Bento no. 45: Chicken nuggets and peppers


Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, chicken!

This bento brings together two recent recipes for a pretty low-calorie yet filling bento. The hot and sweet peppers do need to be made in advance, but they last there for a week or more, so are well worth the time they take. The Pan fried lemon chicken nuggets can either be made the night before or in the morning - they only take a few minutes. They are only about 30-40 calories per piece, so adding a couple more pieces won’t hurt much at all. I added some wide green beans that are in season right now, just boiled in salted water then ‘refreshed’ under cold running water. You could use spinach or other greens instead.

Try to use brown rice of mixed-grain rice (zakkokumai) for the extra fiber, which gives you a full feeling.

As you can see, this bento has red, green and brown/yellow colors. If your bento includes at least these three colors, especially vibrant red and green, it is much more appetizing at lunchtime. If the food itself is a bit lacking in color, try using colorful dividers and cups like the apple-shaped one here.


As you can see, even if you have to make the chicken and beans in the morning the whole bento assembles in about 10 minutes. You could make the chicken for dinner the night before (it’s great hot with pasta), and set aside a few for your bento.


Random thoughts

Recently I chuckled a bit when reading a blogger complaining about the time and effort it takes to make bento. She reasoned that it may be ‘reasonable for Japanese people’ but not for a busy (not-Japanese) person. Well I don’t know…it takes me at least 5-6 minutes to put together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, wrap it up, include an apple or a cookie, etc. This bento only takes a few more minutes with just a little pre-planning, and while I do like a good PB and J occasionally, I think this bento is rather more appetizing. Is it that much more effort? You decide…

(Actually, it’s hard to find good peanut butter here, and forget about good grape jelly! But that’s for another time.)

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I make bento each morning

I make bento each morning for my fiancee and I. Sometimes I send him with a metal Marvel Comics lunchbox that he loves, but can’t be filled with anything that will make condensation inside and cause it to rust. On those PB+J/whole fruit/crackers mornings, it takes just as long and I don’t have nearly as much fun creating his meal. A lovely bento each day is worth the effort if it makes someone smile, even if it’s only yourself! :)

Hi Maki , Thanks for your

Hi Maki ,

Thanks for your chicken recipes. I tested (but a little bit modified) the chicken and lemon one yesterday. I used some saké and it was just delicious (I added ginger too) !

I keep this one.

Too much time?!?!

It takes me usually 10 minutes or less to pack a bento. Maybe they were thinking of the more elaborate kyaraben? Of course, I do most of the packing the night before while I’m plating dinner, I’m also packing some of the leftovers into boxes. Generally, my morning is spent cutting up fruit and putting finishing touches on the lunches. Plus, if there are a lot of leftovers, I pack em into multiple boxes!

There really is no excuse for not packing something halfway decent for lunch, instead of a sandwich. :)

Plus it makes me feel good that I have something interesting to eat, and extra special good when I’ve made lunch for someone else and they tell me later how much they enjoyed it. When I make my stepfather a bento, he tells me he opens it as soon as I’m out the door in the morning, just to see what’s in there! :)

That chicken looks SO good, I’m gonna try making that sometime this week. :D

We would like to feature

We would like to feature this recipe on our blog. Please email haleyglasco [at] gmail [dot] com if interested. Thanks :)


Too long?

I’d have to say that making a bento takes only a couple of minutes longer than throwing some leftovers in Tupperware. For example, I made most of my bento last night and packed it all together this morning. The most time-consuming part was decorating my salad, but I did this for fun and could have easily omitted it.

Besides, the way you and Biggie (from present everything in such an organized fashion and prep as much beforehand as possible, it really makes it a ten-minute ordeal TBH. Maybe if you were one of those last-minute folks, it would take way too long…

Too much time?

I’ve been making bentos regularly for 4 years now and yeah making bento can take a lot of time if you think bentos have to be the cute style everyday. I think the bigger challenge is to get into the habit of thinking in advance but once you do, the process of bento or any meal for that matter becomes so quick and easy!
One more thing. There are some weeks when we are so busy we don’t get to sit down and eat a meal together. So making them bentos is a way I can stay connected to them through good food presented in an appealing way, with a love note just to let them know how glad I am to have them in my life. And I’m taking care of me too!

Well... I can sympathize...

I can sympathize with the people who say it's too much time. As a high school student, I have to make most of my stuff on the weekend and just reheat in the mornings. But certain things just have to be made fresh, and it takes me a lot longer than maki's timelines, even with having everything out and the recipe reviewed.

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