When you read other bento sites, especially ones where speed is a priority, there is much talk of building a "stash" of bento foods (in Japanese it's called "johbisai"). I love the idea but I'm not so good with the planning... I tend to be a little fickle. This year I've been much better about putting away some items to use for later. I have a few bags of mini felafel patties, some tiny store-bought egg tarts, home-made red sauce, zucchini bread, whole wheat bread, tiny lasagnas and now some adorable pies made from fresh pumpkins! I don't think my freezer has ever been so full!
I also like the more short-term stashes. AKA leftovers! Wednesday I roasted butternut and it's hanging out in the fridge just waiting to be scooped into a lunch. Tonight I made a double batch of veggie curry so we could have it for lunch tomorrow too.
Today is a stash lunch. I brought a little zucchini lasagna out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight. In the morning I warmed it in the toaster oven with a little dollop of extra sauce on top to help keep it from drying out too much. I threw some of that squash in the toaster oven at the same time to bake in the cinnamon flavor since I already had the oven going. While the spiders were warming I carved a creepy ghosty face from a yellow pepper so I could top the lasagna with a splash of color (it was a nice lid too so that nothing got sauced on accident!). Add in some sliced cucumber, broccoli and grapes on picks for a nice rounded lunch. I let Monstro have a small piece of fresh pumpkin pie too. He LOVES pumpkin pie!!
I initially tried to pack this in the LunchBots Eco but it's just too big. I couldn't find enough smaller items to hold the cups in place.
To make the tiny lasagna I used frozen cubes of red sauce (heated in the microwave), slices of zucchini browned in a skillet, no boil noodles and a little shredded cheese. I just broke the noodles small enough to fit in the spiders and layered everything like normal. Then I baked them in the toaster oven before relegating them to the freezer for a couple of weeks. They weren't part of a bigger meal though. I put them together one afternoon when I pried myself away from Facebook and now here they are! :D