chili corndog bento

5 01 2010

i made yummy vegetarian chili for dinner tonight, so tomorrow’s lunch bento has the chili with some cheese music notes in a food cup (it’s actually an onigiri mold, but it was the right size, so whatever), some asparagus wrapped in cheese and veggie ham, grape tomatoes, snow peas, a little baby orange (or maybe it’s a clementine?), starfruit slices and a trader joe’s vegetarian “corn-doggie.”

the corn-doggie is hard to see from this angle, so here’s another shot:

a corndog doesn’t have exactly the right shape for a dog’s snout, but oh well, i thought it would be cute to make a dog out of a “dog”!  in case you want to try this, here’s how i did it:

  • microwave trader joe’s vegetarian corndog for 1 minute.  let it cool while you do other stuff.
  • once it’s cool to the touch, work the stick out of the dog.  this will leave a hollow tube running through the dog.
  • insert the non-sharp end of a toothpick into the hollow tube on an angle, so that it eventually sticks into one side of the dog.  keep pushing it in until only the sharp point is sticking out (about 1/16 of an inch) of the hole at the end of the dog.
  • skewer one edamame bean to the sharp end of the toothpick, being careful not to poke the end of the pick all the way through (you don’t want to see the point on the outside of the nose!).
  • using a nori punch, cut eyes and mouth of your liking and affix with mayonnaise.
  • using a cutter of your desired shape and size, cut floppy ears and affix with mayonnaise.
  • you could probably be more creative and find something good to use as a tail (or even add legs), but my doggie is a yorkie with a short stubby tail, so i thought the heart pick was a cute thing to stick in this doggie’s butt.

and in case you want to whip up a tasty batch of vegetarian chili, great on these cold winter nights, here is my family recipe:


– 3 cans of beans (i like to use kidney, pinto, and black, but my mom uses like two dark kidney and one light – whatevs)
– 1 huge can of diced or chopped tomatoes (i like the kind that already has herbs in it)
– 1 tiny can tomato paste
– 1 huge or 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
– 5 cloves garlic minced (yeah, it’s a lot)
– 1 bell pepper, chopped (i hate green but yellow, orange or red is ok), chopped
– 1 package fake meat (yves ground round or any other brand of soy crumbles will work; tvp would also work)
– spices to taste:  chili powder, cumin (this is THE KEY), garlic powder, oregano (sounds weird but used a lot in mexico), salt and pepper of course
– random liquids of your choosing:  balasamic, white vinegar, hot sauce (make it up as you go along)
– canola oil (you can use olive instead if you want)

  • sautee your onions and peppers in the oil until the onions are translucent.  add the garlic and sautee until it’s cooked-ish but not darkening too much in color.  add your fake meat and sautee that in there too until everything is pretty well mixed and the meat has absorbed the oil and the liquid from the veggies.  dump your cans of beans in there WITH THE LIQUID (which is super starchy and helps hold the chili together).
  • mix that all together, and then dump your ginormo can of tomatoes in too.  mix that up and then add your spices (this is when i also add a little bit of vinegar and hot sauce. you could add balsamic if you want the chili to be slightly sweeter).
  • bam, it’s pretty much done already!  you should let it simmer for a while (anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes) though, so that the beans start to break down (adding further starch which further thickens everything) and so that the flavors of the spices penetrate everything and meld together.
  • for a “quick” batch of chili you can use a potato masher to break up some of the beans, and the tomato paste to thicken.  you will want to readjust the spices after you add the tomato paste, though, because it adds sugar.
  • i love this topped with chopped raw onions, grated cheese and sour cream, and TONS of frank’s red hot.
  • the bonus factor with this recipe is that it’s ALWAYS better the next day, either cold or reheated.  it also freezes well, so go ahead and make a huge batch (the above recipe is already pretty huge because of the volume of the canned goods, but sometimes i even double that).




13 responses

6 01 2010
Susan Yuen

I love the corn doggie, he’s so cute! Such a beautiful bento and I love the star fruit. We used to eat star fruit all the time as kids because it was so plentiful where I lived. 😀

6 01 2010

Oh boy, a veggie recipe…BONUS… it’s chili! What’s better than chili and a corndog? A chili and corndog bento made by gamene!


6 01 2010

I love his little nose! Beautifully done.

6 01 2010

Brilliant bento and post! I love these detailed instructions and tips, and your customized corn dog is so cute! Enjoying, as always, the wealth of lovely details that cozily populate your bentos–the asparagus rolls are particularly nice!

6 01 2010

another super cute bento ^.^ I love your corn dog “dog”

6 01 2010

thank you so much, susan, hapa, lexi, jenn, and lil’chan! glad you guys like this one… the dog came out slightly different from the way i planned, so i was getting frustrated while i was putting him together and i’m glad the work paid off 😉

and hapa, i feel like i OWE you tons of veggie recipes after all the great recipes you’ve included on your blog!

susan – what a delicious childhood memory? where did you grow up — i’m not even sure where starfruits grow!

7 01 2010
Vegetarian Chili – Bento Central

[…] Looking for a hearty, healthy, one-pot meal to warm you up on these cold winter nights? Try gamene’s vegetarian chili! For the recipe, visit bento zen. […]

8 01 2010
Lia Chen

I love it Megan!! This one is incredibly informative post and great shoot too 🙂

8 01 2010

thanks lia, i hope you get a chance to try and enjoy the recipe! we all know you don’t need the tips on creating a kawaii character, though 😉

19 04 2011
Cool Vegetarian Chili images | Healthy Recipe Source

[…] usual, more details (and veggie chili recipe) at bento zen if you’re interested… […]

21 10 2011
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chili corndog bento – detail [explored] | Bento Boxes

[…] detail on my vegetarian "corn-doggie." how-to at bento zen! […]

8 01 2015
chili corndog bento – detail [explored]

[…] detail on my vegetarian "corn-doggie." how-to at bento zen! […]

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