Bento, Recipes
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Prepping And Cooking Ahead

Sometimes when I have free time (oh glorious day!), usually on a Sunday afternoon, I like to do some prep and cook a few things ahead for the week. It makes my life way easier later on if I can get all my veggies cleaned and cut, if I can portion and season my meats, and in some cases, if I can actually cook the dish in advance.

Now for story time: something you need to know about my husband and me, we HATE leftovers… End of story (that was a short one).

I honestly don’t know why that is, but we like our dinner to be freshly cooked, and sadly cooking ahead kind of falls in a grey area between fresh and leftovers. Therefore I don’t like to cook too many things ahead, just the few things that I feel will not lose a lot of their deliciousness. That being said, I don’t have anything against prepping the food ahead of time and then freezing, or seasoning it ahead, as long as most of the cooking process takes place right before we eat… Which just makes my life harder, I know -_-

DISCLAIMER: I do make some foods ahead and freeze them, but most of the time some cooking needs to take place afterwards (dumplings, casseroles, sauces, etc.).

Here is an example of some of the prepping ahead I sometimes do:

Vegetables being prepped, Bacon on deck (check out my awesome baseball reference)

Vegetables being prepped, Bacon on deck (check out my awesome baseball reference)

As seen above I am cutting up vegetables and bacon. In this particular instance I prepped ahead for two days.

Day 1: Sauteed Italian Sausage
IMG_1429

Prep Day:
-1 red pepper
-1 package of Italian sausage
-4 pink radishes
-2 hard boiled eggs
-1 head of broccoli cut into bite size pieces

Slice all your veggies and Italian sausage. Hard boil eggs.

Mix red bell pepper and italian sausage in a resealable bag. Add some powder seasoning to your taste; such as pepper, garlic, onion, or cumin. Seal and leave in fridge if you are making next day or freeze if using later on in the week.

In a plastic container put the two eggs plus 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of water, and 1 Tbsp of mirin. Let them marinate overnight. They can be eaten the next day or kept in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Steam/boil the broccoli and store in the fridge. You can substitute this for frozen broccoli. If using frozen you can just pop in the microwave the day you will eat it for 4 minutes and it will be ready to go. Nothing wrong with a few shortcuts. I won’t tell on you O_O

Day Of:
-Make rice
-Saute sausage and pepper
-Slice hard boiled eggs
-Arrange bento as prettily as possible including broccoli and radishes

EAT!!!

Day 2: Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
IMG_1455

Prep Day:
-1 package of asparagus
-1 package of okra
-2 hard boiled eggs
-4 radishes
-6 slices of bacon

Cut off bottoms of asparagus, they are too hard and fibrous to eat. Cut the bacon strips in half. Blanch the asparagus. That means that we are going to cook them only for 2-3 minutes in boiling water and then, immediately after, we are going to shock them with ice cold water. This will scare them so much that it will turn them super green… Then we will make them feel better by wrapping them in bacon… Bacon makes everything better. You can set aside at this point. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cut off the top of the okra. Steam or boil okra until fully cooked (about 8-10 minutes), once it cools cut in half on the bias (it looks pretty) and store in the fridge.

Hard boil eggs and follow the same method as mentioned before (obviously hard boil and marinate all the eggs at the same time… that was obvious… right?).

Cut the radishes in half and store.

Day Of:
-Make rice
-Pan fry the bacon wrapped asparagus
-Slice hard boiled eggs
-Arrange bento as prettily as possible incorporating the okra and the halved radishes

EAT!

 

I find that this way, when I can have the food partially ready, putting a home-cooked meal on the table or taking lunch to work becomes a more realistic possibility in my super busy life.

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