Given the state of the economy, it is hardly surprising that fewer people are buying lunch and have started bringing lunch to work. But if the “same ole” sandwiches are not appealing to you, just bring leftovers to work. When it comes to making homemade lunch, dinner is your best friend. In fact, a delicious homemade dinner should be your first choice for next day’s lunch to brighten your workday, boost your health, and save you some money in the process. It helps you clean out your fridge and also avoids the issue of things, um, dying a slow painful death.
Apart from that, as your coworkers are bringing in the same boring sandwiches, you can have all eyes on your gourmet creations. Here are just a few of the fabulous dinner ideas that work well for lunch.
Peppery Whole Wheat Pasta with Wilted Chard
This is a seriously yummy, healthy and generous recipe that makes enough for more than one meal, with plenty of leftovers for the next day and even beyond. You might like to heat it or have it straight from the fridge, as chard is meant to be eaten cold. The best part is that it is extremely easy to make. The fresh-cracked black pepper adds that extra bit of “wow!” making it a great dinner-to-lunch recipe.
Cauliflower (and/or Broccoli) and Chicken Sausage Casserole
This vegetable-based casserole is an easy and healthy recipe to cook for dinner and take leftovers for lunch the next day. It is a great recipe if you don’t want to work too hard for dinner but desire a something different and “gourmet” in just a few minutes. And, depending on the spices you use, it gets more flavorful the next day. This can be served with or without homemade tomato sauce. You might find that if you use tomato sauce that by the second day it’s a little skimpy on the sauce. Just bring a little extra in a separate Tupperware container and add it when you reheat. If you do add extra, pack a little extra sage, rosemary and basil for that yumminess you remembered the night before.
Why break from tradition? Meatloaf is still what’s for dinner these days. Use lean ground chicken or turkey with vegetables (whatever floats your boat, spinach, broccoli, etc) and Italian sausage, along with olive oil to cut down on the calories and make a healthy and hearty recipe. Serve with spinach-stuffed tomatoes and creamy (homemade of course) mashed potatoes. Leftovers make a perfect lunch the next day. With something like this, keep the portions to a minimum though. You don’t want to fall asleep at your desk after you’ve eaten.
Garlic and Herb Roasted Breast of Chicken
This easy-to-cook delicious recipe makes a perfect dinner to leftovers-for-lunch meal. Add to it some pasta, which you can lightly sauté with garlic, onions, olive oil and parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and sage and your favorite vegetable on the side, and you’ve got a very healthful meal that is low in fat and calories.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Can you honestly think of a soul who doesn’t love this traditional yet simple dinner? Meatballs are just about everybody’s favorite, and can be frozen and heated quickly whenever needed. When preparing them to cook (either in a slow cooker or on the stove), add a little ginger, onion, an egg, and garlic, for added flavor, zing and moist meatballs. Add your homemade sauce to them. Cook pasta to taste. Hardly time consuming, traditional and is as delicious as you remember it being when you were a kid. There’s certainly no harm in adding a vegetable to this.
Spinach and Black Bean Enchiladas
This is one of the simplest yet most delicious meals. With few ingredients comprising of black beans, spinach, rice, some cheddar cheese and a flour or corn (healthier) tortilla, whether you made them for dinner the night before or gathered the ingredients as you were headed out the door, lunch is going to be yummy! For a little extra zing, add some super hot salsa. A note about the black beans: while easier to make from a can, they are healthier and have next to no sodium if you buy them dried and soak them up to eight hours before cooking them.
Dinner-to-lunch meals don’t require a lot of extra work; they save you money and are an easy way to get the nutrition you need, while avoiding the junk food you might be craving.
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.