I’ve issued myself a challenge this year: try to break (or at least diminish) one of my worst habits of buying lunch every day. In and of itself, it’s not such a bad thing – we have lots of healthy options at work and a ton of variety. But when I did the math, I was spending way too much money on something I could easily do myself at home for a fraction of the cost. With all the expenses coming his year (i.e. a house!), it may be prudent to start saving a little bit more.
So, I’ve started working towards bringing my own lunch to work at least 3 days a week and, so far, I’m succeeding! I don’t want to pat myself on the back quite yet because it’s still only February. But I’m cautiously optimistic.
The one thing I’ve found most exciting about this, is the cooking possibilities – gone are the days of stale PB&J sandwiches and mushy bananas! I’ve found a few recipes that make for a week of exciting (and delicious) lunchtimes…
1) Chicken/Veggie Fried Rice:
The recipe itself is super simple – you take cooked (and cooled) rice, your choice of veggies, add chopped up boiled or grilled chicken breast, crack an egg over it, sautee everything in sesame oil with a splash of teriyaki and…you’re done. What I love about this recipe for lunch is that it gives you a different flavour and also allows for easy portability.
This recipe comes from The Kitchn, and it’s one of my favourite wrap recipes. I like to use a tart apple (like Granny Smith) and add some cheddar cheese to the mix, too. This wrap packs great protein and nutrients, and tastes awesome. It’s also super easy to make during groggy early mornings.
I’m a sucker for caesar salad (even though it’s traditionally got anchovies in the dressing…ugh). I’m also a sucker for sandwiches that involve lettuce and cherry tomatoes, and bread. I do love bread. So this sandwich is kind of the perfect mix. It takes a bit more time to assemble (read: do it when you have some time in the morning), but tastes great and, if stacked properly (i.e. ensure there is a moisture barrier between your bread and lettuce) it really keeps well during the day. I like to also bring the dressing with some baby carrots and celery or cauliflower for a little deli snack.
4) Quinoa Salad
I’ve already sung my praises for quinoa, and provided a quick recipe there. I’ve recently discovered another recipe c/o Martha Stewart that includes more veggies and silvered almonds. It’s a bit more time-intensive (i.e. requires actual cooking), so I make this on nights i have free time, but it’s well worth the effort. I prefer these salads cold the next day, but they also heat up nicely.
5) Good Ol’ Fashioned Egg Salad Sandwich
There is something very comforting about egg salad sandwiches. Again, I am a fan of anything that has lettuce and tomatoes involves, but I also love the creaminess of this particular lunch. Making egg salad takes almost no time (or skill, as I am a testament to) and you can put just about anything you like in there. The basis is simple: mix hard-boiled eggs (smashed up) + mayo + mustard. To that base, I like to add chives and scallions/shallots. I also am a big fan of adding cucumber to the sandwich assembly. I have egg salad about once a week, usually on days I’m feeling particularly stressed (remember how much I love comfort food).
Do you have any favourite brown-bag recipes or snacks?