Breakfast of Working Champions HOWTO
December 19, 2006 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Good recipes for food to make in a batch at the weekend then take into work?

Currently I stroll into work clutching a thermos full of freshly-brewed coffee, and a Tupperware box with a sandwich inside. Sometimes an apple and a banana find their way into my bag too. Not too shabby, but not great. Any suggestions on how to liven up those desk-bound lunches? Soup is an obvious candidate; anything else?


1. Preference given to vegetarian ideas (although other people reading this won't be veggie, so I suppose meaty ideas should be here too).

2. Ease of preparation, longevity and transportation of the end product are important. I can easily prepare and freeze batches of soup in freezer-bags, for example, and carry into work in a Tupperware beaker.

3. Cost - minimal. The idea is to cut out the ridiculous cost of lunching in London.

4. There are minimal facilities at work i.e. just a microwave and cutlery.

Also, I sometimes prepare a fresh smoothie in the mornings, just by bunging some apples, grapes, bananas, milk, yoghurt and rolled oats into a blender. This is great, but sometimes I don't have the precious 5 minutes this takes. Any ideas on storage of this for consumption later? It "turns" pretty quickly (i.e. within the hour). How long could it be stored, if it could be preserved?
posted by ajp to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
I like to make up some bean and rice burritos (black beans are my favorite; use whatever you want), and crisp them up in a pan or in the oven right after you assemble. You can then cool and freeze them, and they reheat well in the microwave. They're still crunchy, too, which is nice.
posted by rossination at 9:55 AM on December 19, 2006

Look into a slow cooker. Immediately. Stew is your answer. You throw a bunch of veggies and some broth/water into it in the morning, leave it on all day and in 10 hours you have fantastic lunch that you can reheat all week. And any chef will tell you that stew only gets better with each reheating.
posted by spicynuts at 9:56 AM on December 19, 2006

posted by The Straightener at 9:59 AM on December 19, 2006

I've had good luck with tabbouleh. It just gets better as it sits in the fridge. I particularly like Ina Garten's recipe ( I'm sure it would still be great without the chicken and vegetable or mushroom stock instead of the chicken broth.

It's a flexible recipe. Lots of other veggies are yummy in it. I've added bell pepper, mushrooms, peas (and sugar snaps), zucchini, and canellini beans with good results.
posted by mostlymartha at 10:07 AM on December 19, 2006

I roast a big batch of cauliflower at the weekend, and keep that in the fridge. I also make a pot of quinoa, boiled with lemongrass, ginger and garlic. This is a good whole grain and with one batch, I can divide it into several days' worth of half cup servings - it keeps for eons once it's made.

Other times I will make a big batch of soup at the weekend.
For each day's lunch, just grab some cauliflower, quinoa and a bunch of beans for protein in a lunch container and you have a well rounded lunch. Or take one of your portions of soup and eat that with tofu or some other protein,

You can roast a big spaghetti squash on a Sunday and divide this into three lunches - make a batch of pesto and freeze the pesto in a mini muffin tin in your freezer - each pesto "muffin" will give you about 2 TBs , enough to flavor one lunches' worth of squash. I take parmesan reggiano in a ziploc baggie to eat on top of it.

For snacks, keep rice cakes and peanut butter at your desk. I also keep a small bottle of balsamic and one of olive oil so I can dress salads at my desk and therefore not run the risk of a salad dressing container leaking on the way to or from work.
posted by chickaboo at 10:19 AM on December 19, 2006

As far as the smoothy goes I like to make a base (little thicker than the final product) for mine in batches (assorted fruit, yogurt, a little coconut milk and freeze it. Then when it's time for consumption all it takes is the blender, an icecream scoop and a little more yogurt or milk or soy or whatever's handy. In a thermos it'll keep for a couple hours though you'll probably need to give it a good shaking.

Other lunching ideas might include:
posted by mce at 10:27 AM on December 19, 2006

Awhile back someone had linked to this recipe and I have been making it ever since. It is for Dhal soup and it is extremely tasty & filling & yummy. It's great as an at work lunch.

