When I was growing up, I took almost the same lunch to school everyday through eighth grade- a peanut butter sandwich (no jelly) and some side of chips, cookies or fruit. The times my mom tried to change the menu, lunch would end up at the bottom of my locker. I became more open minded in high school after a trip to Germany revealed that strawberry jam is actually pretty yummy. So I added strawberry jam and butter sandwiches to my lunch repertoire.
I have to tell you, those days of kids being ok with something so simple as a PB&J are long gone. Kids are more informed about various cuisines and and have definite tastes.
One of the things I dread when school starts is thinking about what to make for lunch. The best thing that happens is when my son makes a specific request. This week he wanted a brown rice and tofu teriyaki stir-fry.
Sounds complicated but it’s not. With a little preparation, it’s definitely achievable in the 15 minutes I have in the morning to make lunch.
This is not a recipe to be defined by definite measures and exact instructions. It is more of a method. This recipe makes one serving. Adjust the ingredients to your taste to increase the serving size.
I like to make the rice ahead of time, but put everything together in the morning before school. I cook one cup of brown rice on a Sunday night. Use the instructions on your rice bag. If you are cooking it in the microwave or stovetop, I recommend you give the rice a long soak in warm water beforehand. I use a pressure cooker since brown rice is pretty stubborn and I like to speed things up. Once the rice is cooked, put it in the fridge and go to bed. I use this rice over the next 3 days.
So, the base is done. The protein will be extra firm tofu. Now you need to decide on the vegetables.
This week my son just wanted carrots. Other vegetables that can be added in any combination are broccoli, cabbage and mushrooms.
If you want to be more fancy, you can add fresh ginger, garlic, mint or green onions. I don’t do this when it’s for school lunch.
This is what you are going to do to make one serving:
- Cut your vegetables and set aside. For one serving I use about a handful of veggies (about a 1/2 cup).
- Cut some tofu (about 1 cup) into cubes and set aside.
- Heat up a skillet (medium heat) with a teaspoon or two peanut oil, sesame oil or olive oil (I used olive).
- Once the oil is warm, add the tofu. Let it cook for a minute.
- Add the vegetables and stir in the skillet.
- Once the vegetables are cooked enough and the tofu is crispy (after about 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat) add about a 1/2 cup of cooked rice. Adjust and add more rice as preferred.
- Add two tablespoons of teriyaki sauce. Mix it up.
- Since I am using brown rice that has been in the refrigerator, I also add about a 1/4 cup of water.
- Cook until the water evaporates- about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Salt to taste.
That’s it. Pretty simple.