Browsed by
Tag: Bento

Baked Tofu

Baked Tofu

Baked Tofu

 

These chewy, savory nuggets are an excellent make-ahead protein option for meatless lunches.

 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Cut one 14 to 16 oz block of extra-firm tofu into 1 in slabs. Place a double layer of paper towels onto a baking sheet and arrange the tofu slabs in a single layer on top. Cover with a double layer of paper towels and set another baking sheet on top. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet or several large cans onto the baking sheet to weigh it down for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 3 T. of soy sauce, 1 T. of sesame oil, and 1 T. of maple syrup. Cut the pressed tofu into 1 in cubes, gently toss in the marinade, and let sit for several minutes. Arrange the tofu in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes, turning the pieces over halfway through baking. Makes about 2 cups [320 g].

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls with Avocado Cilantro Sauce

1 T. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1/8 tsp. garlic powder

1 C. cooked quinoa (optional)

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

6 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce

6 rice spring roll papers

 

1 avocado, pitted and peeled

1/2 C. plain greek yogurt

1 C. unsweetened almond milk

1 cilantro bunch

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 T. lime juice

 

For the Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls: Cook the chicken in olive oil over medium-high heat and season with sea salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Once fully cooked, remove from heat, allow to cool, and dice. Dip one sheet of rice paper in warm water for about 3-4 seconds or hold under running water, until the paper becomes fully moistened with water. Then, lay the wrapper onto your work surface which should be clean and flat.  Near the bottom of your prepped spring roll wrapper and in the center, lay out the cucumber, iceberg lettuce, and diced chicken (and optional quinoa).   Fold the bottom over the chicken, then fold the uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper all the way, as tightly wrapped as possible. Then repeat with the remaining ingredients. For the Avocado Cilantro Dipping Sauce: In a food processor or blender, combine avocado, Greek yogurt, almond milk, cilantro, garlic powder, sea salt, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Blend together until smooth. You can add a little more almond milk if it’s too thick.

 

Serving Size: 1 Roll w/ sauce

Calories: 202

Fat: 9.3g

Fiber:3.4g

Prosciutto-Wrapped Basil Shrimp

Prosciutto-Wrapped Basil Shrimp

Prosciutto-Wrapped Basil Shrimp

20 large frozen peeled deveined shrimp, thawed

1 T. chopped fresh basil

1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

10 (about 4 oz.) very thin slices prosciutto

Cooking spray

8 lemon wedges, for serving

 

Preheat broiler. In a medium bowl, combine the shrimp, basil, olive oil, zest, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Mix well and set aside. Lay the prosciutto slices on a large work surface, and cut prosciutto in half lengthwise so you have 20 pieces. Wrap the prosciutto around each shrimp, leaving the tail hanging out, and thread on an 8-inch skewer. Repeat with remaining shrimp for a total of 4 skewers with 5 shrimp each. Place the skewers on a broiling pan lightly coated with cooking spray. Broil the shrimp 2 minutes on each side. Serve hot with lemon wedges.

 

Serving Size: 5 Shrimp

Calories: 99

Fat: 5g

Fiber: 0g

Chicken, Spinach and Gruyère Turnovers

Chicken, Spinach and Gruyère Turnovers

Chicken, Spinach and Gruyère Turnovers

2 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 3/4 lb. (375 g) total weight, or 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) shredded rotisserie chicken

1 T. olive oil

2 T. chopped shallots

1/2 lb. (250 g) fresh spinach leaves, tough stems removed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 T. heavy cream

All-purpose flour for rolling

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17 oz./530 g package), thawed

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 lb. (125 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded

Dijon mustard for serving

 

If using chicken breasts, place them in a saucepan with cold water to cover by 1 inch (2.5 cm) and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 18 minutes. Drain and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken. Set aside. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and sauté just until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook just until combined, about 1 minute. On a floured work surface, cut the puff pastry sheets in half to make 4 rectangles. Brush the edges with the egg. Pile the cooked chicken, spinach, and cheese on half of each of the rectangles, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border. Fold the uncovered half of each rectangle over to cover the lower half. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Using the tip of a sharp knife, cut a few small slits in the top of each turnover. Brush the tops with egg and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with mustard on the side. Serves 4.

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

Mini Tortellini Kabobs

1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 C. red wine vinegar

3 tsp. honey

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

pinch of cracked red pepper flakes

pinch of black pepper

For the Kabobs

8 ounce package refrigerated cheese tortellini

4 ounces provolone cheese (6 thin slices), cut into small squares

50 thin slices salami

50 pimiento-stuffed green olives

toothpicks

 

To make the dressing, put all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid; shake vigorously until well blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a plastic ziploc bag, combine the tortellini and salad dressing; seal bag and refrigerate for 3 hours (or overnight.) Drain tortellini and discard the marinade. On each toothpick, thread pasta, salami (folded in half, and then in half again), and 1-2 slices of cheese, followed by an olive. Serve and enjoy!

Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces thick-cut deli ham (1/2-inch thick), diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Line a standard 12-well muffin pan with papers liners or coat the wells with cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, garlic powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and 5 tablespoons of the butter in a medium bowl until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Some lumps are fine. Fold in the cheese, all but 1/2 cup of the ham, and 2 tablespoons of the chives. Spoon the batter into the muffin wells, filling each about 3/4 full. Top the muffins with the reserved ham, sprinkle with the remaining chives, and sprinkle with pepper. Top each muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining melted butter. Bake until the tops just begin to brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. RECIPE NOTES: Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for 3 months. Eat cold or reheat in the toaster oven for a few minutes before serving.

