• The new school year is here! If you’re having a bit of trouble thinking of baon ideas, here are a few recipes you can steal:

    1. Veggie Frittata with Chicken Fingers



    Makes 6 servings
    Takes 30 minutes

    • Sauté 1 diced medium onion, then 3 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoon butter until soft but not brown. 
    • Add 1/2 cup each diced artichoke hearts, sliced mushrooms, and grated zucchini, and 1/4 cup grated carrots. 
    • Cook until soft but not brown. Beat 6 large eggs well with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. 
    • Fill silicone baking cups with vegetable mixture about half way up. Top with egg mixture then with 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce and more Parmesan cheese. 
    • Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then lightly scrape the sides to loosen each frittata. 
    • Pack with chicken fingers. 

    Baon trick: Make this dish healthier by adding 1 cup cooked quinoa to the veggie mix, and substitute any of the veggies with your child’s faves.


    2. Italian Rice Balls Box



    Makes 6 servings
    Takes 50 minutes

    • Sauté 1 chopped medium onion and 3 minced garlic cloves. Add 1/2 kilogram ground beef and 3/4 cup frozen green peas. Add 1 1/4 cup prepared marinara sauce. Set aside. 
    • Combine 4 cups freshly cooked rice, 1 large egg, and 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese. 
    • Using a resealable kitchen bag, mold about 1/2 cup of rice around a cube of mozzarella cheese and beef filling into a ball. Tightly compress. 
    • Roll in seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and dried parsley, oregano, and basil). 
    • Lightly fry in extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat. Then bake, 1/2 inch apart, for 20-30 minutes at 350°F until cheese oozes. 
    • Pack with meatballs, veggie sticks, and marinara sauce.

    Baon trick: Make this for dinner, then pack the leftovers for next day’s lunch. 

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    3. Sweet Potato Pancakes with Fish Fingers



    Makes 6 servings
    Takes 30 minutes

    • Coarsely peel then grate 1/2 kg. Taiwan kamote. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 3 finely chopped scallions, greens only, 2 large eggs, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
    • Drop rounded tablespoons of the chunky batter into a frying pan on medium-low heat and flatten to form a pancake. Fry on each side about 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. 
    • Meanwhile, season 2 cream dory fish fillets with extra virgin olive oil, capers, and calamansi. Slice fish fillets into fingers. Grill on an oiled grill pan until opaque. 
    • Pack pancakes with sour cream and fish fingers.

    Baon trick: Mix carrots into the kamote mixture, too. 


    4. Baked Veggie Macaroni



    Makes 6 servings
    Takes 30 minutes

    • Sauté 1 chopped medium onion in extra virgin olive oil. Add 4 minced garlic cloves; do not brown. 
    • Add veggies: 1 chopped small head of broccoli, 1 chopped large zucchini, 8 chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped unskinned eggplant, 1 chopped large green bell pepper, 1 coarsely grated large carrot, and a handful of freshly chopped basil leaves. Sauté until softened; cool for 15 minutes. 
    • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook 1 400-gram pack of macaroni shells. Blend sautéed vegetables in blender or food processor until puréed. Drain pasta.
    • Mix sauce with cooked shells. Top with mozzarella cheese and basil; bake. 
    • Pack with garlic bread and fruits.

    Baon trick: Salt and pepper each additional vegetable that’s added to the mix. 


    5. Three-Bean White Chicken Chili




    Makes 6 servings
    Takes 20 minutes

    • Sauté 1 chopped medium onion and 3 minced garlic cloves. Add 300 grams chopped boneless chicken breast, and cook all the way through. 
    • Add 1 400-gram can each cannellini beans, pink beans, and baked beans or in equal parts, if not using the entire can. 
    • Season with a dash each of ground cumin, ground sage, salt and pepper to taste. 
    • Finish with 1 227-gram can drained pineapple tidbits.
    • Pack with steamed rice, steamed broccoli florets, and homemade chocolate chip cookies as a snack.

    Baon trick: Use your choice of canned beans and lean meat like ground turkey, or swap white rice with brown for a healthier option.

    This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines magazine. 

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