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The Just Bento Cookbook 2: Make-Ahead, Easy, Healthy Lunches to Go

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The author of the best-selling Just Bento Cookbook is back with hundreds of delicious new Japanese-lunchbox-style recipes -- including many low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan options -- that can be made quickly and without a lot of fuss. The passion for bento boxes shows no signs of letting up. Leading the way in popularizing these compact and portable boxed meals has been Mak The author of the best-selling Just Bento Cookbook is back with hundreds of delicious new Japanese-lunchbox-style recipes -- including many low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan options -- that can be made quickly and without a lot of fuss. The passion for bento boxes shows no signs of letting up. Leading the way in popularizing these compact and portable boxed meals has been Makiko Itoh, blogger extraordinaire and author of the perennial bestseller, The Just Bento Cookbook. Itoh was instrumental in spreading the word that bentos are perfect for busy adults-on-the-go -- they don't have to be cute and they don't have to take a lot of planning or prep time in order to be tasty, nutritious, and economical. In THE JUST BENTO COOKBOOK 2: Make-Ahead Lunches and More, Itoh offers hundreds of new recipes for bento-friendly dishes. The premise of this second cookbook is that anyone can make delicious, healthy bentos quickly and easily. Itoh focuses on three types of bentos with specific and appealing benefits: bentos that can be made ahead of time, "express" bentos that can be put together fast, using components right off the shelf or out of the refrigerator, and bentos for special dietary needs. Full-color photos accompany the directions and showcase the finished dishes. THE JUST BENTO COOKBOOK 2 opens with Itoh's basic bento rules, revised to reflect comments she's heard from her many fans after the first book came out. "Build Up Your Stash" explains why having some items ready to pack up and go is the key to stress-free bento-making. Here are tips on making foods that store well, organizing storage space, the best containers to use for different foods, what store-bought items to have on hand, etc. The first section, "Make-Ahead Bentos," features recipes for a wide variety of dishes that can be prepared the night before or first thing in the morning. Here are different kinds of meatballs and burgers, including both Western versions and Japanese variations; mouth-watering chicken, pork, beef, egg and fish dishes; a section on "Tofu and Vegan" treats such as Ginger Tofu Teriyaki and Green Lentils and Brown Rice; and recipes for Rice Sandwiches such as Egg-wrapped Rice Sandwich with Bacon Rice Filling. A special section of Low Carb recipes based on shirataki noodles and konnyaku (konjac) offers fun and creative ways to use this no-cal, no-carb, no-sugar, gluten-free "miracle" noodle in dishes like Rice and Shirataki Pilaf with Shrimp, Shirataki Chicken "Ramen" in a Lunch Jar, and Shirataki with Sesame. "Express Bentos" presents very quick-to-assemble boxes comprised of foods that don't require detailed recipes and don't rely on pre-homemade items. From Mediterranean Pasta and Yakisoba bentos to a Deconstructed Taco Salad and Stir-fry Bento, the ideas here will prove to be lifesavers for busy people who need to get out of the house in a hurry but still want their flavorful, filling, and healthy lunch. Other new and exciting additions to this second volume include an entire section of recipes for Vegetable Side Dishes (Roast Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar, Spicy Broccoli, and Potato and Corn Salad), and one for Japanese Vegetable Side Dishes (Buttery Kabocha Squash, Crunchy Stir-fried Soy Beans, Hijiki Seaweed with Garlic). Recipes for different versions of dashi will help readers keep a supply of this staple ingredient at the ready. And advice on tools and equipment, types of bento boxes and accessories, as well as a glossary and resource section, will ensure that preparing bentos is as enjoyable as eating them.


