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    LUNCH. The meal that got away.

    Life is busy. Whether your a mom or not, every single person out there has things to do. Unfortunately, unless a meeting or one of our many “things” happens to take place at or next to a really goos salad bar, or sandwich shop, lunch just does not fall high on the “to-do” list.

    So what happens?

    You skip it.

    Why?

    Because. LIFE!

    and then what happens?

    At around 3/4:00 your stomach starts screaming “feed me women or I’ll eat myself”.

    Now, that would be awful. So what do you do?

    You immediately start shoving anything edible (on a bad day it doesn’t even have to be edible. Just in close proximity to your hand) into your mouth.

    By the time dinner comes along you’ve now eaten enough calories to replace the lunch you missed and just to be safe, you even ate enough calories to replace dinner.

    So you shower and use go to bed.  However, now is the tine you need to sit down with your children/husband/friend or whoever is around to a proper meal. The only problem is, your not hungry and now sitting through dinner time is just inconvenient because you could be sleeping.

    Well, that needs to change. I set out on a mission to eat lunch.

    EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

    This is not the first time I’ve attempted this. But much like counting the Omer, I never get past day 1. (just kidding, I made it to day 7 last year. Also, it’s Eli’s fault.) This time though, I am determined to make lunch happen.

    As I write this I am two days in and know that if I could make it to Friday then maybe I have a chance of actually keeping this up. I just need to build momentum!

    So far I’ve learned a few lunch rules…

    1. I need to make lunches I actually want to eat. (No tempeh for me)
    2. They need to be very, very, wait did I say very, easy and quick to assemble.
    3. The components need to be mostly prepared in advance. (Salad dressings, roasted veggies…)
    4. I can not commit to putting the lunch together the night before. I need to eat what I’m in the mood for and I can guarantee that whatever I think I want the night before will be the exact opposite of what I want to eat the next day.
    5. LUNCHES MUST BE DELICIOUS, NUTRITIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL.

    In order to meet all these criteria, I realized that the key is having a well stocked fridge. My plan is to buy a few key ingredients every Friday, this way Sunday morning I can wake up, spend 30 minutes in the kitchen making some staple foods that we’ll call “building blocks” and have whatever I need all week long to throw together yummy and satisfying lunches.

    So heres how we’re going to do this.

    I’m going to give lists of BUILDING BLOCK ideas and recipes this way you can choose food that YOU like to eat.

    Then underneath, I’m going to include TONS of lunch ideas, some with recipes and some not b/c they’re self explanatory.

    I will keep adding to this post as I go, so if you get bored of your lunches, or need some inspiration, just keep checking back!

    Also, if you have any awesome lunch ideas, send ’em my way!!!!

    BUILDING BLOCKS

    THESE ARE ALL FOODS YOU CAN CHOOSE FROM TO PREP AHEAD AND HAVE AVAILABLE ALL WEEK, IN YOUR FRIDGE, TO MAKE LUNCH CREATIONS SIMPLY, QUICKLY AND EASILY!

    SALAD DRESSING/SAUCES

    Roasted Garlic and Herb

    Meme’s Supersized Lemon Vinaigrette 

    Techina

    Caesar Dressing

    Creamy Sesame Dressing

    Carrot Ginger Dressing

    Raspberry Vinaigrette

    Lightened Up Green Goddess Dressing

    Spicy Peanut Sesame Dressing

    PROTIENS:

    Vegan Protiens:
    • Quinoa (think patties, to go in salads, use in place of sushi rice)
    • Nuts
    • Tofu

    Try Spice crusted tofu cakes (kitchen-tested)

    • Techina
    • Beans
    • Lentils
    • Almond Butter
    • Peanut Butter
    • Nutritional Yeast
    • Edamame
    • Miso paste
    Vegetarian Proteins:
    • Eggs
    • Veggie Burgers
    • Tuna
    • Salmon
    • Halibut
    • Seabass
    • Kani (fake crab)
    • Sardines
    • Anchovies
    Fleishig Protiens:
    • Grilled skirt steak
    • Grilled chicken
    • Ground turkey (think burgers, chili, taco meat…)
    • Beef Jerky
    • Cold cuts
    • Cubed Turkey Breast
    DAIRY PROTEINS:
    • Mozzarella Cheese
    • Feta Cheese
    • Greek yogurt
    • Low fat sour cream

