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Posted on Aug 3, 2007 | 6 comments

Chocolate chipotle rib lunches

Chocolate chipotle rib lunches

This past weekend my husband pulled out the grill to smoke some chocolate chipotle baby back pork ribs a la Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs . Definitely not fast food when we made it, but the leftovers are. Don’t hesitate to make extra food on the evenings or weekends when you’re cooking anyway — the leftovers pay off throughout the week in the form of fast lunch fodder. When you run short of appetizing leftovers, you can round out the meal by making one speedy dish or pulling out lunch staples from the fridge or freezer. That’s what I did here: made the green beans quickly in the microwave, with everything else from the fridge or freezer.

Babyback rib lunch #2

Contents of my lunch: Chocolate chipotle baby back ribs with extra sauce in the squeeze bottle, cheese wheel and triangle, green beans with vinaigrette, fresh lychees, blueberries, roasted Okinawan purple sweet potatoes with butter and maple syrup, and a frozen pudding made at home.

Morning prep time: 12 minutes, using dinner leftovers and freezer backup. The one thing I did make in the morning was the green bean dish, which I cooked in my microwave steamer for 2 minutes on high with a little water, and tossed with vinaigrette that I had in the refrigerator.

Laptop LunchboxPacking: Packed in a Laptop Lunchbox, which I haven’t used in a while. I removed one of the inner containers in order to fit the ribs in (most of my bento boxes were too small for the meaty ribs), and put the green beens with liquidy vinaigrette in the lidded yellow container. I also put the closed case into their “bento sleeve” for carrying. The Laptop Lunchbox is larger than my standard bento boxes, but it’s just the right size for large or bulky foods like the ribs, salads, sandwiches, etc. I like the lidded inner container and insulated carrying case, allowing you to throw in an ice pack to safely carry perishable food like yogurt.

Babyback rib lunch for preschooler #2

The frozen mini pudding was: 1) proof of concept that you can make and freeze your own mini pudding cups in condiment cups, and 2) a test of instant non-sugar pudding that went horribly wrong. In my post on edible ice packs, reader Jeff commented that the texture of 5-minute instant non-sugar puddings deteriorated after being frozen, so I wanted to see for myself after having had good luck freezing other puddings. Man, was Jeff right!! The thawed pudding became clumpy and unappetizing, which reader Jessica attributes to the lack of sugar (hat tip to the authoritative On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee). Beware! The minor upside is that the flavor was unchanged (although unexciting), and Bug ate it happily. You can still make little frozen treats in condiment containers, just avoid the 5-minute sugar-free pudding mixes.

Bug’s lunch: Same as mine, with the addition of a tiny Manzano banana (smaller and drier than a baby banana, with a slight apple flavor). Packed in two tiers (180ml & 280ml) of a 4-tier nesting Thomas the Tank Engine box.

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  1. your website is so much fun, and full of good information. I always enjoy it! I’m curious about the Manzano banana. I didn’t realize it was different from the baby bananas. Did you find it in a “regular” grocery store, or someplace specific? They would be great for my son’s packed lunches.
    Thanks very much
    Margi

  2. I’ve enjoyed your site in the past when I remembered to visit, now I’ve added it to my RSS reader.

    I will need to start packing lunches for my toddler this fall and am curious as to whether any of the food gets heated for eating. For instance you recently packed golden kiwi, ravioli and peas and I was wondering if that got heated up to eat. If so, how did the fruit hold up to heating?

    Thanks for your insight and I look forward to future lunches.

  3. @1 from Marjorie:
    Thanks for the kind words, Marjorie! I found the Manzano “apple” banana at Casa Lucas in the Mission in San Francisco (details in my SF Bay Area guide to ethnic markets). It’s a Mexican market with a large produce section — I often find interesting fruits and veggies there.

  4. @2 from Mary Beth:
    Thanks for the RSS feed add! BTW, I also set up a feature where you can sign up for daily updates via e-mail if that helps (upper right hand corner of the web page).

    We actually eat all of our bentos outside at parks, playgrounds, the zoo, etc., so we don’t reheat anything. If I were going to reheat a lunch before eating it, I’d pack the fruit and dairy separately so that I could nuke an all-savory layer on its own.

  5. @1 Marjorie – manazanos are usually found in Latino markets because they’re all over Miami, even in the ‘gringo’ stores now. There’s a trick to them, though — you have to let them get DEAD RIPE before eating them, otherwise they’re kinda inedibly starchy. Let them sit out for twice as long as normal bananas, even when they start going black; you’ll be glad you ate them truly ripe! They’ve got a wonderful taste.

    [enter pedantic mode] ‘Manzano’, btw, is the Spanish word for ‘apple’; sometimes you see the bananas called ‘manzanitos’ or, logically enough, ‘apple bananas’ as well. [/pedantic]

  6. @5 from Corgi: I hear you on letting the manzanos ripen — I’m currently waiting for some red bananas to ripen past, like, green plantain stage.