Easy Bread and Sandwich Bentos
Cute bread and sandwich bentos can be a snap to make! Check around your kitchen to see what you might already have to brighten up your sandwiches. Things like fun bags, cute picks, or brightly colored muffin cups will add some excitement to your lunch with minimal effort. Another way to change the appearance of a boring sandwich is to cut them into bite-sized finger sandwiches or use small dinner rolls instead of sliced bread.
Don’t forget about those old cookie cutters (both large and small) that you have tucked away in the kitchen cabinets! They make great tools for cutting sandwich bread, deli meats, cheese, and for fruits and veggies too!
This type of cookie cutter will not only cut out your bread, but will leave an imprint on the bread as well.
When choosing a cookie cutter try to find one that will utilize the whole slice of bread, thus minimizing waste. Check out these sandwiches that were made with cookie cutters!
Make a Face!
Don’t forget to make a face… on your sandwich that is! What kid wouldn’t want to open up their lunch and see their sandwich smiling or making funny faces back at them? Use things like nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, jelly beans, dried fruits, marshmallows, cupcake decorations, sugar icing eyes, fruit strips, cereals, cheese, deli meats, and nori to liven up your child’s lunch.
Make Your Own Sandwich Bento!
Here’s a sandwich bento that you can make using just one tool! That’s right, you’ll only need one cookie cutter.
A bear cutter is shown, but you can use whatever animal shaped cutter (even a gingerbread man is okay too!) that you have on hand. Cut your bread and assemble your sandwich.
Then decorate your sandwiches with cute faces! I used chocolate chips for the eyes, raisins for the noses, and a heart and star shaped cake decoration for each sandwich. ”Glue” the decorations onto your sandwich using a tiny dab of peanut butter, jelly, or even icing will do the trick.
Place the sandwiches in a lunch box and then fill the empty spaces with fruits, veggies, and other snacks.
Voila! You have yourself a kawaii sandwich bento! :)
And the Crusts?
Last but not least, don’t throw those crusts (or stale bread) away! Store them in the freezer and use them for recipes that require bread or breadcrumbs. Make a bread pudding, croutons for soups or salads, and put them in meatballs or hamburgers just to name a few. Here are a few recipes to start you off!
Garlic Croutons for Soups and Salads:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 2 cups of leftover bread with small cutters or in to 3/4- 1 inch cubes. Melt 2 tablespoons of garlic butter and drizzle over cut bread. Toss well and spread evenly on a sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes and then toss the croutons around so that they will brown evenly. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until croutons are golden.
Garlic Butter recipe:
1 pound salted butter softened (at room temperature)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Using an electric hand mixer, whip butter on high for about 2 minutes. Then in a food processor, mince the garlic, olive oil, pepper, and salt together (If you don’t have t a food processor just minced the garlic very small and then add the rest of the ingredients to it.). Add the garlic mixture to the butter and whip together until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Then add in parsley and mix again until evenly distributed. Store butter in small containers in the freezer and pull out one when you need to use it.
This versatile garlic butter recipe is great for croutons, garlic bread, as a steak butter, for sauteed vegetables, pastas, shrimp scampi and so much more! Give it a try!
Garlic Bread instructions:
To make garlic bread, take a piece of bread or baguette and brush with melted garlic butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired and toast in toaster oven or under a broiler until golden.
Meatballs with Angel Hair Pasta:
2 cups bread cubed
1 cup milk
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 large shallot minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup of parsley minced
1 extra large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 jars (1 pound 9 ounces each) of Original Prego (or your favorite bottled pasta sauce)
1 1/2 pounds of angel hair pasta cooked
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes with the milk and let sit for 5 minutes. After the bread has soaked up all of the milk, mash the bread with a fork a little to help break up the bread. To the bread mixture add in the beef, pork, shallots, garlic, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper, then mix together. Form mixture into balls (we like them big) and then pan fry in a little olive oil on medium high. The meatballs will be a little soft so turn them carefully with a pair of tongs to get all sides browned. At this point they will be only half cooked. Transfer to a sauce pot and cover with pasta sauce. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes. Serve over cooked pasta. Enjoy!
Don’t forget to check out all of the other fun classes going on at Bento Summer School!