What's new

Lets Pack A Lunch

Okay, how easy could it be? Just grab leftovers or chuck the average cold cut sandwich into a bag and go. Well that works for awhile but you tend to get repetitive and then it becomes boring and the next thing you know you are at the chip shop or Taco Bell again. Ugh. Lately I have made an effort stay completely out of the heart-attack-in-a-bag fast food shops and take my own. Much more satisfying.

Now to some specifics. I don't care how you wrap it or what condiment you use, cold cut sandwiches are a surefire way to revert to old habits if you eat enough of them. Most of the trouble I have with carrying lunch to work is pure laziness and lack of preparedness the night before. Leftovers are always a good choice but if you want liven up the lunch pail, where do you like to start? Like I said, sandwiches and crisps are a good thing but get monotonous rather quickly. What are some rather easy(as in second day prep) items you like? While I love Indian food I am rather shoddy in my knowledge of how to make it. Mexican? Been there, done it. Don't want it. Again, this is not rocket science. Just lay your easy to make up favourites out there.

Cheers, Todd
 

Intrigued

Bigfoot & Bagel aficionado.
When I was working, most days I packed: Fage plain greek yogurt (kept a small container of honey in my lunch bag), a couple of clementine oranges, and a frozen entree (Lean Cuisine, Amy's, Kashi).

proxy.php
proxy.php
proxy.php

proxy.php
proxy.php
proxy.php



… and last but not least a Sudoku puzzle book to work on while I ate (helped keep my mind off just how boring my lunch was). :001_tongu
 
OK, here is the easiest, best, most romantic pack lunch you can do. Don't pack ANYTHING. Just take a good, sharp pocket knife, two small glasses, a wine key, and an old blanket with you when you leave home. Before you and that special someone reach your destination, stop at a good market and buy a nice crusty French baguette, a wedge of your favorite cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano for me, Brie for my wife), one beautiful red apple, one perfect pear, and a bunch of the nicest grapes you can find. Pick a bottle of wine that costs less than $10. I'd go with something light and fruity, like a Beaujolais Nouveau, or Chardonnay. Heaven!
 
I make a lot of hearty soups and beans with meat for lunch. I can make a big pot of beans or soup and take take it for lunch two or three times and I freeze the rest. I freeze it in one gallon zip lock bags, I lay them flat on the freezer racks. Using a large bag makes thawing really fast, I can put the bag in the sink with a few inches of water and the soup or beans thaws in no time. This is the thermos I like to use. I heat heat my lunch while I'm getting coffee and breakfast ready.

A small selection of cured meats, cheese, pickled vegetables, a small salad, and some fruit are also a good option. This is kind of a pain because I like to keep everything separate until I'm ready to eat and I don't want to use a bunch of zip lock bags. I use small Tupperware that will stack together when I'm done eating.

I know you said you didn't want sandwich recommendations but I'm going to make some recommendations anyway. I try to add different spreads like olive or artichoke tapenade to my sandwich. Try a few different varieties of mustard. Experiment with different types of meats, hard salami, sopressata, and so on. I don't know what kind of bread you have access to but you might want to try some different bread to spice up your lunch.

Leftovers are great, if you can transport and heat it easily. I've looked at different Bento box options on Amazon.com but I haven't bought one yet, maybe I will this year.

Good luck Todd.
 
OK, here is the easiest, best, most romantic pack lunch you can do. Don't pack ANYTHING. Just take a good, sharp pocket knife, two small glasses, a wine key, and an old blanket with you when you leave home. Before you and that special someone reach your destination, stop at a good market and buy a nice crusty French baguette, a wedge of your favorite cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano for me, Brie for my wife), one beautiful red apple, one perfect pear, and a bunch of the nicest grapes you can find. Pick a bottle of wine that costs less than $10. I'd go with something light and fruity, like a Beaujolais Nouveau, or Chardonnay. Heaven!

that makes for an interesting work week
 
Thanks gents. Sorry for hammering the sandwiches. I should have just singled out typical cold cuts like deli ham and chicken. We have a local brewpub that brings in a tonne of different mustards each March. Really changes things up. Sometimes just getting the lunch carrier suited to your liking g is half the battle. Containers that are easy to use and heat food in but don't stain or hold odours, easy to carry, etc. Shawn your idea of soups is really good. They are ecconomical to make and can be much healthier than many other dishes. We also have a top shelf local bakery and their bread is available at the local grocers. So I buy it when I can.

Chef Bil, I really likexyour suggestion but I don't know howxwell my employer would like it!

