Parmesan Chicken Bento

This was Thursday’s bento, but I never got the chance to post it. I tried a new recipe the night before, adapted from Hellmann’s Parmesan Crusted Chicken, but omitted the bread crumbs. I didn’t have grated parmesan, but shredded italian cheese worked really well for this too. I added some extra seasoning so we wouldn’t miss the seasoned breadcrumbs too (italian seasoning mix, garlic powder, ground black pepper).

These taste great at room temperature too, so they’re perfect the next day in your bento.

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Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Steamed Carrots & Broccoli
Cauliflower Rice

Prep Time: 5 Minutes (since everything was made the night before, just a couple minutes in the microwave in the morning)

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The Goodness of Leftovers

For some reason, leftovers taste so much better in bento form. I was kicking myself last night for not making more Ginger, Lime and Soy Sauce Marinated Pork Chops because i’d only made enough for dinner for my husband and I. So I saved half of it from dinner to pack in my bento this morning and had a snack later instead (cashews). In the morning I made some shrimp, also marinated, to round out the rest of the bento. This pork chop recipe is really a keeper; it tastes great fresh and also at room temperature the next day (remember always to reheat in the morning – I microwave it – before cooling to room temperature to pack in your bento). Find the recipe here.

Today’s Bento:

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Ginger, Lime and Soy Sauce Marinated Pork Chops + Shrimp
Steamed Carrots & Broccoli
Cauliflower Rice w/ Salmon Furikake
Sliced Radishes

Time to Prepare: 20 Minutes (due to cooking the shrimp this morning)

Ginger, Lime and Soy Sauce Marinated Pork Chops

Ginger, Lime and Soy Sauce Marinated Pork Chops

Ingredients:

2 Boneless Pork Chops
1/2 Red Onion, sliced (about 1/4 in width) – you won’t need this until you’re ready to cook the pork chops

For the Marinade:
1/2 Lime
A knob of ginger, coursely chopped (I chopped mine into about 4 thick matchsticks)
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin (rice wine)
1 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Place the pork chops in a ziplock bag (or container of your choice for the meat to marinate in). Add all the marinade ingredients, and mix the marinade around (I just close the ziplock bag and move the marinade around by squeezing the bag) and place it in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours or overnight (overnight is best).

To cook, heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet on medium heat. Remove the pork chops from the marinade (discard marinade), and sear each side of the pork chops until browned on each side (about 3 minutes each side). Then, scatter the sliced red onions around the skillet and put the cover on the skillet to cook the chops all the way through (10-15 minutes for 1-1/2 inch thick pork chops). When the pork chops are done, your red onions should be translucent and a little carmelized from the juices. Transfer the chops and onions to a plate and cover loosely with foil to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I served them with the carmelized onions on top, with a side of cauliflower rice and steamed carrots and sauteed watercress. Delicious! Leftovers are reheated in the morning for my lunch bento.

PCOS and Avoiding Carbs

I had a checkup for my PCOS yesterday, and my doctor urged me to avoid carbs (2nd doctor now) to mitigate the effects of PCOS, so i’m going to switch from a more liberal paleo/primal way of eating to a more cut and dry primal without the occasional rice and potatoes that i’ve been having. I’ve already been avoiding carbs mostly, but have still had rice, so i’m trying to cut that out now too. Low carb bentos are not that new; alot of people either pack no rice-like items to replace the rice, or they use cauliflower rice, which I used this morning for the first time. It was actually really simple to make – recipe here).

Today’s Bento:

2-4-14 Asian Meatball Bento

Asian Pork Meatballs with Shitake Mushrooms and Wood Ear Mushroom
Steamed Chinese Vegetables (spinach, dou miao [pea shoots], baby bok choy)
Califlower Rice with Salmon Furikake

Time to Prepare: 15 Minutes

The vegetables (steamed) and cauliflower rice (pulsed in food processor then microwaved) were made this morning, but the meatballs were made the night before. I think i’ll make the meatballs one of my bento staples, since they keep well and are super easy to make. Meatball recipe here.

Asian Pork Meatballs w/ Shiitake & Wood Ear Mushroom

Asian Pork Meatballs with Shiitake Mushrooms and Wood Ear Mushrooms/Fungus

Asian Pork Shiitake Meatballs

Ingredients:

1lb Ground Pork (I used 80/20)
1 cup Diced Shiitake Mushrooms (soaked in hot water until soft – squeeze out water before dicing)
1 cup Diced Wood Ear Mushroom/Fungus (“Mu’er” in Chinese – also soaked in hot water until soft)
1/4 cup Minced Green Onions (Scallions)
1 tablespoon 5 Spice Powder
3 tablespoons Soy Sauce (you can use Coconut Aminos if you don’t use Soy Sauce)
1/2 tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together and roll meatballs, size of your choice, between your hands to make rounds. Pan fry on medium heat in a little bit of oil, turning the meatballs as they brown on each side. When each side is mostly browned (I usually get about 3 sides browned since I make smaller meatballs – about 1 tablespoon filling each), add 1/4 cup of chicken broth (you can just use plain water too), and put the lid on to let the meatballs steam a bit. When the liquid is mostly reduced, check for done-ness (again, will depend on the size of your meatballs). I used chicken broth to give it a boost of flavor and to have something to keep the meatbals moist since I freeze these as bento staples. When I microwave these for bentos in the morning, I microwave them in a bit of that juice, covered, so that it adds some moisture back in that may have been lost in the freezer.

Note that these also make a great dumpling filling. I used about half the meatball mixture to make dumplings/potstickers, the other half as meatballs; they taste great as a dumpling filling. I used pre-made dumpling skins, and filled them with the raw mixture,  froze some for a later date, and pan fried the rest for dinner.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Florets
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

I promise this recipe is so so easy. I made it for the first time in a pinch this morning for my bento. Break off some florest from the cauliflower (washed), and throw them in manageable pieces into a food processor (I have a mini one). Then pulse the cauliflower until the pieces are quite small, the size of rice (or even smaller depending on the consistency you like). It doesn’t have to be precise. Then transfer the riced cauliflower into a microwavable bowl, and microwave covered for 2 minutes (for a 1 serving, about 1/2 cup). Then add some salt and pepper to taste.

Easy peasy!

You can freeze the uncooked cauliflower in bags, and when you’re ready to use it, defrost it a bit, then either microwave or pan fry until your desired done-ness when ready to eat. I’ll likely freeze batches, then put each 1 serving bag in the refrigerator to defrost the night before.

Bento Adventures

This blog will sort of be a collection of sorts; photos, recipes, bento. I’ve always wanted to make a blog to post some cooking adventures, but have never actually gotten around to doing it.

“Bento Adventures” is the post’s title, as i’m trying to get into the habit of packing myself a bento of some sort every day for lunch at work. I’ve had bento supplies lying around (the bulk of which I can’t seem to find anymore after having moved 3 times in 2 years), but never actually truly used them. So here’s to the first post of my blog!

Today’s bento consists of:
Chicken Teriyaki (leftovers from last night’s dinner, from David Leibovitz’s adapted recipe)
Steamed Broccoli
Tamagoyaki
White Rice w/ Nori (Dried Seaweed)
Pickled Cucumber and Carrots

1-31-14 Ter Chicken Bento

Happy first post to me!