HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


lunch at home ideas please!

  • p

I'm getting bored with my usual at home lunches. I need some new ideas as I'm home most days. no deli or fish please- I do eat all real meat though.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Next time you go to the store, buy some medium size flour tortillas, a can of refried beans, mexican cheese, and some good salsa. Make quesadillas for lunch by smearing some beans over a tortilla, sprinkling cheese over the beans, then topping with another tortilla. Put the whole thing into a skillet that you've sprayed with pam and heated. Heat for about 3 minutes on each side, and remove to a plate. Smear salsa on top, and enjoy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ClairfiedButter

      I usually make mine with one torilla, pop that into the toaster oven until cheese melts and no pan to wash. Add some scrambled eggs and you've got a good breakfast burrito (plus the pan to wash).

    2. What are your usual at-home lunches?

      I love pasta when I'm eating alone. My favorite quick fix when I'm eating out of the pantry is pasta carbonara with bacon, eggs and cheese, all of which I always have on hand. If you have good fresh veggies, a quick tomato or primavera or puttanesca sauce isn't a lot of work. Or mac and cheese, very comforting when it's miserable outside like today in Boston.

      Soups are also good lunch meals. You can make these in largish batches and freeze in single-portion containers.

      I like the quesadilla idea, or any kind of panini with cheese and veggies, or cubano made with good pork and a nice dressing.

      Are you bored with egg dishes? Frittata, quiches, omelets all make simple tasty meals.

      1. Last night I made an easy salad:
        Chopped Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, and chopped fresh mint. Then poured/mixed in a couple tbls of EVOO and fresh lemon juice. Sprinkled w/s and p. YUM! Added avocado too. Then today for lunch had the leftovers w/stuffed grape leaves (bought at a mid-eastern market) you can get at any Jon's, hummus and fresh slices of orange bell peppers! Refreshing, light and easy. :) KQ

        1. Fried rice--which works best with leftover rice. It is very versatile. You can make it with or without eggs. Put use fresh vegetables or leftover meats. Quick and tasty. In the summer, I some time mix in fresh herbs like mint or basil.

          Pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozarella.

          Steak salad

          Larb--Brown ground chicken in a skillet. Tossing in onions/vegetables. Soy sauce, sugar, fish sauce and salt or any combo of that. Serve on crisp iceberg lettuce or cabbage leaves.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mielimato

            I forgot the part about adding fresh mint to the larb. That's the best part!

          2. Soup! I make all sorts. You can keep leftovers in the freezer and the variities are endless...cold, hot, veggie, grain, meat, bean, pureed and smooth, or chunky.

            Try Deborah Madison's Soup cookbook...it has loads of healthy and tasty recipes.


            1. I eat lunch at home all the time. I make salads mostly to try to stay healthy and low-carb. Here are some ingredients I use:
              Romaine lettuce: I slice it up - it stands up well
              Fresh tomatoes: I eat them every day in season
              Oven-baked cherry tomatoes: once a week, put them in a low temp over for a while (30 min) and then use them throughout the week. I left them in forever once, and they were fine
              Roasted red peppers: buy some and roast them over the grill or in a hot oven. Cut up and use all week
              Leftover corn: great off the cob
              Goat cheese: I just shave it off with a fork
              Peeled hard cheese: use a veggie peeler to add some slices to the salad
              Leftover meats
              Excellent olive oil with salt: that's my only dressing, and it works great with really good olive oil. a teaspoon or so is enough
              Herbs: whatever is fresh - some herbs make it taste interesting

              The key is to get a lot of fresh food ready in the fridge and then assemble away.

              1. an omelet and a salad is one standby, or a salad with a fried or poached egg. takes 10 minutes at most to make, and is filling without necessarily eating all that much.

                1. I love open faced sandwiches when I am at home -- any combination of meats, veggies and cheeses I have in the fridge can work. This time of year, there is nothing like thick slabs of tomato, slivered onion and cheddar cheese (add a couple of strips of bacon if you want). A tuna melt is still delicious, especially if you dress it up with some sprouts and dilled havarti cheese. I love sauteed mushrooms flavored with sherry with some dabs of goats cheese, roasted or grilled mixed veggies with feta, escarole quarters cooked in garlic and olive oil with ham and fontina.....

