Taking Lunch to Work – Fresh Ideas for those sick of Sandwiches

Are you tired of having sandwiches every day for lunch?  Although it’s possible to make extremely delicious sandwiches, it’s nice to be able to vary your lunches, to keep you enjoying them and not dread the same meal every day.  This is not only true at home, but also for when you are at work.  Finding good lunches to take with you to work can be a little bit of a challenge.  You have to consider whether it will stay fresh until lunch time, such as in a lunch box or thermos or wrapped in plastic.  It also depends on your work environment.  Some work environments have a microwave which you can access to heat your meals, while others may have a toaster oven.  Some even have a fridge allowing you to keep your meal chilled till lunch, while in some work places; you simply do not have access to any cooking appliances.  In these cases, a thermos can come in very handy, or choose lunches which do not require refrigeration, heating, and can sit in your bag most of the day without spoiling.

For fresh lunch ideas, in a previous post I mentioned lettuce rolls, tortilla wraps and mixed lunches such as veggies and dip or cheese and crackers.  But I thought we could have a look at some more ideas to really bring variety to our lunches with keeping in mind how easy these lunches would be to transport to work.

 

Fresh Work Lunch Ideas:

Meals in a Thermos

One nifty idea is to get a hold of a steel thermos with a wide mouth to take with you to work for lunch.  These are a great idea for anyone who doesn’t have access to a microwave at lunch and also for anyone who works in construction.  You can freeze your meal in advance, leftovers from previous dinners is a good choice, and move it to the fridge to thaw overnight.  The next morning, preheat lunch in a thermosyour thermos with hot water, heat your meal and then pop it in the thermos, and you are ready to go.  This way of making lunch for work is very fast, saves you time in the mornings, uses any leftovers from dinners, and won’t cost you a penny.  Not to mention, you also get a very yummy and hot lunch!

Meals that can be carried in a thermos to work:

  • Casseroles
  • Soups
  • Spaghetti
  • Hot dogs

 

Variety Salads

Salads are a great option for those looking for a healthy lunch to take to work, they taste delicious cold and leave you feeling full but not tired after the meal, leaving you rejuvenated to go back to work for the afternoon.  Many may have the impression that salads can be a bit boring and don’t fill you up enough, but there is a way to make salads both interesting as well as very filling.  Make a salad so tasty that you will be craving to eat it well before lunchtime.

Try a ham, chicken, tuna, turkey, or beef salad.  Use leftover meat from the night before, chop it up into small pieces or mix with a processor or blender.  You can do this step in advance also and freeze it in separate servings.  When it’s time to make it, thaw the meat then add pretty much whatever you want to make the rest of the salad.  Make it like you would a sandwich with all the fillings and dressings you like to eat, but skip the bread to make it a salad, not a sandwich.  For a vegetarian option, try adding beans, refried beans, or tofu to your salad for extra filling.

Ideas to put in your chicken, tuna, ham, turkey, beef, bean or tofu salad:

  • With a ham salad, red onion and pineapple taste delicious.
  • With a chicken or turkey salad, I love to add celery, red onion, grapes and walnuts, with a touch of parsley and dill, topped with mayonnaise and mustard.

Add fruit, veggies & nuts to any salad, some ideas are:

  • LettuceVariety Salad
  • Tomato
  • Pineapple
  • Chopped pickles
  • Red onion
  • Carrot shreds
  • Celery
  • Chopped olives
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Apple pieces
  • Grapes

Choose your dressings based on the kind of salad it is and what flavor you want, some options are:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Low fat cream cheese
  • Hoisin – for an oriental salad
  • Pesto

 

