Cooking for the lab during a Pandemic
April 27, 2020 1:52 PM   Subscribe

My work is still open, as we are considered an essential service to the university. 1/3 of us are incredibly busy building and validating antibody testing, and the rest of us are coming in on different/odd shifts to continue our regular work. No one is really eating lunch, besides candy bars from the vending machine and all campus food near us is closed. I made cinnamon rolls last week, and that was really well received. I'd like to bring in more items, but, I don't want to just stick to my usual cookies and breads, so I'd like some recipe suggestions!

While sweet treats are nice, I was thinking of making something a little more substantial *and* that would keep for longer than a day or two at room temperature. For whatever reason, no one really wants to prep food in our shared kitchen, including using the microwave, so I'd like to keep it to things that I can put out on the lunch table.

Do you have any great recipes for healthy-ish muffins or quick-breads that last a few days? Or a savory item that doesn't require refrigeration? Maybe a nut-filled bar? Filled pasties with curried vegetables? Things I'm not thinking of?

We do have a few dietary restrictions - one of us doesn't eat gluten (not all the recipes have to be gluten free, but it would be nice to include this person, and I don't know much about gluten free baked goods) and about half are vegetarian.

I have a pretty well stocked kitchen, and I can always grab more unusual items during my weekly grocery run. Items that can be individually wrapped, or divied up in some way would be better.
posted by lizjohn to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Peanut butter protein balls!

I don't have a recipe to recommend because I've never made them myself, but this was my go-to filling snack as a teenager.
posted by brook horse at 1:57 PM on April 27, 2020

I brought these deviled potatoes to a potluck, and they were very popular. They're vegan and don't have anything like mayonnaise, so I think they'd be fine to leave out for a day.

Hummus and pita bread with some cut up vegetables would be nice. Maybe you could bring some gluten-free crackers to go with it.

This marbled banana bread was a hit at my office.
posted by FencingGal at 2:03 PM on April 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

I just got a bag of unusually good clementines substituted for oranges in my pickup order, tasty, easy, healthy. Gingerbread with lemon glaze is easy and not crazy sweet. My boss used to bring in monkey bread, always a hit, and you can make it in muffin tins. My goto is apple crisp, using a mix of granny smith and other apples; there are gluten-free crisp toppings that use gluten-free flour. I have used a mix of ground almond and rice flour instead of wheat flour with nice results.
posted by theora55 at 2:09 PM on April 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

Puff pastry cheese straws!
posted by Weeping_angel at 2:19 PM on April 27, 2020

These energy bites are especially good and infinitely variable so you can make substitutions with little concern. She says to refrigerate them, but I've taken them on road trips (ah, road trips! how I miss my road trips!) without keeping them chilled and they've been fine. And since you can easily pop a whole one in your mouth, they don't make any mess.
posted by DrGail at 2:19 PM on April 27, 2020

Any sort of fresh fruit would be delightful, I would think. It gives a little fiber and freshness to the vending machine diet. :)
posted by heathrowga at 2:42 PM on April 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

These pumpkin muffins have a lot of eggs, so there's more protein than you'd expect from muffins. They're gluten-free.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:42 PM on April 27, 2020

A plate of bread, cheese and pickles with mustard on the side. DIY sandwiches.
posted by tmdonahue at 2:45 PM on April 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

A bread with meat/cheese baked in
posted by raccoon409 at 2:53 PM on April 27, 2020

You can make a fritatta in a 9x13 dish and cut into portions. I wouldn't keep it out overnight, but you can set it out around 10am, and put it back in the fridge around 3pm without any trouble. Or wrap individual portions that people can grab as needed.

Unlike a quiche, there's no crust, so no gluten. The fillings can easily be changed up to suit your tastes (and pantry). Frozen veggies would be just fine as well (heat them first to make sure they don't give off excess liquid).
posted by hydra77 at 3:05 PM on April 27, 2020 [2 favorites]

BoscosMom recommended these and now they are a favorite treat: Brazilian cheese balls. They are gluten free, vegetarian but not vegan, and they are fine for two or three days.
posted by Botanizer at 3:21 PM on April 27, 2020

The first thing that came to mind was a bar cookie like the date bars here.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:16 PM on April 27, 2020

Response by poster: Date bars! I've forgotten how much I love date bars!
posted by lizjohn at 4:34 PM on April 27, 2020

Savory scones are always nice, a cheese and caramelized onion one, and a meat and cheese one, maybe? Cheddar, bacon & chive? Or buttermilk biscuits, both those and scones can be nicely filling.

Homemade soft pretzels with a variety of dips? We recently started to do pretzels at home and they’re amazing.

Savory popcorn mix, or a trail mix? Like a maple bacon popcorn, or a nut heavy mix with dried fruits.

Also never underestimate the drawing power of homemade Chex mix. I’ve seen fights at work around the holidays when people put it in the break room.
posted by librarianamy at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2020

Spinach and feta savory muffins? I don’t have a recipe, but I have eaten these from a bakery before and they were wonderfully satisfying.
posted by Night_owl at 6:58 AM on April 28, 2020

Beer bread is a tasty quick bread. I've only made it using regular wheat flour, so I don't know about making it gluten free.
posted by kathrynm at 8:47 AM on April 28, 2020

Can you bring in a big crockpot? That would make substantial soups and stews doable.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:50 AM on April 29, 2020

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