Counting Down to Noon O’Clock

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I would like to announce that after eating the same lunch for 17 years (Ritz peanut butter crackers, trail mix, and peanut butter chocolate granola bar), this school year I resolved to start making lunches that were perhaps a bit better for me and I made it through the entire school year without eating peanut butter crackers once. And I was actually looking forward to eating lunch instead of just looking forward to it being lunch. 🙂

Of course, now they’re saying that having the same lunch every day is good for you, in the one-less-decision-to-make kind of way. But I’m still going to share my ideas so maybe it’ll help you if you do have decisions to make about lunch. Also, I’m not making any statement on the healthiness of these recipes, except for the fact that they use mostly fresh ingredients and a lot more vegetable and fruit servings than I was previously getting at lunch (zero). I usually made a recipe on the weekend that would make 3-4 lunches, then have a sliced apple with peanut butter and, yes, some trail mix on the other days. (BTW, whether or not you make your own lunch, you need this apple slicer in your life. Also BTW, I did quite a few experiments involving sprite, fruit fresh, etc, and found the easiest way to keep the apple from browning was to slice it right before school and store it in a plastic container in the fridge.) So here are some of my go-to recipes:

One Skillet Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry
It does involve a lot of ingredients, but it is yummy!

Tex-Mex Fried Rice
I actually just had this for lunch and it is also yummy! (I think I only have two food descriptors: yummy and gross.) It is a wee bit spicy as written. And it makes a TON so make sure you have your big frying pan for this.

Honey Siracha Glazed Meatballs
I make a half-batch (one pound of ground turkey) for four meals. Also, don’t tell anyone, but I use ground ginger instead of fresh because I can’t be bothered. (Don’t tell anyone that I use jarred minced garlic instead of fresh as well. I also use salted butter in recipes that say unsalted. I have yet to have anyone tell me my baked goods are too salty. [Or maybe they are and they’re just not telling me because they’re nice.] What I’m saying is if using dried spices or prediced onion gets you to switch out a processed meal for homemade, do it.)

Pasta Salad
I know there’s a thousand recipes for pasta salad out there, but I have the easiest one memorized: half a box of pasta, a tomato, a cucumber, 1/4 c of mayo, and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning. Feel free to add in anything else you might enjoy, like bell peppers or grilled corn-off-the-cob.

Salad Salad
Remember what I said about prediced onions and such? May I also recommend trying a bagged salad? My favorite is Publix Apple, Feta, and Walnut, especially if it’s buy one, get one. I also had a delightful salad at a cafe yesterday that was spinach, almonds, craisins, and avocado with poppy seed vinaigrette that I can’t wait to make at home.
Protip: Use your kitchen shears to cut up the greens right in your salad container as you assembly your lunch. I use a container, similar to this one, that I found at Target.

Lightened-Up Creamy Chicken Soup
Perfect for winter! And yes, I am a nerd and spent some of my Christmas money on a lunch-sized Crockpot. I use it to warm everything up that needs reheating, not just soup. Hey, when you only have 22 minutes for lunch, you don’t want to spend 2 of those at the microwave. I just set a text reminder to turn it on about an hour before lunch.

I always looking for more recipes, so send some my way @outsideofadog07 on Twitter. (Oh, btw, I still check @mathymeg07 occasionally, but have mostly migrated to using this new account because it seemed easier to start from scratch rather than culling my follows and followers. Plus as an added bonus, on my new account, no one’s tried to censor me and tell me not to tweet! How refreshing!)

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