Category Archives: 10 minute lunches

Monday Healthy Eating

Plan your lunches.

Step away from the deli, get out of the drive-thru line, and put down that processed frozen lunch entree. Lunches are incredibly easy meals to plan, and doing so will save you calories and money while gaining nutrition and flavor.

Your lunch options will depend on your lunch facilities, so take a minute to think about it: do you have  access to a refrigerator? A microwave? Toaster oven?  Can you use a cooler if no refrigerator is available, or store a hot-bag or thermos? Once you’ve got that figured out, the rest is pretty easy.

Make a list of foods you like that fit those needs. Obviously, if you are completely without the ability to keep items cold at all (and aren’t allowed a cooler), your options are the most limited; but, their are still options. Nut butters sandwiches or wraps, fruit, nuts, baked goods,  and many more foods keep just fine for several hours without refrigeration. If you can’t heat things up and can’t carry a thermos or warm bag, you can still take many things that are great cold.

Some of my favorite lunches, not including leftovers:

  • Black bean burger wraps (pictured). I make up bean patties and toss them in the freezer, so I can just pull one out and crumble it into a wrap with whatever toppings I feel like!
  • Home made hot pockets, stuffed with everything from fresh fruit to turkey and swiss with fig jam, from meatloaf to mac and cheese! The crust recipe I use is below, adapted from this recipe in Vegetarian Magazine.
  • Miso chicken & shitake soup.
  • Boiled egg, sliced with heirloom tomatoes.
  • Pineapple tuna salad on baby spinach.
  • Miso noodles, with shredded chicken (canned works fine) and some veggies.

There are all kinds of things you can use to fill out your lunch, too. Roasted almonds (which release leptin,  the “full” hormone) sliced fruit, a side salad, homemade granola and yogurt…you get the idea. The list is endless, you just need to add a bit of creativity.

Planning your lunches for the week will help keep you on the healthy-eating track, and it’ll make you the envy of the office!

Hot Pocket Crust Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. cold butter or trans-fat free margarine (or soy margarine)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider or white wine vinegar

Get the mixing directions here, and while you’re at it, you should really try the empanadas. They’re amazing.


10 Minute Lunches

Above: Leftover tortilla soup, and veggie & tuna salad on whole wheat. I realize that this is cheating, in a way, as the soup is simply heated up leftovers; but, some days, that’s what we’ve got on hand on short notice. The tuna salad is as much vegetables as it is tuna, and includes carrots, onions, pickles, capers, and celery, topped with mixed greens and all thrown on a high-fiber bun. Below: Chicken & Vegetables on an egg white “tortilla.” We had leftover chicken fajita filling from one meal, and leftover veggies from another. I tossed a few egg whites and one yolk into a pan and made a very thin “tortilla” to hold it all and add some protein. Topped with lowfat, vegetarian refried beans, a few slices of avacado, and some lowfat sour cream. It was darn tasty.

10 Minute Lunches

This feature is turning out to be very popular. I’m working on a separate page for these, but in the meantime they’ll just be here.

We’ve been eating lots of leftovers for lunches this week, so no need for a lot of 10 Minute Lunches. I did get a a few done, though:

Above: Cheesy veggie grits, farm fresh egg, and spicy zucchini & cucumber salad. The spicy salad was crisp, fresh, and with just enough kick to offset the grits. I made the grits (yes, they’re instant) with just a bit of cheese, some unprocessed wheat bran for fiber, and some leftover veggies. Below: Finished off the grits with lowfat, vegetarian refried beans, grass-fed taco meat, and low-fat yogurt to top it off.

Foodie and Frugal, 1.19.09 to 1.21.09


What’s New & Upcoming at The Bean Burger Recipe I’d promised last week is now up in the left sidebar. Sorry for the delay. Also, later in the week you’ll get another 10 Minute Lunches update, and I am going to try to get a separate page started for those this week, too. Sometime either this week or next, I hope to post on my latest farm tours. Those of you on my mailing list will also receive another addition of my newsletter.

Foodie & Frugal:

I haven’t been keeping up on the Foodie and Frugal thing as much as I’d like, in part because they’re long posts and I’ve been busy. This will be an abbreviated version in some ways, but it’s the best I could do on limited time (farm visit today).

Large shopping trip today: $50.00

Meat shopping at farm today: $10.00 (approx)

Est. “fresh” trip for perishables next week: $20.00

Total Grocery budget: $80.00 total. $40.00 a week. Right on budget.

Week I (1.19.08 to 1.24.08  )

Monday. Indian Chicken with rice. This is a recipe adapted from this site, one of my current favorites. I love this woman’s site. The chicken recipe was a good base, but I wanted a bit more. So, I’ve added some different spices and tossed in a bunch of greens. We’re serving this over white rice, because I am NOT paying $3/bag for brown rice, which is all they had left today at the local store.  It’s on my list for when I head to my out-of-town store, where I get it for far, far less.

