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Help with lunch ideas for 5 men who work outdoors

I am looking for new winter dishes to make for a group of hard-working men. I feed lunch to a small local business and we do a lot of wraps and cold dishes in the summer, but because they work outdoors in upstate NY, they have requested some hearty, warm things for the winter season. I am open to all suggestions, I would really prefer to stay away from chicken or turkey (this week, and next especially, as it's Thanksgiving) as I have a much better quality source for beef and pork. Last winter, I did a lot of lasagna, chilis, meat pies, etc. but they really need things to eat while they are on the go. Anything in your recipe repertoire that could inspire?

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  1. Some thing 'hot' and 'hearty' read protein and "on the go" is a tough one. It may be you'll have to compromise. How about easy to hold disposable large soup bowls full of 'wieners and beans' only use a lot of really excellent sliced sausages and a 'medley' of beans in a thick tomato and poblano sauce? Tip: stir in a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter. These guys are probably going to 'wolf' whatever they are eating anyway. Tell them to sit still long enough to eat lunch. They'll only take a couple of minutes. LOL I've 'been there' needing to eat but needing to 'keep working'. Something has to come first. Hunger is a great motivating factor especially when you know that the lunch is going to be delicious and lots of it.

    1 Reply
    1. This was the reason Cornish pasties and other small meat pies were invented. Burritos work well also.

      1 Reply
      1. re: magiesmom

        One winter I did piroshki's for them (from Mennonite Girls Can Cook). I forgot about that, they seemed to like them. Thanks for the reminder!

      2. pulled pork
        shredded beef
        meatball subs
        stromboli
        calzone
        sausage, peppers, and onions

          1. re: Berheenia

            Thanks for the link. I just found dinner for tomorrow night. Although I'm gonna use chicken sausage. No other kind in the house, and I can't bear the grocery store pre-holiday

          2. Meatball subs (in a thick sauce) on whole grain sub buns. Send the buns separately and the meatballs in an insulated container. Sprinkle with mozza or cheddar depending on the sauce.

            1 Reply
            1. re: applgrl

              In a similar vein, can you get cubed steak (tenderized round steak)?
              Cut into strips and brown. Remove from skillet. Saute up a BUNCH of onions and mushrooms (more than you think you could possibly need). Dump the meat back in, along with some Worcestershire sauce, some beef stock and some butter. You want a lot of thickish sauce.
              Send the meat and buns separately. This is good even room temp, as long as it doesn't get too cold, so the sauce "gels".

              How about brats and sauerkraut, with buns? Meatloaf sandwiches? Burritos (beef, carnitas, beans, etc.)

            2. Not sure if you are delivering lunch directly, or packing lunch in the morning, but my planning is for packing lunch for later. I have health and monetary issues to address, and need to use a combination of a thermos and cooler for cold weather meals.
              It depends on your guys, but a good-sized serving of soup, a hefty half of a good sandwich, a side salad and a little sweet bite for dessert or fruit, works for me.
              Minestrone, tomato basil, chicken noodle, black bean, ham and bean, leek and potato, clam chowder - the list of hot soup possibilities is endless. Chili, meatballs, Italian sausages or kielbasa can make a meaty hot dish.
              Side salad ideas are endless: coleslaw, potato salad, pasta salad, chick pea salad, any mixed veggie salad… not costly and can round out the menu.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Terrie H.

                This was my question exactly, Terrie. How to keep hot if sending off in the morning. I hope OP responds to this question.

                1. re: nemo

                  A wide mouth thermos is the way to keep an individual serving hot until lunch. It needs to go into the thermos very hot, in my experience. It is worth investing in a good thermos if you want to do warm lunches for people that don't have access to microwaves.

                  1. re: Terrie H.

                    I understand your response. I hope OP responds to your initial query.