leftovers

Soft Polenta For Dinner, Fried Polenta Cakes for Bento

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Fried polenta cakes are surprisingly good cold, so they make a nice change-of-pace carb in a bento, especially if you just happen to have some leftover polenta from dinner. continue reading...

Pan-fried crispy chicken or turkey nuggets with gobo (burdock root) or any root vegetable

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Crispy pan-fried (rather than deep fried) chicken nuggets made from pre-cooked chicken dark meat. The nuggets are coated with cornstarch and thinly shaved or shredded gobo (burdock root) for extra crispiness. You could use leftover turkey (thigh or leg meat), and any kind of firm root vegetable instead. continue reading...

Great Bento Idea: Fall Comfort Food Bento

Fall Comfort Food Bento

A nice, simple fall comfort food bento that might give you some ideas for what to do with the leftovers from a certain feast day coming up soon… continue reading...

Potato Oyaki and Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki

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Here is a reiteration of the popular Potato Oyaki filled with meat soboro, plus a variation oyaki using sweet potatoes and carrot, filled with ham and cheese - using Thanksgiving feast leftovers or not! continue reading...

Bento no. 55: The Almost-Empty Refrigerator Bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup of cooked spaghetti, 225 cal
  • About 1/3 cup homemade meat sauce using ground beef, 150 cal
  • Sautéed vegetables: about 2 cups cooked of cabbage, carrots and celery, cooked in 1 tsp. oil, about 70 cal
  • 2 small clementines, 70 cal

Total calories (approx): 515 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes

Type: Leftovers! continue reading...

Tips for using Thanksgiving leftovers in bento lunches

thanksgivingleftovers.jpg[From the archives: If you’re in the U.S., I hope your Thanksgiving was great! If you have a lot of leftover turkey, please give the shigureni a try. It works with dark or white meat. Originally published November 2007.]

Happy Thanksgiving to all U.S. readers! After today’s feast you’ll probably have quite a lot of leftovers. Here are some ideas for re-purposing those leftovers for future bento lunches, beyond just using them as-is, which is okay but not that exciting.

In general, you should try to get the leftovers wrapped and into the fridge as soon as possible for the sake of safety, though I know the urge to just flop down in a horizontal position is strong. You can divide it up for longer term storage if necessary later.

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Bento filler: Cherry tomato and leftover vegetable gratin cup

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This vegetable gratin in a cup is a great way to use up leftover vegetables in a tasty way. It only takes a few minutes to assemble too. The only thing you should have are the cherry tomatoes, which make their own sauce in a way. Otherwise you can use any cooked or frozen vegetables you have on hand. Here I’ve used some leftover zucchini and frozen carrot and peas. You could use the ever popular sweet pepper and onion confit too.

The ‘sauce’ used is mayonnaise. Cooking with mayonnaise may seem a bit odd, but it works very well. It’s a very popular all-around sauce in Japanese home cooking. Cooked mayonnaise sauce tastes very nice when cold, making it very suited to bento dishes. I have used a ‘light’ mayonnaise here to halve the calories (50 calories per tablespoon, instead of about 100 for regular mayo), and added a little pesto from a jar to make it even tastier. I seem to always have jars of sauces spreads and pestos and so on around in the fridge - if you do too, try experimenting with them!

You do need a toaster oven to cook them up fast, but for serious bento makers this is a really handy piece of kitchen equipment to have (see essential bento making supplies).

This is a lacto-ovo-vegetarian recipe. To turn this into a vegan one use a non-egg mayonnaise substitute and omit the cheese. You can up the nutrients by adding chopped up leftover meat, more cheese, and so on. continue reading...