Yasai Tenpura aka Fried Fish & Veggie Cake (69)

Bottom Tier: Yasai Tenpura chicks, Roasted Lotus Root, Peppers, Yam, Brussel Sprout.Top Tier: Clementine, Babybel Cheese, Green & Black Olives & Cherry Pepper.

To help make bento-making quick I dice, slice, and/or chop my fresh vegetables when I get home from the market. I then freeze single layers on cookie sheets and, once frozen, pop them into freezer-safe containers. This prevents things from freezing into a clump and allows me to take out just what I need.

For today’s bento I took out red, orange, and yellow pepper slices, purple yam cubes, sliced lotus root, and brussel sprouts. These went onto a foil covered baking pan with a little olive oil, garlic, pepper, and rosemary. Popped this into the convection oven (I love that thing!) at 400 degrees until done.

This bento also has some Yakai Tenpura (fried fish and veggie cake). This is an easy source of protein and it comes in flat pieces making it easy to shape with a knife or cutters.

To finish off this ideal meal I’ve added a babybel cheese, olives, cherry pepper, and a clementine for dessert.

Overall a pretty healthy meal with lots of great colors and flavors.

Published in: on March 31, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Green Chile Pork (68)

Clockwise from Top Left: Green Chile Pork, Tortilla Wedges, Clementine, Tootsie Roll Fruit Chews, Fresh Pineapple, Brussel Sprouts, Mixed Nuts.

Green chile pork is such a great southwestern food. I have had this delicious dish in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona and it is different every time.

This version cooked all day in the crockpot and, since I am still recovering from surgery, made use of some pantry and freezer staples so no chopping was required. I will add the recipe in the next couple of days for those of you who are hungry for good green chile.

To complete this ideal meal I added some tortilla wedges for dipping, fresh pineapple and a clementine, as well as brussel sprouts. A couple of tootsie roll fruit chews and mixed nuts are in there for snacks as well. Yum!!

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Shrimp & Crab Inari (67)

Spicy Crab Inari, Spicy Shrimp & Rice Inari, Spicy Udon Soup with Shrimp & Surimi.

Back to bento today with an easy soup & sushi combination.

The inari packets were filled with two different combinations. One holds a mixture of imitation crab (surimi), mayo, and sriracha. The other holds sushi rice topped with shrimp and a mayo & sriracha sauce. Both are topped with scallions and black sesame seeds for garnish.

The sushi is paired with a bowl of spicy udon noodles garnished with more surimi, shrimp, and scallions to complete today’s ideal meal.

Happy Monday everyone!

Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Pasta Salad (66)

Bunny Pasta Salad, Mango Chunks, Pepperoncini, Cherry Pepper, Olives, Babybel Cheese.

This bento features an item from this month’s bento swap – Bunny shaped pasta! It is so cute and my daughter wanted it as soon as we opened the box. I made her some bunny mac & cheese for dinner and saved some cooked pasta for this little salad.

The salad is made with bunny pasta, pepperoni, mozzarella, olives, pepperoncini, sun dried tomato, red pepper, and italian dressing.

To complete this ideal meal I’ve added more olives and peppers as well as a babybel cheese and some mango chunks. A nice light meal for my daughter to enjoy after school.

My surgery is scheduled on Wednesday and I will be in the hospital through Friday or Saturday so this will be my last bento for the week.

Thank you for your continued prayers. I’ll talk to you all again next week!

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

BBQ Ribs (65)

Corn on the cob, mashed potato flowers, carrot stars, spicy bbq ribs, craisinettes.

Today’s bento is basically leftovers. I’m trying to use up some freezer items and had a couple of slabs of ribs that needed cooking.

My husband is not a fan of ribs (really not a fan of BBQ – crazy, huh?!) so I don’t make them often. To help make them more appealing to hubby I made a spicy sauce and added some crushed red pepper flakes as well as a pepper-heavy steak seasoning. He loved them!

I did have some of everything left from dinner so I put some of the rib meat in today’s bento along with corn on the cob, potato flowers, carrot stars and; to finish off this ideal meal, a little sweetness with some craisinettes.

The potato flowers are a simple way to use leftover potatoes and make them finger-food. Pipe or spoon leftover mashed potatoes onto a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Baked at 350 until edges are browned and potatoes are dry.

