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Low Budget Bentos: Furikake Chicken for Three

For some reason, I woke up early this morning and had the sudden urge to fry chicken. I had a packet in the fridge and since the kids had asked for bentos the night before and stuck up their noses when I suggested leftover spaghetti, it turned out to be a good thing. I started cutting up the chicken just after 7 and just barely managed to get them to school in time for the second bell. I made sure to tell Buddy that if he didn’t eat this one, I wasn’t going to make him another bento for a long time.

The last time I made him a bento it was chicken soboro and he brought home like 95% of it because he spent all his time yapping at lunch and before he could get down to eating, lunchtime was over. This has been a common complaint from my kids, even with school lunch. “Lunch was too short, I didn’t have time to eat.” A LIKELY STORY!

Buddy's Furikake Chicken Bento

Here’s the bento I made for him. I was putting it into a Doraemon box after spending like 5 minutes searching for a suitable boy box when he came into the kitchen demanding to know why I wasn’t putting it into his car bento box, which he’d boxnapped and left near the microwave. I had to empty out the rice and chicken into the car one. I added broccoli, orange slices, and grapes, separated by lettuce from Mr. Pikko’s growbed.

Baby Girl's Furikake Chicken Bento

This is Baby Girl’s bento, which I luckily didn’t have to move when she picked out Minnie Mouse instead of Hello Kitty, since I hadn’t started packing hers yet.

Furikake Chicken Bento

Finally, here’s my bento, which I packed in my Domokun bento box! Next time I’ll skip the oranges and put pickles because my chicken ended up tasting like oranges. 🙁

As for why I titled this post “Low Budget Bentos”, I thought I’d talk a bit about how much packing your own bentos can typically cost. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1 pack chicken thighs ($4.63 for four servings) – $3.47
  • broccoli (~$2.00 for a crown, I used about 1/5th) – $0.40
  • ~2 cups cooked rice – $0.30
  • 1 orange (~$0.75) – $0.25
  • grapes (about 1/4 lb at $2.99/lb) – $0.50
  • lettuce (free)
  • Furikake (~3.00 per bottle) – $0.16

For the furikake I was estimating that at around 40 servings per bottle and I think I used around two. This totaled up to $5.08 for all three bentos, since  I ate the fourth serving of chicken for breakfast. Although school lunch is really cheap, the real savings comes from my own lunch. If I went to buy a mini plate lunch somewhere, that’d come out to around 7 dollars just for myself.

So while it did take about an hour to do all three lunches (with getting ready and making breakfast in the middle), it does end up being worth it expense wise! I know sometimes it can be a bit hard to tell how much you’re saving when making bentos, so I thought this would be an interesting twist.