Bent on Bento…

Here at Casa de Wench, I try to have my children make healthy eating choices, to fall into a lifelong love of a balanced diet including fruits and veggies. We’ve struggled with this, many a time…until I came across Bento Lunches. Bento lunches are based on the idea of healthier foods with appealing presentation.

Desperate to have something work, I began packing these lunches for SchoolGirl to take to school. Lo and behold, these little things work like a charm. Kids will eat almost anything if it is visually appealing. I am an amateur at making these, so it started out with, believe it or not, a fattening quiche. I am in love with quiche and will buy it on sale, because somehow, these easy to make pies of egg, bacon, cheese, and various other ingredients run $8. I had bought premade pie crusts, and after lining the pie pan for my big quiche, I had another pie crust left over. My eyes fell on my muffin tin, and a light bulb went off. I could make mini-quiches.

Perfect food for school lunches!

This is a sausage and cheese mini quiche.

I then found some segmented Rubbermaid Take-Alongs that worked perfectly for my purpose. I also had a small red ramekin that came from some restaurant, inadvertently included in a doggie bag…I put some veggie dip in the ramekin, sealed it with some Glad Press-N-Seal, and included that as well for SchoolGirl to dip her veggies in. I placed some raspberries (a favorite) and blueberries in a sort of fruit-salad-y way, and ended up with this:

Bento box school lunch

food that's perfect for bento school lunches

My original goal was to do it for a week, and I did. Then I searched for good muffin tin recipes, since they make the perfect serving size for SchoolGirl, and I came across a lovely recipe for mac and cheese “muffins” on SchoolGirl green-lighted the idea “But I’m still getting fruits and veggies, right?”. After assuring her that yes, she would still get fruits and veggies, I set to work. I used a little less cheese than the recipe calls for…about a cup less. These little beauties went in the oven, in my muffin tin:mac n cheese muffins for bento school lunch

Allow me to take a moment here…the folding over of the leftover dough is important. Believe it or not, by doing that, the pie crust will bake up flaky with many layers, and have a consistency similar to phyllo dough like they use in baklava. After they were baked, I placed a star crisp on top of each tart:mini tarts for bento school lunch

Bento box for school lunch