Packed Lunch for work

Me again, is it really obvious that I'm bored at work! Was just wondering what people take to work for lunch, we nearly always end up with rolls, although I sometimes make pasta to take in. H2b is quite lucky as he can microwave stuff at work (although he tends to be too lazy to bother!). I really need ideas for what I can take, I only have access to a microwave when I work late shifts, so mainly need different ideas for cold things but also nice things I can heat up too. Also would prefer stuff I can make the night before or won't take long in the morning. Gosh not asking much am I?!

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  • Lillibet_2
    Lillibet_2 Posts: 3,364
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    Afraid I tend to stick with sandwiches or rolls but I often bring the ingredients & make it up freshly when I am ready. Also I bring soup (usually in a flask but sometimes cup-a-soup type packets) or instant cous-cous (Made by Sammys & sold in Sainsburys in the tuna aisle, chicken & roasted veg flavours, about 60p a pack but I only use half a pack each day so not too expensive for a hot filling meal/snack) pasta or rice with salad/veg & mayo. Sometimes I cook sausage rollls at home & bring one of them or a slice of quiche & a crunchy salad. And lots of pieces of fruit or fruit salad!
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  • r.mac_2
    r.mac_2 Posts: 4,746 Forumite
    I always end up with sandwiches, if iIhave remembered to buy bread, and a sandwich from the shop around the corner if I have forgotten!

    usually they are uninspiring like cheese or wafer thin roast chicken. I don't like lettuce so I forget about that. yogharts are great for a packed lunch (i have a fridge and microwave at work) and I try to remember to take any left overs from the night before.

    Pasta with a little tuna, red pepper and chopped spring onion through it is nice, although I ahve to admit that I am never organised enough to make it.
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  • I usually tend to take salads. If I'm going to add any meat (usually leftovers) or fish (I tend to buy those bulk packs of salmon in the supermarket, oven bake in foil while the main dinner is cooking, then cut in half as the fillets tend to be big) I wrap it separately and mix together when I am ready to eat.

    I love my salads with 'bits' in, so will tend to throw in some sunflower seeds, or walnuts, a few croutons, sliced avocados, grated carrot, sultanas - basically anything to jazz it up a bit!

    One of my favourite lunches is a big blob of houmous (dolloped into a bit of clingfilm), with lots of dippy bits like red pepper, mini carrots, celery, cucumber sticks, mini oatcakes - yum! I also love home made fruit salad with yoghurt - makes the most of the cheap fruit bargains you can pick up at the end of the day in the supermarket.

    I have never been a big bread fan and therefore tend steer away from sarnies, although I do like wraps/ tortillas. However, I do like my crispbreads and experiment all the time with corn cakes, rice cakes, multigrain Ryvitas etc. as you can stick almost anything on them!

    This time of year I take a carton of soup, or soup I've made myself and I'll heat that up.

    If you don't have access to a microwave, you can buy 'food flasks' which are like shorter fatter Thermos flasks, and you can put anything you like in there and it'll stay warm(ish) until lunch - chilli, thick soup, cheesy mashed potato, and so on :) I have one which I used to use until work got a microwave - it wasn't brilliant but at least it meant I got warm food :)
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  • pavlovs_dog
    pavlovs_dog Posts: 10,194
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    oooh i looooove making packed lunches!

    look on the web for inspiration - sites like ivillage are really good for recipes. if you're taking the googlewhack approach, i find the best thing to search under is 'kids lunches' - there are tons of sites dedicated to teaching parents how to make varied, cheap but healthy lunches for their kids.

    one of the main pieces of advice that is repeated over and over again - people who constantly take sandwichs take note - is that its ok to take sandwichs, just experiemnt with fillings and different types of bread: buns, rolls, bagels, muffins, tortilla wraps, white bread, brown bread, wholemeal, crackers etc etc as for fillings, where do you want me to start?! if you're feeling uninspired, why not browse the sandwich fridge at your local boots etc for inspiration - then make your own poor man's version.

    *my personal fave - ferraris (sp?) bakers sell bags of 10 submarine rolls for a pound. one chopped in half (to make two rolls) deep filled, is very filling. if you aren't going to get through that many in a week, freeze the surplus*

    dont be scared to treat yourself - go to hypervalue/wilkinsons, and buy multi packs of kit kats/ penguins/ crisps etc at discount prices. the odd biscuit here and there wont kill you, and if it hasnt cost the earth you dont mind quite so much

    fruit - nice and healthy, can be quite filling as well. cherry tomatoes, cucumber chunks, carrot sticks also travel well. if you are partial to the philidelphia/dairylea dunkers tubs, use these crudites to bulk them out and make them into more of a substantial meal.

