Basilmomma, Heather Tallman, uses her experience in the food service industry and as a mom, to create delicious, healthy lunches for kids. Heather shares how to use bento boxes to make lunches that are appealing to the eye, as well as the taste buds.
But having worked in the public school system for 10+ years and being a mom for 15 years has taught Heather that fancy lunches with cute presentations just really don’t get noticed in the bustle of the lunchroom. While she’s am not generalizing here, the fact is most kids have a limited amount of time to get seated, unpack that lunch and get on with their day. Add to that if they get a drink through the lunch line. Plus, if you have ever spent time in a lunchroom and noticed the decibel level is set to ‘dull roar’ there is a reason for that. Kids talk non-stop during lunch (as they should). It is a great social break for them.
So don’t pack what they will not have time to eat or be able to open themselves. She speaks for lunch assistants everywhere when she says that they cannot possibly open every child’s juice or food containers that fast. Remember, hungry kids don’t like to wait :) By using a BENTO box you can fill each compartment with an appropriate amount of food that they can actually eat in the time they have. Plus- those look pretty cool for any age and aren’t to commercial or juvenile looking.
PIZZA PASTA SALAD
This makes enough for the week and will fit in the compartment of a Bento box container nicely
1 lb box of small tube shaped pasta
1/2 lb of pepperoni from the deli counter, cubed into small pieces
1 8oz package of mozzarella cheese, diced into small pieces
1 bottle of your favorite Italian dressing or olive oil based dressing
1 C of grape tomatoes, sliced
Italian seasonings for sprinkling: 1tsp each of oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta in salted water until just al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. You don’t want the pasta to be mushy. Add to a large lidded bowl. Then add the meat and cheese. Next, add your desired amount of dressing. Some like a more dressed pasta salad. Do what works for you. Add the tomatoes and toss to combine. Finish off with the seasonings and toss. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours to let the flavors combine.