Easy+Quick Lunches

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Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby Levi » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:15 am UTC

I'm thinking I'd like to quit paying for lunch at school and I was wondering if some members of our esteemed fora could suggest to me some delicacies that can be prepared in just a few minutes. I ate sandwiches before, usually meat+cheese or peanut butter+jelly, and leftovers, but they're not very tasty. I'm willing to try just about anything (except weird sandwiches like marshmellow+mustard). Variety is good. Spicy is good. Cheesey, greenery, orangery, sweet, all good. Meaty is also good, but that might not work out so well with what I reveal in my next sentence. Cold meals are preferred, but I'm willing to wait in line for a microwave occasionally. Thanks a bunch!

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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby ++$_ » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:08 am UTC

For me, the hardest part is finding something that is still good after it has been taken to school and carried around in a backpack for a few hours.

For sandwiches, I suggest using a hard cheese (because they stay fresh longer) and skipping the meat. Personally, I think a couple of thick slices of Parmesan cheese and any spicy mustard make a really good combination (and Parmesan cheese is meaty enough that you definitely don't need any meat to go with it). This is the standard meal that I take on long road trips, because it stays tasty for a long time without refrigeration. If you like Vegemite and/or Marmite, those are also good options.

Vegetables can also be added, but they do tend to get a bit soggy. Another good sandwich is just a bunch of pickles between two pieces of bread -- since pickles are supposed to be soggy, it's okay.

The bread stays MUCH fresher if you use rolls, or cut the bread in such a way as to minimize exposure of non-crust portions to the air.

If you really don't want a sandwich, then fruit works well, especially fruit with thick inedible skin like citruses and bananas.

A bag of jerky is easy to carry around. So is a bag of dried fruit -- raisins are popular. In middle school, one of my friends always brought a bag full of strips of seaweed to munch on. (He was a bit weird.) Crackers (e.g. Saltines) are also good. These items aren't really full meals, but they can supplement something like a sandwich or an orange to make a balanced meal in total.

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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby psykx » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:28 am UTC

I guess if your at school you don't have any equipment to work with, rather than in an office where you might have a microwave and a kettle. For sandwiches I like:-
- cheese, apple and onion with (branston) pickle.
- coleslaw, tomato, ham and (branston) pickle.
or I sometimes get one of those flavoured instant (ish) cous cous packets and mix with a tin of tuna and a diced tomato.

Depending on how much time you have at lunch you could consider bringing a knife and added the wetter things to your sandwiches just before you eat them.
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:09 pm UTC

I like to bring a salad, with lots of cut vegetables to go with and the dressing separately packed. You can also add hardboiled egg, tuna, chopped meats, shredded cheese, dried fruits, nuts and so on. If you put the vegetables in a separate baggies from the greens they won't get everything damp.
For more fun with your lunch think bento. lunch in a box has some fun ideas and great pictures.
Leftovers make a good lunch, so if you have access to such, don't ignore them.
Wraps and tortillas can make a sandwich more interesting with a change of textures.
Freeze a water bottle and you can use it to keep your lunch cold. And get a fancy lunch set-using one can make any lunch seem special.
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby xkcdinspired » Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:10 am UTC

Do you have a microwave at school? You can make more food for dinner and then at lunch, reheat. In general, I find that anything of the "dinner leftover" can be used easily the next day: pasta, rice, etc. But if you don't want to eat the same thing, that might be a problem. But you can do intervals, too, like eating the leftover of 2 days ago. Usually cooked food don't spoil after 2 days, except for seafood.
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:22 am UTC

You could get some of the sandwich crackers, like those by Austin or Lance. They usually have cheese or peanut butter, and can last for quite a while.

There are also tuna salad kits that are shelf-stable. They usually come with a few crackers, a can of tuna, a packet of mayonnaise, and a packet of pickle relish. Mix the mayo and relish in with the tuna and spread on crackers.

Although it's recommended to be heated up, you could use the canned bean dip or cheese dip that you'd find in the chips aisle. Have that with a few tortilla chips, and you'd have a quick lunch.

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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby Coffee » Wed Mar 02, 2011 6:44 am UTC

MREs are quick and easy.
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:28 pm UTC

Yes, but I would hesitate to call them "lunches."
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby Bakemaster » Sun Mar 06, 2011 12:32 am UTC

Judging by reports, I'm no so sure they're all "easy" either.
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby J the Ninja » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:27 am UTC

Pack your ingredients separately, and assemble it (sandwich, salad, whatever) at lunch time. This is by far the best way to keep everything fresh. Grapes and berries pack out well. If you get a bag of frozen berries, just pull some out of the bag, put them in a little plastic bag, and pack them out. They'll thaw by lunchtime. (It is IMPORTANT that they be in their own SEALED bag. They will drip a lot of juice while thawing). Packing some dressing or sauce can make a packed-out meat sandwich VASTLY better. Ranch and BBQ sauce are 2 personal favorites. Adding garlic or onion powder (or both) and some black pepper to the bread when you pack it is also a great idea.
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby Levi » Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:56 am UTC

Thanks for the suggestions everybody. I've been lazy since posting about making them, but hopefully I'll be able to try all the ones that sound good soon. I had an asiago bread sandwich with parmesian cheese and roast beef filling last time--bad idea :(

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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby Sarokrae » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

I used to bring salads in a little box. Cooked pasta or cooked rice, with a selection from diced cold meat, tuna, cubes of cheese, sweetcorn, diced tomato, raw diced pepper, cucumber and grapes (basically ingredients that don't go soggy) in a mayo-based dressing. It always seemed tasty whether it was freezing or lukewarm by the time I got to it...

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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby Ithinkabouttrees » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:21 am UTC

Leftovers are always awesome. If you've got a microwave, then go for it! I have seriously lived off of leftovers for 4 days strait. They wont kill you.

Sammich wise, some of my faves include:
Sliced bell peppers (red, yellow, orange. NO GREEN)
Guacamole (pre-packaged stuff is totally fine)
spinach (raw variety)
Sweet brown mustard

Swiss cheese
Brown Mustard

Peanut Butter
Whole wheat bread

Also, tuna salad is really easy:
1 tin tuna
some mayo, diced celery, relish, lemon juice
Eat with saltines and/or carrots
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Re: Easy+Quick Lunches

Postby dragon » Tue May 10, 2011 11:33 am UTC

My lunches usually consist of several smaller snacky things thrown together rather than a proper meal. I'm terrible at remembering to take storage containers home for washing, so I use existing packaging where possible and discard/recycle at work.

Small, easy-open tin of baked beans + eating utensil. I like baked beans cold, makes it very easy. Tinned sweet corn is good too.
Fruit, particularly apples or seedless grapes.
A handful of cherry tomatoes.
Muesli bars and jelly fruit cups.
Crackers, sliced vintage cheddar, small flavoured dip or pâté.

My favourite:
Muffins. Easy for a weekend prep. Bake a tray of gigantic super-awesome mixed berry muffins with dark chocolate chips and jam swirls, or whatever flavours you're into. Eat a couple straight away (or practise your self-control). Once they're cool, wrap them up individually in a bit of cling-wrap and store the lot in a larger bag in the freezer. Ready for last-minute grabbing, they don't get flattened by other junk in your bag because they thaw after you get to school/work.
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