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The author of the best-selling Just Bento Cookbook is back with hundreds of delicious new Japanese-lunchbox-style recipes -- including many low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan options -- that can be made quickly and without a lot of fuss. The passion for bento boxes shows no signs of letting up. Leading the way in popularizing these compact and portable boxed meals has been Mak The author of the best-selling Just Bento Cookbook is back with hundreds of delicious new Japanese-lunchbox-style recipes -- including many low-carb, vegetarian, and vegan options -- that can be made quickly and without a lot of fuss. The passion for bento boxes shows no signs of letting up. Leading the way in popularizing these compact and portable boxed meals has been Makiko Itoh, blogger extraordinaire and author of the perennial bestseller, The Just Bento Cookbook. Itoh was instrumental in spreading the word that bentos are perfect for busy adults-on-the-go -- they don't have to be cute and they don't have to take a lot of planning or prep time in order to be tasty, nutritious, and economical. In THE JUST BENTO COOKBOOK 2: Make-Ahead Lunches and More, Itoh offers hundreds of new recipes for bento-friendly dishes. The premise of this second cookbook is that anyone can make delicious, healthy bentos quickly and easily. Itoh focuses on three types of bentos with specific and appealing benefits: bentos that can be made ahead of time, "express" bentos that can be put together fast, using components right off the shelf or out of the refrigerator, and bentos for special dietary needs. Full-color photos accompany the directions and showcase the finished dishes. THE JUST BENTO COOKBOOK 2 opens with Itoh's basic bento rules, revised to reflect comments she's heard from her many fans after the first book came out. "Build Up Your Stash" explains why having some items ready to pack up and go is the key to stress-free bento-making. Here are tips on making foods that store well, organizing storage space, the best containers to use for different foods, what store-bought items to have on hand, etc. The first section, "Make-Ahead Bentos," features recipes for a wide variety of dishes that can be prepared the night before or first thing in the morning. Here are different kinds of meatballs and burgers, including both Western versions and Japanese variations; mouth-watering chicken, pork, beef, egg and fish dishes; a section on "Tofu and Vegan" treats such as Ginger Tofu Teriyaki and Green Lentils and Brown Rice; and recipes for Rice Sandwiches such as Egg-wrapped Rice Sandwich with Bacon Rice Filling. A special section of Low Carb recipes based on shirataki noodles and konnyaku (konjac) offers fun and creative ways to use this no-cal, no-carb, no-sugar, gluten-free "miracle" noodle in dishes like Rice and Shirataki Pilaf with Shrimp, Shirataki Chicken "Ramen" in a Lunch Jar, and Shirataki with Sesame. "Express Bentos" presents very quick-to-assemble boxes comprised of foods that don't require detailed recipes and don't rely on pre-homemade items. From Mediterranean Pasta and Yakisoba bentos to a Deconstructed Taco Salad and Stir-fry Bento, the ideas here will prove to be lifesavers for busy people who need to get out of the house in a hurry but still want their flavorful, filling, and healthy lunch. Other new and exciting additions to this second volume include an entire section of recipes for Vegetable Side Dishes (Roast Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar, Spicy Broccoli, and Potato and Corn Salad), and one for Japanese Vegetable Side Dishes (Buttery Kabocha Squash, Crunchy Stir-fried Soy Beans, Hijiki Seaweed with Garlic). Recipes for different versions of dashi will help readers keep a supply of this staple ingredient at the ready. And advice on tools and equipment, types of bento boxes and accessories, as well as a glossary and resource section, will ensure that preparing bentos is as enjoyable as eating them.

