Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yucca Squares & Broiled Chicken Sausage - 234 calorie Bento

If you have never tasted yucca, run to the store and cook some, pronto!

Yucca is a root or tuber. It looks like a tree branch, but usually it has a thin bark. Beware, some yucca types are poisonous, but the ones you get at the store are edible (they should be, at least!). Makes a great substitute to mashed potatoes!

So, I basically boiled the peeled yucca with a bit of salt. Then I mashed it with butter spray, and added a little bit of the yucca boiling water to facilitate the mashing. I added anis seed, salt and black pepper. I waited for the mash to cool down a bit, then molded into squares. Yucca mash, once cold, easily sets and stays molded - great for bentos!

I molded the tiny squares by using the packaging of crushed garlic from the refrigerated section at Trader Joe's. Works like a charm! I'm going to try molding rice with it too - it might work!

Bento Content:
  • Yucca Squares (123)
  • Broiled Grape Tomatoes (21)
  • Broiled Organic Mild Italian Chicken Sausage (90)

Total Bento : 234 calories

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pesto Cheese Tortellini & Roasted Cauliflower - 253 calorie Bento

Good news - I finally made my pesto. Bad news - I went overboard with the garlic. I love garlic - anyway I can have it - but it is not a very social thing to do. Maybe not the best of dining options when you plan to be around people. Oh, well!

Bento Content:
  • Cheese Tortellini in Pesto Sauce (221)
  • Roasted Cauliflower (20)
  • Grape Tomatoes (12)

Total Bento : 253 calories


Roasted Cauliflower (yields 2 large servings)

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 individual salt packet
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Olive Oil spray

Combine all dry ingredients. Separate cauliflower into florets and wash well. Spray an oven-safe pan with olive oil spray, lay florets on top and sprinkle with seasonings. Roast in a 400 degree fahrenheit oven until florets become golden.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tricolor Fiore with Roasted Chicken & Sundried Tomatoes - 291 calorie Bento

The contents of this bento were not intentional. I had planned to make a batch of pesto then I discovered when I arrived in the kitchen that I was missing a couple of ingredients. So, I hit the pantry and found a jar of sundried tomatoes hanging out behind a can of tomato sauce. Eureka! Threw in roasted chicken breast that was already cooked and presto - done in 15 minutes. Gotta love when that happens.

Bento Content:
  • Tricolor Fiore pasta with Roasted Chicken & Sundried Tomatoes (267)
  • Grape Tomatoes (19)
  • Celery (5)

Total Bento : 291 calories

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Balsamic Chicken Summer Rolls - 448 calorie Bento

This bento included a snack.

I had grilled balsamic chicken with snow peas and red peppers as leftovers. I cut it all into small pieces, shredded carrots, added bean sprouts and ...tada! Summer rolls galore. Very, very tasty.

Bento Content:
  • Summer rolls (143)
  • Laughing Cow Wedge Light (35)
  • Dried Pineapple Rings (130)
  • Trader Joe's Strawberry Bar - For Snack (140)

Total Bento : 448 calories

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mushroom & Sweet Pea Risotto - 237 calorie Bento

I love creamy food and risotto always fits the bill. I decided to go with my favorite mushroom type, but added sweet peas into the mix. Very tasty!

Bento Content:
  • Mushroom & Sweet Pea Risotto (147)
  • Sea Salt & Pepper Crisps from Trader Joe's (32)
  • Turkish Salad (30)
  • Green Grapes (28)

Total Bento : 237 calories

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Spicy Eggplant & Beef w/Scallion - 221 calorie Bento

This was a spicy bento indeed. Good thing I put in the plum to cool my tongue! The spicy/hotness came from the sriracha sauce and tons of crushed garlic on the eggplant.

Bento Content:
  • Shredded Beef w/Scallion Stirfry (114)
  • Spicy Japanese Eggplant (17)
  • Mini Pitas (60)
  • Plum (30)

Total Bento : 221 calories

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Veggie Orzo - 260 calorie Bento

Hubbie and I have been trying to lose weight - or at least not put on more. One of our downfalls has always been pasta. I've come up with a few things that help, one of them is using smaller sized pasta.

A regular portion of pasta is 2 oz! A 2 oz. serving of spaghetti, for example, is like 8-10 strands. Very unhappy looks from both of us. But, 2 oz. of cous-cous or Orzo is quite alot! So, we have been fooling our minds. We are buying the smaller sized versions of pasta - Barilla has a few of those. Also, interesting ones, like Trader Joe's Vegetable Radiatore, for example. Plus, they are great for bentos!

Today, I made Orzo with a bunch of cut up veggies. It was so tasty and so pretty. I was a happy camper. And guess what - the 2 oz serving of pasta was enough for both of us and there was a portion left over!

Bento Content :
  • Veggie Orzo (103)
  • Laughing Cow Wedge Light (35)
  • Strawberries (12)
  • Clementines (40)
  • Bite Size Everything Crackers from Trader Joe's (70)

Total Bento : 260 calories

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hot & Spicy Roasted Chicken Chunks and Sweet Limes- 242 calorie Bento

Surprise your mouth - that's one of my mottos! This bento has two very un-assuming ingredients - the chicken and the sweet lime. Looks can be deceiving!

Surprise #1: You take a look at the chicken and you pop it into your mouth. Two seconds later your tongue realizes there are hot & spicy ingredients in there (as steam comes out of your ears!).

Surpise #2: Sweet lime, you say? pop the sweet lime into your mouth not knowing what to expect - as you should be! Sweet limes are one of those food items that you either love it or you hate it. I grew up eating them, but I had never seen them in the supermarkets in the US. Today, I saw them and my eyes popped out. Oh, what a great childhood memory. Sweet limes are very popular in India, the Caribbean and Israel. The pith is very thin, but very bitter. Most people squeeze the juice and have it that way. Very refreshing. I, on the other hand, like to separate into wedges then take the membrane off by hand and eat the luscious fruit. Very messy - my Mom used to roll her eyes when I was little - but very satisfying for me. The work is worth it!

Bento Content:
  • Hot & Spicy Roasted Chicken Chunks (108)
  • Grape tomatoes with Cilantro stems and ground pepper (21)
  • Plum wedges (30)
  • Sweet Lime wedges (30)
  • Savory Thin Mini Crackers from Trader Joe's (53)

Total Bento : 242 calories


Hot & Spicy Roasted Chicken Chunks (yields 4 servings)

  • 1 lb Chicken breast - boneless & skinless
  • 1 tsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 fl oz Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • Oil Spray

Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks. Combine rest of ingredients well. Marinate chicken with mixture for at least 1 hour.

Spray oven-safe pan with oil and arrange chicken well-scattered on pan. Cover with aluminum paper and cook in 375 deg Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Uncover, move chicken around and return to 400 deg Fahrenheit oven until chicken is golden. Move chicken around another time as to brown on all sides.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef) - 231 calorie Bento

Today I decided to take out the Slow Cooker. My plan was to finally deal with a closet I have in the hallway - things lurking in there since who knows when. So, why not have the slow cooker do the cooking?

I decided to make Ropa Vieja, which is basically beef with lots of seasonings slow cooked until very soft - soft enough to shred with two forks. It took many hours, and in hindsight I should have made much more meat, but the result was very satisfying. Looking forward towards lunch tomorrow!

Bento Content :
  • Ropa Vieja (100)
  • Mini Zuchinni (5)
  • Grape Tomatoes (21)
  • Vegetable Radiatore from Trader Joe's (105)

Total Bento : 231 calories