Lunch Recipes & Ideas
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Forget Stirring! Try Baked Polenta Instead
Polenta is one of those dishes that is so wonderfully satisfying on cold winter days, but it takes some time standing at the stovetop and stirring vigorously every 10 minutes to get that nice creamy texture. But did you know there’s a way to enjoy a delicious polenta without the constant stirring?I started to think that there had to be a hands-off version of polenta, and as it turns out, there most certainly is!
Feb 15, 2013
How to Make Creamy Tomato Soup Without the Cream: 3 Brilliant Tips
We’re deep in it. Soup season, that is. And in my opinion, there’s not much more comforting than a steaming bowl of creamy tomato soup. But is there a way to achieve that blissful flavor without the heavy cream?Over Christmas, my family ate at a great Italian restaurant in the Bay Area and I ordered tomato soup to start. It was the most luxurious, creamy tomato soup I’ve ever had and I asked about the recipe.
Jan 16, 2013
Fresh, Colorful & Nourishing: 8 Whole Grain Salads for Winter
Light yet satisfying, grain salads are the perfect meal to eat while recovering from a month of heavy holiday food. They are also very adaptable, incorporating the hardy vegetables and warm flavors of winter as easily as the bright, fresh flavors of summer. These eight recipes mix whole grains like farro, brown rice and quinoa with the fruit and vegetable stars of winter, including Cara Cara oranges, maple roasted acorn squash and golden beets.
Jan 4, 2013
Why Does Food Taste Better When Someone Else Makes It?
Why does food (and especially a sandwich!) always taste better when someone else makes it? My mother makes a simple but delicious sandwich every day for lunch. Always the same, she slices good hearth bread, slathers it with Hellman’s Best Mayo on both slices, adds a few squares of Swiss cheese and piles on several leaves of crunchy lettuce or occasionally baby spinach. On goes the top, and with a slice down the middle, there it is — the perfect sandwich.
Sep 18, 2012
Sandwich Recipe: French Dip Au Jus
Up until recently, I just assumed “the art of sandwich making” was better left to the professionals. I don’t mean the basics — like ham and cheese on white or a PB&J — but the more ornate ones, like French dips, Cubans, and spicy Italians. I guess I figured that perhaps a deli had access to top-secret restaurant ingredients, or at the very least better-quality meats and toppings.
Sep 17, 2012
Recipe: Brown Rice Bowl with Maple-Glazed Tempeh & Tahini-Miso Dressing
A bowlful of brown rice, tempeh, kale, and other veggies has “health food” written all over it, but in our house we hardly think of this recipe as macrobiotic or vegan or anything else but satisfying. Brimming with the perfect balance of flavors and textures, it satiates the senses and even has my barbecue- and burger-loving guy requesting it for dinner.
Sep 12, 2012
Recipe: Sukuma Wiki (African Braised Kale with Tomatoes)
Yesterday Cambria shared a family recipe for African peanut stew, a celebratory dish made with beef, spices, and rich peanut butter. The classic side dish for this meal — and indeed, nearly any meal throughout much of eastern Africa — is sukuma wiki, braised greens with a very apt meaning to their name! Do you know what sukuma wiki means? A meal in Kenya, with ugali, chapati, a meat stew, and sukuma wiki.
Aug 23, 2012
Recipe: Master Cleanse Chicken
Once upon a time long ago, a friend of mine told me she was doing a crazy thing called the Master Cleanse; for something like thirty days she consumed only a tonic made from water, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. This, of course, went down in California. Since then I’ve tried the Master Cleanse once, for three miserable days, and bombed.
Aug 9, 2012
Family Recipe: Baked Beans with Pineapple and Bacon
A family recipe is important, even if we don’t remember all the parts, because each attempt at its re-creation keeps us connected to the people who helped shape us. It happens each time we do that intimate, life-sustaining cooking and eating thing, especially when we do it from a place of memory.
