meat

Basic taco meat mix

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It’s hard to believe that I have never posted this really basic basic, but looking though my archives I have not. So here it is, a ‘taco meat’ mix that I make all the time in some quantity, freezing in portions. It can be used in tacos of course, as well as a sort of Western-tasting soboro to top rice. I try to get as many vegetables as I can into it. This most recent batch was made by The Guy by the way, proving that it’s quite fuss-free…provided your Guy (or Girl, whichever designation fits the non-cooking partner in your household) doesn’t mind chopping vegetables, or else can use a food processor. continue reading...

Bento no. 81: Bean sprout burger bento with favorites

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 630 cal (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes to assemble in the morning from pre-made components

Type: Japanese, a perennial favorite continue reading...

Lower-calorie, lower-cost, beef and bean sprout burgers

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A twist on an old favorite, the mini-burger, with crunchy bean sprouts added for texture - and to lower the calorie count too. continue reading...

Bento no. 77: 3-part stash and leftovers bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 490 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes to pack in the morning

Type: Not really Japanese, made from stash and leftovers continue reading...

Meatballs with lettuce in tomato sauce

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Lettuce in meatballs? I know it sounds weird, but it really works. Tons of chopped lettuce and onion in the meatball mixture gives them an interesting crunchy-crispy texture when freshly cooked. (Picky kids may object to that texture, just because it’s different, but give them a try!) After a time, especially if the meatballs are frozen, the texture disappears, but the meatballs remain juicy and succulent. Plus, the vegetables lighten up the meatballs and lowers their per-ball calore count without sacrificing flavor. The meatballs are simmered in a thick, flavorful tomato sauce.

This is a really versatile recipe that can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days, or put into your freezer stash. You can make this for dinner and serve it over hot pasta, and set aside some for your bento the next day. It goes well with pasta or rice, can be a filling for a assemble-at-lunch sandwich, and so on. continue reading...

Bento No. 75: An entirely made-ahead bento featuring mini cabbage rolls

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Bento contents:

  • 3 bento sized mini cabbage rolls, 180 calories
  • Green beans with ginger stir fried in sesame oil, 60 calories
  • Green beans stir fried with ginger and sesame oil, 60 calories
  • Carrot slices cooked with the cabbage rolls, 5 calories
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) rice from frozen stash, 160 calories

Total calories (approx): 405 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to defrost and pack up the bento

Type: Japanese, everything made in advance; low-carb adjustable by reducing or replacing rice continue reading...

Bento sized mini cabbage rolls

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I love cabbage rolls, whether rolled or deconstructed, but regular sized ones are a bit too large and sloppy in my mind to put into all but the largest bento boxes. These are little bento sized cabbage rolls, just a bit bigger than a ping-pong ball. They aren’t too showy to look at, but are deliciously juicy hot or cold. They are kept compact and slim by using napa or Chinese cabbage instead of regular cabbage leaves, since napa cabbage leaves are thinner and more tender, and using the smaller inner leaves that are about 10 inches (25cm) long.

Another feature of these mini cabbage rolls is that I tried making them in a rice cooker, and they came out great. I’ve also given instructions for making them on the stovetop, but if you’re looking for more ways to utilize your rice cooker, you may want to try it out that way. continue reading...

Char siu or yakibuta - Chinese style roast pork

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I have posted a recipe for char siu, or Chinese style roast pork, previously. But that was way back in 2004, and my standard go-to recipe has changed a bit since then. Plus, it makes a great staple for bentos, so here it is. continue reading...