I know, I know - I really need to either make that lightbox I keep mentioning or find a better way to take my photos! :P I picked up the small white lidded cup at the Dollar Tree on Friday - the lids seemed to fit nicely too :)
For those of you packing bento for children, they also had the Disney ice packs, meant for little accidents, but would be great for chilling bento :)
I decided to go with the snapware lunch container rather than a traditional bento box for this one so that I could fit in the vegetable samosas I made without taking up half a tier in a bento box and.or smashing/breaking them. I also think it's a good idea not to get too caught up in having to have an actual bento box in order to pack a bento style meal :)
I actually was in a cooking mood on Saturday and took advantage of the feeling by making Indian food for dinner. Although I prefer the saucy Indian dishes that I can mix into the rice, Rob almost always orders the tandoori - and it's not difficult to make (especially with a jar of pre-made tandoori paste! lol).
Since I actually took photos of dinner for my FB food diary, I think I'll start by sharing that :)
Here we have the chicken ready for the oven and then right out of the oven - yum!
I marinaded the chicken in a gallon sized ziplock bag for about 7 hours - longer would have been better though. I had forgotten to score the breasts before marinading and did so before baking and rubbed a bit of the marinade into the cuts, then topped with onion and lemon slices and baked at 450 degrees until a meat thermometer registered 165 degrees - these breasts were huge, and with the red marinade, it becomes difficult to tell when the juices run clear, so I felt more comfortable using the meat thermometer. I was amazed how little bone there was on these breasts!
I usually buy frozen vegetable samosas, but since I haven't been to the Indian grocery in a while, I decided to make them. I had gotten dumpling wrappers at Hong Kong Supermarket on Friday, so I decided to use them for the samosas - so they look a bit like gyoza. :)
I didn't measure the ingredients, but the ingredients were:
3 smallish potatoes, boiled and roughly mashed
1/2 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and smashed up a bit
maybe 1/2 cup frozen green peas
a couple Tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
maybe a tsp or so garam masala
maybe 1/2 tsp each:
Just mix the potatoes, beans and peas and add all the spices to your taste, place a wrapper in the palm of your hand, place about a Tbs and a half filling (guessing, I didn't measure it) in the center and press a little with your fingers, have a small dish of water ready and use fingers to wet the edge of the top half of the wrapper and fold over the filling and press to seal. Or use a dumpling press, mine seems to have run away somewhere...
I brushed half with a little canola oil and baked in the oven with the chicken, turning occasionally and keeping an eye on them until nicely browned. The edges were a little crunchy, but I thought they were yummy :) The other half were deep fried in our deep fryer.
Rob's plate is on the left and mine on the right. I had found pappadum in a can at the grocery store and decided to give them a try. We also have brown basmati rice and grilled onion. In the sauce cups are cilantro mint chutney and a makeshift onion chutney for the samosas and pappadum respectively. It was a very good and filling dinner :)
When Rob saw that there were samosas left, he actually expressed an interest in seeing them in today's bento :) So, since he won't have access to a microwave today, I decided to use some of a tandoori chicken breast on a salad.
I topped the organic lettuce mix with the tandoori slices and then added tomato roses and thinly sliced carrot flowers. He has a ginger dressing (a vinaigrette style) to go with it.
In one side of the divided tier, I arranged the samosas that I had crisped back up in the toaster oven and the food cup of chutneys, then filled in spaces with the pappadum and pea pods and added a couple grapes just for a little color.
As far as plain boxes go, I have always loved this one. I love that it fits 3 silicone cups the way it does. Once I put the cups in, I filled the center one with carrot salad I threw together quickly. This was the first time I've ever made this. I've never had it, but a couple months ago, Rob bought some at Delicious Orchards and I had been thinking about picking up more. Since I had bought a bag of the shredded carrots at the Asian market, I decided to just make some myself - it was so easy, it would be silly to buy it :)
I added the red and yellow pepper strips to one cup and blackberries and blueberries to the other to finish it up.
Again, I didn't really measure, but here is the carrot salad recipe - adjust the amounts as necessary...
About a cup shredded carrots
1/8-1/4 cup raisins
1/4 of a good size apple - I used granny smith
1/2-1 Tbs lemon juice
1/8-1/4 cup mayo (I use a light mayo)
maybe 1 Tbs honey
Just mix it all together, tasting and adding lemon juice and or honey as needed.
OK - now on to what we've all been waiting for - The contest/drawing! :) lol
Here's what I've decided to do:
In the comments below this post, please share your favorite bento resource(s).
It can be specific blog(s), books, websites, sources for products etc. It can even just be your best tips! I just want you to share! And why it's a good resource or tip would also be great :)
The deadline for comments will be Saturday, Jan 30, so you have about 5 days. I will do a random drawing from the comments on Sunday and post the winner. Please check back to see if you've won - if you have provided your email address, I will also let the winner know by email, but I know not everyone wants to post that information.
Once the winner has been announced, they will need to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the shipping information etc.
Now for the fun part! The prize :) I am giving the winner a choice between 2 bento sets - the winner needs to choose one or the other:
Thanks again to all my new followers and readers!