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Quick and easy meals for 1.

I work from home and have a terrible time feeding myself a decent lunch. PBJ gets old after a while but I really don't have the energy to cook an actual meal plus the dish washing.

What do you eat for meals and snacks when you aren't up for doing a whole lot prep or cooking?

Bonus points if its something geared for just one person to eat.

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  1. Okay, I'm not a vegan, but a friend of mine likes making quick quesadillas with the Daiya cheese and mushrooms.

    1. I make a salad for lunch several days a week, usually with some leftovers added to speed things up. Today it was roasted potatoes, steamed green beans, pesto (all left from dinners the last couple of nights), plus shredded lettuce, cheese cubes, dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice and glug of olive oil. Cheese and avocado sandwiches are another favorite. This time of year, leftover soup is good too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: firecooked

        I like corn tortillas with beans and cheese (Daiya). Also grilled cheese sandwiches using Daiya. Pasta salads, quinoa salad, or make a batch of bean burgers and freeze themnso you will always have a yummy lunch. Or roast or grill a pan of veggies and the keep ithe fridge. Use them to make grilled veggie and cheese wraps. Or forget the cheese and use pesto.

      2. Leftovers are my lunches. If you want something fresh, make a salad dressing/sauce, and use leftover beans, grains and chopped veggies to make a salad or stirfry. Hummus is a nice sandwich spread, too.


        1. Eating alone and in a hurry doesn't necessarily mean cooking for one in a hurry. I cook large quantities and freeze in single portions for those occasions.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Relatively. It's about 25 minutes away.

            2. Are you thinking you have to prepare a "decent lunch" from scratch every single one of your work days, and wash dishes, and --

              Seriously, unless you hate leftovers, (please don't tell me that), make a big batch of a couple of things on the weekend or several times when you can watch the stove and portion it out. I believe that Ziplock bags are BSA-free. They lie flat in the freezer, maximizing room, and I have no problem with washing them out and reusing them a few time, particularly if they have never had meat or cheese in them. Glass containers, okay, much better.

              Serve with pre-cooked grain of choice, extras also frozen flat in bags. Just break off a piece as you need it. You're good for a couple of meals of refrigerated soup or stew/add grain that week and a guarantee of quick lunches for a month ahead with the frozen.

              Something for the "big batch" column (maybe 4 servings). We make a faux cauliflower/spinach curry that freezes well and reheats in a microwave (or if thawed overnight in the fridge, rewarmed however you're comfortable).

              1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets or smaller rough chop
              1 box of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
              oil of choice

              Saute the cauliflower in oil until lightly browned, stirring occasionally
              Add the box of thawed spinach with its liquid (we use the one in the foil)
              Add your favorite curry powder (and extra cumin, if you like)
              S & P to taste
              Heat, if you like, in the way of cayenne or your preference

              Stir to combine and simmer until the cauliflower is tender. Add a little water, if necessary.

              Add sliced onions to the initial saute. Also cooked chickpeas or cooked quinoa are delicious additions to up the protein.
              I don't know how to translate the frozen 10-oz box of frozen spinach to fresh. I have no problem with several different frozen vegetables as I think they're picked and processed quickly at harvest time. Unless you are strictly organic.

              Also, lentil soup freezes beautifully. Good protein per 1/2 cup cooked serving, even better per 1 cup. I usually saute carrots and onions for a bit before adding the sorted-and-rinsed lentils and water. S&P to taste and maybe a bay leaf. Lentils cook in maybe 25-30 minutes, so it's doable on whatever your day-off may be.

              Other great suggestions here.

              1. You're ovo-lacto vegetarian, correct? You've got more options than you think.
                - Egg salad
                - Cottage cheese with veggies and spices or sriracha
                - Black bean & corn salad with avocado
                - Grilled cheese
                - Caprese salad (when good tomatoes are in season)
                - Lentils with feta & mint
                - Lavash or pita with hummus, white bean dip, mashed avocado or baba ghannouj. Add cucumber, tomato, sprouts, shredded carrot, radish slices...whatever floats your boat.

                As already suggested, leftovers and big batches made ahead are key. Grain salads & pilafs hold up well, as do egg dishes like quiche & frittate (and single-serving egg muffins are really handy).

                1 Reply
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I make crustless quiche, portion it out (a dozen eggs, a giant mass of vegetables and some cheese = 12 servings), eat the first slice and freeze the rest. to reheat, just microwave (place on a paper towel to soak up excess moisture), for a minute and a half. With a small salad it makes a great lunch. With a couple slices of toast it makes a great breakfast.

                2. Lunch is a chore for me as well. When I don't have make ahead things on hand like quiche, sesame noodles, soup etc to just heat up, I may have:

                  -smashed chickpea and avocado on toast or as a sandwich
                  -pesto, cucumber and cream cheese sandwich
                  -tomato and cheddar sandwich or melted under the broiler on french bread
                  -baked beans on toast (with a poached egg if I want to dirty a pot)
                  -roasted red pepper and goat cheese sandwich
                  -brie, tomato, pesto, dijon on a split baguette and broiled until melted
                  -pizza bread

                  When I feel really, really lazy it's just cottage cheese with soy sauce or sriracha. Sometimes just nuts and a banana. Hummus or some other spread with crackers. Many times I just won't eat because I can't be bothered. So pathetic! I'm more than happy to make an effort for dinner though.

                  1. Easy Chinese Spinach Soup: about 1.5 cups frozen spinach in a large microwavable bowl. Nuke 4 min or so on high. Add about 3 oz firm tofu (I tend to open a pack from Trader Joe's, cut it into 6ths, and have it during the week), Cut roughly with your spoon into chunks or slices. add 1/2-1 cup broth + enough water to make a soup as thin/thick as you like. Add 1/2-1 cup leftover rice or other plain starch. Nuke another minute or so to get the whole thing to eating-temperature-hot. Add soy sauce (2 tsp or so), dash of toasted sesame oil, 1/2 tsp or so Chinese cooking wine. Also can add a pinch of sugar and white pepper or hot sauce. Taste and add more seasonings if desired.

                    "Cooked" in 1 bowl, plus you eat with the utensil you "cooked" with. All ingredients except the tofu last forever.

                    I alternate between this when it's cold out and a huge salad when it's warm out.

                    Oh, another nice thing is a cold block of tofu (~3 oz) with seasonings. Cut the block of tofu with the spoon you're going to eat it with. I like just soy sauce and a bit of sesame oil. If you have tahini in the house, a 1/2 tsp of that instead of the sesame oil is good too. Nuke before adding sesame oil if desired but it's good cold. Trader Joe's thai yellow curry is also a very nice sauce for cold tofu chunks.