30 review for The Just Bento Cookbook 2: Make-Ahead, Easy, Healthy Lunches to Go

  1. 4 out of 5

    notgettingenough

    I calculate at the rate of 12 years x 40 weeks x 5 days, that I ate 2400 lunches at school, every one of them prepared by my mother. My superhuman mother had four children, so she made going on for 10000 of these damn (as she may have thought) lunches, on top of working full time and studying almost full time. Every single one had the same components: a sandwich - if it was cheese it was Kraft, that one wrapped in alfoil in a box - fruit, and for morning tea either a simple cake or biscuits she I calculate at the rate of 12 years x 40 weeks x 5 days, that I ate 2400 lunches at school, every one of them prepared by my mother. My superhuman mother had four children, so she made going on for 10000 of these damn (as she may have thought) lunches, on top of working full time and studying almost full time. Every single one had the same components: a sandwich - if it was cheese it was Kraft, that one wrapped in alfoil in a box - fruit, and for morning tea either a simple cake or biscuits she made herself. Definitely the highlight. On Mondays, lack of fresh bread meant that they were cold toasted sandwiches, an ugh for we children who critiqued our basic lunchtime fare. At some point she started making them in bulk and freezing them. It didn't seem to make much difference to us, defrosted or fresh. And in the waste not, want not way of the world back then, once she started using gladwrap, we would bring it home, she'd wash it, hang it out on the line and it would get used again. And again. So for me, the idea of a bento lunch is fantasy world. I love the occasional lunchtime bento restaurant outing as a grownup, but I look at it and think 'all that trouble', 'all that time'. Who can do that? Maybe people like S-L, who makes her own lunch to take to work and introduced me to Makiko Itoh's blog. But my mother? Surely not. Having said that, the thing that is most striking about Itoh's writings is that they are dominated by the pragmatism of saving time, eliminating trouble. She manages to walk some very fine line between this and maintaining the aesthetics of food that are so important to Japanese culture. Each bento box section addresses the following: 1) the things to save time - so much can be cooked and frozen ahead of time, or prepared and kept in the fridge for a few days 2) the things that need to be done in the morning 3) things that need to be done to ensure eating safety 4) the aesthetics of how to pack the box She also constantly stresses health considerations, both specific - if you need low salt then....if you need sugar free then.... - and general - variety is the key to healthy eating, the more colours you have on the plate the more balanced and healthy your eating will be. One of the things that attracted me to the Just Bento blog was that Itoh lives in the French countryside, not so far from me. This lends itself to thinking out of the box (so to speak), being adaptable, using what is available in one's local area. Itoh's pragmatism is seen in her flexibility as to what one can put in a bento box. She isn't constrained by ideas of being true to tradition. She suggests lots of dishes which start off as a dinner dish, with the left-overs becoming part of the bento lunch, and Western dishes find places in her suggested menus. Buy pre-cut and packaged vegetables, tinned fruit - she is not judgemental about these things. In any case, what is tradition? We see through this book, that the idea of 'bento' in Japan is no fixed, timeless thing. Hence her section on 'Rice Sandwiches', introduced with the comment that A  recent bento revolution in Japan is the rice sandwich, known as an onigirazu, meaning 'not pressed (into a ball),' a play on words on the traditional onigiri rice ball. The advantage of a rice sandwich over a rice ball is that you can vary the fillings a lot more, and put in a lot more filling too, making a satisfying lunch. For those overwhelmed by the idea of having to prepare several things, involving lots of ingredients, even if much of it has been done beforehand, there is a section on one-dish bentos, ranging from yakisoba and fried rice, to rather Western ideas like 'Chicken, Chickpea and Swiss Chard' I don't have an excuse as an adult to even consider going bento, as I've (almost) never worked away from home. However, I use the recipes and ideas for cooking at home, nothing is beautiful, nothing is bento, but it all tastes good. Not surprising since, as mentioned, she suggests using left-overs as part of the bento box menu. On my first trip to Japan I discovered the most foreign place I'd ever visited. Not least that applied to the cookbooks I'd buy to bring back home. Although they had the comfort of being in English, there any sense of familiarity ended. They were organised in ways I didn't understand. The ingredients were often completely unintelligible and unobtainable, with no idea what one might do as a substitute. I'd come back from my trips to Japan full of enthusiasm, buy a bunch of mysterious things at a Japanese grocer, and before long none of them would have any meaning at all for me. The Just Bento Cookbook 2, like its predecessor, is quite the opposite of these sometimes challenging experiences. Itoh uses basic ingredients which are obtainable anywhere. As luck would have it I have a couple of excellent Japanese grocery shops close to hand, but most supermarkets these days stock the basics called for here - miso, soy, sesame, mirin, sake, Japanese rice, a couple of vinegars, oyster sauce. There are a few more esoteric ingredients, but nothing that the ideas stand and fall by. It is worth pointing out that she uses the microwave a lot, but as far as I can see, not having one doesn't matter, most things are straightforward to make without. There is a vast amount packed into the pages of this nicely laid out and organised book, covering a lot of ground. To end with an example, I love the sound of this, 'Miso Soup Balls'. rest here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpre...

