Bento no. 57: Challenge Bento Week 1, Bento 1


Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 450 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning (you could cut this down by making some things in advance)

Type: Japanese, chicken, Bento Challenge!

I do not intend to make full bento posts on all of my Bento Challenge bentos, but since this is Week 1, Bento 1, I thought I'd share it with you so you can see where I'm going.

As I stated in the forum, my intention is to do all of the Week 1 tasks, though I already know the capacity of my bentos and what my caloric needs are. Based on that, my plan is to make bentos that are around 500 calories, 600 calories being the upper limit, with at least 1-2 vegetables, a protein and a carb.

Here's my planner sheet for the week for reference (click on it to get a bigger view):


(I'm using an experimental fillable PDF version of the form, which is why it's not written out by hand. Besides, that makes it easier to read than my handwriting!)

For this first bento of the week, I did have to spend a little more time than I wanted to because I had to make everything from scratch, having run out of most staples. On Sunday night I washed the rice and set the rice cooker on timer, and set out my equipment. The chicken was already cut up since we had tori nabe for dinner on Saturday. In the morning I knew what food I wanted to get out of the refrigerator so that was ok, but I couldn't find the maple syrup bottle for a few minutes. From Day 2 on I'm going to set out the condiments I will need (besides things like salt, pepper and soy sauce, which are always at hand) as well as the equipment.

So, on to the bento! Here are the recipes for Red Peppers With Maple Syrup and Chili and Sweet-Sour Red Wine Vinegar Chicken. I made a double amount of the chicken since I also packed The Guy's bento, and there's enough left over of the red pepper for another round of bentos.

I also blanched (boiled rapidly for a few minutes, then drained and cooled in running water) enough of the Chinese broccoli for another bento round. It's flavored with some colorful pink yukari (dried umeboshi seasoning), but you could just sprinkle on sea salt, or even some furikake.

I froze the rest of the rice so that I have enough for the rest of the week and maybe more. (I'm out of brown rice, so will have to get some and cook a batch on the weekend.)

Incidentally, the rice looks so flat on top because I took this photo at lunch time after the bento had been rattling around for a bit in my bag. The lid totally flattened it! But as you can see, the rest of the bento looks fine.

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