Frozen bento fillers

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I take my lunch to work and most days I take a large salad. I love salad. My son, on the other hand, is two and is not a bit fan of raw vegetables. Lunch making takes a bit longer since I have to cater to his twoness. When I moved a few weeks ago, I picked up some frozen veggie side dishes to use for the first couple of days. They came frozen in individual muffin cups, perfect for his bento box. I thought it was a great idea decided to give it a try.

In the picture is leftovers from a quick side dish I made with spinach, tomato and canned tuna. I decided to freeze leftovers instead of making a whole batch of something to freeze. Who wants to have the same side dish for three weeks? I picked up some reusable muffin cups at the local supermarket and have been using those. I’ll soon have quite the collection going. The best part is that since it is summer, I don’t even need to thaw them before I put them in his lunch. It’s over thirty degrees everyday, they’ll be thawed before he gets to school…

Do you freeze small quantities of food for lunches? Please leave a comment below with what you freeze. I’d love to see all of your ideas.

Freezer bento fillers

bento freezer ideas

The last three months have been full of making lunches. I’ve had to up my game as the kiddo probably wouldn’t appreciate eating the previous night’s dinner for lunch every day. Or meal salads every day… I have a tiny freezer but I’ve been keeping as many bento fillers in there as possible. Because there are those days when all of the energy you have is to move things from the freezer to the bento box. Or those days when you want eight different things in your lunch. I am usually fine with two. Here are some things that work well from freezer to bento box. If you have access to a microwave where you are going to be eating the bento, you don’t even have to defrost. In summer you probably don’t have to defrost anything. If you don’t have microwave access at lunch, defrost your fillers when you are making your lunch.

Mini burger patties - they can be veggie, bean, beef, chicken, pork or any mixture you want but they are versatile

  • top with salsa and cheese
  • top with gravy
  • top with bbq sauce and canned pineapple
  • top with ponzu and grated daikon
  • cut up over a salad
  • add to a lettuce wrap

Daikon steaks – easy to make and they get soft after freezing (something I consider a good thing)

  • eat as is
  • mix in with simmered veggies (nimono)
  • dice and mix with canned tuna and mizuna – no dressing needed

Steamed broccoli – or any veggie that freezes well

  • eat as is or topped with dressing
  • top with cheese
  • cut up and mix in pasta

Grilled sausage – grill cocktail sausages and then freeze

  • eat as is
  • slice and serve over a salad
  • top with bbq sauce, “sauce”, mustard or ketchup
  • top with cheese
  • roll in lettuce

Shumai/gyoza (dumplings) – just freeze leftovers anytime you have them

 

Sauces – have a little bit of leftover sauce from dinner? Freeze it in an ice-cube tray for quick bento toppings

 

Cheese – grated or cubed

  • eat as is
  • sprinkle over salad
  • sprinkle over pasta
  • sprinkle over Japanese curry