschooler eating. (Read on for packing details and an additional preschooler lunch.)

Insulated bento set
Packing: The orange segments went into a reusable mini silicone baking cup (4 for $1.50 from Daiso discount store) to keep the sweet flavor separate from the savory meat and potatoes. I packed the lunch in an 560ml insulated lunch set (from Ichiban Kan discount store) with one 160ml side dish container removed for a total capacity of 400ml.Verdict: Bug ate the orange and most of the cabbage and carrots at preschool. After school he ate the potatoes but gave a thumbs down on the corned beef (he only liked the soft fat, not the meat itself).

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Mini hot dog bento lunch for preschooler

Contents of preschooler bento lunch: Cabbage, carrots, and a Japanese arabiki mini pork sausage in a hot dog bun.

Morning prep time: 5 minutes, using leftover cabbage and carrots from dinner. In the morning I drained and dried the vegetables for maximum food safety, and warmed the sausage in a frying pan with a bit of water.

Lock & Lock insulated bento setPacking: The moist vegetables went into a reusable silicone baking cup to keep them away from the hot dog bun. If I were making this for myself, I would have packed the hot dog condiments separately in little containers to keep the bun from getting soggy. As it was, Bug was watching when I packed this, and he requested that I put mustard and ketchup on before closing it up. The lunch was packed in a single 350ml box from a three-container Lock & Lock lunch set with insulated bag.

Verdict: Thumbs up over two sittings. Bug ate the little hot dog and bun at preschool, and all of the vegetables at the playground as an after-school snack.


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  1. Looks great as always!
    I was just wondering, did the hot dog stay warm until lunchtime? I love hotdogs, and so does my BP, but he wouldn’t touch it if it had gone cold.

  2. Does Bug have anything particular he doesn’t like? How do you deal with it - do you keep offering it or leave it alone? DD hates potatoes, whether boiled in a stew or mashed with cream and butter…even hidden and not told they’re there, she hates it.

  3. @1 from lilletia: The sausage absolutely did NOT stay warm until lunchtime. Bug doesn’t mind them cold as long as he has ketchup, so I’m in luck there. If I were packing a hot dog to stay warm, I’d put it in a thermal food jar with very hot water, pack the bun separately, and assemble them right before eating.

  4. @2 from Monica: Bug is a remarkably non-picky eater for a three-year-old, but he’s not partial to a few things such as fruit skin, bread crusts, lettuce in sandwiches, natto, etc. Depending on his mood, he may either eat or reject pretty much anything, but he often eats whatever he’s rejected if I offer it again. I try not to make a big deal out of it. I ask that he try everything on his plate (a couple of bites), then just eat whatever he likes that I’ve served. I won’t do special orders, though — what’s for dinner is what’s for dinner. His nutrition balances over the day or week, so I don’t sweat it. If he were a REALLY picky eater things would be different. I wrote a post on bentos and the picky eater here:

  5. @5 from a.J.: I kept the leftover cabbage and carrots in their broth in the fridge overnight, and microwaved them in the morning to make them nice and hot for Bug’s lunch.

  6. How do the japanese pork sausages taste as opposed to an american hot dog?

  7. @7 from Vanessa: Well, they’re coarse ground and don’t have as many additives and mystery ingredients. They taste more like a good quality sausage that you might get from a good butcher.