  2. 4 out of 5

    J.D. Holman

    Think of Ms. Itoh's first book as a beginning bento book, and this as the intermediate version. This book is incredibly realistic in that the recipes are primarily make-ahead, freezer-friendly entrees and sides, though I did miss the first book's inclusion of timelines for making the complete bentos. There are a lot of adaptations and variations of recipes. I made the "white fish with lemon butter" entree for dinner one evening, and made a couple changes - turned out very good with what I had ava Think of Ms. Itoh's first book as a beginning bento book, and this as the intermediate version. This book is incredibly realistic in that the recipes are primarily make-ahead, freezer-friendly entrees and sides, though I did miss the first book's inclusion of timelines for making the complete bentos. There are a lot of adaptations and variations of recipes. I made the "white fish with lemon butter" entree for dinner one evening, and made a couple changes - turned out very good with what I had available. I do like that there is a complete section of vegetable sides.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dunkthebiscuit Kendrick

    I have followed Maki's blogs for years, and her recipes are both reliable and delicious. Like volume 1 of Just Bento, this book concentrates on recipes that can be easily prepared ahead, then frozen or refrigerated to be combined in different ways. Mostly using easy to find Western ingredients, there is a short section on using traditional Japanese vegetables - including dried daikon radish which I've never found available to purchase here, but I do have both a dehydrator and - so it turns out - I have followed Maki's blogs for years, and her recipes are both reliable and delicious. Like volume 1 of Just Bento, this book concentrates on recipes that can be easily prepared ahead, then frozen or refrigerated to be combined in different ways. Mostly using easy to find Western ingredients, there is a short section on using traditional Japanese vegetables - including dried daikon radish which I've never found available to purchase here, but I do have both a dehydrator and - so it turns out - a garden that daikons love to grow in.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeridel Banks

    This is the first bento book to read since I know how to make Japanese-style rolled eggs and lunches. I still learned how to make a different style of Japanese-style rolled eggs, onigirazu, or rice sandwiches, spinach namul, and other dishes. Even the art of packing a bento--the importance of arrangements, balancing dishes and side dishes, and looking at food olors--is in this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ed Ashford

    I think I ultimately got more enjoyment from the first book in this series, but I also really liked this one. I think maybe I'll enjoy it more if I actually take the time to work myself through the first book rather than just flipping through without making any of the recipes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Juli Anna

    Not nearly as good as the first one, unfortunately. Many of these recipes feel half-baked and the reliance on microwave and pre-packaged food is disappointing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Setasha Hall

    Really good recipes with a LOT of options for each one. Honestly, I haven't tried many of these yet, but I plan to.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tere (La Vida Secreta de una Lectora)

    [Leído en inglés]: Hace poco me leí el primer libro y ahora voy por el segundo. Quedo completamente feliz de las recetas nuevas que puedo probar, ya tengo bien marcado este nuevo libro y de verdad espero poder recrear algo pronto, de igual manera me los llevaré a donde quiera que viva para poder ser, o intentar ser, una adulta responsable. Espero que mi habilidad en la cocina mejore y que mi amor por Japón nunca desaparezca.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Edie

  10. 5 out of 5

    L.M. Justus

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Klein

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  14. 4 out of 5

    J.S.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Wold

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tyler

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ericka

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Betz

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

  20. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Horton

  21. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  22. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Pike

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard Urquhart

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex Stevens

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Enrica Collins

  27. 5 out of 5

    Neil Anderson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Loren

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ravenloudspeaker

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

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