Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Lunch is so damn what?

I don't know about you, but inflation pricing is scaring me.  I still remember going out to lunch on $5-$10 for a sandwich, drink, and chips.  I've found that now I can't eat at even one of the usual fast food places for less than $20.  So I need to get better at packing my lunch.  Most of these things can be eaten at room temperature which is also a plus if you don't have access to a microwave for lunch. 

Here are some of my new favorites: 

1. Bento Boxes (adult lunchables):
You can look up bento boxes on amazon, and they sell them at pampered chef 

Each box should have five things (at least that's my style).  You probably want to include 1. fruit or veggies, 2. cheese, 3. nuts, 4. meat, and 5. some type of bread cracker or pretzel.  I also like to add something sweet like a cookie, granola bar, muffin, etc.  

Here are things I like to eat in my "bento box" lunches:
Mini Carrots
Peanut Butter
Nuts - peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios 
Sliced Cheese (sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, dill havarti, etc)
Grapes, apple slices, orange slices, Pitted Cherries, Peach slices, etc.
Spinach (salt and pepper, lemon juice, or a bit of extra virgin olive oil)
Grilled Chicken pieces
Deli meat
Broccoli and Dip
Chips or corn chips
Tuna or Chicken salad  - goes nice on crackers. 

2.  Stir-Fried, Grilled,
or baked chicken (or turkey breast that I sometimes see)  - flavor with spices (love this seasoning salt for mine
Add to salad
Add to pasta that you will eat cold (like pasta salad)
Chicken Salad Sandwich
Add bbq sauce which is not as volatile as mayo. 
For a unique treat, I also sometimes mash up banana with mine.  I've also made it with salsa or guac instead of mayo.  

3. Sandwiches or wraps or pita pockets - The better the ingredients, the better they are.  I find that I like to keep the parts separate and put them together just before I eat.  It makes it seem fresher (using my bento box or little jars to keep them separate.  I also love my reusable ziplock bags. 
Good bread
Fun cheeses  - pepper jack, provolone, dill havarti, gouda
Good meat like grilled chicken, real turkey, meat loaf. pot roast, etc.  
I find that pesto, pepper jelly and guac add some zing. Bbq sauce, honey mustard, etc. without me

worrying about salmonella. 

What I like to do is find sandwiches I love at a fancy restaurant or deli and make my own version. 

4. Sushi - veggie or cooked shrimp.  I sometimes pick up sushi and maybe would learn to make it.  

5. Salads - This can be just about anything.  I like five bean. Pasta salad, potato salad, etc.  The key is that green salads might get soggy.  So I keep soggy things separate from the greens and other veggies.  Then I put it together when I'm about to eat.  The key for me to not be hungry soon after is to make sure you have protein with it.  So potato salad needs a side of grilled chicken or something.  Make sure that stuff with mayo stays cold.  I prefer salads that have vinegar or oil based dressings. Green goddess dressing is fun too. 

6. Sometimes I just eat a bowl of roasted veggies (sweet potato, butternut squash, roasted brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.) 

7. Tacos can be fun - same thing...make it into something you'd enjoy.  Tacos can be anything inside and any type of shell.

8. Spring rolls using rice wrappers with veggies and some type of meat inside and a peanut dipping sauce or sweet sauce etc. example here:  I would make mine with carrots, spinach or lettuce, maybe cabbage, and throw in some cooked chicken or shrimp.  I also love them with sliced apples or pears inside.  The peanut sauce makes it fun. 

9. I also like making things like Caprese salad, or prosciutto wraps (cooked asparagus or tubes of cheese wrapped in ham, turkey, prosciutto, etc.)

10.  I also have used pillsbury crescent or biscuit dough with some meat and cheese baked in using muffin
tins. They remind me a bit of those wrap roll ups you make with wraps and then cut into disks, but I like the dough better.  They are just one of the many things you can make with muffin tins.  For some reason, I prefer mine square rather than round and use this brownie pan.  I've done crab cakes, ham and cheese bites, sausage biscuits, spinach "rolls", mini-pizza rolls, mini quiche, little lasagnas, and so much more.  

11. Lettuce Wraps - I love these as my new obsession.  Boston Bib Lettuce is the key.  Then cook up a protein (ground pork is my go to) with some garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy, and season.  Then eat in wraps with peanuts, shredded carrots, scallions, or other shredded veggies. 

12. Quiche - I love making a quiche on the weekend.  I usually use the pre-made crust, one cup of shredded cheese, one cup of cooked veggies (love roasted broccoli), 1/2 cup of cooked meat (bacon is my go to), 8-10 eggs.  I just beat it all together and then bake till the middle doesn't jiggle.  

I hope this list helps you with some ideas.  What is your go-to lunch that is easy and fun (or different).  Comment below :) 

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