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  • Writer's pictureHeather Green

How to Make this Thanksgiving Bento Box

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

If you're looking to pack a miniature version of Thanksgiving, using the elegant art of Bento making, then this post is for you. Listed in this article is the video of how I made my Bento, as well as the recipe list for ALL FIVE items that were put into that Bento.

 


I hope you enjoyed the video and if you're looking for the recipes, please keep scrolling!


Fall Harvest Salad (the portions will vary depending on your Bento):


Ingredients for the Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil

  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Apple Juice

  • 2-3 tablespoons of Honey

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • Pepper to taste


Additional Items for the Salad:

Spinach, Fuji apples, crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and toasted pecans.

*Mix the Vinaigrette and then add all the above ingredients according to the size of your bento.


Fall Harvest Rice Pilaf (This makes a lot of rice but you can freeze it and it microwaves well).


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 cups no sugar added apple juice

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 1/2 tsp of salt and dried parsley

  • 1/4 tsp of pepper, dried oregano, and dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 cup wild rice blend, rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 large onion, diced

  • 1 Fuji apple chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Instructions:

  1. In a saucepan, add the chicken broth, apple juice, dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of butter, salt, pepper, dried thyme, oregano, parsley, and a single bay leaf, and bring to a boil.

  2. Once it's boiling add in your rinsed and drained wild rice, and turn heat to slightly above its lowest setting, and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes. Check it at around 45 minutes, if the rice has absorbed all the liquid but still has time to cook, feel free to add in a little extra water. If your rice is done cooking, but still has some liquid left, drain in a strainer and set it aside.

  3. In the same pan you cooked the rice in (which you have set aside), melt 2 tablespoons of butter. On medium-high heat add in your onions and apples and cook them for 5-7 minutes, or until they're tender. Add in your minced garlic and continue to cook for 30 more seconds. Add back in your rice, cranberries, and pecans along with your apple cider vinegar. Continue to stir and season with salt and pepper.

  4. If you're using this for your bento, let it cool slightly and take a 1/4 cup to 1/2 a cup measuring cup and scoop out the desired amount onto plastic wrap. Wrap securely and store the individual servings in your fridge or freezer, removing as you make your bento.


Turkey Meatball with a Cranberry Glaze

Ingredients for the meatballs:

  • 1 pound of 93% lean ground turkey

  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large egg lightly beaten

  • 1 cup shredded tart apple such as Granny Smith, remove peel

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Ingredients for the Cranberry Glaze:

  • 1 cup whole-berry canned cranberry sauce

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

  • The Zest of 1 orange

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Orange Juice (can be taken from the same orange you removed the zest from).


Instructions:

  1. Add all the ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and mix until just combined but not over-mixed.

  2. Make into balls and put on a lined baking sheet.

  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and bake the meatballs for 13 minutes.

  4. While they are baking, make the cranberry glaze by combining everything listed in the ingredients list for the glaze in a saucepan over medium heat.

  5. Once the glaze is made, and the meatballs are done cooking combine them in a bowl, being sure to fully cover the meatballs.

  6. If you're using this recipe for a bento box, then transfer the meatballs into silicone cupcakes or bento cups and freeze. Remove from freezer and place in bento in the morning and it should be thawed and ready to eat by lunch.


Baked Bacon Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of bacon chopped but not cooked.

  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 of an onion, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole

  • 1 lb fresh green beans with the ends trimmed (and cut into 1-inch pieces if you plan on using them for the bento).

  • Salt and pepper


Instructions:

  1. Cook bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat. When it looks about halfway cooked, add in the shallots (or onion) and the garlic cloves and continue to cook until the bacon is done but not crispy. Remove the garlic cloves and set aside and transfer the bacon and shallot mixture to another bowl.

  2. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease from the skillet and then add in your green beans. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until tender. Return the bacon and shallot mixture back into the pan and stir and serve. (If you're using this for the bento then just place in a plastic container and keep in the fridge until you want to pack it.

Sweet Potato Bites:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes (boiled or microwaved until soft)

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter

  • Cinnamon to Taste


Instructions:

  1. Scoop out the insides of the sweet potatoes into a bowl, and discard the skins.

  2. Add in the sugar, butter, and cinnamon.

  3. Using a fork, press down and mash the sweet potatoes with the ingredients.

  4. Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place in plastic wrap. Twist the top so that it leaves indentations on the Sweet potato mixture. These can be placed in a container and frozen and put in the bento to thaw as the day progresses.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. It might be a little work to do at first, maybe something to be done on a day off before the rest of the week starts, but it's well worth it.


If you have any questions about the dishes, just let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a great rest of your day! -Heather Autumn




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