Aug 2, 2012
Lunch Recipe: Golden Quinoa Salad with Lemon, Dill & Avocado
It took me a long time to warm up to quinoa. I felt like I was the only one not on the super-grain-(that’s-not-really-a-grain-but-who-cares) bandwagon. But my attempts at quinoa had all turned out sticky and faintly bitter, a health food to choke down. So how did I get from there to here, to this lemon-scented golden salad with crunchy bits of cucumber, radish, and almonds? (There are dates, dill, and Parmesan in there too, plus a secret ingredient that really makes it sing.
Jul 24, 2012
Recipe: California BLT with Avocado and Basil Mayonnaise
I’m a Los Angeles native, which means I have never owned a decent umbrella, I describe distances not in miles but in the number of minutes it takes to drive, and I believe sliced avocado belongs on a BLT. My first BLTA was probably at a diner — any Southern California diner worth its salt has at least an add-on avocado option for its BLT — and it was probably fine. It’s hard to go wrong with the combination of crisp lettuce, salty bacon, ripe tomato and avocado.
Jul 12, 2012
Recipe: Eight-Ball Zucchini With Eggs Baked Inside
Last week we received a bunch of cute little eight-ball zucchini from our CSA. We thought of stuffingeggs baked inside pattypan squash We hollowed out each squash, filled the shell with a bit of tomato sauce and tangy goat cheese, topped it with an egg, and popped it in the oven until the yolk was just set and still creamy. We ate it with crusty bread for brunch, but it would also be delicious as a simple summer dinner.
Jul 6, 2012
Recipe: Thai Grilled Steak Salad
Call me crazy, but when the weather heats up, I don’t feel like eating big hunks of meat. Slow and sluggish might work for winter when everyone is half-hibernating anyway, but in the summer, salads like this are what I want to eat — full of freshness and crunch, with a salty-tart lime dressing and just the right amount of juicy grilled steak.
Jun 14, 2012
Grilling Recipe: Smoky Salmon BLTs
“I’ll take a salmon BLT, hold the bacon, lettuce, and tomato. And as many extra lemon slices as you will give me.” Yep, that was my go-to lunch order at our favorite little hometown cafe. I was a very particular little kid. At least I ate the salmon, but thank goodness the times have changed!I just gifted my fiancé with a fabulous new natural gas grill for his 30th birthday. (Okay, I secretly bought it for me, too, but don’t tell him that.
Jun 12, 2012
Ruth Reichl’s Secret to a Sexy PB&J
When I read the headline to Ruth Reichl’s piece on Gilt Taste earlier this week, I chuckled: How to Make a Better Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. What could there possibly be to learn that we don’t know already?Now I should take a step back and mention that when I used to teach high school English, one of the assignments I’d give my students was to write detailed instructions on a task that seemed easy or mundane.
Apr 27, 2012
Market Recipe: Spring Quiche with Leeks and Sorrel
The days when you allow the farmers market to dictate what you make for dinner are kind of awesome days. To be quite honest, they’ve become rarer and rarer around our house as we’ve become busier during the weekends. But there’s something quite sweet about ambling around the market and chatting about what you could make with certain ingredients. This weekend, we had time to visit our local farmers market and found some beautiful looking sorrel, leeks, and farm eggs.
Apr 25, 2012
A Million Ways to Roast a Chicken
Last week I spoke on a panel with my friend Melissa Clark at the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference in New York. The topic was recipe voice. As I was considering what I might say, I asked myself what it is that I hear when I read a recipe and what I want my readers to hear when I write one.
Apr 12, 2012
Cooking with Leftovers: Risotto Cakes
One of my favorite things about making a batch of risotto is anticipating the crispy risotto cakes I’ll make with the leftovers. They are, if possible, even better than the risotto itself. Especially if one happens to sneak a slice of cheese in the middle.As it cools, risotto gradually loses its creamy sauce-like consistency and firms up. We can take scoops of this leftover risotto and actually shape it into patties that hold their shape when pan-fried.
Mar 22, 2012
How to Host a Leisurely Lunch Party
We’re all pretty familiar with hosting a dinner party or throwing a brunch. Cocktail parties, barbecues, and buffet dinners are all common ways to entertain people and enjoy a meal together. But how often do you have friends over for a long, leisurely lunch? Read on for tips on how to turn a Sunday afternoon into a slow feast full of good friends, great conversation and permission to linger long at the table.
