Thursday, January 28, 2010

Snow Day!

School is closed do to a severe winter storm...which means no class or work for me today. I have tracked down the recipe for bento-sized chicken pot pies...and I'll do my best to make it as clear as possible! The dough recipe is one of my favorites.

I usually just put the ingredients in a bread machine and hit the dough cycle. But it can also be made by hand ahead of time. I'm sure other "crust" ideas would work as well.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 package active dry yeast (~2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour

To make by hand:
-Heat milk in a saucepan on the stove until it starts to bubble on the edges. Add the butter, sugar, and salt.
-Dissolve yeast in warm water and let set for 10 minutes.
-Combine yeast mixture, milk mixture, and egg.
-Add flour and knead for about eight minutes.
-Place dough in an oiled bowel, cover with a damp dishcloth, and let rise for one hour.

The best info I got from my roommate concerning the filling is that she added ingredients till she liked how it looked. I know that I would love carrots in mine. So feel free to add items or leave them out depending on what you like...

1 cup cooked chicken (or leftover meat that you may have), cut into cubes or pieces
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
Salt/Pepper to taste

I'm sure there are multiple ways to make a sauce for the pie filling. I've personally used a cream of soup in the past when making similar recipes. But here is my roommates idea to get you started.

1/3 cup melted butter
1/3 cup flour
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup milk

-Combine butter and flour in a saucepan on the stove.
-Add broth and milk.
-Stir until the mixture becomes thick.

"Assembly Instructions"

-Pinch off a piece of dough and roll it into a circle. Make it big enough so that when placed in a greased muffin cup, some dough hangs out over the edge.
-Add the desired amount of filling, being careful not to fill it too full.
-Spoon some sauce over the filling.
-Roll out another circle of dough and place it on top.
-Pinch the edges of the circles together, then roll the edge in and pinch around it again.
-Repeat until you fill up the muffin pan...or you run out of dough (trust can happen!)

-Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until the pies are a healthy golden brown.

Enjoy! Hope that this is helpful.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quick Bento (#17)

This bento is just a quick put together of things that I had on hand and need to use up. The little chicken pot pie thing was a creation of my roommate. She basically combined chicken, peas, corn, and a homemade sauce to make the filling. A home made bread roll recipe was also used for the "crust," and the pies were baked in muffin tins. I'll track down the exact recipe sometime this week to share. I microwaved the pie before I ate it, so I'm not so sure how it would taste chilled.

I also am experimenting with frozen portions of spaghetti. This is one of Biggie's speed bento tips discussed on her website. I am pretty impressed with the visual results so far...and look forward to seeing how they taste!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here we go a bento-ing... (#16)

After a tumbling first semester of graduate study, I have decided to start documenting my bento meals again. And I've been blessed with a graduate assistantship, which means I'll have really no choice but to pack a lunch to school everyday. This also means that I'll probably have to start planning my weekly menu out more thoughtfully. (Yikes!)

In today's bento:

Parmesan & Broccoli Couscous (with a happy face!)
Buttered Multi-grain flatbread (folded into a wedge)
Spinach & Romaine Salad with carrots and red bell pepper
Catalina Dressing on the side

My salads can get a bit monotonous after a while...but its my vow to use what I buy before I go purchase something else!