12 More Lunches to Take to Work:

  1. Cold jasmine rice mixed with fruit – optional: mix in fresh berries, chopped crystallized ginger, toasted almonds, dried cherries or dried pineapple.  Eat as is or top with coconut cream, soy milk or soy creamer.
  2. Pasta salad – optional: add grilled chicken prepared beforehand.
  3. Meatball subs – meatballs and mozzarella cheese with spaghetti sauce, served with a roll.  (Pop it on the roll at lunch time).
  4. Cooked chicken (chopped and wrapped separately) – add the chicken to premade rice, soup or salad.
  5. Pasta or casserole in a dish – a great option if you have access to a fridge and microwave.  Leftover risotto, spaghetti, or any pasta or casserole dish.
  6. Regular salads and taco salads – refried bean or hamburger mixture can taste delicious cold.
  7. Chicken burritos or Bean and Beef Burritos
  8. Cold soups – such as: gazpacho, avocado, beetroot or cucumber soup.
  9. Omelets – some taste pretty nice cold.
  10. Cheese (optional: with fruit) plate with crackers
  11. Cold cuts
  12. Filling dips such as hummus or pumpkin dip with vegetable or fruit slices.

 

These are just some lunches you can take to work with you, that aren’t sandwiches.  I’m sure there are a lot more lunch ideas you can come up with when thinking on the subject.  Next time you cook dinner, consider if you could freeze or chill the leftovers and somehow use them in a salad, soup, casserole, with rice, in an omelet, in a burrito, to put in a thermos, or even on a sandwich.  You should be able to come up with a lot of different lunches this way.  And when you do start varying up your lunches more often, you will find that when you do have a sandwich, it’s actually quite nice as you aren’t having them all the time.

Tasty Salad Recipes – Spice up your Next Salad

Bowl of SaladEating salad for lunch when you can is great for your health.  It is a nutritious, healthy, low fat and low carb meal, but how do we spice up the taste a little?  I like to be as adventurous as I can be with my salads and am always trying to think of ways to change up the taste and experiment with different flavors. 

Here are some tasty salad ideas for you to try at home.

You can be as adventurous as you like and change, mix up and mix and match different fruits, veggies, nuts and dressing, to really make something unique to you that you will love the taste of.

 


Spinach and Strawberry Salad – An easy, tasty and healthy treat

Serving size:  Approximately 4-6 servings

Ingredients:Mixed Fruit Salad

Salad:

  • 1 (9 ounces) bag of fresh spinach
  • 1 pint of sliced strawberries
  • 3 peeled and sliced kiwi fruits
  • 1 handful of chopped macadamia nuts

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons of raspberry vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of raspberry preserve
  • ¼ of a Cup of vegetable oil

Cooking & Preparation:

  1. First mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and then toss in the fridge for roughly 15 minutes. 
  2. Combine strawberries, spinach, kiwis and nuts in a salad bowl. 
  3. Top on dressing and it’s ready to serve.

Avocado Salad – A fresh tasting and decorative salad

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 4 ounces of cooked beans or peasGreen Salad 1
  • 2 ounces of cheese (grated)
  • 1 lettuce
  • 1 tomato
  • 2 avocado pears

Sides:

  • 1 cucumber (medium)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped nuts

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons of sweet or sour pickles
  • 2 Tablespoons of lime juice

Cooking & Preparation:

  1. Wash the lettuce, place it in a covered bowl and chill in refrigerator.  
  2. Wash the cucumber and slice it, adding salt to taste.
  3. Strain peas.
  4. Peel avocados and cut lengthwise.
  5. Then place the avocados into a bowl and sprinkle lime juice on and cover.
  6. We are going to fill the hollow area of the avocados with a stuffing.  To make the stuffing, simply mix the peas, cheese, pickles and any seasoning together.  Place in avocados along with wedges of tomatoes.
  7. Place nicely on lettuce.
  8. Around the avocados, place slices of cucumbers and hard boiled eggs.
  9. Top on dressing and chopped nuts.

Holiday Salad – A delicious salad, perfect for serving during the holiday seasons.

