Food me?
July 24, 2014 3:27 PM   Subscribe

I have to eat to live. Complications, of course, abound.

There is typically no time during my full-time job where I could sit down to eat, but I can sit there and eat before and/or after my shift. There is no microwave, but there is a large walk-in where I can store a meal, and an oven that cooks at 480 degrees (no adjusting is possible). It's an hour drive away from home, so something finicky about temperature's going to be a no-go.

At my other (part-time) jobs, I'm working in people's homes, so standard kitchen things are available (microwave, oven, fridge, blender, etc.). During those shifts, I can sit down and eat, take breaks, etc.

My schedule is completely insane, so I'm often eating in the car as I boogie between one job and the next. The less gluten and dairy I eat, the happier my body is. In a perfect world, I'd be prepping food a week or more in advance so I can just pull a ziploc bag or tupperware or similar out of the fridge or freezer and eat. Recipes are awesome, plain old suggestions work fine, too. What do I want to eat?
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Jerky
Hard-boiled eggs
Jar of salad
Smoothie/protein shake in a blender bottle
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Things I like to eat out of a bag:
Trail mix
Dehydrated fruit
Carrots, broccoli (with or without hummus)
Quinoa salad (I base mine on this recipe)

Also there are lots of gluten/dairy free protein bars.
posted by sacrifix at 3:37 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: If Tupperware is an option - salads. And I don't mean "leafy green", I mean things like bean salads, homemade sichuan noodles (easier than you'd think), grain salads...get yourself a copy of this book (which I recommend an awful lot) and make batches of a couple of the salads at a time, then it's just a matter of grabbing a few spoonfulls of your choice of salad at a time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I know this in no way respects the low-gluten and dairy preference, but pizza is the only thing I know that reheats well in a 480 degree oven.
posted by Milau at 4:09 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Yes - those bean + grain + vegetable salads are your friend.

Do you have a Fresh and Easy near you? They have a rice/quinoa blend (it's in a tan microwavable package) that I love. I add cooked vegetables (corn and peas right now, since they are in season) and sometimes I add meat (bacon is always a good call) and cheese (goats cheese or feta, but it doesn't need it if you're avoiding dairy). The rice is pre-seasoned, and cooks in 90 seconds. If you use frozen vegetables you could have the whole thing ready in under five minutes.

I will eat that for days and never get tired of it.

I am also a fan of big "traditional" salads. I put things in individual bags and dressing in a small tupperware. My favourite one is some smoked salmon, fresh (uncooked or cooked) corn and peas, avocado and some hazelnuts.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Milau - You've hit the nail on the full-time job is making pizzas. I can eat for free while at work, but am trying desperately to avoid the allergic reactions to the gluten and the GI issues caused by dairy.

guster4lovers - no Fresh and Easy. Might Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Fresh Market have something similar? I've never shopped at any of those.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 4:47 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: What about frittatas? I like potato, ham, and spinach. Cook all the things, get as much liquid out of vegetables as you can, put in the bottom of a baking dish. Now beat a BUNCH of eggs, enough to at least cover, (I add a little milk but I don't think you need to, maybe a little water?), pour the eggs over the other stuff in the pan and bake in your home oven at 350F till the eggs are set. It's like a crust less quiche, good cold or hot or at room temperature, and you can vary what you put in it almost endlessly.
posted by Night_owl at 5:04 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Chicken tends to do well with being reheated. I would experiment with sides dishes based on rice, corn and/or potatoes.

I would also do baked potatoes with bacon and butter.

Can you freeze (uncooked) beef in individual Ziploc bags, take that to work, and put it through the pizza oven somehow (in tinfoil or something)? Thin cut beef might cook up just fine if you can keep it cold enough for the long drive to not get food poisoning.
posted by Michele in California at 5:06 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: I'm seconding @EmpressCallipygos, salads + moosewood is a really solid option. A lot of their recipes are on their website as well, and most of their recipes lend themselves to adaptation/mutation.

