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Easy Lunch Ideas, Please


happy atheist

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The Atheist household eats lunch out too often on the weekends. And by "too often" I mean "every Saturday and Sunday, and often Friday, too." And it's not like we're getting anything great. It's just Subway, usually. Or if we're feeling fancy, Honeybaked Ham. You must all be so jealous!

I like to cook, I just have never gotten the hang of making lunch, as weird as that sounds. My brain just freezes up and I come up with these options:

1. leftovers (which are usually lunch during the week)

2. peanut butter sandwiches

3. grilled cheese and tomato soup

Anyway, I'm looking for ideas for easy, yummy lunches we can make at home. Nothing with fish or other seafood, please, but other than that, we're pretty open.

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Enchiladas. I make them with corn tortillas, beans, and onions wrapped up. Then I pour enchilada sauce on it (you can get a can of it) and then cheese and black olives. It ends up pretty tasty. You can use whatever kinds of beans you have I use pinto or refried or black beans depending.

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Couscous salads. Basically make couscous, add whatever you like to it (current favourites include: sweetcorn, broccoli, pepper, cucumber, tomato, pre-cooked beetroot.) It's really quick and easy (I make it to take to uni quite a lot) and is also really nice with Birdseye crispy chicken (or southern fried chicken or equivalent.)

Homemade soup is also good. I usually make roasted root veg soup or carrot and courgette. Roast veg in olive oil, salt and pepper for about 40mins. Fry an onion, add garlic, add a generous dose of wine, add roasted veg, add stock (I just use stock cubes and water because I'm cheap like that) simmer for a bit. Puree if you like it smooth or leave it as is if you like it lumpy. If it's a bit thick, adding double cream or creme fraiche is awesome. It also freezes really well.

Chicken fajitas are also quick and easy (they're also great cold as a leftover.) I make mine by frying diced chicken breast in olive oil, adding some chicken seasoning and then adding pepper and onion, served with a generous dollop of mayo in a tortilla.

Potato salad is also a fave of mine: crispy bacon lardons, boiled potatoes and broccoli, spring onions, mayo - delicious hot or cold.

I also love leftover pizza for lunch.

Hope this helps!

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I like to keep a few different kinds of salads around for lunch- tuna salad, chicken salad, different kinds of pasta salads, hummus, Greek salad. I can make those easily and they keep a couple of days. They're also easy to change up so I'm not eating the same kinds of chicken or pasta salad. I'll have a couple of spoon fulls of different kinds of salads, a mixed green salad, some pickled vegetables, some fruit and maybe some bread.

"Ploughman's Lunch" is also a regular weekend lunch here- cold, sliced meat & cheese, crackers or bread, and some fruit, maybe some nuts.

Another thing I do is when I make soup or chili, I freeze portions for lunch. (I do that because I get sick of having leftovers for lunch.) Then there are a few "emergency" frozen pizzas.

We're not big on keeping meal times on the weekends, so having stuff around so we can simply plate up keeps us from going out to eat. (Even thought I would happily get take out for every meal.)

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I'll add my good ideas to all the other great ideas that have been listed (great idea about the couscous!):

Bear Creek Soup mixes. You can get them on sale for $2.50 a pack. One pack makes 8 cups of really good soup. Full price they're like $4.00 -- still pretty much a bargain for feeding 5 or 6 people.

Make-your-own sandwiches. Get your favorite breads or rolls, slice up whatever veggies you like and put them out on a couple of plates, along with lunch meats or shredded beef or pork or chicken (maybe from leftovers). Let everybody build their own sammitches (TM Godwin on "Duck Dynasty") and rock out.

Homemade chili is so easy. YOu can start with some Chilli Man chili in cans or just with canned beans, chopped onion, chopped peppers, chopped-up tomatoes or canned chopped tomatoes, packets of chili seasoning mix or do your own with black pepper, red pepper, cumin, a little ginger, whatever you like. Pour it all together, heat it up, let family know: it's on the stove, serve up!

Three-pot pasta. Make (or uncan) a red sauce in one pot, a white sauce in another, and cook the pasta in a third. Drain the pasta and let everybody make their own plates, with red, white or a mix of sauces.

Baked potatoes. Chop whatever veggies you like, set out shredded cheeses, sour cream, crumbled bacon. When potatoes are ready to come out of the oven, each person takes one and dresses it to their satisfaction.

Now I"m feeling taste-bud hungry (not stomach-hungry)!!! :D

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A different take on leftovers that I like to use for lunches is taking leftover chicken or roast (beef or pork), heating it up and shredding it for sandwiches or to put in tortillas. You can do anything from a BBQ sandwich to tacos/burritos/quesadillas.

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Quesadillas

English muffin pizzas

Pasta Salad

Burritos -- I make a dozen or so and individually wrap them. Then freeze for later.

