I'm desperate for ideas as to what to take for lunch to work. I am on call and work in a different location virtually every day. I have access to a fridge and microwave but everything else (eg. toaster, oven) is inconsistent and not to be counted on.
My main meal of the day is lunch so I don't want to just "take a sandwich" every day; I also go to the gym after work and need something substantial enough to get me through a workout (treadmill run and weights). Also, I'm not able to have more than 1-2 servings of veggies or fruit at a time due to digestive issues. I'm basically taking a pasta in tomato or meat sauce with a cup of yogurt and a fruit every day and would like to expand my choices.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Casseroles. They reheat in the MW great and you can put anything in them you want. Potato, rice,pasta, etc and then anything else. I esp. like chicken in casseroles. Make and freeze in single serving sizes so you don't get tired of them. By the time you're ready for lunch, it will be thawed.
stuffed peppers are easily re-heated, and easily frozen, so you can make a batch ahead of time and easily grab some out of the freezer.. You can make the stuffing with or without meat, or use TVP or tofu for a low-fat protein in them.
How about a stroganoff type dish? Save out the sour cream separately, and mix it in after you've reheated the rest of the ingredients so it doesn't break.
mock egg salad (any mayo will work
mock chicken salad
sesame noodles with tofu
are you open to packing a thermos? ideas abound....
turkey or beef chili w/ cornbread on the side
lasagna parfait - layer in cooked noodles, meat sauce, cheeses... or just dump a square in the thermos heated already.
chicken satay or teriyaki (or beef) over white or brown rice
polenta with meatballs
sloppy joes... take filling in thermos and bring bread
wedge of frittata - heated in thermos or just cool in a tupperware
salmon croquettes - i bake mine in mini muffin tins - freeze em, thaw and stick in thermos with a baked potato or baked sweet potato or mashed potato...
...do any of these sound possible?
The croquettes and frittata sound really good. I wish I could take chilli—not possible with the bean problem.
I do have easy access to microwaves (and fridge). I already do take chicken and some of the other dishes people have mentioned—it's the meatless ones that I'm having real problems with as peanut butter and nuts are out and I need to keep veggies, fruits, beans and legumes to 1-2 servings.
Is it possible to grill up a sandwich the night before and then reheat it? How about scrambled eggs? French toast?
Thanks for the ideas so far.
There are plenty of bean-free chili recipes out there, just ask a Texan ;)
I frequently do microwave-baked potatoes, just pop the raw potato in the microwave for 5-7 minute. I usually bring a small container of shredded cheese and some broccoli, but you could easy bring toppings that are easier to digest. Cheese and salsa would be a good combination... Mashed potatoes with various toppings would be good too.
I also often make a large pot of soup on Sunday evenings and portion out for the week. A lot of hearty soups get better over the course of the week as the flavors blend. Add in some good bread and a little cheese and you can get a pretty substantial meal.
Instead of trying to reheat grilled sandwiches, use a tortilla to make a quesadilla or burrito. It will be more microwave friendly. It's also a great way to use small amounts of leftover meat or poultry.
Folks have already mentioned quiche and fritatta. Breakfast casseroles would also be a good option (the type with potatoes, egg, cheese, a little meat). I have seen recipes to do these in muffin tins.
Breakfast burritos will reheat well. You can make them vegetarian or include a little meat.
as suggested, i did intend a bean-free chili...
TVP is a great sub as mentioned below as well. You can use that or seitan in chili too.
Seitan is great in stir-fry or burritos or tacos (assemble at time of eating).
For protein, try ricotta instead of cottage cheese. sweet or savory... fruit with toasted quinoa flakes... or basil pesto and some chopped tomatoes.
use tvp or seitan to make meatloaf which is good hot or cold.
same for shepherd's pie.
tofu or seitan teriyaki with brown rice
fried rice with extra egg white
pita melt - stuff pita with salmon, accoutrements of choice, some cheese if desired and nuke til warm and melty
stuffed tomatoes (or just one) with tvp and bulghur (if you can tolerate)
coucous salad with some cooked egg (white), sundried tomatoes, marinated onions, currants, basil, lime juice, and olive oil
protein waffles :) make with whey or egg white protein powder. top sweet or savory.
