nutritious and fun bento box ideas and photos, healthy recipes and tips for making your own bento box lunch

hapa bento

Recipe Challenge Bento Box

Posted on December 14, 2009 by Debra


Remember that little contest we had  a few weeks ago?  Yep, that’s the one…where the winning entry would have their recipes recreated and packed in a bento box by me.  Well ladies and gentlemen, bento boys and girls here it is…I think it turned out okey dokey!

First let’s refresh our memories.  Maria, the winner had submitted this entry:

Red – ham and walnut pasta (we had 15 people over for Thanksgiving, so we made a turkey AND a ham)
Green – a mini quiche from a recipe found on (I’ve been dying to make these for so long, and I just got a muffin tin last week, so I’m definitely going to give them a try soon)
Purple – broccoli, sautéed with minced garlic in a little bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Yellow – cranberry compote, which goes well with any ham recipe

Ham and Walnut Pasta Recipe:
1. Cook one 16 oz. package of pasta such as spaghetti, linguine or vermicelli.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté 3 minced cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil for one minute. Add 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and sauté two minutes more. Stir in 1/2 pound of fully cooked chopped leftover ham and cook until heated through.
3. Drain pasta and top with ham mixture. Add 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley and toss to coat.

Cranberry Compote Recipe:
We like to joke around that this is an “old family secret” but all you need to do is mix equal parts canned cranberry sauce (whole berries, not gelatin) with canned crushed pineapple (in its own juice, not syrup). Surprisingly simple and delicious.

I closely followed  all the recipes except for the Cranberry Compote.  I deviated and made a Cranberry and Pineapple kanten jelly instead. Here’s the recipe:

Cranberry and Pineapple Kanten



2 cup Sweetened Cranberry juice
2 tablespoons agar-agar flakes OR 1 agar-agar bar
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup of dried pineapple chuncks


You can also soak the agar-agar first, but you don’t have to.

In a saucepan combine the juice and agar-agar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it starts to boil reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring often until agar

dissolves. This takes about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool about 15 minutes. Then pour into a flat container and let cool for another 10 minutes.  Sprinkle the dried cranberries and pineapple in the mixture and let it

set.  You can let it cool in the refrigerator covered until you are ready to serve.  Cut into whatever shape you like.

Kanten is one of those recipes that you can tweak however you want. Do you want it sweeter?  Add more sugar. You like fresh fruit?  Add fresh fruit.  Play with the recipe and discover other  possibilities.  The best part about kanten is that it sets at room temperature and won’t melt at room temps like jello.   It’s  also a vegan alternative to gelatin.

Mini_QuicheAnyhow the mini quiches were very easy and fun to create.  I used premade store bought dough, (there’s that word again) which was painless to use and for the filling I used chopped chives intead of onions.   As soon as the crust started baking my kitchen immediately filled with a heavenly scent.  Oh my goodness the smell was almost enough to convert me to baking.  Don’t get excited, I wrote almost.  And I’m still very leary of this dough business, in fact I had considered skipping the crust altogether and make a crustless quiche!   But since I know very little about quiche I thought better of it and  played it safe.

For the pasta, again a slight change to the original recipe by substituting Canadian bacon for the ham, and whole wheat linguine for the pasta. I also roasted the garlic  first before adding to the skillet.  Saba Man devoured this for dinner and he remarked how the walnuts added a nice crunch!

Broccoli was quick, easy and tasty!  All the basic ingredients already in my kitchen so it was a snap to prepare.

Overall the experience was fun and I’m glad to add a couple more recipes to my repetoire!  Thank you Maria and congratulations on your win!  Please share your creations with us when you fill your winning bento box!
Quick And Easy Quiche on Foodista

Related Posts with Thumbnails

13 to “Recipe Challenge Bento Box”

  1. Ceinwyn says:

    I hadn’t seen the mini quiche recipe yet, it seems easy to make and as often, the simple things are usually the tastiest :o )
    And I love the way you presented the pasta : so stylish !

  2. Lil'chan says:

    Looks really like a winning bento ;) Enjoy it ^-^

  3. Lia Chen says:

    You are so great to able to turn the recipes into a good looking, delicious bento. The mini quiches also turn out very nice, excellent for this bento Debra!! d(^.^)b

  4. Maria says:

    The quiches are surprisingly easy, no? The hardest part is cutting the dough and fitting it into the little muffin tins. I’m sure it’s cheaper and healthier to make homemade dough, but sometimes we have to sacrifice that stuff for sheer convenience.

    I LOVE the little rose you made with the Canadian bacon and the cutout flower to embellish the quiche! Your way is much prettier than when I make it, but I guess that shows I have a lot to learn, which is more exciting than daunting. :)

    I’m glad you had fun with this, and thank you once again for the opportunity!

  5. Looks like we have TWO winners… Maria and Hapa Bento! :) )

  6. Bentobird says:

    What a super project! And a winning bento indeed :)

  7. Susan says:

    Yum, that looks delicious! The mini quiches look wonderful too! :)

  8. sheri says:

    Congrats on a winning bento! Looks delish, and thanks for sharing the recipes!

  9. hapabento says:

    Thanks everyone for your encouragement. I tend to stick to my tried and true recipes. But now that I’ve stepped outside the box (the bento box) I may just experiment more.

  10. Amaaris says:

    Great bento, again! It is good to experiment sometimes, but we should not forget our all time favourites, because there will be a reason, why you like them ;)

  11. Wow, I’m so impressed. That flower ham walnut pasta thing looks amazing. So contrast with the simplicity of the broccoli. The quiche looks so cute:)

  12. gamene says:

    this looks beautiful, seasonal and delicious! congrats to the winner, and congrats to us all for getting great new recipes out of the deal! thanks hapa!

  13. Dana says:

    Wow, somehow it never occurred to me to try putting -dried- pineapples in dessert instead of canned. Has anybody tried that with gelatin? Does it avoid the melty issue? I love the taste of fresh pineapple over canned so much, so I’m always sad you can’t put fresh pineapple in jello, and this just might make a great taste compromise :)
    Anyways, it looks great, and I definitely want to try the recipes, especially for the pasta!

  • Ban 160x600 japan tradition
  • Your alt text here.

  • Ban 160x600 style lunch
  • 160x160 take maru
  • Zen-160x160 Your alt text here.
Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wordpress themes

↑ Top