Mar 16, 2012
Tips for a Better Solo Lunch
Eating your lunch by yourself can get a little boring. There’s no conversation to distract you from the fact that each bite of your sandwich or each sip of your soup tastes pretty much the same, bite after bite, slurp after slurp. Unless, of course, you do what I do when I eat solo: create lots and lots of variety.
Mar 14, 2012
Lunch in a Hurry: 10 Ways to Dress Up Canned Soup
Canned soups are a quick, budget-friendly lunch when there is no time to cook, but they can often be salty, bland, or just boring. Adding just an ingredient or two from your own pantry or fridge can turn a ho-hum canned soup into a satisfying meal. Here are our 10 favorite additions: • 1 Greens: A handful of leafy greens like frozen spinach, thinly sliced chopped kale or bagged arugula add color, nutrition and a fresh flavor.
Mar 13, 2012
Mardi Gras Recipe: Pepper Weenies with Smoked Bacon & Vidalia Onion Marmalade
Mardi Gras is on Tuesday. Do you have plans? We’ve got a fun, super easy recipe for an impromptu party—hot dogs! But they’re gussied-up hot dogs, boiled in a spicy broth and served with saucy onions.This recipe comes from chef David Guas, a New Orleans native who owns the Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. David says these spicy dogs are a classic Mardi Gras food; people serve them along the parade route or at parties.
Feb 16, 2012
Recipe: Mushroom and Arugula Bruschetta
I’m so blessed to have a job that allows me to work from home. Even better is that I get to cook for a living! But that means some days all that comes out of my kitchen is cupcakes. Or doughnuts. Many days I don’t even sit down to enjoy a real meal—breakfast, lunch, and dinner can consist of Marcona almonds, gummy cokes, and few bites of miscellaneous leftovers.My fiancé is usually gone during the daytime hours, so that doesn’t help matters.
Feb 6, 2012
Recipe to Feed a Crowd: Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef
There are very few foods that feed a large crowd with little effort. Tacos may be the simplest option for feeding a lot of people, and today we are bringing you one of our favorite taco stuffings: barbacoa beef, tender and full of rich, complex flavors. Yes, did you know you can make that tasty stuff you buy at Chipotle in your own kitchen — and in your slow cooker, no less? I have a serious thing for barbacoa.
Jan 31, 2012
Better Egg Salad: Add an Avocado, Use Less Mayonnaise
Did any of your parents try to dye eggs green when you were little as a nod to Green Eggs and Ham? The results were always gross. These green eggs, however, we’ll take any day—a simple egg salad with mashed avocado mixed in. Turns out it’s healthier than the original, too. You use half the mayonnaise.
Jan 12, 2012
Tip: Use a Luncheon Plate at Dinner
I recently bought a set of luncheon plates to use as my casual (daily use) dinner plates. It’s been about month now and I can safely say that, for me at least, this was the right choice. What are luncheon plates and why did I choose them?Luncheon plates are sized somewhere between a regular dinner plate and a salad plate — typically around 8.75 – 9.5″, although that can vary depending on the manufacturer.
Sep 7, 2011
What Is the Best Way to Transport Soup for Lunch?
Q:  I will be student teaching this fall, and packing healthy, satisfying lunches every single day is a huge challenge for me!My plan is to make a big pot of soup every week, but I need a good way to transport it, preferably without the need to reheat at school.Are there any good packing-and-traveling options for soup?Sent by RebeccaEditor: Rebecca, glass canning jars are definitely a good option; they’re inexpensive and easy to clean.
Aug 22, 2011
Portable Lunch Idea: Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
Japanese rice balls, called onigiri or omusubi, are compact triangles of cooked rice stuffed with a tasty filling and often wrapped in a sheet of toasted nori. Cute, portable and healthy, they’re one of our favorite ways to eat lunch on the go. In Japan, onigiri can be purchased at any convenience store or supermarket, but they’re also often a homemade treat tucked into lunch boxes.