...i don't know if any of these will float your boat.
I seriously did not know you could make a beanless chili; all I can say in my defence is that I'm a long way from Texas here in Canada. I'd always equated chili with beans. Learn something knew :)
Thanks for all your ideas, Emme and everyone else, it'll really help get me out of my rut.
I bring myself and my co-worker (she pays me) lunch everyday.
I make a lot of griled chicken for protein. It goes sliced on top of salads, whatever fruits and veggies in season. I do the same with Shrimp and good, canned tuna. Half an avocado, filled with Shrimp or chicken salad makes a nice meal.
Some days I make wraps with chicken salad, tuna salad, lots of veggies.
On weekends, I make different soups and freeze to bring with me during the week. Some of my favorites are Split Pea, Corn Chowder, hearty Winter Veggie, and Chicken Soup with carrots, escarole, and orzo. I heat them in the microwave
In the summer, I make all kinds of pasta salads to bring during the week. Mostly my pasta salad is diced celery, red pepper, red onion, corn on the cob, mayo mixed with salsa. I have added a protein such as chicken or shrimp with it, for a more substantial meal.
I also make quiches, crostata, and tarts and bring a slice along with a side salad.
Meatloaf sandwiches, pulled pork, and even pasta can be made ahead and brought into work for lunch. I like these things at room temperature, so heating isn't really necessary.
Grilled ham and cheese, will taste great with no extra heating.
Cobb salad can be eaten at room temperature. If you are worried about spoilage, you can always bring an ice pack in your lunch box, in case you come across a place that has no fridge.
To me, lots of left overs can be brought in for lunches during the week. But, I find that I have to be disaplined and cook on the weekends.
Fruit, yogurt, nuts and bread can be brought in with you, since you need a substantial lunch.
Remember, grilled or roasted chicken is your friend. ;)
I like cottage cheese a lot...I make a savory salad by adding chives, bacon and a little dry ranch powder. Maybe also a tamale pie (taco flavored ground turkey with a cornbread topping) that you can reheat in the microwave. Also some salmon patties bound with mashed potatoes that you can rehead in the microwave, but that might be a stronger smell than you want.
I guess my biggest challenge is when I try to do meatless lunches and still get a decent amount of protein. I can't have beans, lentils or all-veggie dishes due to the aforementioned digestive issues (it's medically diagnosed and I've been told to avoid triggers). There is a company-wide ban against peanut butter and they frown upon other nuts, the only fish I really like is salmon and I like all styles of egg except hardboiled. I really would like something hot as it seems more substantial and, as I said, lunch is my main meal of the day.
Also, because I often don't know the people I'm working/eating with, I try to avoid overly aromatic foods like curry, which I love, in order not to offend anyone.
The baked potato is an idea, thanks. I do sometimes take oatmeal or smoothies. Anyone else, please?
How about a baked potato? You can do a few of them at a time and re-heat at work, and add whatever toppings you want (I do butter, salt, cheese, and real bacon. But I'm a glutton like that :D). You can top them with whatever suits you, and if you are lucky you can find nice BIG bakers.
Have you tried natural peanutbutter and jam or honey on a multi-grain bread? The "natural" peanutbutter is less sweet, and the multi-grain bread is more filling IMO than your regular white bread.
I'm sure somebody can point you to a thread or two with more ideas. Any particular insights into what your tastes are?
I peruse my local grocery ads, and buy about 2 or 3lbs lbs of chicken breast that are on sale for about 0.99 cents per pound, soak up in some buttermilk for a couple hours, season with some Ms. Dash, and cook until done.
Great source of protein which the body needs for lifting. And you don't have to re-heat either. Just bring Ice-Paks or your Thermos. Oatmeal. A Protein Shake with Whey and a Banana too. Oh, while your in the kitchen, make some hard-boiled eggs. Throw those in your Thermos or with your Ice Pak too. And lastly the old bodybulder standby lol, cans of Tuna ;) PLENTY OF WATER!
That would be some of my Pre-Workout foods. Some Simple Carbs and a Little Protein.
I eat my complex carbs like a sweet potato, an apple, a protein shake, then a eventually a proper meal with proteins and vegetables post-workout (after I run on the dreadmill and/or lift). but to each his/her own...