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Jul 25, 2006 11:01 PM

Inventive lunches you can prep once for and eat throughout the week

I loathe flabby deli-meat sandwiches and am starting to tire of my usual salad lunch (though I make my salad with a hundred different ingredients :)
I want to pack my lunch, though.

Last week, I had a bag of corn tortillas and decided to try bringing tacos to work. I grilled a load of cod (marinated), cut it into chunks. Shredded a head of cabbage. Diced onions. Made white sauce. Bought a tub of fresh salsa. Everyday, I packed 2 tortillas and some of each ingredient. I microwaved my tortillas and fish and assembled my tacos at my desk (yes, the fish was a bit...aromatic). Those were some satisfying lunches! Of course, I had other things, like rice & beans, fruit, etc.

I'm looking for some other good ideas along those line. Or even more taco/quesadilla ideas if you have any. Preferably (but not necessarily) low-fat.

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  1. Pasta salads were a fav of mine when I was a working girl. I also loved veggie wraps. I would slice all the veggies and keep them in containers, then toss them together that morning in a baggie, add a spinach or tomato wrap and a little cup of dressing. I would assemble at lunchtime to avoid the soggy wrap phenom. Sometimes I would grill up a batch of seasoned chicken to use too. You can be have infinite favs were red pepper, cukes, avocado, and shredded romaine with some grilled chicken and a little raspberry walnut vinaigrette (Paul Newmans) It works in pitas too.

    I liked hummus, cukes, tomato slices and shredded carrot in pitas too. Hummus works too with a variety of raw veggies as well, it's cheap to make and way better than store bought.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cooknKate

      I really like pasta salads too, in fact, that's what I had most of last week. I made a Curried Chicken Pasta Salad... I can post the recipe this evening, if you're interested.

      Also, I watched Sara Moulton a while back and she did a show on not-your-usual lunches, and she had some really interesting ideas. I thought the "stir-fried" veggies were particularly interesting.

    2. I really like panzanella. You can keep all of the components separate and mix them up the day of. Tasty!

      1. I really like mixing some vegetables, pasta, and beans.

        One I like is is a mix of a little bit of oil, garlic, some lemon juice, spinach, feta, salt, pepper, white beans and pasta.

        Another good one is cherry tomatoes, white beans, pasta, basil, oil and balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper.

        These are my two favs, but there are plenty of different combos -- they are fast to make, filling, and long lasting (meaning i'm not hungry one hour later) They also carry well.

        1. To add to the other suggestions, try grain salads. I've made lots of these this summer - bulgur and couscous are really easy to make. I've made them with Mediterranean flavors (lemon, mint, feta, olives) or spicy seasonings (curry, chili) and added fish or chicken or other fresh or cooked vegetables. It will keep for a few days in the fridge, is low-fat and healthy.

          1. You could also try experimenting with cold soba noodle salads. Start with a basic recipe and dressing (perhaps just some soy sauce, rice vinegar, crushed garlic and ginger, sesame oil) and dress it up however you please. Some ideas: grilled shrimp, poached chicken, loads of veggies - baby corn, bok choy, mushrooms, scallions, broccolli, etc., grilled flank steak, tofu, etc. The sky's the limit. Also nice this time of year since the salad is cold.