Homemade mac-cheese

Taco Salad

Stir-fry

Nachos

French dip sandwich

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For lunch I usually do wraps. Which is basically just sandwich in another form, but I feel like saying it anyway! Anyway, I put some shit in there, doesn't matter what really (marinated tempeh I cooked previously or something meat or meat-like, spinach, carrots, some dressing or cheese or whatever) burrito roll it up, pan fry until the tortilla is a bit crispy, cut in half.

Also if you make some quinoa or couscous beforehand it's always super easy to make pretty substantial salads.

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I'm horrible at actually feeding my family on the weekends. We generally do a brunch at around 11- eggs, pancakes, etc. and then early dinner. Grilled whatever and salad. Chili is also popular on the weekends at our house- it's easy to get a batch going in the slow cooker, grab some rolls from the bakery, and the family eats as they want. We'll do the same thing with baked chickens. I'll bake 2 or 3 chickens with all the fixins', and just set it out. We'll graze all afternoon. I cook too much on the weekends, so that I have leftovers to work with during the week when I don't have time to cook.

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Smoked sausage (or just plain ol' hot dogs), with potato chips or baked beans on the side

Tacos. Crunchy shells, meat, a pack of seasoning, and whatever toppings you like and you're good to go. Ten minutes to brown the meat and ten to simmer it with the seasoning - fast and yummy!

Boil up some frozen ravioli and top with your favorite marinara sauce

Hamburgers and french fries. Or, instead of french fries, cut up some russet potatoes into wedges, season and bake

Baked potato with lots of choices for toppings

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If I want something quick, eggs are my go-to item. If I want something with a bit more flavor, I add in a cube of frozen garlic and/or frozen basil and/or frozen dill to beaten eggs for an omelet and then add in smoked salmon bits, baby spinach and some diced tomatoes.

Since it's winter, I've got a couple of good recipes that you assemble in 5 min. Friday after work by throwing it into a crock pot and letting it cook until Saturday lunch.

https://sites.google.com/site/weeklyfam ... -beef-stew

Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice:

Take a whole chicken, or 4 chicken legs. Place in large crock pot. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, cinnamon and cardamon. Add 1.5 cups basmatic rice. Add one can of tomato sauce. Add in 5 cubes of frozen garlic and one cube of frozen chili pepper (or 5 crushed garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp cayenne). Add a few whole, raw eggs in their shells. Add 1.5 cups water. Cook on low for 18 hours.

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There are some yummy-sounding ideas here, thanks!

I think my problem is that I feel like "lunch" needs to be its own class of food, somehow. Everyone knows what breakfast food is. In my mind lunch food should also be easily identifiable as such. I'm not sure where I got this idea or why it's so hard to shake.

I just need to get over myself and make a salad or something. Mr Atheist and Little Atheist won't care, as long as there's something edible.

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I'll add my good ideas to all the other great ideas that have been listed (great idea about the couscous!):

Bear Creek Soup mixes. You can get them on sale for $2.50 a pack. One pack makes 8 cups of really good soup. Full price they're like $4.00 -- still pretty much a bargain for feeding 5 or 6 people.

Great ideas! I get the Bear Creak Tortilla soup mix and up grade it by adding:

1 can Rotel

1 can black beans rinsed

1 can Pinto beans rinsed

1 to 2 cups frozen corn

1 to 2 cups of tyson fajita chicken (thawed) add more if you like!

Shredded colby jack cheese

Sour cream

Tortilla Chips

Prepare Tortilla soup mix according to package directions. Add first five ingredients. Simmer..serve garnished with cheese, sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

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I'll be making up my grocery list for my Tuesday shopping trip and I plan to try out a few of these ideas and see how they go over.

I'm thinking the baked potatoes with toppings is a strong contender, and probably some type of salad.

I remembered something I have made in the past, so I thought I'd share:

Roasted veggie cream cheese spread.

1. chop up a bunch of your favorite veggies.

2. roast them with some olive oil

3. blend them into cream cheese

4. spread on a wrap, or on crackers, or use as a dip

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Egg bakes are good - can be made ahead and frozen, if needed.

Is my soon to be ex-queen also your soon to be ex-queen??

I always like a proper omelette aux fines herbes for lunch.

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There are some yummy-sounding ideas here, thanks!

I think my problem is that I feel like "lunch" needs to be its own class of food, somehow. Everyone knows what breakfast food is. In my mind lunch food should also be easily identifiable as such. I'm not sure where I got this idea or why it's so hard to shake.

I just need to get over myself and make a salad or something. Mr Atheist and Little Atheist won't care, as long as there's something edible.

I feel exactly the same!!