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks of chopped celeryMixed Salad
  • 2 cored and chopped apples
  • 2 peeled and segmented oranges
  • 2 peeled and grated carrots
  • 150 grams (5 ounces) of washed and shredded red cabbage
  • 125 grams (4 ounces) of diced Stilton cheese
  • 125 grams (4 ounces) of chopped walnuts
  • 50 grams (2 ounces) of sultanas
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 150 ml of salad dressing (low calorie)

Cooking and Preparation:

  1. This one’s very easy to make, just put all the ingredients together in a large salad bowl and stir thoroughly. 
  2. Season to your liking and serve chilled. 
  3. For storage, salad can be kept for up to 3 days refrigerated in a sealed container (air tight).

Asparagus Salad – Perfect for lunch, a fresh salad full of taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of asparagus or freshly cooked asparagus
  • 6 Tablespoons of Crisco (melted)Asparagus Salad
  • 1 Tablespoon of green peppers (chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon of cucumber pickles (chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon of chives (chopped)
  • 1 Teaspoon of parsley (chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of tarragon vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • A pinch of black pepper

Cooking and Preparation:

  1. Drain the asparagus and place in refrigerator
  2. Put all ingredients (excluding asparagus) in a mixing bowl.  Mix it together well.
  3. Pour salad mixture over the asparagus and it’s ready to serve.

 

These are just a few tasty salad ideas you can try at home.  There are literally hundreds of different salad recipes you can try however, and you can also add different nuts, dressings, cheeses, veggies and fruits to really bring your salad to life and make it unique with a delicious taste.  You can also consider adding eggs or beans for a fuller salad. 

So next time you are wondering what to eat for lunch, or which salad to serve at your next dinner party, consider spicing up your regular salad with a few new ingredients, or try your hand at making something completely new.  There are so many recipes all over the internet, find one you like the look of, which sounds tasty, and go for it.

Quick and Easy Lunches Anyone Can Make

For many people today, we have so much going on in our lives; work, family, study, and more, that learning to cook properly is often something many people want to do, but just never get round to doing.  This often leads to many people resorting to eating frozen dinners, microwave meals, and ready-made foods which require very little preparation, especially when it comes to lunch time.  Often we don’t even bother with cooking a meal in the microwave and opt for takeaway foods such as McDonalds, pizza, Chinese, Thai and Indian take outs.  Unfortunately when people eat this way all of the time there is often not enough nutrition in their diet and it can lead to possible weight gain.  Not to mention the lack of variety and taste especially with ready-made home meals like cans of soup or pasta in a box.  So if you are not an expert cook and just want something easy to make don’t worry, you can still make a meal which both tasty and healthy.  You just need to think outside of the box a little when it comes to making easy to cook lunches at home.

Consider some of the following ideas to add a little variety into your lunches and you bet your health and taste buds will thank you.  These can be made for yourself at home for lunch, or to take with you for lunch at work, or even for your kids to take for lunch at school.

Tortilla WrapsMexican Tortilla Wraps

These are delicious and extremely easy to make.  As a plus they are quite healthy too especially considering you choose what you want to put in them.  You can also opt for whole meal or multigrain wraps.  With endless possibilities for fillings you can change the flavor and you will never get tired of them.  Try with pizza sauce and lettuce, olives, pepperoni and mozzarella.  Or try with ham, pineapple, lettuce and cream cheese.  Or how about refried beans with lettuce, olives, tomato and cheddar cheese topped with salsa.  The options are limitless and many options for vegetarians as well.  Anything you can put on a pizza, in a taco or on a sub, you can put in a tortilla.

Lettuce Rolls

Who could have thought lettuce could be so tasty!  Use lettuce such as iceberg, red leaf or romaine, as a wrap for lunch with plenty of different options for fillings.  Prepare the filling beforehand, and when you are ready to eat, just heat it up in the microwave, pop onto your lettuce, wrap and eat.  It’s very simple, healthy and tasty.  Ideas for fillings include lunch meat, sushi, cold chicken salad, chicken teriyaki, turkey with mixed veggies and soy sauce, and anything you could put in a taco or tortilla.

