With one of my girls in college and the other with a job and school, I have been finding the need to pack them lunchboxes. That adds another level of work to my day and I've been wondering how best to tackle that. With a potential new book in the works, I really don't have the luxury any more to make lunch in the middle of the day and then dinner at night.
What to do?
How about making dinner and then using some of those ingredients or components to make lunch for the following day (or the day after)? Sounded good to me! If all goes well, this will become regular blog posts that I can share with you.
I'm calling these Dinner To Bento.
My first offering is Caramelized Onion and Kale Saute with Brown Rice and Beans. After you cook the dinner, set aside some of the saute and rice and make them into Chipotle Burgers. The burgers can be served in wraps, on buns or on a bed of greens.
The easiest ways to cook brown rice fast is to use my method or a pressure cooker.
Add the broth, beans and kale and continue to simmer until the kale is tender - about 10 minutes. By now the rice should be cooked and steaming under a kitchen towel (this goes for either method - once cooked, drape a kitchen towel over the pot).
Before you serve the saute with the rice and chile, set aside 1 cup of the saute (drained) and 1 cup of the rice.
Transfer the saute, mustard, chipotle puree (simply blend a can of chipotle en adobo until smooth and store in the fridge in a covered container where it will keep for months) and quick-cooking oatmeal to a food processor and pulse to chop.
Mix the processed mixture with the rice, form into patties and cook in a skillet until browned. Pack in lunchboxes the next day (in a microwave-safe container if you are planning to reheat it) with a bun or tortilla, a container of chipotle mayo and lettuce and tomato.
That's it! Two meals in one, yet different enough to transcend "leftovers."
Caramelized Onion and Kale Saute/Chipotle Burgers
Prep and cook time: 45 minutes
Serves 3 to 4
2 cups medium or short-grain brown rice
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 sprigs fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
6 garlic cloves, sliced
8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and chopped
2 cups cannellini beans
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
Sea salt and black pepper
1 cup drained saute
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats**
1 teaspoon chipotle puree*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup cooked medium or short-grain brown rice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chipotle puree*
1. Cook the brown rice.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions (use a little oil if you like, but it is not necessary). Cover the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Stir, add a splash of broth, cover and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sage, garlic, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Repeat with a splash of broth, stir and continue to cook until the onions are caramelized, about 10 more minutes.
3. Add the kale, beans and remaining broth to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and stir well. Cook until the kale is tender, about 10 more minutes. Mash some of the beans using a potato masher or large spoon and cook for another minute. Before serving, remove 1 cup of the sautee (drained) and 1 cup of the rice. Serve with the brown rice and slivers of jalapeno.
4. For the burgers: Add the saute, oats, chipotle and mustard to a food processor. Pulse until combined but not pureed. Transfer to a bowl and add the rice. Mix well and adjust seasoning. Divide the mixture into 4 portions and form into patties about 1/2 an inch thick.
5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Serve on buns with the chipotle mayo.
6. For the mayo: Mix the mayonnaise and chipotle in a small bowl until well combined.
** If you don’t have quick-cooking oats, process rolled oats in the food processor before adding the saute, mustard and chipotle.
* Blend a can of chipotle en adobo until smooth and store in the fridge in a covered container where it will keep for months.
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