                  I also am a soup fan and will either accompany a small sandwich with a cup or just have a whole bowl. Gazpacho or corn and shrimp chowder this time of year, heartier soups in the winter.

                  I love quiche and freeze half after it's baked and save for a few weeks, and enjoy the other half for a few days during the current week. I also found this delicious recipe online for Bouchons au Thon (little crustless tuna and gruyere quiche things) that is easy and delicious (http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/03...).

                  Above all, leftovers! I always make extras so I have leftovers for lunches.

                  1. For me, lunch at home often means standing in front of the fridge and picking at a little of everything. Sometimes I actually have the patience to assemble things on a plate. Either way, here are some favorites:

                    - a couple of slices of good Italian salami

                    - various types of cheese: with bread or crispbread, chili jam or other savory pickle-type thing

                    - fresh tofu: cut into cubes and drizzled with soy sauce, some finely chopped scallions, chili...eaten with nori

                    - Nigella Lawson's watermelon, feta, and black olive salad

                    - lettuce dressed with evoo, balsamic, and pecorino romano

                    - leftovers: curry, roast chicken, soup, noodles, mac & cheese, or anything from the night before

                    - beans dressed with lemon, garlic, and olive oil

                    - hummous

                    - tuna: in a salad, on its own, dressed with oil and lemon...

                    1. Lightly toast an english muffin; top with lobster; cooked broccoli; a thin slice of tomato and some swiss cheese; place under the broiler and you have a wonderful lobster melt!

                      1. Two soups I've been into lately:
                        Innisbruck Garlic Soup (see megnut.com for recipe)
                        Marcella Hazan's garbanzo bean soup

                        And my usual chicken salad:
                        roasted chicken
                        mayo and yogurt or sour cream to taste
                        chopped rosemary
                        chopped smokehous almonds
                        diced red onion

                        Also, the oeuf en cocotte is a great little lunch treat-- recipes abound online; or try a plain old egg sandwich-- slice hb egg, spread bread with mayo and mustard and voila-- a lighter easier spin on egg salad.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Procrastibaker

                          If the garbanzo bean soup you are referring to is the one with rosemary and garlic - it's fantastic - I like the version with the added pasta.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Yup, that's the one. Isn't it yummy? I like to use dried garbanzos-- to me they are more flavorful. But canned would work fine and are much quicker. Have you ever added any veggies? I feel the soup might be nice with some zucchini...

                            1. re: Procrastibaker

                              I've only used canned/jarred ones - laziness I guess - though I'm able to get some v. nice ones in NYC. Never added vegetables, but the zucchini sounds good.

                        2. When I'm home I make a quality hamburger with fresh toppings on super delicious bakery bread. Just last week it was ground sirloin and lamp flavored with pineapple juice and soy sauce. Topped with sauted portabello mushrooms and smoked gouda on a lightly toasted whole wheat roll. Man that was good!

                          Salmon burgers (I buy mine at Costco) open faced with lemon and dill, also delicious!

                          Soups as other have posted. I enjoy butternut squash and chicken corn soup this time of year. When I make a big pot of both, I break it down into smaller meals and defrost for lunch.

                          But you know...a good quality PB&J with a hot cup of tea is just as satisfying when home for lunch.

                          Experiment! Lunch does not have to be routine.

                          1. Leftovers!! When I was working at home, I would make sure to make extra servings for dinner so I would have easy choices for lunch. My partner calls it "used food". I even like "used salad".

                            1. I think our favorite is a "wrap" made with Grilled Chicken (leftover), shredded parmesan, romaine lettuce, and a Caesar dressing. If I have other veggies I'll add them. Avocado. And almonds. If I don't have dressing we use a spicy mustard.

                              I'm looking for a GREAT Caesar dressing recipe. (Will have to search archives.) No anchovies please.

                              If you take whole romaine lettuce leaves and lay them out along the large tortilla, placing the fillings inside them and rolling them first with the ends folded in, then rolling the tortillas, nothing falls out.