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ISO new ideas/recipes for lunch

hi hounds,

i'm hoping you can help me out ... i'm searching for lunch ideas. normally, i make a big batch of soup/stew/pasta/salad/something on sunday and that's what i bring for lunches during the week . since last year, i've been trying to do the 'vegetarian before 6 pm' thing ... and it's been pretty good. so some examples of my lunch repertoire ... minestrone, quinoa salad with smoked tofu, bean soup (any/every variation), barley risotto, bean salad, pasta salad, stir fry with tofu/veg/rice.

i'm hoping you can share with me some ideas of new things i can try out? i can totally deal with repetition throughout the week ... but i'm hitting a bit of a wall when it comes to new ideas! i eat meat so any meat suggestions are welcome too. some requests, if i may ... i dislike leafy salads and i'd rather skip on sandwiches.

this sunday, i'm planning to make a broccoli/pasta bake and throw in some smoked tofu. but after that, i'm outta ideas!

thanks in advance!

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  1. - quiche
    - fritata
    - buttertnut squash soup
    - miso soup
    - black bean/sweet potato soup
    - homemade sushi
    - leftover roast chicken and veggies
    - cold pasta with veggies
    - soba noodle salad
    - peanut noodles
    - chopped israeli salad with hummus
    - chickpea salad - or a 'tuna' made of chickpeas
    - tuna salad with cut up veggies
    - egg salad with cut up veggies
    - grilled chicken over couscous or israeli slad
    - stewed sweet and sour cabbage topped with chicken
    - baked potato with whatever on top
    - leftover gratin
    - roasted vegetables with tofu/chicken
    - lettuce wraps with deli turkey
    - baked/shirred eggs
    - seaweed salad
    - edamame/roasted corn salad
    - samosas/bourekas
    - calzones
    - veg or cheese pizzas on dough or pita
    - veggie strata
    - sauteed greens and beans
    - brown rice salad (good with cranberries)

    Hope this helps!

    13 Replies
    1. re: cheesecake17

      Seconding the calzone Idea. I lave making these on Sundays and they are fun easily packed lunches all week.

      1. re: daily_unadventures

        hi all,

        wow - thanks for the great ideas!!

        hubby LOVES pizza ... the calzones may be a hit!

        so, umm, do you make separate calzones? or one big calzone and then slice it up?

        1. re: lilaki

          I make separate calzones, each with a variation on the filling. That way it doesn't get boring. They freeze well too.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            oh wow ... that's great. thank you! and thanks for all the other recos too ... i'm googling away for recipes now! :)

            1. re: lilaki

              anytime! if you'd like any recipes, let me know. I prepare lunch/dinner for myself and my husband pretty much every day.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                hi cheesecake,

                i'm wondering if i could get recipes for any of the below?

                - black bean/sweet potato soup
                - soba noodle salad
                - peanut noodles
                - chopped israeli salad with hummus
                - chickpea salad - or a 'tuna' made of chickpeas
                - edamame/roasted corn salad
                - calzones
                - brown rice salad (good with cranberries)

                thanks so much!!!

                1. re: lilaki

                  I posted the black bean and sweet potato soup recipe on another board- it's also good with butternut squash or pumpkin.

                  for the soba noodles- toss cooked soba noodles with shredded cabbage, beets, carrots, daikon, and sprouts with a peanutty dressing. I thin peanut butter with hot water, a splash each rice vineger and soy sauce, a tiny drop of sesame oil, a pinch of sugar/splenda and red pepper flakes.

                  peanut noodles- basically the same dressing as the soba- but different veggies- usually stir fried broccoli and snap peas. I use linguini or chinese egg noodles.

                  chopped israeli salad-
                  finely chop cucumbers, bell peppers (some or all- red, yellow, green orange), tomato, scallions (if you like them). dressing- fresh lemon, salt, pepper, cumin
                  hummus-
                  2 cans chickpeas, scoop of tahini paste, fresh lemon juice, several cloves of roasted garlic, salt, pepper, drizzle of water or olive oil to thin out. buzz in food processor until smooth. taste and reseason.
                  this is really good b/c it'll stay for a while in the fridge and can be frozen.

