Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lunch Ideas

I resisted taking my lunch to work for years. Years. And the first time I tried, I only lasted a week...if that. But I finally reached the point where I resented the cost of buying lunch so much that I was willing to try something new. I went from spending an average of $5-$7 a day on lunch (well over $100 a month) to about $25 a month. 

What I knew from my previous attempt was that trying to think about lunch every single day was not going to work for me.  I decided I'd make a big batch of something on Sundays and portion it out for the week. The thing that doesn't make that too boring is that it changes every week. (Though, admittedly, I was the girl who always had my dad make me peanut butter and jelly every single day for school lunches all through elementary school!)

I'll share some recipes I've collected on Pepperplate, but I started with something really simple that I knew I'd love.  Pasta, artichoke hearts, olives, sun-dried tomatoes. I'd usually just drizzle a little olive oil, but sometimes Italian dressing or a vinaigrette.

Here are some other ideas:

Spicy Panzanella Salad from the Kitchn. Had this last week, and it was awesome!

Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Salad from Let's Move. I made the quinoa in my rice cooker, and the black beans in the slow cooker.

Summer Nectarine Salad. I think last time, I used tangerine slices instead of nectarines and it was still really good!

Spicy Hoppin' John Salad. This is what I'm eating this week. Love the sriracha in the dressing!

Southwest Cornbread Salad, also from Budget Bytes. I've mentioned before how much I love this site, right?

Antonia's Rice Salad. I totally remember when Antonia won a Quick Fire on Top Chef with this one.

You can probably sense a theme here. You pick a base (rice, pasta, beans), add a few favorite things (cheese, veges, fruit, chicken) and dress it.

Another great site is supercook. You enter the ingredients you already have and it finds recipes you can make! 

(BTW, I don't get anything for recommending anything in this post.)

Of course, you can always change it up even during the week with leftovers. I'm lucky that I have both a fridge and microwave at work so that makes it easier, but I generally stick with cold items. 

One thing I don't change is I always pack tortilla chips. I really don't care what it is I'm eating, I say tortilla chips go with it.

Every now and then, I still just want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

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