I like to top them with a little butter and Lawry’s garlic salt while they are still hot. These may be refrigerated or frozen for later bento use and are good hot or cold.

Have a great day everyone!

Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Fish Cake & Shrimp (64)

Teriyaki noodles, fish & veggie cake, shrimp, mango & avocado slices, broccoli, carrots & gummy butterfly.

This bento makes use of another freezer find – Yasai Tenpura fried fish & vegetable cake. This is similar to kamaboko (steamed fish cake) but much more flavorful.

I have one fourth of the Yasai Tenpura in today’s bento and have added some leftover carrots, broccoli, and shrimp as well as teriyaki noodles. To finish out this ideal meal I have some sliced avocado and mango as well as a gummy butterfly. Delicious!

For those of you who have been keeping me in your prayers I have had a schedule change and will be in surgery Wednesday rather than Tuesday. I will be completing my pre-op processing and bloodwork tomorrow.

Happy Monday everyone!

Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Shrimp Alfredo Pasta (63)

Top Tier: Flower Gummi, Apples, Orange Ginger Chew, Grisini, Brie Wedge. Bottom Tier: Shrimp Alfredo Pasta with Broccoli, Carrots, and Yellow Peppers.

Today’s bento features a bow-tie pasta alfredo with shrimp, broccoli, carrots, and yellow peppers.

The pasta is combined with some grisini, a brie wedge, orange ginger chew, apple slices, and a flower gummi treat to complete today’s ideal meal.

I’ve decided to spend the weekend preparing meals that my family can pop in the oven or crockpot while I recover from next week’s surgery.

I haven’t done this kind of “batch cooking” for about a year but should be able to put together at least two weeks worth of meals in two days. Think easy, freezable meals like lasagna, enchiladas, chili, stew, etc. Exhausting, but totally worth it!

Wish me luck and have a great weekend! 🙂

Published in: on March 20, 2010 at 6:15 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Mushroom & Swiss Omelette (62)

Mushroom & Swiss Omelette, Blueberries & Sour Cream, Sausage Patties, Cheese Blintz.

In an effort to eat more regular meals I decided to start my day off with a breakfast bento.

This bento features cheese blintz that I found in the frozen foods section at the market. I like the simplicity of cheese blintz and usually reserve to eat them at IHOP since their’s are so good. The size of these was so bento-friendly that I decided to give them a try though.

They can be cooked in a skillet or in the oven. I chose the oven so I could prepare the rest of the meal while they cooked.

The timing of this meal was perfect. I had just finished cooking the omelette and sausage when the blintz finished. They cooked fine in the convection oven though they did ooze a little (guess I should watch more carefully next time).

To complete this ideal meal I added a small egg cup with blueberries and sour cream to be used atop the blintz. Yum! 🙂

Published in: on March 19, 2010 at 6:30 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Wherefore art thou bento?

No bento today. I am feeling kind of blah and, to be honest, the last several bentos I’ve made have been eaten by the dog. 😦

Not that I mind feeding good, healthy food to the dog (my friends mock me because I cook for my dog regularly) I just really haven’t felt like eating.

The bad thing about not eating is that I get stuck on my weight-loss. I guess I need to get through today and get back to eating at least two healthy meals everyday. That plus my daily intake of water should keep me going and get my weight-loss started again since I’ve been stuck for about a week.

Sorry to leave you without a bento today but I’ll try again tomorrow.

Published in: on March 18, 2010 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Red Beans & Rice (61)

Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Sausage in casserole. Cherry Peppers stuffed with Cream Cheese, Olives, Babybel Cheese, Clementine, Small Bottle of Hot Sauce, Biscuit.

Today I had an appointment that I had been avoiding for awhile.

I had been having a variety of female issues over the past couple of years which resulted in increasing pain over the past six months.

I knew I needed to take care of it but never made the time because I assumed it would require surgery. Well, they say everything happens for a reason and I guess losing my job was what I needed to take care of myself.

After meeting with my doctor I really needed some comfort food so I put together this nice batch of red beans and rice. To this I added a side bento of olives, peppers, hot pepper sauce, cheese, and a biscuit to complete today’s ideal meal.

Not exactly a typical St Patty’s Day meal but really good for a day when I’m told I am having a hysterectomy next Tuesday. Keep me in your prayers and I’ll keep you up to date.

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,