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Good Packed Lunches

shoechick's picture

Now that I'm back in car loan hell, I've decided I should start bringing my lunch to work, which is equipped with a microwave and fridge.  Any inspired ideas? 


I was going to make some little burgers, grilled chicken, grilled salmon and freeze the portions to have either as a burger, a sandwich or a salad.  Couple of pastas, although I don't like them the next day, they tend to dry out.  Maybe some soups that freeze really well.  Oh, how about little FC pizzas all cooked and they could be popped in the microwave.


Any suggestions, please share!


Born Free....Now I'm Expensive

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #27775, reply #1 of 92)

Hey Tracey, welcome to the car-poor club! Two suggestions - First is to forget the pizza. The reactor nukes the pizza crust into cardboard. Second suggestion: bring salads, and keep a jar of salad dressing in your office fridge. Oh, and a third suggestion - President's Choice Too Good To Be True entrees are really not bad at all, and are generally low in bad stuff like calories and bad cholesterol. They're also just about the perfect size for lunch.


 "People that are really weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
 -- J. Danforth Quayle
Jean's picture

(post #27775, reply #2 of 92)

Don't try to nuke anything with cheese or egg in it. Makes them tough and nasty.


Do try to eat whatever off from a pretty plate if you can. It will make it taste much better.  Really.


Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. 

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
kai230's picture

(post #27775, reply #3 of 92)

Invest in a cheap little toaster oven. You can grill/broil meat, fish, veggies, cheese sandwiches; bake potatoes; reheat/cook pizza; toast bread, you name it. If you leave it in a communal area, don't expect anyone but you to keep it clean.


I like to take a bag of greens and a couple of dressings and cheeses to store in fridge, and soups for the micro. I had an entire file cabinet drawer filled w/condiments, etc.


Start making an extra couple of servings of the things you normally cook, and see how they micro. Also, the micros tend to be busy during lunch.


Near where I used to work I could get a few really excellent deals on meals (a la carte)--cheaper than shlepping to buy and prep--of grilled mahi mahi, kalua pig (pulled pork), and lomi lomi (salmon w/tomatoes and green onions). My GF and I used to go there once/wk for a change of pace.  

Fledge's picture

(post #27775, reply #4 of 92)

Left over BBQ or grilled anything re-heats nicely at 40 % to get hot enough, but not dry....


 


 

You don't scare me

I have an African Grey

Astrid's picture

(post #27775, reply #5 of 92)

Well believe it or not my latest inspired lunch is a flour tortilla with peanut butter and raisins and one washed carrot on the side. I wish I could translate that into spanish. Or supper left overs, which of course are more sophisticated but usually not bad if eaten the same week they were cooked. Be sure to reheat leftovers thoroughly, and get some inexpensive small storage containers to store your lunches.



New Mexico home organic gardener

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson


Edited 5/29/2003 6:46:13 PM ET by Astrid

New Mexico home organic gardener Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience. Emerson
Gretchen's picture

(post #27775, reply #19 of 92)

Left over BBQ or grilled anything re-heats nicely at 40 % to get hot enough, but not dry


This is the trick with re-heating a LOT of things in the nuker--not full power. You can do anything adequately if it isn't over-powered, so to speak.


Gretchen
Gretchen
Jean's picture

(post #27775, reply #20 of 92)

if it isn't over-powered


Good one. Just the kind of  groaner this family loves.


Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. 

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
Fledge's picture

(post #27775, reply #21 of 92)

I keep telling my family, they are too lazy and don't care I guess. They only know two buttons, one for time and one for start. Now these days microwaves have dumbed down so much there is a button for what they are about to zap.

 

You don't scare me

I have an African Grey

shoechick's picture

(post #27775, reply #22 of 92)

You guys are great - thanks so much.


My progress so far is 6 little burgers, 5 chicken breasts, 3 packages of Cajun Chicken Strips and 12 Ham and Cheese Scones.  And tomorrow, I think I'll make some of Jean's Chilli.


I can't believe I was spending about $160 a month on lunches :(


Born Free....Now I'm Expensive

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

MadMom's picture

(post #27775, reply #23 of 92)

The amount you can spend on even "fast food" lunches is mind boggling.  I usually skipped lunch when I was working, but did get involved with "group" lunches on occasion, where one person fixes lunch for everyone on one day each week...those were interesting, and fun...but of course, you need to get a group who can enjoy the same food and have relatively decent cooking skills.

Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.
Lily Tomlin

ehBeth's picture

(post #27775, reply #24 of 92)

on the salad and dressing topic. one of the women brings a container that looks like a big plastic milkshake cup. it's full of salad. inside the lid there's a smaller pop-top container for dressing. she opens the pop-top when she's ready for lunch, drops it into the salad container, puts the lid back on, shaked the whole thing up - and voila - perfect home-tossed salad with just the right amount of dressing at just the right time.  she got the contraption at Regal, but i imagine there are versions of it everywhere. 


i'm working on getting myself a lunch buddy at this new job. this thread remnded me how much fun it was.


