Bento Box Lunches

EASY LUNCH IDEAS


Caprese Chicken Salad Meal Prep Bowls

Serves: 4 portions Total Time: 40 mins


Ingredients

  • ¾ cup quinoa uncooked

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts roughly 2 large chicken breasts; see note 1

  • salt & pepper

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes halved

  • 1 bunch basil leaves whole but removed from stem; see note 2

  • 1 cup baby bocconcini see note 3

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • ¼ teaspoon dijon

  • salt & pepper





Instructions

  • Cook quinoa- cook quinoa according to package directions. Allow to cool.

  • Cook chicken- Heat oven to 425°F. Toss 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Transfer to a baking dish, season with salt and pepper and bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken reaches 165°F in the thickest part. Once chicken has rested for at least 10 minutes, slice it against the grain.

  • Shake up vinaigrette- In a salad dressing shaker or mason jar, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, dijon and salt and pepper. Portion out into condiment containers.

  • Portion & store- In four meal prep containers (2 cups or larger), divide up the cooled quinoa, chicken, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and basil leaves. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

  • Serve- When you are ready to serve, tear up the fresh basil leaves, shake up the salad dressing, and drizzle over everything. Toss up the salad, and enjoy!


Tips: 1- you can swap for 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, meatballs, tofu or even chickpeas 2- suggestions to keep basil fresh:

  • wrap in paper towel

  • bring the whole basil plant to work; keep it in a jar with water, a bag covering it

  • try to keep the basil at the top of the bowl, away from anything wet like the tomatoes

  • do not add the vinaigrette until just before serving

3- small mozzarella balls; should be found in the deli section of your grocery store. If you can't find the mini ones, simply cut up the larger mozzarella balls.

Storage This salad keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days; expect the tomatoes to be juicy and soft by days 3-4. This salad may not be frozen.


Lemon-Roasted Potatoes and Chicken

Serves: 4 portions

Total Time: 35 minutes


INGREDIENTS 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes Four 4-ounce boneless chicken breasts (skinless or skin on) ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving ¼ cup lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving ½ teaspoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 8 cups baby spinach or baby arugula 1 cup kalamata olives 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill TZATZIKI 1 English cucumber, unpeeled and halved lengthwise 2 cups strained plain whole-milk yogurt or plain Greek yogurt (see note in directions) ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving ¼ cup finely chopped fresh mint ½ garlic clove, minced 1 tablespoon lemon juice ¼ teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper



INSTRUCTIONS

1. ROAST THE POTATOES AND CHICKEN: Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes and chicken with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste. Roast until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken from the baking sheet to a cutting board to rest, and cook the sweet potatoes until they are very tender and beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool the sweet potatoes before assembling the container.

2. MAKE THE TZATZIKI: Use a metal spoon to scrape the seeds from the cucumber; discard them or save to use in smoothies or juices. Grate the cucumber on a box grater and squeeze out the excess juice. In a large bowl, combine the grated cucumber with the yogurt, dill, mint, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper, to taste, and mix well to combine. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.

3. ASSEMBLE THE LUNCHBOX: Slice the chicken crosswise or shred it using two forks. Divide the spinach evenly among each of four bento boxes or containers, then repeat with the chicken, sweet potatoes, tzatziki (or pack it separately), olives and lemon wedges; drizzle with extra oil and sprinkle with dill. Seal and refrigerate until you are ready to take it with you; it will keep for up to five days in the fridge.

NOTE: To make strained yogurt, line a large fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth (approximately four 15-inch square layers), suspend it over a large bowl and add 4 cups of plain yogurt (at least 2% but preferably whole milk). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to a day. Transfer the strained yogurt to a large container and refrigerate as long as the yogurt’s expiry date allows. You can also refrigerate the whey (the liquid strained out of the yogurt) in a glass jar to use for marinades, dips or dressings.


Sesame Noodle Bowls

Serves: 4 portions

Total Time: 15 mins

INGREDIENTS Sesame Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup sesame paste (or tahini)

  • 1/4 cup warm water

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 clove garlic, grated

  • Sriracha and sugar to taste

Bowls:

  • 6–8 ounces stir fry noodles, Chinese egg noodles, or linguine in a pinch

  • 2 cups edamame, cooked

  • 2 cucumbers, diced

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and diced (optional: see notes)

  • Sesame seeds









INSTRUCTIONS

  • Sauce: Whisk all sauce ingredients together until smooth (or you can run it through the food processor, or shake it up in a jar).

  • Noodles: Cook noodles a few minutes LESS than package instructions. If your noodles seem very sticky, rinse them in cold water. Toss noodles with about half of the sesame sauce.

  • Bowls: Divide noodles, edamame, cucumber, and chicken into containers. Drizzle with a little extra sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Voila! Store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Eat hot or cold. Take a shot for the ‘gram cause this is your moment.

Ideal method for cooking the chicken: Cut a pound of chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Done. If you like a little browning on your chicken (like what’s pictured here), once it’s baked, just pop it in a skillet with some extra sesame sauce and let it get nice and roasty-browned on the outside!

WHOLE WHEAT CHICKEN WRAPS

Wrap together

  • Grilled Chicken Breast

  • Whole Wheat Tortilla

  • Hummus

  • Bell Peppers

  • Basil


To the rest of the box, add:

  • Cheeries/Grapes

  • Almonds

  • Sliced Bell Peppers


















Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Broccoli Pesto

Serves: 4 portions Total Time: 25 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless breast, diced to 1-1/2" pieces

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning

  • 3 garlic cloves, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cup broccoli florets

  • 1/4 cup basil

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 1 8oz. container mozzarella bocconcini










DIRECTIONS

  • Combine chicken, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon italian seasoning, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and toss to coat.

  • Assemble 8 skewers by alternating two pieces chicken and two grape tomatoes, leaving room on both ends for mozzarella balls after grilling.

  • Prepare a grill, or heat a grill pan over medium heat.

  • Place skewers on grill grate or pan, being careful not to overcrowd, for 5 minutes. Cover the grill, or the grill pan. Flip the chicken, and continue to cook uncovered for an additional 3 minutes, or until chicken has cooked through and reached 165º and let cool briefly.

  • Combine remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, broccoli, basil, lemon juice and zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a high-speed blender and blend until completely combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  • Meanwhile, cook 16 ounce bag cauli-rice: heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons broccoli pesto and add cauli-rice and cook for 3-5 minutes until hot.

  • Once skewers are cool enough to handle, place mozzarella balls on each end.

  • Divide caulirice and skewers in 4 Ello meal prep containers and top with broccoli pesto, or place in small container.

RECIPE NOTES

  • These are the small mozzarella balls about 2" in diameter.


No Cook Taco Salad

Serves: 4 portions Total Time: 25 mins


Ingredients

  • 1 cup black beans

  • 1 cup corn kernels

  • 3 cups romaine lettuce washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

  • ½ cup shredded cheese

  • ½ cup dressing of choice (cilantro lime dressing highly recommended, see notes!)

  • tortilla chips

Pico De Gallo

  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed and finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons red onion finely chopped

  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice









Instructions

  • Divide ingredients into four storage containers. Use a condiment container to keep dressing separate until just prior to serving.

  • Stir together the pico de gallo ingredients and add to the containers (make sure the pico is not touching the romaine).

  • Store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You may wish to bring an extra bowl to serve the salad in.