As many are settling back into a work routine in the new year, I thought I would highlight some of my lunchtime greatest hits. These are simple ideas with minimal ingredients that can often be reincorporated the next day. Oftentimes, people may not have extra time or money to go out for lunch, at least not on a daily basis. With that in mind, I’ve complied this list of easy meals to make at home that can be consumed at your desk if you can’t manage to break away.
I was most recently employed in a setting without easy access to a kitchen so the meals were also designed to store in your lunch box without having to refrigerate or reheat. You can type and bite or try to take at least a few minutes for yourself and savor these tasty, no fuss working lunches. I’ve included a meal for each day of the week in case you don’t get much time off or have to work several days in a row. They’re also great if you are a student, work from home or are a stay at home parent. I usually make enough to eat one thing for a few days in a row but I’m a fan of the repeat. Some may not be. Enjoy and make each one your own!😋
Monday: Churberry pita
Ingredients: shredded chicken/curry powder/dried cranberry/slivered almonds/mayo/pita bread
I use canned chicken to save time but you can also boil or bake a chicken breast and shred that up as well. I just mix the chicken with mayo and a little sour cream (for a silky effect), a teaspoon or so of curry powder, several cranberry pieces and some slivered almond. You can leave out the almonds if you desire and it will be just as good. Spread the mixture on pita and voila: a tangy, sweet surprise in each bite that is surely to satisfy. Churberry (my term of endearment) salad also works well served in a tortilla shell.
Tuesday: Hawaiian flatbread
Ingredients: smoked ham/marinara sauce/pineapple tidbits/shredded mozzarella
You can use your leftover pita and spread a few tablespoons of marinara sauce, a few pineapple tidbits, shredded cheese and top with torn pieces of smoked ham. You can bake to melt or eat as is. (Consider this as as a grown up Lunchaeble). The ingredients can also be repurposed into a wrap sans flatbread plus a soft tortilla.
Wednesday: Mediterranean pasta salad
Ingredients: veggie rotini/feta cheese crumbles/sun dried tomato/green olives/olive oil/basil
This was my go to and will keep for days in the fridge. Boil a package of veggie rotini (for health and color), drain and set aside. Chop a few tomato pieces packed in oil and several green olives. Add to cooled pasta (otherwise cheese will melt) in a large bowl along with olive oil and feta crumbles. Sprinkle dried basil or tear fresh leaves if you desire. My absolute best version of this was using basil infused olive oil but it’s difficult to find. I also add garlic pepper seasoning to meld all of the flavors together. Make this the night before and it will be delicious for the next few days.
Thursday: Mediterranean turkey wrap
Ingredients: smoked turkey/sun dried tomato/olives/feta cheese crumbles/tortillas
Use some of those leftover components from the pasta salad for this. I just adore this flavor combination.🥰 I use sun dried tomato pesto and mix in chopped olives and feta cheese crumbles. I layer three pieces of turkey (I like Sara Lee from the deli) in the middle of a small tortilla and simply spread the pesto mixture on top and wrap it up. Salty, briny yet a touch of sweet smoothness from the pesto. So good!
Friday: Italian pinwheels
Ingredients: salami/pepperoni/basil pesto/banana pepper rings/provolone/lettuce (optional)
Friday is finally here so we’re going to prepare something easy with no cooking required.🥳 This is my husband’s favorite work lunch. He used to buy the pre-made Italian pinwheels from Publix but I decided to make our own. I purchase good quality pepperoni and salami and layer a couple slices each over a large tortilla. I top that with a slice of provolone and then spread classic pesto over the meat and cheese (so the tortilla won’t get soggy). You could also add fresh basil or romaine but I’m not fond of lettuce in sandwiches (I’m weird like that). I top everything with a few banana pepper rings and roll it up as tightly as possible. Store in the fridge in seran wrap overnight. Use a sharp knife to slice into pinwheels the next morning. These are customizable and fun little noshes.
Saturday: Bbq chicken pizza
Ingredients: Naan bread/shredded cheddar cheese/chicken/bbq sauce
It should be illegal to work weekends but hey, somebody’s got to do it. If this must be you, at least bring a tasty lunch to look forward to and reenergize. You can make these bbq pizzas for Friday night dinner and bring leftovers to work the next day. I can eat pizza at any temperature and frequently enjoy it cold but some may prefer to reheat. You can use Naan, pita or whatever flatbread you prefer.
I chop up a few chicken tenderloins into bite sized pieces and pan fry with a little oil and salt and pepper until slightly golden on each side. I mix that in with a small pot of simmering bbq sauce and cook that down for a few minutes. Then I scoop some of the mixture onto a piece of Naan (I like garlic flavored) and top with shredded cheddar cheese. I bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Enjoy fresh out of the oven and pack up the remainder for your lunchbox. Some may like to add onion, bleu cheese crumbles or bacon. This is pizza so any toppings would be great (except maybe anchovies)?!?!?🤷♀️
Sunday: Bacon Pimento cheese sandwich
Ingredients: bacon crumbles/shredded sharp cheddar cheese/mayo/smoked paprika/Lawry’s seasoned salt
If you have to work on Sunday then you deserve something special and for me, this is it! I hail from the South and therefore, was raised on pimento cheese. I found it to be meh growing up but as an adult learned that homemade was sooo much better than store bought. I start by frying, draining and then crumbling a few pieces of bacon. I shred a whole block of sharp cheddar cheese, then drain and dice up a small can of pimentos.
Finally, I mix the shredded cheese with mayo until smooth and creamy and then add the chopped pimentos and bacon crumbles. I like to use smoked paprika and a little Lawry’s to achieve a smoky balance and compliment the bacon. You could also sub chopped jalapeño or sun dried tomato if you’re not a fan of actual pimento. So yummy and the best part is that you will have plenty left for Monday! 😀🥡👍
Thanks for reading.🙏 I hope that some of these ideas will enliven any potential lunch ruts. Let me know if you make any of them in the comments or even want to mention your own favorite work lunch meals. ✌️💜🍴
Mood Ring Kitchen
I’m a self teaching home cook and aspiring foodie entrepreneur. I enjoy coming up with creative ways to prepare flavorful food such as snacks, desserts and everything in between. Cooking is a way for me to challenge myself and satisfy curiosities about different ingredients.
The hope is to produce something thoughtful, memorable or every once in a while maybe even wonderful. I enjoy following my “gut” and exploring new recipes that can be comforting, exciting and nourishing. Above all else, I enjoy exploring the emotions surrounding food and writing about those experiences. 😝👩🍳👩💻