 


 


If you can't play a sport, be one.
If you can't play a sport, be one.
MarieLouise's picture

(post #27775, reply #25 of 92)

< I can't believe I was spending about $160 a month on lunches :( >

Not only is it expensive, is it usually high fat/ high calorie. It's much healthier to make your own lunch.

egullet has a [what did you make for] dinner thread-maybe we should have a packed lunch thread?

Today I had a Gala apple, cubed and tossed w/ lime juice-I put that in a baggie. I put some mesclan mix in a plastic container, along w/ a couple of pieces of cooked bacon and a few slices of Point Reyes Blue cheese (it's very mild.) Also took a tbsp. of olive oil in a little container. Dumped out the baggie of apples onto the lettuce, added the olive oil, stirred it around w/ my fork, and voila: Bacon, Apple and Blue Cheese Salad. And a lemon Calistoga.

shoechick's picture

(post #27775, reply #26 of 92)

Ohh, that sounds good.  I was at home today, so I had one of the Ham and Cheese Scones that I made earlier in the day.

Born Free....Now I'm Expensive

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

plantlust's picture

(post #27775, reply #27 of 92)

What about Gretchen's Pulled Pork?  On decent French bread w/a Broccoli salad or some other type of veggie/fruit side dish it would also be filling, delicious...and bonus points for driving people insane when you heat it up <g>.

Life is too short so eat dessert first, especially if it happens to be Cookingmonster's triple cinnamon truffles or her ginger-fig caramels.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with parsley sauce, goat cheese garlic mashed potatoes, Galena Cellars Niagra grape wine & Pie Boss's apple crumble topped with Ruth & Phil's sour cream/cinnamon ice cream.

shoechick's picture

(post #27775, reply #28 of 92)

The pulled pork works great, that's one of the dishes I always leave for DH when I go away for a couple of days, bun size portions, frozen in ziplocks - it's yummy!!

Born Free....Now I'm Expensive

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

Gretchen's picture

(post #27775, reply #30 of 92)

What about Gretchen's Pulled Pork? 


It freezes well.  I do it in chunks--Hambiscuit says she does it shredded.  And I have done it that way also when giving it to someone.  Either is good.


Gretchen
Gretchen
RJMR's picture

(post #27775, reply #29 of 92)


One of the best things about retirement is not having to pack a lunch every day.  When I did, the best was leftover dinner.  Always took fresh fruit, milk & a yogurt for snack and packed all with blue ice.  Some other favorites:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


 


Chick peas/garbanzos marinated in red wine vinegar, a little olive oil & herbs.   


Summer – tomato, mozzarella & basil salad or a chef salad


Winter - split pea soup - made a large batch & froze in serving size containers


Poached chicken breasts to make an entree salad or for a chicken salad sandwich. 


