Bento Lunches In The Heart of Montana

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Eggy Cheesy Muffins

Posted by Kathleen on October 19, 2010 at 10:18 AM Comments comments (0)

I’m always looking for something to send in my daughters lunch that is not just another sandwich and these Eggy Cheesy Muffins fit the bill perfectly.  Here’s the GREAT thing(s) about these muffins A) they are super easy to make B) they taste GREAT as “left overs” and C) they have veggies in them!!

 

 

Eggy Cheesy Muffins

1/2

pound

bacon, diced

1/2

cup

onion finely chopped

1

clove

garlic clove, minced

1/2

cup

corn

1/2

cup

carrots, grated

6

 

egg

1/2

cup

milk

1

cup

cheddar cheese grated

1

cup

flour

1

tsp

baking powder

1/2

tsp

salt

1/4

tsp

dried tarragon

1

Pre-heat oven to 350

2

fry bacon until crispy. Drain bacon reserving 1 tbs of grease. After pan cools slightly clean with paper towel and return pan to heat, add bacon grease, onion, garlic and veggie's. Cook, stirring, until veggie's soften - 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl to cool.

3

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk and cheese. Add flour, baking powder, salt, tarragon, bacon and veggie. Stir until just combined.

4

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake until edges start to brown and tops spring back when pressed, 20-25 minutes.

5

after baking refrigerate muffins or freeze to eat later. Microwave for 30 seconds (50 if frozen) to reheat.

Servings: 12

and if you haven't already go take a peak at Jessica's Disney Memory - it was such a great day for her and seeing that people "like" her photo has been such a big boost for her.  Sadly Disney has taken it off of the main website so you can no longer search Princess or Orphan Princess and find her but you can still see it with this link -

From an Orphan to a Princess

Home Made Bake Beans Bento

Posted by Kathleen on October 5, 2010 at 10:27 AM Comments comments (0)

As I said previously I’m not about depriving my daughter of those yummy kid foods…chicken nuggets, hot dogs, baked beans…she loves them all.  But I am loath to tear open a bag, or open a tin of beans and call it a meal.  So when my daughter asked for baked beans for lunch I got to work.  Homemade baked beans are delicious, they can be as healthy as you’d like to make them and frankly your house smells amazing while you are making them.  So following you will find my favorite baked beans recipe and the changes I generally make to them…..

 

 

Baked Beans

1

pound

bacon

2

cups

Onion, diced

1

tbs

garlic clove, chopped

1

pound

dried navy beans

10

cups

chicken broth

   

1/4

cup

molasses

1/2

cup

brown sugar

1

cup

catsup

1

tbs

dry mustard

2

 

bay leaves

Heat a large pot, add the bacon and render until crispy, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and beans and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat, stir in the chicken stock and bay leaves, and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook the beans for about 2 hours, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the molasses, brown sugar, ketchup, and mustard. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and flavors have come together. Season the beans with salt and pepper, to taste, before serving.

So as usual I’ve made a few changes to the recipe.  First I would NOT cook the bacon until crispy.  I find cooking until crispy gives the bacon a less than appealing texture at the end of cooking.  Only cook the bacon until it is started to render it's fat and become translucent.

 

But perhaps the most important change is that I found it took much longer than 30 minutes after the addition of molasses, brown sugar, ketchup and mustard for the sauce to thicken and the beans to be completely cooked…for me it took more like another hour.  Also, because I like a tarter taste I added 1/4 cup of prepared yellow mustard to the beans.

 

Feel free to play with the recipe to suit your needs or tastes.

 

A Healthy Chicken Nugget

Posted by Kathleen on September 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM Comments comments (0)

While I want my daughter to a healthy lunch each day with as little processed foods as I can manage I also want her to have foods she likes and as with most 7 year olds she LIKES chicken nuggets A LOT!! not chicken strips mind you – she wants the mushed up, processed, balls of chicken meat that you get out of bag or through a window.

 

Not long ago it was chicken nugget day at school so I went on a mission to find a healthier alternative to those preprocessed, fat fried chicken globs that are served at school and at fast food places.  I came up with one that is nearly PERFECT.  The seasoning is perfect for a child, the texture is right and it can be baked instead of fried. 

 

4

 

boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1

tsp

salt

1/2

tsp

parsley flakes

1/2

tsp

oregano leaves, crushed

1/4

tsp

onion powder

1/4

tsp

pepper

2

 

each eggs slightly beaten

1

cup

flour

1 1/2

cup

Oil for frying

1

Heat oil in a heavy-duty skillet (like a cast iron skillet) on medium-high heat while preparing the chicken nuggets – it should be ready to work with once half of your nuggets are ready to go in.

2

Cube chicken and place in a food processor. Blend chicken until it has all been taken apart and is a fine paste. Remove to a bowl and add salt, parsley, oregano, onion powder, and pepper, and combine well.

3

Pour out flour on a plate and have your beaten eggs in a small bowl ready to work with

4

Roll the chicken paste mixture into 34 ping-pong ball-sized balls (smaller than a golf ball). Roll ball a “chicken ball” in flour, then in egg, and then in flour again. Then, press the ball down to make a nugget. Set nuggets aside.

5

Sprinkle the hot oil with some flour and if it bubbles really quickly right away, your oil is ready for frying. Place as many nuggets as possible in the oil, and fry until the bottoms are golden, turn and fry until the other side is golden. Will take about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a towel-lined plate (to catch any excess oil).

Servings: 34

Yield: 34 nuggets

 

Rather than use the food processor I just threw 3 chicken breasts and 2 thighs in the meat grinder attachment for the Kitchen Aid – I think the texture is more even this way.    I made one batch with a flour coating an fried them as directed – they were great but I didn’t really want them fried so I also tried baking them at 350 for 25 minutes….the flour coating became tough this way.  So my next try was a bread crumb coating….fried the bread crumbs become much too dark but baked they were perfect.

 

 

Sooo it’s up to you – if you want to fry them use the flour coating, if you want to bake them use a bread crumb coating – either way they are delicious and  your child will be happy to eat them instead of the processed gunk you buy at the store or the window.