Apr 14, 2011
Lunch Tip from Jamie Oliver: Toaster Cheese Sandwiches
Jamie Oliver is always full of surprises, but this one really takes the cake. Or the cheese, as it were. How do you make a crispy, warm, and bubbly cheese sandwich with nothing but a two-slot toaster? Jamie shows us how.This tip actually comes from an early episode of Jamie’s Kitchen, the British documentary where Jamie trains a group of unemployed, under-educated youths to run one of his restaurants.
Apr 13, 2011
Recipe: Rolled Grilled Sandwiches With Pork, Green Beans & Goat Cheese
Since we’ve been without the use of our stove for awhile now, Spring is a much welcomed season. We’ve been able to bust out the grill and have used it for almost all of our cooking needs. One of our favorite lunch snacks has become these rolled sandwiches are self contained making them easy to eat at work or on the go and are perfect for a lunch or dinner party. Plus — come on, look at those grill marks! My husband and I are just as busy as most of you.
Apr 12, 2011
Survey: Do You Eat Dessert with Lunch?
For some of you, dessert may not even be a daily thing, much less a twice-a-day habit. But for others (including a few of us), a meal isn’t complete without a little taste of sweet. We think the hankering for something sweet is a biological thing; at the very least, it’s ingrained in us early in life. Every once in a while, fruit will do the trick for us. But more often than not, we need a cookie or a piece of chocolate. The problem is stopping at one.
Apr 12, 2011
The Ultimate Ladies’ Lunch Recipe: West Indies Salad
It’s April, which means invitations to weddings, engagement parties, bridal luncheons, and baby showers are flooding my mailbox. Being the proper southern lady, I’m obligated to put on my pearls, brush my hair, and show up with a smile on my face and gift in my hand. I may secretly be wanting to crawl out of the nearest window, but there is always one thing that keeps me coming back for more. That’s good food, and lots of it.
Apr 11, 2011
Survey: When Do You Eat Your Main Meal of the Day?
It’s commonly understood that we should consume the largest amount of our caloric intake during the daytime when we’re most active. So it’s often recommended to have a big meal in the afternoon and a lighter meal in the evening. Nevertheless, at least here in the US, it seems that we still eat our main meal, and the bulk of our calories, in the evening.There are probably many reasons why lunch is still a light sandwich or soup for a lot of people.
Apr 11, 2011
Good Lunches for a College Student with All-Day Classes?
Q: I am a college student with classes three days a week from 8:00am straight through until 2:45pm. My instructor for the 12:00pm class has said we can eat in her class, but it’s speech, and I have no access to a fridge, a microwave, and it would be pretty tough to use a fork or spoon.I am sick and tired of vending machine lunches! Help!Sent by LibbyEditor: Libby, this reminds me of this very similar question:• Brown Bag Meals: Best (Quiet) Snacks for Eating In Class?
Aug 31, 2010
How To Make Your Own Lunch Box Ice Packs
Having an ice pack for your lunch is a great idea when it comes to keeping cold things cold, but did you know you can make them yourself? They’re ridiculously easy, inexpensive, and easy to reuse in your kitchen if their services are no longer needed. Trust us, your fresh salad or tuna sandwich will thank you!Materials1 plastic zip top freezer bag (or vacuum seal type)1/2 cup liquid dish soap (your choice)3 drops food coloring (optional)1 glass jar (optional) 1.
Aug 27, 2010
How To Poach an Egg in the Microwave
I don’t usually use the microwave to poach my breakfast egg, but it can come in very handy for a lunch egg. Lentils, brown rice, or a salad can be elevated from a side dish to a main dish with a tender, gooey poached egg on top. Here’s how to make a quick, freshly poached egg in the office microwave. Huge caveat, before you try this: Remember that microwaves come in lots of different configurations.
Aug 25, 2010
Stop, Thief! Strategies for Deterring Office Lunch Thieves
How many lunches have been ruined the minute you open the office fridge• Use a Lunch Bag – Whether you buy a re-usable bag• Require Some Assembly – Swiping an already-made sandwich is one thing, but stealing all the fixings is another. Try keeping the components and ingredients for your lunch separate and then assembling on the spot.
Apr 16, 2010
How To Make A Pressed Sandwich: Without A Sandwich Press!
