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Posted on Mar 8, 2010 | 21 comments

His & her pasta frittata bento lunches

His & her pasta frittata bento lunches

Once a year, volunteer language teachers come from Japan to help out at my son’s school, and do a month’s homestay with families from the school. Part of the homestay deal is that the host family is to pack the teacher a daily lunch to eat at school. So that means that I’m back to making adult and child versions of the same lunch while “A-sensei” is with us — I’m finding it stimulating.

It was initially a little weird to be making bentos for a Japanese person. (You know, will she like our food? I don’t want them to look so thrown-together that the other senseis at school wind up gossiping about it.) But we’ve gotten used to each other over the past couple weeks, so I’m less self-conscious now and am learning her food likes and dislikes. The result? I’ve slipped back into my regular old speed bento habits for both lunches.

Pasta frittata bento lunch

Pasta frittata tutorial

For this meal I fell back on pasta frittata, a simple egg dish that incorporates leftover spaghetti from the night before. Now whenever I make pasta I just go ahead and make extra, knowing that leftovers will get remade into breakfast or lunch the next day.

Contents of adult bento lunch: Pasta frittata made with leftover spaghetti, shrimp & tomato sauce (see the full pasta frittata tutorial). Sauteed orange bell pepper with garlic & soy sauce, and green grapes.

Morning prep time: 20 minutes for the two bentos, using leftover pasta for the frittata and including prep/cooling time for the frittata and peppers. Thoroughly cooling all foods before closing them up inside a bento box reduces the amount of condensation inside of the box, improving food safety and making it easier to remove the lid of the bento box. (Click for lunch details and a kid-sized version of the same lunch.)

Packing: I cut the frittata into large bite-sized pieces to make it easy to eat on the go. The peppers are packed in a removable food cup that’s part of the bento box, keeping them separate from the grapes. The lunch is packed in a Hakoya 600ml two-tiered bento box (300ml lower tier, 300ml upper tier) that I picked up last year at Soko Hardware in San Francisco’s Japantown (see my bento gear shopping guide for the San Francisco Bay Area). This make it the right size box for an average adult woman, according to the bento box size guidelines.

Hakoya two-tier rabbit bento box Hakoya two-tier rabbit bento box (open)

Verdict: Well, the box came back empty and I got a thumbs up on the frittata as an interesting way to use up extra pasta. I hesitate to read too much into it, though — our teacher’s very polite. ;-)

* * * * *

Pasta frittata bento lunch for child

Contents of kindergartener’s bento lunch: Same as the adult lunch above: pasta frittata, sauteed orange bell pepper, and green grapes.

Morning prep time: 20 minutes to make and pack the two bentos, which includes time to cook and cool both the pasta frittata and the peppers.

Silicone cupcake linersPacking: I cut the frittata into small pieces to make them easier to eat without struggling with a knife in a small container, and packed them in two layers inside the box. The peppers went into a reusable silicone baking cup, and I separated the frittata from the rest of the lunch with a removable divider that came with the bento box. The lunch is packed in a 450ml Disney Cars bento box: Bug’s favorite and the appropriate size for him according to the bento box size guidelines.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Got back an empty box.

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21 Comments

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  1. Good to see you back blogging again!

  2. @1 from Libby: Thanks! It’s nice to be back.

  3. Thanks for another wonerful idea. The frittata is such a good idea, especially cut up small like you did!

  4. It will be fun to see your adult and child versions while your sensei is with you! I pack two identical kid lunches, with slight variations for taste. I keep coming back for new ideas!

  5. @4 from Mel F: Some aren’t that interesting when they’re totally identical — made a set this morning like that. As you say, the variations are what make them interesting…

  6. I love the pasta fritatta idea… we always have left over pasta and I get tired of it when I’ve had it for dinner, then next days lunch and I’m looking at another dinner of pasta. We have tonnes of eggs now as we’re keeping our own chickens. This is a great idea for me!
    And welcome back Biggie! Please keep blogging your lunches. I’ve missed it!

  7. Biggie, I love your blog! It’s awesome. About a week ago, I saw a panda shaped bento box on Amazon and was intrigued. I decided to read up on bento lunches and found your blog. I like that you make everything so quickly and use leftovers, but still make really interesting looking lunches. I’m a university student and spend 11 hours on campus every day, so a bento lunch sounds great. Can’t wait to start on Monday!

  8. I forgot to ask, do you know why the collapsible sandwich boxes don’t have solid plastic sides? The idea is fantastic, but I’d think you’d get crumbs everywhere and end up with stale bread since the sides have holes.

  9. anna, she has an entry somewhere about those sandwich boxes. if i remember right, you’re supposed to wrap the sandwich in wax paper or the equivalent so crumbs don’t escape, but please poke around on the site instead of believing me!

  10. Hooray for empty bentos! Sounds fun having a visiting teacher.

  11. I just made this for my lunch! :) I had a huge amount of leftover spaghetti and just assumed I would need to take a non-bento lunch to help use it up. I have my results posted here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10343097@N04/4523120064/

    Of course, I had to eat some to “make sure” it was good. It’s delicious! Thanks, Biggie!

  12. I have been looking for lunch ideas for taking my grandson out. He’s always hungry! These are so cute and look like something he will love. The containers are great!
    Thank you very much.

  13. This stuff all looks like shit!!!

  14. lol, i’m using bento box to work. i say it prompts you to eat healthier. i canjust fill it with fruits and rice and or pasta. i work nights so def have no open diners when it’s time for my break.

  15. Love that frittata for lunch in that cute bento; I am not a big egg lover but love them in a frittata like this one.

  16. Hmmmm…yumyum! Got hungry just by browsing through this! I love food when it comes in little variations and forms and little portions! Have you ever considered doing some videos about this? You could post them on your site with stuff like Movielocker and even make a dime with it or two- it enables you to post for free, by donation or cash. Take a look if you like! I don´t want to sound like spam or ad, but feel free to check it out- it´s quite easy and fun:http://movielocker.com/
    Thanks for the time, have a nice day and continue with your lovely work, it´s inspiring!
    All the best, have a nice day
    Sebastian

  17. I absolutely LOVE your recipes and ideas!

  18. The frittata looks good but it might take too long to prepare in the morning. 20 minutes!

    You know what– on an unrelated note why not use a colored Pyrex glass box as a bento box and leftover pasta from last nights dinner? It can fit in the microwave or toaster oven then :) and save prep time in the morning.

  19. I am still loving my Bento Box! I love the frittata idea.

  20. Thanks for another wonerful idea. The frittata is such a good idea, especially cut up small like you did!

  21. Nice idea. I’m also thinking of putting baked pastas on my bento box mostly on special occasions. I bought some nice Bento boxes here http://www.katachiware.com.au/bento-boxes.html which I think would perfectlly look great on my pasta recipe