Tuesday. Hobo Casserole with lima beans & salad. We have some local potatoes in cold storage we need to use up before they go bad, so I’ll combine them with our local, grassfed beef, carrots, peas, red onions, and a bunch of spices in my cast-iron skillet and bake it all up. I’ll top it with unprocessed wheat germ (tasteless, but good for fiber). Served with organic salad from Costco and frozen baby lima beans. Yep, frozen. We’re eating a lot of frozen veggies right now, because our local produce selection is just *awful*.

Wednesday. Goulash. Pseudo-traditional goulash for movie night. Folks will bring sides, we’ll watch movies. Should be fun.

Thursday. Herb seared salmon with quinoa risotto and asparagus. Quinoa is a great, lower carb side dish. I’m doing it with Rembrandt Aged Gouda (you can get this at The Frenchman’s Cellar. Run. Now. This post will be here when you get back), black smoked sea salt, and mushrooms. The asparagus is from Aldi. They’ve got great prices on it. I realize it’s not local, nor is it organic. Sometimes, you gotta do what your budget will let you, and given the horrible selection of fresh, and the limited selection of organic frozen, this was a reasonable option.

Friday. Meatballs with whipped sweet potatoes and peas. UC will be doing the cooking for that night while I am delivering my Ready-to-Go Meals at the Frenchman’s Corner. Local beef, as usual.

Saturday. GAME NIGHT. We’re headed over to J & B’s with some other folks. The Guys will be playing Axis and Allies. The Ladies will be watching all 5 hours of BBC’s Pride & Prejuidice. And possibly swimming. Dinner is TBD, but will likely be pizza, I am thinking.

Week II (1.25.09 to 1.31.09)

Sunday. Lasagne with salad and garlic bread. This starts us off with lots of leftovers for UC’s lunch. I’ll be doing my healthy version, which uses no ricotta cheese. Instead, I blend lowfat cottage cheese with a bunch of spices (secret blend, sorry!) and some bread crumbs to use as filling. There will be whole wheat noodles, greens, mushrooms, local beef, and yummy sauce. Served with organic salad and garlic bread made from UC’s ciabatta (baked yesterday in a frenzy of flour and yeast…go check it out!).

Monday. Chickpea saag over rice. UC’s still working out the kinks in his favorite Indian recipe. This week’s version will be made with our home-canned beet greens and spinach.

Tuesday. Salmon Patties with roasted sweet potatoes & red onions and corn. My famous fish patties make a return on this week’s menu. They’re lowfat, full of protein and fatty acids, and tasty. I’ll roast off some red onions and sweet potatoes together, seasoned with Herbs de Provence, black smoked sea salt, and cracked pepper.

Wednesday. Pumpkin Soup, in the pumpkin. We’ve got a huge cheese wheel squash in storage that needs to be roasted. We’re doing this for Movie night, and using the pumpkin to make pumpkin soup, garnished with a choice of porcini mushroom oil or fig balsamic vinegar. We’ll also likely have ciabatta available. Folks, as usual, will bring sides to round out the meal.

Thursday. Peanut noodles with scallops, served with salad and asparagus. This is UC’s birthday, but we’re doing the bigger meal Friday night. Tonight is another of his favorites, but it’s a lot quicker to make since we have spin class.

Friday. Garlic & Sea Salt Roasted Pork Shoulder, with golden potatoes. UC will be cooking his own Birthday dinner, which is the way he wanted it. This is one of his favorite dishes, and also one of his specialties. It’s not terribly healthy for you, but it’s his Birthday, so who cares?

Saturday. Tortilla Soup. After the rich meals for the past two nights, we wanted to switch up to something lighter and easy to make. We love tortilla soup, made with homemade chicken broth, black beans, home canned tomatoes, and lots of other yummies. Topped with some tortilla chips, a pinch of cheddar, and a dab of guacamole.

10 Minute Lunches

Part of the wonder of meal planning is having healthful, tasty lunches in 10 minutes or less. Without “convenience” or “diet” foods. Most of these take about the same amount of time and effort as putting a crappy frozen meal in the microwave, and they’re far more flavorful with scads more nutrtion. So, I am starting a new feature here: 10 Minute or Less Lunches. If there’s interest, I’ll start a new page for it so folks can bring it up for ideas and inspirations.

10 Minute Lunches:

Above: Udon noodles & veggies with miso sauce (miso, mirin, soy, and rice vinegar) with loads of fresh veggies. Below: Black bean patties on homemade flatbread, with olives, tomato, and spicy yogurt sauce.

Below:  Zucchini & tomato omelette (1 egg, 1 egg white), with sides of buckwheat (YUMMY!) and strawberries.

Below: Miso soup with udon noodles, onions, and zucchini. When I am sick, as I am now, I crave miso soup. It’s my chicken soup, but better, and this version is made with my homemade chicken stock. Two for one healthy booster!

I’ll post more later this week. It is possible to have great, healthy lunches fast and not hit McDonalds. And, these are far, far cheaper!

Next week: Farm Photo Tours!