Friday, January 30, 2009

Moro & Collard Greens w/Andouille - 279 calorie Bento

This turned out to be a very comforting meal for me. I made a 'Moro' - Dominican-style. Moro is basically Rice with Beans with a bunch of seasonings. In this case, I used long-grained rice with Cranberry beans. I found at our local vegetable place packets of fresh Cranberry beans. The beans came out very creamy. Very tasty.

I never used to like Collard greens - I had only seen them and tasted them done after hours of boiling down. Not my kind of thing. Then - I met Fernando - a Brazilian chef friend that showed me that collard greens don't have to be slimey! Brazilians eat collard greens a great deal, specially with Feijoada - kind of a thick black bean soup with tons of meat and veggies.

You just need to make a chiffonade from the collard greens (after cutting away the thick stems). Then you sautee with olive oil, crushed garlic and salt. I decided to add Andouille sausage to the mixture. Oh my, I am so hooked on this - and so is hubbie! I used precooked sausage, took out of the casing and zapped it in the Magic Bullet to get it all ground up and loose. The cooking on the stove for this dish took exactly 3 minutes. The cutting up of the collard greens took a little while, but was well worth it!

Bento Contents:

Moro Dominican-Style (128)
Collard Greens Chiffonade with Andouille Sausage and Garlic (138)
Strawberries (12)

Total Bento = 279 calories

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Salad Trio - 260 calorie Bento

This bento is a combination of three totally different types of salad : Taboule, Corn Salad and a twist on a Waldorf Salad. The last one was a salad a fellow MFD'er - Crystal - created and I replicated with my favorite dressing.

Bento Content:
  • Caribbean-style Corn Salad (53)
  • Taboule (60)
  • Salt & Pepper Rice Crisps from Trader Joe's (51)
  • Seasoned croutons (27)
  • Laughing Cow Light Wedge (35)
  • Crystal's Waldorf Salad (34)

Total Bento : 260 calories


The Waldorf salad: Granny Smith apples, celery, pomegranate arils and Bolthouse farms Parmesan Caeser dressing.

The Caribbean-Sytle Corn Salad : Corn Kernels, red onion, cilantro stems, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, Sour orange juice (or lime juice with a little bit of orange juice), salt & pepper.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mini Cheese Tacos - 223 calorie Bento

This bento was one of the easiest ones to put together, so far. The taco shells are flour roll-ups that I cut into rounds to fit perfectly in the bento. I find that if you roll up the flour tortillas or wraps without any spread, they tend to break, so this worked pretty well.

Bento Content:
  • 5 flour rounds to be used as taco shells (110)
  • Trader Joe's Light Mexican Cheese Blend (80)
  • Chopped Campari Tomatoes with Cilantro (10)
  • Finely Shredded Rommaine Lettuce (5)
  • Cherries (18)

Total Bento : 223 calories

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mushroom Risotto - 294 calorie Bento

Today I really needed some comfort food, so I whipped up some Mushroom Risotto. I don't know what it is - creamy stuff for me is very soothing and comforting. But then again, so are chocolate cake and almond croissants!

Bento content:
  • Mushroom Risotto (240)
  • Brittany Blend from Trader Joe's - Haricot Vert, Wax Beans & Carrots (30)
  • Mixed Salad - Lettuce blend, Cucumbers, Radishes, Tomato & Black Olives (24)

Total Bento : 294 calories

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Cilantro & Scallion Tamago - 281 calorie Bento

Well, this was a strange tamago indeed. I chopped up some cilantro stems and scallions and mixed it in with egg whites and Bijol for color. Bijol is a hispanic brand for powdered annato - used for coloring. It gives a range of color depending on how much powder you use. If you put alot, you'll get a fiery orange, if you use a small dusting, you get pale yellow - you get the picture.

So, here I am making my Tamago and I don't know what happened, but I decided to take a mini plastic cup and cut rounds out of the tamago, instead of leaving it in the traditional shape. I liked the results - even of not traditional. I've done the same thing with pancakes in the past. Very 'pick-up-able'.
The Blistered Tomatoes are very easy. You'll need:
Grape Tomatoes, Herbs de Provence, Oil Spray, Salt
Spray a non-stick pan with oil (olive oil preferably), add the rest of the ingredients and crank up the heat. Swirl the pan around so the tomatoes get evenly coated with the oil and seasonings. Keep swirling around until until the tomatoes start to get blistered. Shouldn't take more than 3-4 minutes at the most from beginning to end.

Bento content :
  • Cilantro & Scallion Tamago (76)
  • Strawberries (12)
  • Mini Savory Thins from Trader Joe's (69)
  • Blistered Grape Tomatoes with Herbs de Provence (28)
  • Mini Babybel Light (50)
  • Hershey Kissables (46)

Total Bento : 281 calories

Monday, January 05, 2009

Holdover Bento for 2 - 373 calorie Bento

I made this bento for a car ride with hubbie. We tend to grab things on the way during these drives and the calories just pile on - most of the time with food that isn't worth the calories.
So, I made this bento just in case hunger pangs kick in on a highway. I made just the one bento to share. The pic came out rather crooked...Oh, well...