                  http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/10/...
                  these are two yummy chickpea salads. I use tofu, not okara. I've also been lazy and not really mashed everything- kind of just smashed it with a fork to add texture.

                  edamame-
                  toss corn kernels (frozen is fine) and shelled edamame with olive oil, salt, pepper. spread out in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet or two. roast at 400 until lightly browned. Squeeze lemen/lime over the warm corn and edamame. This is really good with some baby arugula.

                  calzones-
                  I don't really have a recipe for this.. I just wing it. But pretty much anything good on a pizza is good in a calzone- sauce, cheese, peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant... just make sure you precook your veggies otherwise you'll have a soggy mess.
                  Roll out pizza dough into circles or squares. You can make either "roll ups" or half moons - depends on your toppings- and make sure to seal the edges well. If you roll them, place seam side down on the cooke sheet. To be fancy, brush with a bit of egg, and sprinkle a little cheese on top.
                  They can be frozen raw or baked then frozen and reheated.

                  Brown rice salad-
                  my favorite- scallions, almonds, cranberries, stir fried bok choy and broccoli. dressing- soy sauce, lime juice, olive oil, pepper, sesame seeds.

                  Enjoy!!
                  And I forgot to mention lentls- so awesome and they can be used in so many dishes.

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    hi cheesecake,

                    wow - thanks so much for all the details! this is perfect.

                2. re: cheesecake17

                  I would love the calzone recipe as well. Sounds fantastic.

        2. re: cheesecake17

          hi cheesecake,

          i thought i should just let you know that we made a whole bunch of calzones on sunday for the week. they were SOOOO awesome. i'm going out for a work lunch tomorrow and i'm a little sad that i won't be having a homemade calzone! hubby said they were the best lunches ever!

          i will try the brown rice salads next week!

          thanks so much!

          1. re: lilaki

            http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archi...
            I am eating this for lunch right now. Simple, good, a keeper. Today's batch has canned black beans, cooked brown rice, cilantro, cider vinegar, coarse grain mustard, salt, fresh ground pepper and lime juice. Oh and I added chunks of a ripe avocado on top, because I needed to use some. I can see going the peas and mint route next time; scallions and roasted red peppers in summer. Nuts for crunch if I get bored.

            1. re: sweetTooth

              i made a huge batch of brown rice salad for the week ... i did a riff on the ideas from cheesecake and the ideas from the blog post above. i used:
              - brown rice
              - mixed dried beans - lentils, red kidney, garbanzo, pinto, adzuki
              - dried cranberries
              - scallions
              - diced celery and carrots
              - dressing with white wine vinegar, olive oil, mustard and maple syrup

              d'lish!!!

            2. re: lilaki

              i'm so happy they worked out good for you!! after passover i'll be doing exactly what you did.

              this week I made a fritatta one night to cut up and take for lunch. ate some the other day over spinach salad. and today i'll have some as a sandwich... even though lunchtime has come and gone and i still didn't eat!

              also.. do you have a costco near you? i bought their skinny string beans and blanched the whole bag. soooo good and i dipped a whole pile of them in dressing one day for lunch. like french fries but even more addictive.

          2. To add a few more to Cheesecake17's list (which is excellent by the way):

            Shredded chicken or beef enchiladas
            Chicken salad (really great in a fresh croissant)
            Hamburger Patty w/Mac & Cheese (I always make an extra patty or 2)
            Tri-color Pasta Salad with any leftover meat
            Penne' with Marsala/Mushroom sauce
            Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

            2 Replies
            1. re: boyzoma

              OH MY ... chicken salad in a croissant?!?! swoon.

              thank you!

              1. re: lilaki

                lilaki - you are so funny... But it is one thing even my grandsons absolutely love. Especially in summer, make some BBQ Chicken, Chicken Salad and an ear of corn (By the way - all of those can be reheated for lunch!) and you are set. Just make sure you have your chicken salad nice and crunchy.