Mixed LunchesCheese and Crackers

Try something different and mix and match snacks together to form a tasty lunch.  Some ideas for this type of lunch are:

  • Cheese and crackers
  • Lunch meats and crackers
  • Peanut butter and celery
  • Chopped veggies and dip
  • Fruit kabobs
  • Cold cuts with cheese and crackers
  • Fruit and cheese plate with crackers
  • Ground nuts with veggies
  • Curried yogurt dip with veggies
  • Fruit and yoghurt

Now you don’t need to spend ages preparing and cooking to have a nice, quick and healthy lunch.  You can still have a quick lunch with no hassle and yes you can still use the microwave to cook it if you have access to one, nothing wrong with that.  These ideas are just a start, the options for different lunches at home which are both quick and easy to make is endless.  Put your thinking cap on and try to invent new ways and new dishes to make your lunch both healthy, tasty and a bit of fun too.

Simple Cooking Tips for Beginners – How to Get Started Cooking in the Kitchen

Hi everyone!  I thought I would start my off my cooking hobby blog with just some general cooking tips to get you started.  These are mostly helpful for beginners to help ease you into cooking efficiently and successfully.  It’s also a good idea to start small as the success from cooking those recipes will give you the confidence you need to continue on cooking much more, and then you will be able to tackle more challenging dishes.  Cooking great meals does not have to be hard; it can be very easy indeed.  You just need to follow good instructions and have a little bit of knowledge to get you started in the wonderful world of cooking.  Here are a few first steps those new to cooking may find useful.

Start off with easy recipesEasy Recipes - Pasta and Sauce

When first starting out, pick recipes which are easy to prepare.  Choose recipes which have fewer ingredients and that are not too complicated and do not have special cooking methods.  Start off with simple recipes to get the hang of cooking in the kitchen.  Also choose dishes with ingredients you are used to preparing and/or eating as this will make it easier on you, and give you a higher chance of enjoying the finished result.  Recipes with lots of ingredients can be a bit costly as well, as if you are not used to cooking often, you probably don’t already have many of the ingredients needed.  Find a recipe that you like the ingredients of, that is not too complicated and does not take up a lot of time to cook.  Cooking these dishes will give you more confidence in your cooking abilities and make you more comfortable with cooking in the kitchen.

Find a good cookbook or website and learn the basic cooking terms

Learn the different cooking terminology.  Find a good cookbook or website where you can learn the many cooking terms.  Learn the difference between grilling and broiling; learn what sautéing means; learn what folding means and much more.  The great thing about the learning to cook now is you have so much access to information via the internet.  Many cooking and recipe websites explain all the cooking terms and have many different recipes to choose from.  You can find recipes ranging in difficulty level and with many different dietary needs.  Finding a good cookbook or website to follow is essential.  The best recipes to find are the ones which show you each step and guide you through every step of the way, through pictures and detailed descriptions of each part of the cooking process.

Prepare everything beforehandPreparing beforehand - Vegetables

Some good advice for the beginner cook is to prepare everything you will need for cooking before you actually start.  First check to make sure you have all the ingredients necessary for the meal.  Nothing worse than not having what you need on hand at a crucial moment.  Have everything you will need ready and waiting including things like oil or baking paper, little things like that can be easy to forget.  Next prepare your cooking surfaces, utensils and dishes.  Have everything washed and ready to be used.  Then it’s time to do any chopping or peeling of vegetables as well as any rinsing of foods.  You are now ready to get started on the fun part of cooking the meal!  Having everything prepared beforehand takes the pressure off and ensures cooking will go more smoothly.  It will also stop you from overcooking a dish because you couldn’t get something ready in time.

And there you have it!  Three little steps which make a world of difference to those just getting started cooking in the kitchen.  It may be obvious to some, but you wouldn’t believe how many people try cooking with no previous knowledge, no guide or instructions to follow and are completely unprepared.  I assure you that just taking a little bit of extra time beforehand to get everything you need ready, will make cooking the meal so much easier, fun and non stressful.  Also, do not be ashamed of choosing very easy recipes to get started.  Some of the most simple recipes, like scrambled eggs for instance, are still favorites with the most experienced cooks.  Pick a tasty and simple dish to get you started and you will be cooking a lot more meals in no time.  Good luck!