Bento content:

  • Pinwheels made out of Flaxseed Rollup filled with Cream cheese & Red Pepper Spread (163)
  • Strawberries (24)
  • Cheeries (36)
  • Grape Tomato & Black Olive skewers (50)
  • 2 Babybel Lights (100)

Total Bento = 373 calories

Per person = 187 calories

Mediterranean Mix - 297 calorie Bento

Every once in a while I indulge in Gyros - yes, I know, but I can't help giving in sometimes. But, I've discovered that from one order I can eat a few times! Have you seen the amount of meat those platters have? And to think I would eat the whole thing without a whimper - now, enough for a few times. Ah...things change!

My Mom would make Taboule from scratch when I was little. A lot of work, let me tell you! All the bulgur soaking, and then the squeezing until not a drop of water was visible. Then the chopping - wowie. Well, she still does it but not very often...I wonder why? I don't mind the chopping - I find it to be very soothing - but I do mind the soaking and squeezing of the bulgur. Reminds me of Potato Latkes - the squeezing of the grated potatoes. Yikes!

Well, I found the Near East Taboule mix in the supermarket and it turned out to be a very close match to the regular bulgur - except for the squeezing part! Eureka! Don't tell my Mom......I still use the rest of the veggies and I still do chop them, so I don't feel so much of a traitor. Somewhat.
In this bento, I added some pomegranate arils that weren't very red, but hey - pomegranate is pomegranate - I love it anyway I can have it!

Bento Content:
  • Taboule (63)
  • Pomegranate arils (13)
  • Grape Tomatoes (21)
  • Mini-Pitas with Gyro meat & spinach (200)

Total Bento = 297 calories

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Easy Salmon Cakes - 180 calorie Bento

These salmon cakes are very calorie 'inexpensive'. They are only 185 calories for 4 salmon cakes. Plus, they are very easy to make. The recipe follows.

Bento Content:
  • 2 Salmon cakes (93)
  • Grape tomato, Celery & Snow Peas (23)
  • Babybel Light (50)
  • Grapes (15)

Total Bento = 180 calories


SALMON CAKES (yields 1 serving = 4 cakes)

3 oz skinless/boneless Pink Salmon (I use the pouch - with water)
1/8 cup Red Bell Pepper - cubed very small
1/4 cup Onion - cubed very small
1 Tbsp Scallion - minced
1 Egg White - beaten (or 3 Tbsp. Egg Whites in container)
2 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
1 Tbsp chopped Cilantro stems
Oil Spray
Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients well.
Mold into 4 balls - they will feel a bit loose - that's OK. They will tighten up once cooked. Handle with care, though!
Spray oven-safe pan.
Place cakes in pan - not touching each other.
Spray a teensy bit of oil on each cake.
Cook at 425 degree Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes (or until they feel a bit 'toasty' on the outside).

This recipe uses the pouch salmon, but you can certainly make it with fresh salmon! It will taste much better if you do.

Chicken with Capers & Roasted Bell Peppers - 325 calorie Bento

I love the flavor that capers add to any dish, specially poultry. You don't have to use salt when you use the bottled capers - the brine they are packed in contribute more than enough salt to any dish.
Bento Content:
  • Champagne Grapes (50)
  • Babybel Light (50)
  • Mini Peppers (7)
  • Chicken with Capers and Roasted Bell Peppers (148)
  • Carrot/Potato/Broccoli Stem Medley (70)

Total Bento = 325 calories


(yields 1 serving)
1/2 Chicken Breast - Meat Only - Cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp Capers (without brine)
1/4 cup Chopped or sliced Onions
1 oz Roasted Red Peppers
Mrs. Dash Chipotle Seasoning
Olive Oil Spray

Season chicken with Mrs. Dash seasoning.
Spray pan with olive oil spray.
When hot, add onions and cook until translucent.
Add chicken and cook through.
Add Roasted peppers and capers. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Salmon Onigiri - 364 calorie Bento

I find that Onigiri are very filling. They keep me quite full for hours.

Also, little bits of leftovers are great for filling them. This time I had leftover salmon. I overdid it with a little too much sauce (as you can see), but they were very tasty!

Bento Content:
  • Heart-shaped Onigiri filled with Salmon with furikaki in the red container (186)
  • Julienned Snow Peas (12)
  • Mini Chocolate cookies (50)
  • Date (66)
  • Babybel Light (50)

Total Bento = 364 calories

Moo Shu & Satays - 249 calorie Bento

This was a bento created from leftovers. I usually try to lower the calorie intake by substituting or simply omitting ingredients. Same applies when we dine out.

Here, I left out the Moo Shu pancakes and the peanut sauce for the satays. I thought I wouldn't like them much without those ingredients, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Bento content:
  • 1/4 cup white rice (51)
  • Grape Tomatoes (25)
  • Chicken MooShu without the pancakes (67)
  • Chicken Satays without the peanut sauce (106)

Total Bento = 249 calories

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Cilantro Rice & BBQ Chicken - 241 calorie Bento

I love cilantro and I use it whenever I can. I had a bunch from my terrace 'farm' and I basically took the cilantro with a little bit of sweet onion and buzzed it in the Magic Bullet. Then, I added the mixture to the rice water. I used a flower rice mold.

The broiled tomatoes are the easiest thing ever! Just cut each tomato in half, sprinkle with Oregano and a small dollop of goat cheese and into the broiler until cheese is bubbly. I thought I would have a transport problem with the tomatoes, but they hardly moved.

Bento Content:
  • Leftover BBQ Chicken (140)
  • Cilantro Rice Flower (51)
  • Broiled Campari tomato with Oregano & Goat Cheese (25)

Total Bento : 241 calories