                Oh - worst case scenario - use tuna salad in the croissant (made almost identical to chicken salad, but watch the salt).

            2. question for YOU lilaki -- what do you put in your pasta bake? (besides pasta and broccoli of course).

              I made a lightened fettucine type sauce with some onion and garlic steeped in milk, some sherry and some parmesan. May rescue that from the freezer for a bake for next week.

              Another lunch idea for you: fried rice. I did that last week and it worked well with some vegies, oyster sauce, soy sauce, a little leftover shredded chicken if one did want to deviate from the before 6 rule.

              1 Reply
              1. re: karykat

                hi karykat,

                i normally use some kind of cheese sauce ... basic roux and then cheddar (or whatever cheese i have lying around). i've also used zucchini, drained chopped tomatoes, ground beef, firm tofu (un-smoked), paprika, garlic, parmesan...

                right now, i've got two giant bunches of broccoli that have got to be used up ...and a ton of shredded cheddar cheese. i also have a bunch of kamut penne. so that's what i'm throwing into the 'bake'. :)

              2. Not veggie, but easy to prepare in advance as you say, and a great way to ensure a high-protein lunch of yumminess:

                Spicy Roast Chicken with Tomatoes and Marjoram (link below)

                I made this on a day off in the afternoon -- it is divine, EASY, affordable, and the leftovers are delicious for lunch, especially if you like cold chicken. Preparation is a snap as everything is just tossed together on a cookie sheet and roasted at 450. Go for the fresh marjoram, especially if you've never cooked with it on its own as a signature herb before. I used all chicken thighs cooking for 50 minutes, cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters or eighths,and the tomatoes kind of melt into a sauce. I packaged up the chicken in one container, and the sauce/tomatoes in another to spoon over the chicken for lunches. I also added extra olive oil/garlic/marjoram to spread atop the chicken thighs.

                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                1 Reply
                1. re: twilight goddess

                  That Spicy Roast Chicken with Tomatoes & Marjoram recipe is one of our all-time faves from Epicurious...you can find the grape or cherry tomatoes pretty much year-round that taste decent, though we live in FL...and you can switch up the fresh herbs...marjoram is nice...have also made it with fresh basil...oregano also works...it's a fabulous recipe...and we almost always add more garlic!

                2. OP doesn't care for sandwiches, but some of the many excellent ideas already offerred would make for an easy-to--eat and more filling meal if made into a wrap. I like the rectangular lavash bread (there's a version with extra fiber and omega-3's which is healthy and surprisingly tasty). Lay on the filling, foll ince, fold up the bottom to hold the filling in, and finish rolling. You can eat it right out of whatever plastic or foil you pack it in.
                  By the way, I like lavash for hot dogs, too, since I try to avoid white bread.

                  Sliced cheddar, whole grain crackers, and a crisp apple (bring a knife to slice it) make a good lunch because it takes a while to finish, so you are sated by the time you are done.

                  1. There are so many yummy suggestions here! I didn't see my favourite lunch so I thought I would add my very simple two bits. Hummus and pita and a greed salad. That's it. One of my fav lunches and so simple and it keeps so I'd have it three days in a row.

                    Also chef salad. What ever you had for dinner last night (esp if you grilled chicken) on top of a bed of greens with some feta, artichoke, tomatoes, green onion, olives.....

                    1. do you have a trader joe's near you

                      they have a product called harvest blend (quinoa, barley, lentils, etc) which I cook in chicken broth (takes 10 minutes.

                      Then I Stir fry veggies, (in batches w/garlic) usually about 5 lbs frozen, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, water chestnuts, and maybe a bag of corn, but emphasis on the broccoli and cauliflower.

                      I pack in 10 baggies, then put 5 in a zip loc into the freezer (for next week) and 5 for this week.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: laliz

                        that's a great idea! sadly, traders joe is not in toronto. although, i might check out the local health food stores/bulk barn.

                        thanks!