It's easy to be a fan of the Bento Box Lunch fad, especially with the imagination shown by parents and chefs all over the world. Wouldn't it be a delicious treat to open a lunch box and find a specially designed lunch inside, just for you? It would probably promote eating of home lunches by kids, too! Spoonful.com has some wonderful examples of artistic lunches, including:
"Pirates of the Caribbean" Bento Box
- Perfectly pirate chicken & veggie stuffed muffin, topped with cheese pirate
- Tropical fruit sword kebabs with mango and pineapple
- Miniature banana muffin
- Baby bananas
- Veggie chips
- Blueberries and strawberries
- Cheese Pirate Ingredients needed: 2 slices of cheese (not processed cheese), one white, one orange (we chose muenster and medium cheddar), cucumber peel, red lettuce or spinach, sugar eye, cream cheese.
Tools needed: Cutting board, small sharp knife, circle cookie cutter about 2 inches diameter, small heart cookie cutter, small triangle miniature fondant cutters or straw.
Note: Blueberries and strawberries may not be the first fruit brought to mind by "Caribbean," but they make great place holders in a bento to keep other items from shifting. Baby bananas can be found at many grocers and work well in bentos, since peeled banana pieces brown quickly.
Preparation: (for complete instructions and photos please see spoonful.com)
- Cut one whole circle from white slice of cheese and one semi circle from orange slice.
- Place orange slice at top of white circle, to become the "bandanna."
- Using a small fondant cutter, a straw or a decorating tips, cut several small circles out of the remaining white cheese. These will be the polka dots on the bandanna and a nose for the face. With a toothpick, dab tiny dots of cream cheese to help stick these in place. Cut a small triangle piece to be the bandanna ties.
- With cucumber peel or red lettuce, cut one slim strip to be eye-patch string and one heart bump to be the eye-patch. Position and use cream cheese to hold in place. Affix sugar eye with cream cheese.
- To make the mustache, cut the top of a heart from cucumber peel/red lettuce. Move the cutter a fraction of an inch and cut again.
- This should leave a scalloped mustache piece. Attach with dots of cream cheese if needed (cucumber peel may stick on its own).
- For the goatee, repeat step 4, but use just one of the heart bumps instead of both. Attach as needed.
- Place on top of the muffin, use hummus or cream cheese to attach if needed. ***Note, cream cheese dots are approximately the tip of a toothpick, use the smallest amount possible to hold things in place.
Chicken & Veggie Stuffed Muffins: Prepare corn muffin mix (boxed mix or homemade). To the batter, add two cups of cooked shredded or diced chicken and one to two cups of frozen mixed veggies. Spoon into paper muffin cups and bake per muffin mix directions.
- Tropical Fruit Kebabs: Dice mango and pineapple into small squares and skewer on plastic sword picks (found at party or craft stores). Remember to separate peeled fruits from other bento contents; a silicone muffin cup holds the kebabs to prevent the juice from dripping on the muffins.