Have you ever wanted to make a panini or some other form of pressed sandwich, but you didn’t want to shell out the money for an unitasker like a sandwich press? Besides, sandwich presses take up space. In this post, we’ll show you how you can make panini-like sandwiches using kitchen equipment that you probably already have!What You Need• Two cast iron skillets.
Apr 13, 2010
How to Re-Heat Leftovers in the Microwave
If you work in an office, chances are high that the only tool at your disposalThe best way to heat your food is to microwave in short one minute bursts and stir the food between each interval. If you’re heating something that can’t be stirred (like a calzone or leftover steak), try flipping it over or repositioning it on the plate.Microwaves tend to heat food unevenly.
Apr 12, 2010
What Are Good Lunches for Eating in the Car?
Q: I drive for my job, visiting as many as five different locations in a single day, often on different sides of the city. I don’t always have time to go home, or even to stop for lunch. I find myself in the drive-thru more often than I would like.What are some suggestions for lunches I can pack in the morning and easily eat in the car (driving or parked)?Sent by ErinEditor: Erin, when on the go and in the car, we really like snacky, modular lunches.
Apr 12, 2010
Treat Yourself To A Ploughman’s Lunch!
A friend gifted me a jar of Branston pickle when she returned from a recent trip to England, and I knew that I had to have a Ploughman’s lunch.This mainstay is a cold snack or meal commonly found in pubs in England. It’s a hearty platter of pickle, crusty bread, cheese, sometimes meat, and ale.Here’s how you do it:• A spoonful of Branston pickle – click link to buy online at amazon.
Mar 4, 2010
How To Fry an Egg: The Video
How do you fry an egg? Do you do it fast, with a smear of butter? Or all bubbly, with lots of olive oil, like the Spanish do? Here’s one basic way to fry an egg — it’s simple and foolproof. Want more smart tutorials for getting things done around the home? See more How To posts We’re looking for great examples of your own household intelligence too! Submit your own tutorials or ideas here!
Feb 24, 2010
How To Poach an Egg: The Video
For a long time we avoided poached eggs out of a misplaced impression that they were extra-difficult or tricky. But they are not! A perfect poached egg is quick, simple, and foolproof. Here’s how we make poached eggs now. Want more smart tutorials for getting things done around the home? See more How To posts We’re looking for great examples of your own household intelligence too! Submit your own tutorials or ideas here!
Feb 23, 2010
Lunch at Work: How Do You Keep Your Sandwiches from Getting Soggy?
The other day we took this sandwich to work, only to bite into a very soggy piece of bread come lunchtime. We made a few crucial mistakes—ones we remedied the next day. Here are our tips… We don’t make sandwiches for lunch that often, so when we put mayonnaise on one slice of bread, topped it with juicy tomatoes and the rest of the vegetables, then smushed our sandwich into a container and let it sit for four hours, we weren’t really thinking of the consequences.
Jun 15, 2009
Eating at the Office: What’s in Your Snack Drawer?
We’ve asked you about your office kitchen setupsWe’re opening up our drawer for all to see, so now we want to know: what’s in yours?Thinking about office snacks, I was reminded of an episode of Dollhouse, a science fiction TV series on Fox. Under circumstances far too complicated to explain here, a scientist admits to his usually uptight boss that he has a “drawer of inappropriate starches.
May 20, 2009
Good Question: How Should I Reheat Chicken Wraps?
Here’s an interesting question from Bethany, who has also given us a very good idea for a chicken lunch dish! She asks: Yesterday for lunch I made some great chicken wraps with melted cheese and tortillas. The tortillas were super crunchy, which is how I like them. I made several extra to eat as leftovers. Last night when I went to eat one for dinner, it was completely soft. It didn’t have the same wow! factor as the first ones I’d made.
Mar 23, 2009
Brown Bag Lunch Recipe: Better Than Hellman’s Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise is a main part of many lunches: tuna salad, salad dressings, turkey sandwiches and more. British food writer Elizabeth David called mayonnaise “the beautiful shining golden ointment.” While I’ve made mayonnaise a few times, I’ll admit that for a potato salad or a smear on a sandwich, I’ve relied on Hellmann’s mayonnaise, known as Best Foods in the West.
Nov 16, 2006