Hello! This inaugural post is inspired by the lunches I made today for two-year-old daughter M. Like many lunch-making parents, I try to put together meals that are relatively healthy, with a balance of food groups and without a bunch of processed stuff. In general, I try to incorporate at least the following into each lunch: one protein serving, one vegetable serving, one serving of whole grain/carbs, and one serving of dairy. Once in a while, I throw in fruit, but M tends to get fruit at breakfast and dinner, so I usually lay off it at lunch.
Today was a what’s-in-the-fridge? kind of day. There was no considering of recipes or shopping for particular ingredients. I started with the idea of putting some brown rice in the rice cooker. I had a couple of blocks of extra firm tofu in the fridge. I had some veggies. Felt like a stir fry of some kind.
Brown rice went into the rice cooker first. Then, I did a bunch of other stuff while the rice . . . you know . . . cooked.
I drained the blocks of tofu and blotted them dry-ish with paper towels. I cooked the tofu in the only way that I’ve ever really had much success with: I put a tablespoon or two of sesame oil in a nonstick pan with an equal amount of cooking/canola oil. I turned on the burner pretty high, and when the oil shimmered, I added one block of tofu. Today, I tried two ways of cutting up the tofu: in cubes and steaks (to cut into cubes after frying). Both methods were fine, but I think I prefer the control I have over the color of the steaks. See how they got nice and brown?
Here is how the tofu looked after all the cooking and cubing:I guess they’re not so much cubes, are they? Rectangular prisms? Did I mention I used to be a Math teacher?
OK, so now I chopped an onion, a green pepper, and some carrot. I added a little more sesame/canola oil to the pan, turned the heat up high, waited for the oil to shimmer, and added the veggies to the pan.
I sauteed the veggies until they were soft, and added a tablespoon or so of jarred minced garlic and some Chinese five-spice powder. I sauteed for a minute or so until fragrant, then added three or four cups of the cooked rice. I cracked two eggs on top of the whole thing and stirred it all up, still over the high heat. Once the eggs were cooked, I seasoned with a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce.
I portioned the fried rice into five two-cup containers like this one:
Then I added about a heaping half cup of the tofu to each container and stirred it in:
Yes, this has some veggies in it, but I wanted more in M’s lunch. I had some butternut squash puree leftover from Thanksgiving, so I portioned some into half-cup containers like this:
Of course, there wasn’t enough squash for five portions, so I also prepped a broccoli crown into florets . . .
. . . and stir fried it in the same sesame/canola oil mix over high heat until bright green with some charred spots. I put a half cup or so of this into some one-cup containers, like this:
With protein, grain, and veg all set, I added a serving of one of M’s absolute favorites, cottage cheese. This week, M’s lunch will be one of these two options:
That’s it. First post complete!