 


~~~


 


Sounds like the fish-microwave problem is universal.  Usually happened when outsiders were coming in for a meeting.


 


Adele, the only thing worse than that dreadful popcorn w/pretend butter is when they burned it.  I never made microwave popcorn but it must go from popped to incinerate in a nanosecond.   


Jean's picture

(post #27775, reply #31 of 92)

How does this sound to you? I never made it, but found it again today sorting through some recipes that needed filing. The only thing that I would hesitate to do would be to leave them undercooked..with all the warnings about uncooked burger.


                     
* Exported from MasterCook *


          Make ahead Salisbury Steak With Mushrooms And Madeira


4 slices bacon
2 slices white bread
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4 pounds ground beef, lean
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
5 teaspoons flour
1 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons Madeira wine
2 tablespoons chives, minced


Dice the bacon strips and cook until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.
Remove crusts from the bread.  Soak the bread in milk until soft.
Squeeze out excess milk.  Lightly mix the bread, the ground beef,
salt, a dash of pepper, and 2 teaspoons of the Worcestershire sauce,
until thoroughly combined.  Shape into 4 oval patties about 1 to 1-1/2
inches thick.  Preheat the broiler and grease the broiler pan.  Broil
patties approximately 4 minutes on each side, you want them to be rare
so that when they are reheated, your client can cook them to the
temperature they prefer.  Remove from heat source, place in storage
containers and let cool.


Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add
the mushrooms and saute about 3 minutes.  Blend in flour and cook one
minute longer.  Slowly add broth and cook until thickened.  Add the
Madeira and remaining tsp of Worcestershire.  Pour over the steaks,
then sprinkle on chives and bacon bits.  Let cool, cover and store in
the freezer.


Re-heating instructions: Thaw in refrigerator the night before day of
consumption.  Heat in the microwave until cooked to desired doneness.
Cut to test for doneness.


 


 



                                   


Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. 

A  clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
help to provide free mammograms for women in need
dixieleigh's picture

(post #27775, reply #11 of 92)

I had an entire file cabinet drawer filled w/condiments, etc.


You are the condiment queen and I am right there in your camp.


 


 

 

 

kai230's picture

(post #27775, reply #16 of 92)

LOL I had co-workers dropping by for hot sauce, teas, you name it. I also always had some ramen noodles for those times I could only run to the coffee maker and fill a container w/hot water and eat the mess during or after a mtg.

ehBeth's picture

(post #27775, reply #6 of 92)

Watch out for anything with fish in it. We're having a real knock-me-down fight at our office right now over someone who heats stuff with fish in it in the microwave. Tenants on other floors in our office tower have complained about the odour coming up in the elevator!


One guy brings in a can of tuna every day. Eats that and an apple. People won't eat with him because of the scent of the tuna.  I'm starting to think that boiled rice is the only that won't offend. Scratch that. There were complaints about that at my last workplace, when a group of people brought their rice cooker in.


O.k. - here's what's safe - saltines.


On a happier note, I used to do lunch buddy with a friend for about 2 years. We took turns bringing in lunch for each other 4 days a week. Friday you were on your own. If you forgot to bring lunch on your assigned day, you had to buy lunch for your buddy. This plan worked really well - we both got a bit more creative than we might have on our own, though we agreed that peanut butter with celery and apples, and a bottle of garden cocktail was acceptable on a rough day.  We made some nice little salads with grilled chicken breast - homemade mac and cheese - all kinds of pleasant and sometimes adventurous meals.  The only thing I wouldn't touch in the whole time was a grapefruit that D. had cut the 'wrong' way.  My favourite from my buddy? dutch rusks with edam, served with salad with orange sections and apple slices, and the ubiquitous garden cocktail.


If you can't play a sport, be one.
If you can't play a sport, be one.
Adele's picture

(post #27775, reply #8 of 92)

We're having a real knock-me-down fight at our office right now over someone who heats stuff with fish in it in the microwave.

I eat a lot of fish/seafood and I always have leftovers but they will not go to lunch with me at work. One thing I learned very early in office life is to never, ever, heat fish/seafood in the micro. Now, if I could get the person who makes popcorn everyday at 2:00 with fake butter stuff on it to stop.... It is amazing how awful it smells.

But, but, its SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

ehBeth's picture

(post #27775, reply #9 of 92)

i shouldn't be giggling, but i am.


the popcorn debate. again.


every office has it.


saltines. stick to saltines. no one can complain about the smell.


If you can't play a sport, be one.
If you can't play a sport, be one.
KitchenWitch's picture

(post #27775, reply #13 of 92)

<<We're having a real knock-me-down fight at our office right now over someone who heats stuff with fish in it in the microwave. >>


B goes into work super early - he usually arrives at 6 am. since he gets up at 3 am, he's usally ready for lunch around 8-9 am. folks are just getting in and he's nuking whatever we had for dinner the nght before. He hasn't gotten any complaints, except for the guy on the other side of his cube-wall the time he took in a spicy chicken curry. B insists the other guy was just jealous.

Someone did ask why he can't eat a donut for breakfast like everyone else.


~RuthAnn

~RuthAnn

bjb0777's picture

(post #27775, reply #86 of 92)

You have to remember that perhaps what this person you object to..is bringing the only leftover s they have,, i have worked in a hospital with many people from other countries..often with only leftovers to eat.,.it may not smell what i like..but!!!


Edited 11/3/2007 10:59 pm ET by bjb0777

Gretchen's picture

(post #27775, reply #87 of 92)

BUT this is a community shared appliance and it does smell it up. That is not fair to others.


Adele, you might try heating some vinegar in it. And if that works, then insist that the person clean it up immediately after use. Maybe that is a way to make it hit home that it is a real irritant.


 


Gretchen
Gretchen
Marie Louise's picture

(post #27775, reply #88 of 92)

This is why I use an insulated lunchbox & eat salads or cheese/ fruit/ crackers or a sandwich & veggies for lunch: shared refrigerators and shared microwaves are ALWAYS disgusting. It is just one of those universal laws of the workplace-there is always somebody who eats something that you think makes makes the microwave smell bad, and there is always at least one person who never throws out their leftovers in the fridge so the frige smells like a dumpster. (Of course they never label them either.)

I avoid the whole problem w/ a little insulated bag that contains a small packet of Blue Ice.

Gretchen's picture

(post #27775, reply #89 of 92)

Speaking of the fridges, there was some sort of thing going around that the nursing mother (who pumped while at work)  in the office left a note in the office fridge that she hoped the coffee cream tasted especially good.

Gretchen

Gretchen
Adele's picture

(post #27775, reply #90 of 92)

This is a lingering smell, and was quite awful, actually think the fish was bad.


Anyway, no matter as she along with 8 others were laid off on Friday.   (To include smelly girl)


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

bjb0777's picture

(post #27775, reply #91 of 92)

How sad