Ploughman’s Lunch

Ploughman’s Lunch

This picture is a less traditional ploughman’s.  Not sure why I am a bit obsessed with them lately.  Probably evolution of my bento obsession, and that I am packing lunches for myself since I have been back in college.

 

Prosciutto & Provolone Sandwich with Fig Jam

Prosciutto & Provolone Sandwich with Fig Jam

Prosciutto & Provolone Sandwich with Fig Jam

 

1 ciabatta roll, split lengthwise, or 2 thick slices peasant bread, lightly toasted l T. fig jam (see Note)

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

2 ounces provolone, fontina, Havarti, or mozzarella cheese (2 slices)

1 ounce prosciutto (3 or 4 slices)

1/2 C. (loosely packed) arugula leaves

 

Spread the split roll with the fig jam and sprinkle with the lemon zest. Layer on the provolone, prosciutto, and arugula.

 

For a quick DIY fig jam, simmer halved and stemmed dried figs in simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) to cover until they are quite soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool a bit, then purée the figs and syrup in the food processor until they form a nice spreadable jam. Keep refrigerated in an airtight jar. This jam is also excellent on a cheese plate or melted into a glaze for pork chops.  Storage & Serving: This sandwich won’t sog, so just wrap it tightly. Keep (chilled) for up to 6 hours.

 

Bagel Bear Bento

Bagel Bear Bento

Adorable bears made from half bagel, cheese, nori, and washi tape on stick.  I see sausage/hot dog cut into flower, hard boiled egg, and something i don’t recognize.  My kids would probably gag over the black rye bagel, but a single color is doable.  So cute!

Lamb in a Field Bento

Lamb in a Field Bento

Cuteobento posted back in the height of flickr and never had a blog (at least not in english) that I ever could find, so no idea whats all in there!

We can see cabbage, and cherry tomato and a nice blanket of egg sheet, but it was the color and egg sheet field decor that I liked anyway —

I love how she thinly sliced pea pod as the leaves, simple cuts in the sausage / hot dog rounds as flowers, and of course the cloud shaped cheese becomes a lamb with a few bits of nori.

Lion Bento

Lion Bento

I used to love those little round metal tins of pastillines candies!  Seems like you could get single flavors or citrus or mixes.  They were small bits of hard candy.  Ahhhhh

Anyway…

Sandwiches, cheeses, ham, nori

mini hotdogs

Corn (looks like a quarter mini cob), broccoli

meat patties

 

Hello Kitty Chinese Dragon

Hello Kitty Chinese Dragon

This may be my favorite sherimiya bento ever.  I always love her use of color, but look at the backwards pick used for the tail.  genius!

Ravioli, cheese, nori,

strawberry, blueberries

mandarin, cucumber, sugar snap pea

Smiling Daisies Bento

Smiling Daisies Bento

Are those smiling daisies cheese or egg sheets?  I don’t know!  I found out!

Hamburger patty

Squash

broccoli, tomato.

“My lunch has one teriyaki hamburger patty cut in half, a small sprig of steamed broccoli sliced in half, a piece of simmered kabocha that I sliced up and fanned out, and a baby Roma tomato cut in half for some red.

I think I mentioned before how the baby Romas are almost gone and it seems like ever since I said that, the basket just doesn’t empty! *sigh* I think I have about six more to go. For the flowers, I cooked a bit of egg substitute on low heat, then cut out the flowers with one of my sandwich cutters. The middles are simply sliced baby carrot. I didn’t even need to use a straw, I simply cut two thin slices off a thick carrot and added the nori faces.”

Teddies Bento

Teddies Bento

Here she has coated the teddy onigiri with some flakes of katsuo bushi  after tinting the rice light brown with soy sauce. Under them is some chicken for support, the rest was sliced there.

Strawberry/carrot flowers

Tamagoyaki

Broccoli, carrot stars

 

Heart “Pizza” Bento

Heart “Pizza” Bento

Looks like mini “pizzas” from puff pastry perhaps.

Grapes, strawberry, orange slices

Looks like some grape tomatoes tucked in

There are perhaps some of that pink fishy stuff in there.

Little piggy Baran piece.

She makes such uncluttered and pretty bentos.

Color Contrasts Bento

Color Contrasts Bento

I love the colors here, something about it is very striking.  I bought a pan to try and master that rolled omelet.

Tamagoyaki

Peppers stuffed with …. cheese mixture?

Greens

Rice with Grape Tomato

Teeny Grapes

Smiling Egg Bento

Smiling Egg Bento

In perusing bentos, I have noticed a lot of eggs in this or similar state.  I have never contemplated sending a sunny side up egg in a lunch box.  Not even sure it felt/feels safe.  But it is an adorable little sunny face with its nori smile and crab stick cheeks!  Mushroom looks easy enough with cheese and cold cut like salami.  I also see some mushrooms, crab sticks, a dumpling, and what is that vegetable?  I thought it was okra, but now I am not sure, and I’m not sure how its cooked in that coating.

Tonkatsu Bento

Tonkatsu Bento

Tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet).  You can buy tonkatsu sauce or make an approximation with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce and sugar.

Rice

Salad, Broccoli, Yellow Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Radish

Dressing