Weekends though we do brunch. Bagels, scrambled egg and bacon. Traditional Full Scottish brekkie very occasionally. I make a bread and butter pudding thing with brioche and serve with bacon which is yummy. Eggs benedict. Scrambled egg and salmon etc. I know these are breakfast food but if only a wee brekkie like fruit and yoghurt I do these at weekends as lunch.

Lunch food to me is Sandwiches or soup. Maybe because we eat our main meal at night.

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If I want something quick, eggs are my go-to item. If I want something with a bit more flavor, I add in a cube of frozen garlic and/or frozen basil and/or frozen dill to beaten eggs for an omelet and then add in smoked salmon bits, baby spinach and some diced tomatoes.

Since it's winter, I've got a couple of good recipes that you assemble in 5 min. Friday after work by throwing it into a crock pot and letting it cook until Saturday lunch.

https://sites.google.com/site/weeklyfam ... -beef-stew

Middle Eastern Chicken and Rice:

Take a whole chicken, or 4 chicken legs. Place in large crock pot. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, cinnamon and cardamon. Add 1.5 cups basmatic rice. Add one can of tomato sauce. Add in 5 cubes of frozen garlic and one cube of frozen chili pepper (or 5 crushed garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp cayenne). Add a few whole, raw eggs in their shells. Add 1.5 cups water. Cook on low for 18 hours.

This recipe sounds delicious. I've never heard of cooking something longer than 12hours on low. And I usually don't like to go longer than 7 or 8 hours in the crock pot, else the meal can turn to glop. What's your experience with this dish in the crock pot?

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I'll be making up my grocery list for my Tuesday shopping trip and I plan to try out a few of these ideas and see how they go over.

I'm thinking the baked potatoes with toppings is a strong contender, and probably some type of salad.

I remembered something I have made in the past, so I thought I'd share:

Roasted veggie cream cheese spread.

1. chop up a bunch of your favorite veggies.

2. roast them with some olive oil

3. blend them into cream cheese

4. spread on a wrap, or on crackers, or use as a dip

The Potato Bar is great- throw a few in the oven, come back in an hour, assemble the toppings, lunch is served. You can also do baked potatoes in the slow cooker (wrap them individually in foil first) and then have the toppings in the fridge, ready to go. I will have a baked potato night sometimes to clean out the fridge. You can put just about anything on a baked potato.

And I am so trying that cream cheese spread. I'm getting some zucchini (courgette), colored bell peppers (capsicum) and eggplant (aubergine) in the CSA box this week. Those will go great in a cream cheese dip, I think.

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The Potato Bar is great- throw a few in the oven, come back in an hour, assemble the toppings, lunch is served. You can also do baked potatoes in the slow cooker (wrap them individually in foil first) and then have the toppings in the fridge, ready to go. I will have a baked potato night sometimes to clean out the fridge. You can put just about anything on a baked potato.

And I am so trying that cream cheese spread. I'm getting some zucchini (courgette), colored bell peppers (capsicum) and eggplant (aubergine) in the CSA box this week. Those will go great in a cream cheese dip, I think.

Be sure to add cloves of garlic, too. They roast up deliciously.

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Be sure to add cloves of garlic, too. They roast up deliciously.

Any recipe that includes cream cheese, veggies and garlic sounds heavenly.

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Weekends though we do brunch. Bagels, scrambled egg and bacon. Traditional Full Scottish brekkie very occasionally. I make a bread and butter pudding thing with brioche and serve with bacon which is yummy. Eggs benedict. Scrambled egg and salmon etc. I know these are breakfast food but if only a wee brekkie like fruit and yoghurt I do these at weekends as lunch.

Haha, my bf and I have been doing this on most Saturdays. Wake up late, then do a massive fry-up and eat it in bed while watching cartoons. It's excellent!

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This recipe sounds delicious. I've never heard of cooking something longer than 12hours on low. And I usually don't like to go longer than 7 or 8 hours in the crock pot, else the meal can turn to glop. What's your experience with this dish in the crock pot?

With the beef stew, the long slow cooking time turns the touch collagen into gelatin, so the beef is fall-apart tender. Softer veggies like zucchini do go mushy - if you don't like the semi-soup consistency of that, use harder veggies like baby carrots which keep their shape.

For the chicken dish, I personally like to use the chicken legs instead of the whole chicken because I find that dark meat doesn't dry out during long cooking times. The rice won't look like distinct grains of rice with separate pieces of chicken. Instead, the ingredients tend to merge, and you get this sort of tomato-chicken-spicy crust on top. The chicken will literally fall off the bones. The eggs get brown and carmelized.

It's actually an ancient Jewish cooking technique, but crock pots make it far easier to do today.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last week we had cheese and tomato quesadillas.

This week we had baked potatoes with bacon, cheddar, broccoli, and sour cream. High School Atheist was not interested in that, so he had leftovers and we were all happy.

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