Wednesday, February 16, 2011

#34 Rice and Stuff Bento

Bottom Tier: Jasmine Rice with a soy sauce swirl
Top Tier: Celery and carrot pieces, furikake for my rice in plastic wrap, fried soysage slices, dark chocolate almonds.

#33 Not a Bento

This obviously isn't a bento lunch, but it does have 2 recipes in it that I want to write down, so here it is anyway:
In the cream cheese tub: 3 stuffed grape leaves.
Sandwich: Queso blanco, turkey bacon, and guacamole on multigrain bread.
and a peach yogurt.

Stuffed grape leaves:
Cook about 1.5 cups of any white rice you like (I used Jasmine). Cool, and mix in about 1 can of crushed tomatoes, about a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, a couple tablespoons of crushed garlic, and some black pepper.
Open 1 bottle of pickled grape leaves, and rinse them under running water (if you don't do this, they will be way too salty to eat. Put about 1 tablespoon of rice mixture into the middle of each leaf and roll it like a burrito. Pack the stuffed leaves into a deep soup pan. When the pan is full, sprinkle it all over with about 1/4 cup olive oil, and add enough veggie broth where you can see it under the first couple of layers. Cover and cook on medium-low for a couple of hours. When finished, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over all the leaves.

1 avocado
3 cherry tomatoes, or half a normal tomato
a few sprigs of cilantro
1 garlic clove
juice of quarter-half lime or

Put everything in a blender (I used my Magic Bullet), and blend until you get the consistency you want.
Here's what it looked like on my sandwich:

#32 Comfort Pasta Bento

Top Tier: Baked bow-tie pasta
Bottom Tier: Red cabbage and carrot salad dressed with salad oil, salt, and lemon juice

Yummy comforting baked pasta:
Cook 1 box (12 oz?) of your favorite pasta shape al dente (my pasta box said to cook the pasta for 10 minutes, but I cooked it for about 7 and a half). Mix together 1 can of your favorite cream of whatever soup (I used chicken) and a half soup-can of milk, and stir into pasta. Add some spices, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir in some shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend). Pour everything into an oven-safe dish. Top with some smashed crackers (I used whole wheat Saltines), and some more cheese. Bake at 350 until cheese is melty and a little browned.
You could also add some veggies in there if you want. As I was trying it, I thought it might be good with some frozen peas, or maybe some asparagus (although I would have used fresh-I have a consistency issue with most pre-cooked veggies).
This is what it looked like when it came out of the oven:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

#31 Veggie Soup Bento

Twist-top container: Creamy roasted vegetable soup with fresh basil
Glass container: mini biscuit with turkey bacon and colby-jack cheese, broccoli, celery, carrots, grapes.

Roasted veggie soup:
Peel 2 sweet potatoes, 1 parsnip, 3 carrots, and 3 celery stalks, and cut into 1-inch squares. Toss with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until the veggies are soft and golden brown around the edges. At the same time, make some roasted garlic from the recipe in this post. Let veggies cool, and then blend them (I used my Magic Bullet) with some veggie broth (enough to accomplish blending). Pour it all into a pot, stir in more broth until it's almost as liquidy as you want. Heat on medium, and stir in any spices you want to taste (I used a seasoning salt, some cayenne pepper, and some fresh basil). When soup is hot, add about 1/5 of the volume milk. Stir, and enjoy!

*Celery Tip- If you hate those celery strings that always clump up after cooking, peel them off with a veggie peeler before slicing. I do this every time I use celery, even if I'm just going to eat it straight.

Monday, December 20, 2010

#30 Chickpea-heavy Bento

Bottom Tier: salad of baby Romaine leaves and carrots with ginger miso dressing underneath.
Top Tier: 3 falafel patties, homemade hummus, some colby jack cheese cubes, strawberries

In the bag: pappadum
and: a Clementine

I made the hummus in my Magic Bullet, which is pretty cool, but not as cool as the infomercial says it is (obviously). Recipe:
1 can of chickpeas (also called Garbanzo beans)
1 clove fresh garlic
1/4 Tsp each salt and pepper
1/2 Tsp dried parsley (I will probably use fresh next time)
A couple Tbsp olive oil

Blend it!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#29 Stir-fry Bento

Bottom Tier: 2 langostino wontons, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, slices of peppered salami, 1 piece of Muenster cheese.

Top Tier: wild rice blend with a stir-fry with curry tofu, carrots, baby bok choy, garlic, fresh ginger (from the garden!), and cilantro.

I also had a nectarine with this lunch.

Our homegrown ginger was an incredibly happy accident. Last spring, we had some store-bought ginger that had been around for a while, and started to grow a crown, so I decided to plant it. The greens of the plant are really beautiful, although I didn't have mine in the ground long enough for it to flower. Anyway, the point is that the ginger root that you get from growing your own plants is absolutely nothing like the kind you buy from the store. Store-bought ginger has a tough skin, and is almost grainy and hard to cut through. This ginger had a thin, papery skin that you could remove just by rubbing it, and it slices as easily as a clove of garlic. I'm probably going to try and grown some in a pot over the winter.

Monday, October 18, 2010

#28 Pescatarian Bento

Baby bok choy leaves on the bottom, a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower florets, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes (from the garden!), two falafels, three wontons made with cream cheese, langostino tails, and parsley (from the garden), 1 folded-up slice of Muenster cheese. Also, I had a Minneola tangelo.

This lunch was put together in a 1 QT (950 mL) Pyrex container. It was a little much, but I ate the leftovers later in the afternoon before going to the gym.

You can find my wonton recipe in this post.

I have tried many falafel mixes over the years, including making my own, which was kind of a disaster. Falafel is one of my favorite foods, and it's a staple in our household for a quick and easy veggie lunch (my husband is a vegetarian, although I'm not). In any case, I've found my favorite brand: Casbah. The falafel get nice and crispy in the pan without having to deep fry them, and there is plenty of spice in the mix. I've started buying them by the case from on