Whether you are going to work with other people, or you are working from home on your own, we all need a healthy, quick lunch to get us through the day. It is very easy to pop out to the local takeaway and pick up a toastie, muffin and a coffee, however, the cost soon adds up and takeaway food doesn't always give you the energy you need to get through the afternoon. Making your own work lunch may take some extra planning at the start of the week, but it is worth it every lunch time when you open your bag.
Keep reading for 5 ideas that you can take to lunch this week - either cold salads or sandwiches or hot leftovers from dinner the night before. You can't beat leftovers!
Ingredients: 400g tinned salmon (drained, flaked, bones removed), 2 cups dried penne pasta (boiled for 10 minutes, drained), 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 red onion (finely chopped), 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped).
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. The pasta can still be warm when you stir it through. Divide up into 4 takeaway containers for lunch. Place in the fridge.
2/ Easy BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad
Ingredients: 1 cup dried penne pasta (boiled for 10 minutes, drained), 1 cup BBQ Chicken breast (chopped), 1/2 cup corn kernels (either frozen or tinned), 50g lettuce, 1 spring onion (sliced), 1/3 cup mayonnaise, cracked pepper to taste, 1 avocado.
Combine all the ingredients, except the avocado, in a small bowl. The pasta can still be warm when you stir it through. In a plastic takeaway container, lay fresh lettuce on the base, then the pasta salad and place in the fridge. Take both the container and avocado to work. At lunch, cut the top 1/3 off the avocado (leaving the stone inside) and slice it on top of your salad. Add more cracked pepper to taste. Wrap the leftover avocado in cling film then foil, and put in the fridge for salads for the next 2 days. Makes 2 small servings or 1 large.
Ingredients: 1 chicken breast, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, pepper, bread. Tabbouleh: 1/2 cup quinoa ((put in a mesh sieve and rinse under the water), 2 tomatoes (de-seeded and finely chopped), 2 shallots (finely chopped), 4 Tablespoons parsley (chopped), 4 Tablespoons mint (chopped), 3 Tablespoons lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.
To poach the chicken, place the chicken breast in a saucepan of water, with the water covering the chicken. Boil for 20 minutes. Take it out and cut in half, to check it is cooked all the way through (if not, continue to boil). Allow to rest and cool and then chop up roughly. In a bowl, combine the chicken, mayonnaise and cracked pepper. Place in the fridge.
To make the tabbouleh, rinse the quinoa in a metal sieve under a tap and then add it to a saucepan with 1 and 1/2 cups of water and boil for 15 minutes, stirring often. When the water has evaporated and the quinoa looks open and fluffy, remove from heat and cool down. In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, shallots, parsley, mint, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir in the quinoa. Place in the fridge. Make the sandwich with poached chicken and tabbouleh. This recipe makes two sandwiches, with leftover tabbouleh for other salads.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking tray and roast pumpkin for 25 - 30 minutes. Pour the stock into a saucepan and place on low heat on the back burner. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in another saucepan and add the chicken. Cook for 5 minutes until browned. Transfer to a plate. Reduce heat and add mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes and then add to plate with chicken. In the saucepan, add the garlic and onion and stir for 5 minutes. Add rice and stir for 1 minute. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan and add one ladle of the warm chicken stock. Simmer on low. When it has been absorbed, add another. Keep adding stock until it has all gone. Stir through pumpkin and spinach and add cracked pepper to taste. Make this recipe for dinner and then have the leftovers for lunch.
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add capsicum, garlic and ginger and cook for 5 minutes. Remove one cup of the vegetables and set aside.
To the remaining amount, add the cumin, coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon, cardamom seeds and turmeric and stir for 1 minute. Add the basmati rice and stir for 1 minute. Add vegetable stock, chickpeas, sultanas and the cup of vegetables that you took out before. Put the lid on and bring to the boil and simmer on very low for 5 minutes. Lift the lid to stir and then put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir again, ensuring it's not sticking to the bottom. Take a spoon of the rice and taste test, to check that it is soft and ready - if not, add hot water and put the lid back on for a few more minutes. When the liquid has evaporated, stir through frozen peas. Make this recipe for dinner and have the leftovers for lunch.
Did you find an idea that you would like to try? In summer, you can't beat a cold salad, but in winter, these leftover ideas will hit the spot - and give your workmates lunch envy with the smell coming from the microwave!