Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Homeschool Lunchroom

Lunches are often "catch as catch can" around here. Too often, I find myself declaring the local Chick-fil-A to be our local lunchroom. Well, you can imagine what that's done to my waistline and my cholesterol count! Last year I fell in love with bentos, which is a Japanese boxed meal. Coupled with a recent online conversation during which I discovered that many of my homeschool cohorts pack lunches for their kiddos as a time saver, even though they are staying home, I was inspired to pack some lunches for myself.

Here's how it all came down:

First, I purchased these Lunch Blox Salad Kits, made by Rubbermaid:

There are three kits available: a salad kit, a sandwich kit and an entree kit. You can also purchase many of the pieces individually.They are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe. I didn't use the blue ice blocks that came with the salad kit because these are going straight into my refrigerator & I'll most likely be eating them at home. The blocks have indentations in them so that the pieces fit snugly together. They don't snap together securely, so don't shake them up too much. I saw online that Rubbermaid has a lunch box sized for these, but no one appears to have them in stock. I think they would fit in a soft sided cooler bag just fine, though. The entree kit is about one and one-half the length of the salad and sandwich kits. Both the entree kit and the sandwich kit are higher than the salad kit. 

I decided to make two different kinds of salad, traditional garden and wedge. 

This is how the garden salad came together: 

The bottom is full of the torn lettuce, with the top, divided tray holding carrots, cucumbers, green peppers and raisins. The dressing container is in the front with a reduced fat Italian dressing. It looks like it will hold about 2 Tbsp., I filled mine up half way. 

This is what it looks like when I put the lids on and stack the boxes together: 

 The wedge salad was much less complicated to put together, of course. First, I cut two small wedges and placed them in the bottom compartment: 

Then, I put bacon bits in one of the compartments in the divided tray. I used the medium-sized compartment, but next time, I'll use the smallest one. The dressing is my favorite, Reduced Fat Parmesan and Peppercorn. I forgot to get some grape tomatoes. I am hoping to pick them up tonight. Of course, those would go in the largest compartment. 

Here it is assembled:

In this shot, you can see all three salads with the trays separate from the large bottom container: 

I had some leftover veggies, so I decided to cut them up for snacking:

Hopefully, the salads will stay fresh until I eat them. The biggest risk is the iceberg lettuce, which I chose because I wanted to do the wedge salad. The next time, I'll try to vary the ingredients some. Boston lettuce, grape tomatoes and mushrooms perhaps? Maybe just a tad of shredded cheddar? I think a pasta salad might work well in these containers as well.

What ideas do you have for make ahead salads?

No comments: