The Quinoa Con Pollo Bento


Quinoa and I have a small acquaintance with each other. We see each other in recipes, I scan it at work, but I never really cook it that often. The last time I tried cooking it was about two years ago in a recipe with scallops and a citrus sauce. In my naïve mind I thought that grapefruits were interchangeable with tangerines. They most certainly are not. So the only thing in the recipe that turned out well were the scallops and the sauce tasted incredibly sour. The quinoa turned out very grainy and not pliable, kind of like bird food. Thus I severed ties with it for a moment.

I have been curious about quinoa because it has more protein and fiber then rice does. I figured it would be a better grain to eat with meats and vegetables as opposed to pasta or just regular rice. Recently, I was talking about quinoa with a coworker of mine and I asked him how he cooked it. He told me he likes to sauté garlic and onions in the pot before adding the quinoa. He then adds 1 cup of quinoa and then 1 3/4 cups of water (as opposed to the 2 mentioned in the directions on the bag).
I figured that onions and garlic can’t hurt anything so I decided to try it. This is now my favorite way to cook quinoa!

So in the middle of the tray to the left is my quinoa, some sautéed green beans, and rosemary chicken. I’m a little addicted to that rosemary chicken. If you live by a Trader Joe’s, it is $2.99 a bag. It is frozen raw meat, though, so you do have to thaw it but it is well worth it! In the other tray are some baby carrots and baked sweet potato with maple almond butter.

I must admit that I ended up eating this bento for dinner. Because during when I normally would have eaten it, I decided to commit Carboside by eating a demi- French baguette and probably three quarters of a bag of snapea crisps. Afterwards I felt like I ate a boulder. I suppose I have to be more diligent with packing snacks.

The I’ve Made a Huge Mistake Bento


Today’s bento made me a little sad later. I made scrambled egg whites (a 3:1 ratio egg white to egg), rosemary chicken, and sautéed green beans with half a blueberry Udi muffin and some black cherry jello. All was well in assembly and I took it to work, intending to eat it during huddle time before we opened the store.

I opened it up and this happened:


Jello overtook my muffin, rendering it pretty unappetizing. So today’s PSA is DON’T PUT JELLO IN YOUR BENTO. Use a separate container like a normal person.

Everything else was delicious and untainted.

The Turkey Bacon and Eggs Bento


This one is a pretty simple breakfast bento. I got adventurous at about 3 in the morning before going to work and decided to try and make an egg white omelet. But somewhere in between the idea and the results, my elbow hit a cabinet and I cut the whole project in half. I then also realized that a smaller amount of eggs and egg whites might become a more successful omelet. So my eggs were large, tasty square pieces. When I was cooking what I thought would be an omelet, I sprayed the pan all over with coconut oil. While the finished product was not what I had hoped for, the eggs turned out to be incredibly buttery and flavorful. I think the coconut oil really helped in the flavoring. I highly recommend it to everyone!

Beneath the eggs are some slices of turkey bacon and some sautéed broccoli (also with coconut oil). To the left is some cottage cheese, honey mango, and a handful of pistachios because I had run out of ideas and time to throw something else there!

The Marinated Tofu Bento


This bento was born out of the necessary evil of cleaning out my fridge. I have a small problem of buying food, using some or none of it, placing new food in front of it, and then chucking it 6 months later when it has changed color. During this process I think I threw out a whole jar of marinara, some moldy bread, and miscellaneous jars of other stuff. I did find a block of tofu in the back of the fridge that I remembered was a recent purchase because it was on sale. It was 2 days past its expo date but since it’s just floating around it water, I figured I could risk it. I marinated it for 24 hours, sliced it into triangles, baked it for 30 minutes at 400 and then pan-seared it to try and make it a little crunchier. It turned out pretty tasty! Tasty enough that while I intended to use it for a couple of days, my boyfriend ate most of it, thwarting all endeavors. It made my man eat tofu, though, so I really can’t fuss about it!

I put it on a bed of greens with some crumbled Manchego cheese (also rescued from certain death by neglect) and balsamic glaze. Below are some sautéed green beans and an egg white salad made with hard-boiled egg whites, Trader Joe’s Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip, and paprika.

    Marinade for Tofu

6 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (I used this because it’s a really low sodium version of soy sauce. You can use soy sauce.)
2-3 tsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1.5 tbsp of ginger (I just grated a bunch of it and couldn’t really tell how much I put.)
2 tsp crushed garlic

Play with the marinade and see what you like with it. I might go for more garlic the next time, but I was pleased with the results!