Thanks to the wonderful invitation, I recently went to “Back to School Bento Workshop“, where Mission Foods teamed up with consultant dietitian Indra Balaratnam as well as celebrity moms, Aishah Sinclair and Sazzy Falak to share inspiring and inventive ideas for quick and healthy Bentos using their versatile Mission products such as wraps, pita, naan and chips.
“Food presented attractively looks more appetizing, since we eat with our eyes as much as our taste buds and stomachs. Through this collaboration with these influential moms, we hope to inspire more mothers to get artistic and at the same time more mindful about what they feed their children. A bento is a fun and engaging way to do this. Our products are nutritious, easy to prepare, and taste good with so many diverse ingredients – perfect for bentos,” said Constantino Flores, Vice President of Operations, Mission Foods Asia.
Dietitian Indra Balaratnam, also a mother to an 11-year old daughter, Skyler, said that one of the best investments a parent can make is to create a positive relationship with food so that their children grow up to become healthy and confident.
“Children get excited by many things, and they love anything colourful so why not incorporate what appeals to them into a lunchbox to encourage them to eat better? With a little bit of imagination, any mom can create a cute and appetising bento incorporating healthy, seasonal items leaving out sugary snacks and junk food. Mom’s special and loving touch will definitely go a long way to ensure they receive the best nourishment they need to be healthy and active,” she asserted.
Indra demonstrated Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas using Mission 6-Grain Wraps, shaped into dinosaurs grazing in a flower garden. The flower garden was cleverly made up of a leafy salad strewn with edible flowers. At the side was a Dinosaur Nest made up of a base of Mission Tortilla Chips, mixed nuts and a boiled egg with dots coloured with beetroot juice.
Chicken Cheese Filling
• 500 gm Skinless chicken fillet, cut into small cubes
• 120 gm Red onion, sliced thinly
• 150 gm Zucchini, chopped into small cubes
• 2 tbsp Cajun spice
• 1 tsp Ground turmeric
• 2 tbsp Cooking oil
• Salt to taste
• 4 Mission 6-Grain Wraps
• 1 cup shredded Mozarella or Cheddar cheese
• A small amount of softened butter
• 3 pcs of green lettuce
• A handful of fresh edible flowers
Dinosaur Egg Nest
• A handful of Mission Garlic & Butter Tortilla Chips
• A handful of Mixed nuts
• 1 small Hard boiled egg
• 1 small piece of beet root, shredded and juice squeezed out
To make Chicken Cheese Filling
1. Marinate the chicken fillet with the Cajun spice, ground turmeric and a dash of salt. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
2. Heat the cooking oil and sauté the sliced onions until translucent.
3. Toss in the chopped zucchini and sauté for another 4 minutes.
4. Add in the marinated chicken and cook for about 8 minutes until cooked through.
5. Taste and add more salt, only if needed.
Note: Filling stores well in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
To make Dinosaur Quesadillas
1. Use a dinosaur cookie cutter and press into Mission 6-Grain Wraps to create four pieces of dinosaur-shaped wraps.
2. Lightly spread softened butter on the outer side of the dinosaur-shaped wraps.
3. Top a shaped wrap with the Chicken Cheese Filling evenly before adding some shredded cheese.
4. Top with another piece of dinosaur wrap.
5. Heat the dinosaur quesadillas on a flat non-stick pan until the cheese melts and the wrap is a nice golden brown. Do the same with the other side of the quesadillas.
6. Break off triangular ends of Mission Garlic & Butter Chips and place them between the two wraps to make spikes for the dinosaur quesadillas.
To assemble the Mission Dinosaur Quesadillas Bento Box
1. Place the lettuce in a bento box and sprinkle the edible flowers before placing the two dinosaur quesadillas on top.
2. To create the dinosaur egg, use a little paintbrush to dot the hard boiled eggs with beet root juice.
3. Place the egg on some Mission Garlic & Butter Chips in a smaller container, topped with mixed nuts to create the Dinosaur Egg Nest.
4. Add in some grapes or your choice of fruits for a sweet dessert for your Mission Dinosaur Quesadillas Bento.
Radio announcer, TV host, fitness enthusiast, and dedicated mom to Soraya Ann, aged 7 and Aina Elisabeth, aged 3, Aishah Sinclair created a delicious Tandoori Chicken Pizza with Mission Wholemeal Pizza Crust in the form of flowers for her two daughters. “I’ve made a good number of Bentos for my two daughters and this recipe is a sure win with them. What I always do is to cut out cute shapes using cookie cutters and they get really excited about that. I am also a huge believer in eating right and being active so I want to inspire my girls to do the same,” quipped Aishah.
For TV anchor, fashionpreneur and fitness instructor Sazzy Falak, a busy schedule does not stop her from preparing meals for her family. For her twins, Tiara Rose and Iman Lily, aged 6, she created a snazzy bed of Mission Original Tortilla Chips nachos topped with crushed avocadoes and melted cheese, served with a fresh salsa. On the side was a teddy-shaped boiled egg and fruits with cute animal picks.
“It’s important for me to see my kids enjoying their food. Having a carbohydrate base that is healthy, versatile and convenient to use is important for me as it gives them the energy they need to sustain them throughout the day. From here, use your imagination to bring in five colours for a variety of flavours, textures and nutrients,” said Sazzy.
More photos at FOOD Malaysia facebook page, a Malaysian food blogger since 2010
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