What is it about the midday meal that can befuddle us as to how to make it interesting? Because we're usually equipped with just a microwave to help us prepare it, sometimes it can be tough to get out of a sandwich rut — and eating sandwiches day in and day out can get really old really fast. Here are some different lunch ideas that'll have you watching the clock so you can dig into your tasty lunch.
Think of the finger foods you and everyone else love to devour at parties: cheese, olives, nuts and dips such as hummus and baba ghanouj. Why can't this become your lunch? Simply get a container with separate compartments (or use several small containers), and fill each with your favourites (include vine-wrapped Mediterranean appetizers or stuffed red peppers from the deli too). Don't forget to add a piece of pita bread or some crackers in a sandwich bag so you have something to dip.
While you'll have to skip the beer, there's nothing simpler than a ploughman's lunch. Some cheese, fresh bread, pickles, a hard-boiled egg and maybe some pickled onions, and you're all set with this traditional British pub lunch.
Ditch the brown bag altogether, and head to your city's Little India (or a Singaporean or Malaysian market) for a tiffin box — a metal lunch box that stacks up in two or three tiers, each unlocking by clasps on the sides. While you can fill each tier with what you like, why not cook up a tiffin meal of rice, curry and vegetables the night before and enjoy the leftovers at the office the next day? You'll make your co-workers jealous with your chic, gourmet, homemade lunch!
Reinvent your dinner from the night before by using it as filling for a wrap or a sandwich. A pork chop or steak can go right between two slices of bread, for example (or slice it thinly if it's too thick). Once you add different dressings (like a flavoured mayo or sun-dried tomatoes, for example), yesterday's dinner will taste completely different for today's lunch.
If your office has a fridge in which you can store a decent number of fresh ingredients, you're in luck. You can create completely different-tasting salads every day just by switching what you throw into it. Keep a bag of mixed greens as the base of your salad, and then change the rest of the ingredients every day. Some good salad staples to have in your office kitchen include cans of tuna and salmon, croutons, baby carrots, dried cranberries, nuts, cans of chickpeas, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and roast chicken strips.
In terms of appliances, most of us have access only to a microwave in the office kitchen, so why not learn how to cook with it rather than merely reheating your leftovers? Pierce the skin of a potato with a fork, and you can have a baked potato after about 10 minutes in the microwave (top it with your leftover chili). Or to get some protein into your lunch, learn how to scramble and poach eggs in the microwave. Add a poached egg to a salad, or put scrambled eggs into a wrap.
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