I originally heard about this idea from a friend who pointed me to this. The idea is that you can make yourself a relatively fresh salad but you can make enough for a few days so that you can just grab it on the way out the door. I’ve resumed using these in my weekly cook up for part of my lunches.
I usually have vegetable barley soup with the salad and it makes for a pretty hearty lunch plus it’s vegan. Pictures below. I’m really interested in learning what others are doing for easy lunches (bonus points for also being frugal).
I’m changing up my weekly cook up menu a little. I’m trying to get better about what I’m sticking in my mouth and we’re not real consistent with our evening meals lately. I’ll have planned to make fish and broccoli and perhaps some sweet potato fries but when the evening time rolls around, everybody is tired and not really feeling like cooking or cleaning up afterwards. When that happens, we resort to “eat what you can find” mode which leaves lots of room for me to make bad choices.
The Eggland’s Best eggs are usually farm eggs we get from our egg lady. Sometimes I have to buy store eggs though and I do buy the EB eggs. I boil and peal these when I’m cooking up my batches on Sunday night.
The PB&J sandwiches are using Arnold Multi-Grain Sandwich Thins for the bread. I made 8 of these and froze them. This is the first week I’ve had these so I’m hoping that by the time lunch rolls around, these will be thawed out OK and ready to eat. I weigh the peanut butter and jelly to make sure I’m only getting what I’m intending to get.
The rice and beans entry for dinner is actually quinoa and black beans… I’m just too lazy to change the title. 😕 I cook this up on Sunday night and store them in glass pyrex containers with the broccoli on top. I just nuke it for 2 minutes and it’s ready.
All of these meals are relatively healthy (tho maybe the PB&J is debatable), frugal and convenient to make in batches. I can cook up everything in about 45 minutes on Sunday evening! It’s also vegetarian, but I didn’t intend to do that.
The only changes I’ll probably make on a daily basis is having wine and baked sweet potato fries with dinner. If I add a lunch time walk around the block at work, then I’m still in calorie deficit on non-run days.
Failing to plan is planning to fail. That phrase pretty much sums up why I do my weekly cook ups. When I don’t have my meals planned and cooked up, I make the convenient choices. That usually means that I’m eating McDonalds in the morning and getting some Chinese buffet style food for lunch or five guys etc. The goal is to have my breakfasts and lunches prepared for the work week. I do this preparation on Sundays usually and I store everything in Pyrex containers.
My breakfast is this omelet that I make. I’ve seen it referenced as a Denver omelet but I’m not positive on what it’s called exactly. Here are the ingredients.
2 farm eggs (we have an egg lady!)
3/4 cup frozen 3 pepper, onion blend (Pictsweet – 3 Pepper & Onion Blend from Walmart)
1 oz diced ham from deli counter (Prima Della – Black Forest Ham)
1/2 slice Prima Della (Walmart) – Natural Sliced Pepper Jack Cheese (cut on #2)
I cook 4 at a time so here is my process. I use two pans: one for the 3 pepper onion blend/ham and one for the egg mixture. While I’m mixing and measuring the first batch of ingredients, I usually have the two pans preheating. I use a tiny bit of olive oil to lubricate the pans. Also, I use a digital food scale and measuring cups to make sure everything is to spec. 😉
Mix eggs in a bowl using whisk. Cook in 8 inch saute pan on medium heat.
Cook 3 pepper/onion & ham mixture in other pan (I use a 10 inch pan) on medium heat at the same time.
Flip the eggs when they’re solid enough to survive the flip without splashing egg mixture all over the place. Usually just a couple of minutes!
Put the 1/2 slice of cheese on the egg. Be sure to place it on one half because you’re going to fold it!
Place 3 pepper/onion & ham mixture onto egg, directly on cheese (remember, I cook both of these simultaneously so by the time the eggs are ready to flip, the pepper/onion & ham mixture is ready).
I add salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce.
Fold the whole mess in half and put the first one into a Pyrex dish. Repeat 3 more times!
Calories – 234
Carbs – 4
Fat – 12
Protein – 20
It’s healthy and pretty great tasting.
My lunches for the past few weeks have been bean and vegetable soup with a salad.
The bean and vegetable soup isn’t very hard; it just takes some time because I make my own vegetable broth as a base.
The basic idea is to get a mess of vegetables and simmer the goodness out of them for about an hour. You can really use any type of vegetable but I’ve been using this as a basic guideline. Here are the ingredients I’ve been using:
1 bag frozen recipe blend from Walmart (it’s onions, celery and a small amount of pepper)
spices (I use salt, pepper, bay leaves and just whatever else I grab out of the cupboard in the moment)
Put everything into a pot of water (I use 8 cups of water), bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour.
Strain the vegetables out and set the broth aside for your soup!
Put everything into a pot and cook on medium-low for about 20 minutes. This makes 4 servings.
Calories – 202
Carbs – 42
Fat – 1
Protein – 7
At work, I add a crap ton of pepper and some salt because it’s a little on the bland side. I’ve been looking for ways to spice it up a bit but really I eat it because it’s healthy fuel for my body, not because it tastes awesome.
My friend Sally suggested this after I tweeted that I was trying to figure out a way to make a batch of salad that could keep for a week.
Oil – Olive, 1 tablespoon
Pompeian – Gourmet Red Wine Vinegar (Premium Quality), 1 Tbsp
Generic – Grape Tomatoes, 2 oz
Bolthouse Farms – Baby-Cut Carrots (454g Bag), 2 oz
Cucumber – 1 oz
Dole – Spring Mix Salad, 1 oz
As the link above says, the idea is to put in your dressing first then the tomatoes. That’s because the tomatoes can sit in the dressing without any issues. If the salad mix is sitting in the dressing, the salad greens will become wilted and funky.
Measure out oil and vinegar
put in tomatoes
rest of ingredients with salad greens last
Calories – 168
Carbs – 10
Fat – 15
Protein – 2
In conclusion, the idea is to set myself up to be successful by planning ahead. I do all this so that I have a healthy food routine and I don’t have to think about it much during the week. On workday mornings, I just stick everything in my cooler and I’m out the door in just a couple minutes. It’s pretty delicious and healthy!