    VEGETABLES:

    • Roast you’re veggies in advance: pepper, onions, zucchini, eggplant, chickpeas, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, peas, snap peas, string beans, carrots, corn
    • Zoodle your zucchini
    • Sautee onions
    • Wash lettuce for quick salads
    • Roast Spaghetti Squash

    GRAINS:

    • Farro
    • Barley
    • Wheat Berries
    • Whole wheat pasta
    • Rice noodles
    • Brown rice
    • bulgur

    BREADS/WRAPS:

    Tortillas

    Tacos

    Whole wheat wraps

    Sliced sourdough bread

    Sourdough Rolls

    ACTUAL LUNCH IDEAS:

    Pick a few ideas every week and use the building blocks to figure out what ingredients you need to buy on the house and can prepare in advance to make your actual lunch assembly quick and easy!

    Lunches you can assemble the night before and take on the go:
    LUNCHES THAT ARE BEST MADE AND EATEN FRESH
    • String bean Shakshuka (kitchen-tested)
    • Hash brown eggs  (@just_food_by_t) (recipe on her Instagram feed!)
    • Spaghetti squash pizza
    • Mexican quinoa bake
    • panini wrap with avocado chickpeas and cheese
    • Veggie burger panini wrap
    • egg white and veggie sandwich/wrap
    • shakshuka
    • quinoa burger with melted cheese
    • rice cakes with turkey
    • breaded cauliflower (the pre breaded, frozen ones), baked with sauce and cheese
    • feta cheese omelette
    • quesadillas
    • burritos
    • smoothie with protein powder or ground nuts
    • pizza on a whole wheat wrap

     

  • For the Dressing

    1. 6 cloves garlic
    2. 1 large scallion (green + whites), roughly chopped
    3. 2 red thai chilles (use 1 if you don’t want the heat)
    4. 1/2 cup peanut butter
    5. 1/2 cup tahini paste ( I love the Al Arz brand)
    6. 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
    7. 1 Tbsp. honey (if you like it sweeter add an extra tbsp.)
    8. 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
    9. 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (from about 2-3 limes)
    10. 1/2 tsp. salt
    11. 2/3 cups cold water

    For the Salad

    1. 6 zucchinis, spiralized (or peeled with a julienne peeler)
    2. 4 carrots, julienned
    3. 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
    4. 2 cups precooked edamame (optional)
    5. 1 cup chopped scallions
    6. 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
    7. 1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts, pink skins removed, lightly crushed
    8. 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, lightly toasted
    9. 1 red thai chile, thinly sliced on an angle

    Extra

    1. olive oil
    2. kosher salt

    For the dressing

    1. Place garlic, chiles and scallion in a food processor.
    2. Blend until minced.
    3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is well blended and all the ingredients come together.
    4. Place into a jar or container and store in the fridge until 30 minutes before your ready to use it.

    For the salad

    1. Spiralize zucchini and lay them out on a kitchen towel to dry out for 20-30 minutes.
    2. Heat a large pan over medium high heat.
    3. Add 1 tsp of olive oil t the pan, a batch of the spiralized zucchini and a small pinch of kosher salt (you can fill the pan, but you only want 1 layer of the spiralized zucchini so that you can toss it easily.)
    4. Constantly toss around the spiralized zucchini for 1 minute.
    5. Remove from the pan (even if they don’t seem ready, they will contue to cook), and place in a baking dish while you continue sautéing the rest of the spiralized zucchini.
    6. Allow zucchini to cool for 15 minutes (or refrigerate until assembling), then toss together with carrots and cabbage.
    7. Lay mixture on a platter and top with dressing.
    8. Spread edamame, cilantro, scallions, Chile, crush peanuts, and sesame seeds over the top of the dish.
    9. Serve family style and enjoy!

    *Prep ahead

    1. dressing- can stay in the fridge for 10 days
    2. toast sesame seeds – can stay in the freezer for a month
    3. crushed peanuts – can stay for 2 weeks in an airtight container in a cool dark cabinet
    4. Spiralized & sautéed zucchini – can make 24 hours before (I prefer them cold!)
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