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Posted on Oct 17, 2008 in Bento | 25 comments

Leftover dim sum bento lunches

Leftover dim sum bento lunches


My son recently turned four, and at his birthday I served dim sum from a local dim sum take-out place. This was the meal that kept on giving, as the leftovers gave us dinner and two speedy bento lunches, below. If your family overeats because they finish everything that’s put out on the table, try holding a little bit back in the kitchen for lunch the next day instead of counting on them to leave leftovers on the table. This has been helping us with portion control lately, and consequently saves a little money.

Dim sum bento lunch for preschooler

Contents of bento lunch for preschooler: Pork potsticker dumplings, shrimp har gow dumplings & dipping sauce, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, little carrots & broccoli with ranch dipping sauce, and a strawberry. The dim sum is from Clement BBQ in San Francisco, a cheap take-out dim sum place with very nice baked goods. Try picking up a package of buns from the counter to steam at home; my favorite is their steamed pork buns. (Disclaimer: I have no affiliations with Clement BBQ.) If you have time, try your hand at making your own gyoza, using even leftover stew or curry as the filling.

Morning prep time: 6 minutes, using all leftovers from the birthday party (including a tray of assorted vegetables and dip). In the morning I quickly re-steamed the dumplings in the microwave to restore the texture of the wrappers, let them cool a little, and filled the dressing container. (Read on for details, an additional lunch, and cool Ultraman cupcakes.)

Verdict: I thought this would be about the right size for a four-year-old according to the bento box size guidelines, but Bug wound up just eating the dim sum and leaving the entire top tier for an after-school snack. He wound up eating the celery! :-)

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Baked chicken roll bento lunch for preschooler

Contents of bento lunch for preschooler: Baked rolled filled with chicken, egg and onions. Corn on the cob segment, sauteed red bell peppers with soba broth flavoring, grapes, and a wrapped cheese triangle.

Morning prep time: 10 minutes, using leftover dim sum and corn. In the morning I sliced a bit of bell pepper, sauteed it briefly, and added a dash of bottled soba noodle soup base (tsuyu) for flavor, letting it reduce down to coat the peppers. Very simple way to add vegetables and a hit of red color to the lunch (see my packing by color links for the 5-color guideline).

Packing: I had a full ear of corn leftover from dinner the night before, so I sliced off a small segment that would fit into the space remaining in the box once the peppers were packed. I briefly toasted the chicken roll in my convection toaster oven to crisp up the outside, and let it cool on a small rack while I worked on the peppers. The peppers went into a reusable silicone baking cup, and the grapes and cheese act as gap fillers to stabilize the lunch during transit. The whole lunch is packed in a 360ml Disney Cars bento box with one subcontainer removed to accommodate the chicken roll.

Verdict: Big thumbs up; Bug demolished the whole lunch at preschool without leftovers. He said that he was still hungry after eating this, so I’m going to start bumping up the size of his lunches slightly to 400ml or so. I can still use this bento box (his favorite), but will supplement it with a little side dish container of fruit or something. Growing boy!

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Ultraman mini-cupcakes