Cheers, Todd
 
whoa. Nothing wrong with a roast beef or turkey sandwich. I also go ham and prosciutto.
roast beef is best with goat cheese or a superb mustard blend. Make your own.
Ham, always throw mozarella in there. I live in NYC and 4 supermarkets within 7 mts walking distance so I have some selection. Chinese market close by as well. That's another world, Asian cuisine, very healthy and great options - like mung bean noodles, premade dumplings you can steam at work, just take a vinegar soy based dip in a separate bin. I borrow from my Latino upbringing and what I learned from friends and about.com in cooking other cuisines. The other day I made potato and meat samosas to take to work in a spicey mango chutney. With west indian fried bean curd dumplings. Dumplings one day with veggies, Tacos another, sandwich, or mashed potatoes with spiced chicken. Discover new foods is my recommendation. ABout.com has great info on starter plates and spices. The rest I make up as I go along.
 
Chef Bil, I really likexyour suggestion but I don't know howxwell my employer would like it!

Cheers, Todd

No problem. Set it up in the break room so co-workers can share. Have a nice sparkling water instead of the wine, they'll think you're a genius. Maybe even give you a promotion. :wink2:
 
Last edited:
OK, here is the easiest, best, most romantic pack lunch you can do. Don't pack ANYTHING. Just take a good, sharp pocket knife, two small glasses, a wine key, and an old blanket with you when you leave home. Before you and that special someone reach your destination, stop at a good market and buy a nice crusty French baguette, a wedge of your favorite cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano for me, Brie for my wife), one beautiful red apple, one perfect pear, and a bunch of the nicest grapes you can find. Pick a bottle of wine that costs less than $10. I'd go with something light and fruity, like a Beaujolais Nouveau, or Chardonnay. Heaven!

that makes for an interesting work week

+1. I can imagine boys at my work when they see me with that spread in the tea room.

Actually, I just might do it for a laugh. Might take a table cloth and some candles in as well.


Seriously, the idea of hitting a market and picking up something nice but different each morning is great, if you have one handy. Some fresh whatever is always going to beat some reheated whatever, and you can have fun experimenting. I cycle past the best market in Melbourne each day to get to work, I can't think why this idea never occurred to me.
 
Different cheeses, breads and spreads help the sandwich monotony. I live by myself and have a hard time cooking for less than 200 somedays... anyways, I freeze a lot of soups or stocks or whatever. I've got a 20 pound bone in skin on pork shoulder slow cooking in the oven now. It will be hot when I wake up. I'll pull it before lunch, eat some, take some for work lunch, then have more when I get home. I'll sauce a good bit of it and freeze while leaving enough for a one or two more meals in the fridge.

If I cook a steak I'll do two so I can either do steak and eggs for breakfast or take it in for lunch- possibly make a killer steak sandwich... Its hard to say :D

My favorite sandwich at the moment to take to work is a cajun turkey, muenster cheese, sweet baby ray's bbq ssauce on potato bread. Pretty simple but different than most. Next week I'm sure it will be something different. Probably peppered turkey, pepperjack cheese, sriratchi mayo on an onion roll...
 
Great suggestions lads. John the Chef, good idea on the pork shoulder. Anymore, I like to take pork roast, brown it well, add a chopped apple or two along with some herbs de' provence for aromatics and chuck it in the oven at 95C(200F) for a few hours or longer. The result is pull apart tender and it makes great sandwiches either sliced or simply pulled like bbq sandwiches. Some I will add bbq sauce to(Kansas City's own Cowtown thank you) and some I will eat plain. I also like to take the pan stock with all that apple goodness and cook it down to a thick sauce. Sometimes this requires a bit of thickening with tapioca flour or corn flour(starch) to get a good consistency but spread on bread with the pork it is fabulous. The blokes at work are always nosing around the lunch pail when I bring stuff like that. I always try to bring enough to share.

Another fast and easy fix that reheats well is homemade pot pies. My wife bought some nice deep ramekins that work well. About 3" in diameter and 2-1/2" deep they are perfectly sized for the task. And if you don't want to scratch make the filling we have learned a neat and inexpensive trick. Go to your grocer and find those large size cans of Campbell's Chunky soups. You could use any variety but we are Anglo/Celtic/Germanic/Nordic of the first order so vegetable beef, chicken and veg, sirloin burger, or whatever stick to your ribs flavour works. I put it in a small saucepan and add about a half cup of wine. Dry red for the beef stews and the punchiest white I can find for the pork or chicken flavours. Cheap is the word here. No need to worry about nuance. You are looking for hearty flavour. Anyroad, I bring this to the boil and cook out as much of the alcohol as I can. I then add some beef or chicken stock to punch it up a bit more and then some thickener such as corn flour or tapioca. Cook til it starts thickening and remove from heat. Cool only a little and put it in the ramekins.

