Magazine article Working Mother

Beautiful Bentos

Magazine article Working Mother

Beautiful Bentos

Article excerpt

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

SERVES 6, plus leftovers for 1 bento box PREPTIME 10 minutes * COOK TIME 1 hour 15 minutes

Tonight's turkey lasagna, tomorrow's pasta-and-veggie packed lunch- a beloved kids' song in a box. No bentos at home? See page 202.

Low-Fat Turkey Lasagna

1 (1 -pound) box lasagna noodles

1 pound ground turkey

1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti or marinara sauce

2 cups cottage cheese

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

Lucky Stars

1 slice cheddar cheese

Black sesame seeds, for decorating

Bento Box Extras

¼ cup steamed broccoli florets

3 grape or cherry tomatoes

2 thick orange slices, cut in half

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare lasagna noodles al dente, according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.

2. While the noodles cook, in a pan over medium-high heat, sauté ground turkey until brown. Stir in spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes. In a nonstick 9- by 13-inch pan, alternate layers of lasagna noodles, meat sauce and cheeses. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour, removing foil for the last 10 minutes. Let lasagna cool before cutting into rectangles and packing your bento box.

3. Using a i-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, make 3 small stars from the cheese. Let your child create smiley faces on the stars by placing black sesame seeds to make eyes, noses and mouths. Place 4 small rectangles of lasagna in the center of a bento box. Your child can arrange the broccoli, tomatoes and orange slices around the lasagna and top with the stars.

Garden Caterpillar

SERVES 1 * PREP TIME 20 minutes COOK TIME 5 minutes

Little munchers will love gobbling up the goodies inside this caterpillar's "garden." We use homemade chicken nuggets as the main course, but you can also roll up slices of deli turkey or ham for a no-cook version.

Sesame Chicken Nuggets

1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon black sesame seeds

¼ teaspoon curry powder (optional)

4 bite-size pieces chicken breast

2 tablespoons oil for frying

Bento Box Extras

2 green-leaf lettuce leaves

1/3 cup leftover cooked white rice, shaped into 4 equal balls

4 pear balls (made with a melon bailer)

1-2 cherry tomatoes

½ teaspoon black sesame seeds for decorating

1. To make the nuggets, combine cornstarch, sesame seeds and curry powder (if using) in a bowl; coat chicken well with mixture. Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté chicken 5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.

2. Have your child place lettuce leaves in the bottom of a bento box. Help him arrange rice balls in a half circle over lettuce and place pear balls and cherry tomatoes at the top of the box. Tuck nuggets in on both sides of the box. Let your child create a smiley face on the caterpillar using sesame seeds.

Mac 'n' Mouse

SERVES 1 * PREPTIME 15 minutes COOK TIME 5 minutes, plus macaroni-andcheese cooking time as directed

Green peas add color and a veggie boost to boxed mac Yi' cheese. The cute little mouse will bring a smile to your kid's face come lunchtime.

1 slice ham

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon minced onion

5 cherry tomatoes

2 asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces, tough bottoms discarded

2 broccoli florets

Pinch of salt

1 basil leaf, chopped

1 strawberry

½ cup prepared macaroni and cheese

1 tablespoon cooked peas

½ teaspoon black sesame seeds for decorating

1. Using 2 small different-sized round cookie cutters, cut out ? …

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