Sometimes I just bring in a container of hummus with some pre-cut raw veggies & sliced pita or whole grain crackers. Very easy and always yummy.
posted by tastybrains at 10:29 AM on December 19, 2006

Ah - I leave my 1/2 finished post for a a couple minutes and martha beats me to the tabouli suggestion. Must remember to make better use of the preview button. At any rate do try the dish. As mentioned it's very flexible and forgiving and is nice cold or at room temp in a refrigerator-less office.
posted by mce at 10:30 AM on December 19, 2006


[mumble] I suppose you could do it vegetarian. You could go heavy on the peppers and beans, or maybe add some corn and mushrooms to get some meaty flavor. Still needs something with a little tooth to it. Hmm... sometimes spaetzle can hold it's own, but that's...[/mumble]

Ah, nevermind.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:32 AM on December 19, 2006

For a few months I would make whole wheat penne with garlic, broccoli and lots of fresh grated parmesan. I also made cheese tortellini with fresh peas and parmesan.

Basically Pasta + Vegetable + Parmesan = cheap and filling

Vegan Lunch Box is a great resource. Obviously, the mother on the site has the time and means to make this daily, but it might get the ball rolling on ideas for you!
posted by spec80 at 10:55 AM on December 19, 2006

Have you checked out Vegan Lunch Box? I don't know if vegan appeals to you, but there are some good ideas there (be sure to check the archives, too).

One idea I originally got from that blog and have kind of adapted is mini-calzones (more like "pocket sandwiches" the way I do them) -- they're not messy, you can fill 'em with whatever you're in the mood for, and they keep pretty well.

on preview: what spec80 said.
posted by AV at 11:01 AM on December 19, 2006

Jamie Oliver makes the best pasta salad. I have made it numerous, numerous times and it is delicious. It lasts several days and gets better with time. I mostly make it in the spring or summer when my basil plants are prolific. But, it can still be made anytime of the year, since fresh herbs are so readily available at the grocery. I use bowtie instead of shell pasta because I think they are more attractive, but I am sure those mini shells pick up the flavor better.
posted by LoriFLA at 11:30 AM on December 19, 2006

Also previously (this one's even vegan!)
posted by librarina at 11:52 AM on December 19, 2006

any kind of risotto would also work...keeps for days in fridge.

tray of roast veg, stuffed peppers, sushi nori sheets filled with some vegetarian filling?

for transporting/storing sensitive foods invest in a small insulated food bag - M&S do one.

smoothie - if you leave the yogurt out it would probably be ok for a few hours even without could subsitute ground almonds/spoon of nutbutter for protein instead.

invest in one of those tumbler beaker things - they are watertight.
posted by koahiatamadl at 12:30 PM on December 19, 2006

I love making HUGE batches of spaghetti and storing seven or eight lunches up to take into work. I'll generally do this about twice a week and live off of it from then on. I put the sauce on it and everything, and then all I need is one of the leftover little packets of pizza parmesan and a plastic fork and I've got a great lunch.
posted by SpecialK at 2:51 PM on December 19, 2006

That Jamie Oliver salad is very similar to one I make all the time. I usually add some red pepper flakes and a (drained) can of clams also though. Don't be afraid of a balsamic vinegar with it either, ripe tomatos can balance any extra flavour you can throw at them. Never fails to be a huge hit at summer bbqs.

My favourite lunches are soups (squash, red pepper, lentil) with a salad (tabouleh, bean). Soups keep quite well in a thermos and salads do ok in one of the soft insulated lunch bags. Nice change from sandwiches all the time.
posted by bonehead at 6:54 PM on December 19, 2006

veggie curry! Chickpeas, lentils, veggies, rice. Absolutely delicious, freezes/reheats well. Costs about 5p a portion.
posted by whoojemaflip at 2:19 AM on December 20, 2006

« Older How much should I pay to have my fence hauled away...   |   Comparison/Tester Websites for the UK? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.