Make up a shortcrust pastry for the lids. I usually do this first. So it is ready to go but you can make it up after you've cooked the filling. No worries. You are not trying to win a prize at county fair. Just make it thick and use plenty of fat(I know, not healthy). Cut it about 3/4"(16mm) larger in diameter than the ramekin dishes. Lay it over the filling. Mine are usually mounded up well with filling so they look a bit peaked. The extra crust makes sure you can cover the filling well. Pinch it around the edges, cut a hole in the middle about half inch round, baste the crust with some milk, and bake til the crust is golden and cooked through. Usually about 20-30 minutes. You did preheat your oven to around 375F(190C, gas mark 5-6) didn't you? These are easy to make, very cheap, and you will have no trouble unloading them at work should you decide you have too many. If you don't like the flavour and aroma of the wine, leave it out. No worries. I use Better than Bullion bases. They go a long way for the money and add lots of flavour.

Cheers, Todd

proxy.php

proxy.php
 
OK, here is the easiest, best, most romantic pack lunch you can do. Don't pack ANYTHING. Just take a good, sharp pocket knife, two small glasses, a wine key, and an old blanket with you when you leave home. Before you and that special someone reach your destination, stop at a good market and buy a nice crusty French baguette, a wedge of your favorite cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano for me, Brie for my wife), one beautiful red apple, one perfect pear, and a bunch of the nicest grapes you can find. Pick a bottle of wine that costs less than $10. I'd go with something light and fruity, like a Beaujolais Nouveau, or Chardonnay. Heaven!
Chef:
proxy.php
...a picnic without the basket...classic (the Mrs. and I love Stilton Blue)!
proxy.php

proxy.php
"A good wine, cheese, a friend and a cigar is simply bliss. You can smell it, taste it, look at it, feel it and it satisfies all the senses." CBJ
 
Last edited:
I use Better than Bullion bases. They go a long way for the money and add lots of flavour.

I use them as well. Excellent quality and very economical. They're very concentrated - a little goes a long way.

One of my favorite "leftover" dishes is to cook up a big handfull of egg noodles in about three cups of broth made with Better Than Bouillon Chicken flavor. When the noodles are almost done, I toss in about a cup of shredded leftover chicken and about half a cup of frozen peas. Cover and simmer for about two minutes. It's great for lunch, or when you need something to eat when you come home very late and regular hot meal is "too much".
 
Last edited:
When I am packing lunch I'll usually have an entrée in one plastic container and some sort of side dish in another.

I usually make a rice, potato, or pasta entrée or a soup that I can portion out into plastic containers. Think any kind of pasta, casserole, Hamburger Helper, or Tuna Helper type of dish. I actually try and avoid the boxed mixes but that gives you an idea of the types of things I'm talking about.

I'll keep lunch for the next couple of days in the refrigerator and freeze the rest of the entrées. I'll usually have several different foods in the freezer at the same time in order to have some variety. I just move a few down to the refrigerator every couple of days. If I forget to restock the refrigerator the microwave at work defrosts them OK, it just takes a little longer and a little more stirring.

The side dish can be some sort of fruit, vegetable, or salad that doesn't take any real preparation. Usually it's something that I can spoon out of one container into another and be on my way. Once again, I'll try to have a few of these sitting in the refrigerator ready to grab and go.
 
I take my lunch to work as much as possible.
I prefer to make a salad with protein in it.
Usually the protein is TVP, but sometimes leftover meat from the day before.

The fun is in the salad dressing. Once you get used to it, it's not so bad.

I don't pack sandwiches because I don't find them satisfying.
You can make a huge salad and at least feel like you are filling yourself up.

I bring fruit too. Usually an apple but on occasion a banana.
The sweetness gives me satisfaction so I don't go hunting for a candy bar later.
 

Commander Quan

Commander Yellow Pantyhose
My wife and I generally prepare a weeks worth of food for both of us on Sundays with some minimal work done through the week.

I work afternoons through the evenings, so lunch is a large meal with nothing to eat later.

Today was 2 hamburger patties out of the 10 I grilled yesterday. Beef and Cabbage, and roasted Brussels sprouts.
 
I usually have a heavy lunch mid october - mid april which will consist of a can of soup some cheese crackers a can of fruit and a candy bar. In the warmer months I'll go with a sandwich some fruit some chips or veggies (I like celery and carrots) and a granola bar.
 
OK, here is the easiest, best, most romantic pack lunch you can do. Don't pack ANYTHING. Just take a good, sharp pocket knife, two small glasses, a wine key, and an old blanket with you when you leave home. Before you and that special someone reach your destination, stop at a good market and buy a nice crusty French baguette, a wedge of your favorite cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano for me, Brie for my wife), one beautiful red apple, one perfect pear, and a bunch of the nicest grapes you can find. Pick a bottle of wine that costs less than $10. I'd go with something light and fruity, like a Beaujolais Nouveau, or Chardonnay. Heaven!

I just want lunch. Not more children. :biggrin1:
 
My wife and I generally prepare a weeks worth of food for both of us on Sundays with some minimal work done through the week.

I work afternoons through the evenings, so lunch is a large meal with nothing to eat later.

Today was 2 hamburger patties out of the 10 I grilled yesterday. Beef and Cabbage, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Did you get much wind your way.
 
Top Bottom