Some good starters, in order of complexity:

Corn and Pepper Salad (Although this is more of a salsa, which you can either mix with salad greens or generic roasted veggies (or protein)

Warm Lentil Salad

Crisp Autumn Salad
posted by DGStieber at 5:06 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Yes, Trader Joe's also has microwaveable rice! Too easy.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:12 PM on July 24, 2014

I often eat Quaker Caramel Corn Rice Cakes at work, which say "Gluten Free" on the front of the package. I don't get the tiny ones, but the full size wafers, 14 to the bag. 50 calories each. And I actually like them better when they're a bit stale. Just a thought.
posted by forthright at 7:14 PM on July 24, 2014

umnnn, Soylent?
posted by Sophont at 7:18 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Could you stash supplies in the work fridge to make a gluten- and dairy-free pizza? Could you make pizza on a corn tortilla, for example? Does goats cheese upset your allergies?
posted by Cheese Monster at 7:34 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: The Tasty Bite range of foods are amazing, most are gluten and dairy free. Mix a rice packet with a lentil packet heat for a few mins and you have a good meal.
posted by Requiax at 7:56 PM on July 24, 2014

I hit post too soon. They are shelf stable at room temperature and available at whole foods!
posted by Requiax at 7:59 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: Bummer! Everyone should have a Fresh & Easy near them.

However, almost every supermarket has rice/quinoa blends in microwave pouches. I'd go for something that is seasoned with garlic/herbs or is "chicken" flavoured.

Oh, another easy meal is tacos. I like to cook a few chicken legs and shred the meat, then use that for tacos with fresh corn, avocado, beans (I cook my own, but you could just use canned) lettuce, salsa and some cheese. When I take them to work, I just put the filling stuff into one container and have the (pre-fried) corn tortillas in plastic and then fill and eat. Stops it from getting soggy and weird.

Also: soup is your friend. Anything with stock + meat + beans + potatoes/pasta/grain + vegetables in season is awesome. You can make a huge batch and put them into individual containers and take them to work for a whole week. This would only work for your part-time job unless you want to try and heat soup in the oven. I'm sure it's possible, but it wouldn't be super fun.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:14 PM on July 24, 2014

According to your profile, you are in Kentucky, is that right? I ask because Kentucky is one of the only 8 states which *requires* your employer to allow you a meal break during your full-time job. You should be getting a half-hour to sit and eat, plus breaks, if you are working a full eight-hour shift.
posted by misha at 11:24 PM on July 24, 2014

Best answer: In terms of stuff you can prep and store easily, here's my super duper go to for gluten and dairy free breakfasts:

Egg Bake!
a dozen eggs
2 cups shredded chicken (I slack a lot and just get the pre-cooked strips from the grocery store and chop them up, or use leftovers. You can also substitute in any protein for this, really. Bacon, sausage, pork, go nuts)
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup greens (I use kale or spinach usually)
Add additional veggies at your leisure.

pre-heat oven to 350. grease a baking dish with coconut oil.
If using frozen veggies, give them a quick zap in the microwave or in a pan. Doesn't need to be fully cooked but shouldn't be frozen anymore.

Beat the eggs. Add salt/pepper/spices as you please.
Mix in everything else.
Put it in the pan.
Bake it for about 30-40 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.
Cool, slice, and store in zip lock baggies. I usually get a weeks worth of breakfasts out of this. Takes maybe an hour total. They're plenty good cold or warmed up.

I also make a lot of hashes with rice and sweet potatoes for lunches. MeMail me if you want any more recipes.
posted by picklesthezombie at 6:48 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

You might look into getting a soup thermos. It would allow the occasional hot meal. You also aren't limited to only soups, but add a little broth to keep things moist. Off the top of my head, you could do shredded chicken with a little corn, black beans, and cilantro. Take a tortilla to work separate, and throw the tortilla in your insanely hot oven for a second. Spoon out some chicken on your tortilla for a tasty burrito.

I imagine you could do this with anything you could cook in a slow cooker. Warm it up before you leave for work, and dump it in the thermos.
posted by ohjonboy at 6:49 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Can you do "crustless pizza"? Get those little tin containers - probably buy a bunch of your own to keep the restaurant happy - put all your desired toppings in, and throw that in a corner of the oven until baked up?

I've been doing low carb for a little while now, and apparently there's a pizza place that does this in the States somewhere and it's awesome from what I hear. YMMV, of course.
posted by aggyface at 8:19 AM on July 25, 2014

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