    soup in a flask - nothing better on a cold, miserable day. goes particulatly well with cheesey topped bread rolls :D

    salads - rip dont cut your lettuce, otherwise it turns brown. cherry tomatoes, grated carrot and chopped peppers add colour. red cabbage is also nice if you're so inclined. easy on the onion if you have to work around others! when you eat out, pocket tubs/sachets of sauce - mayo, tomato/chutneys etc - that way you can add them when you are ready to eat rather then having to be paranoid all day that something has leaked!!!

    boiled tin potatoes and a little mayo/salad creme with a few chives makes a nice potato salad.

    pasta goes well with a lot of stuff...excess sauce that you've bunged in the freezer for one thing, not to mention the usual tuna/chicken/sausage/bacon etc etc. something that few people seem to think of are chopped up chicken nugget type things - the breadcrumbs add a nice texture.

    dessert - if you are so inclined, little 0.25l tuppaware pots are ideal for creating individual jellies. why not whack some fruit sald in the bottom? rice pudding always goes down well, as does yoghurt. cause, you can always use these for your sauces and dressings too! and cover the pot in clingfilm before you put it in your lunch box to help prevent leaks.

    the classic jacket potato. do it in work if they provide you with a microwave, if not, do it at home the night before....ten minutes in the micro, then wrap it in foil and chuck it in the oven whilst you are finishing off a caserole or whatever. voila - ready cooked potato. add filling of your choice

    *another personal fave - cook using the micro/oven method - crispy skin and fluffy potato- then, scoop out the potato, mix it in with your filling, stuff it back in and level it off. top with cheese and brown under the grill. twice backed potatoes, delicious hot or cold!*

    ummm...puts thinking cap mini cartons of juice in multipacks, and freeze (or semi freeze, depending on the weather). you can then use this as a cool pack to keep your bits cold and fresh...and by lunch time it should have defrosted enough to drink

    another quick and easy thing if you cant be bothered to cook is to simply chuck a pie/pasty/sauasge roll/ something and other lattice slice etc etc in the oven whilst your are doing the dishes. allow to cool, wrap in foil, and you're good to go.

    final bits of advice - invest in a decent 1-2 litre lunch box. there's nothing worse than squashed sarnies/crumbs in your handbag!

    the hardest part is getting into a routine. one you're used to doing it at a set time, it becomes second nature and is over before you know it. in our house, myself or my 'mum in law' cooks, father in law washes up, whilst myself or the other half does everybody's lunch for the next day. we all have pretty much the same, so its like a production line - do the sarnies (or whatever, the bits to go with it, a drink and a serviette.

    simple pimple - job done :D
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  • jaybee
    jaybee Posts: 1,553
    First Post First Anniversary
    Wow pavlovs_dog - you are a professional!

    I tend to take a look a Marks & Spencer's 'designer' sarnies and copy them. Currently my favourite is smoked salmon (offcuts!) and cream cheese (on offer in Sainsbury's). I try to get my fruit quota as wll by taking sme grapes, satsuma (2-for-1 in Sainsbury's) and a banana.

    I'm trying to give up the Mars bar habit!
  • pavlovs_dog
    pavlovs_dog Posts: 10,194
    Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post First Anniversary
    jaybee wrote:
    Wow pavlovs_dog - you are a professional!

    lol, hardly!

    i just moved out of home younger than most, and had to learn how to stand on my own two feet, making very little money go a very long way!

    the fact that i love cooking doesn't harm much either!
    know thyself
    Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus...
  • I make thai soup for work. All you need to do it at work is a kettle. Make the base at home as follows:

    1 sachet of miso soup (japanese soup base) or teaspoon of concentrated stock
    1/2 a roll of thread noodles ( sharwoods do these for stir fries)
    some chilli (I use dried birdseye chillies, 1 is enough to add bite, but add more if you're feeling brave!)
    dried chives or chopped spring onion
    Prawns or some cooked chicken bits if you prefer

    Mix the above, apart from the noodles, in a small container or sandwich bag to take to work. At lunch time, break the noodles up to fit in your cup or bowl and cover with boiling water. After approx 3 mins they are soft and ready to eat. Put your soup base into another cup or bowl and add hot water to taste, depends how strong you like it. Drain your cooked noodles and add to the soup base. Eat and enjoy!

    Takes me 2 mins to whizz the dry mix at home and about 3 1/2 mins at work to make the soup in total.

    This is just the way I make it. As long as you start with the soup base or stock, you can add what you have in the cupboard or what you like. Try finely sliced carrots or tofu for a veg option. Just play round with it to see what you like.
  • Squidgy
    Squidgy Posts: 684 Forumite
    I usually take either wraps or pasta salad. The wraps take me a while as I like to have avocado, which you can't prepare the night before.

    Pasta salad I make the night before, and usually lasts 2 or 3 days. Sometimes I cook the pasta the night before, and leave it to drain/cool down overnight. Then it's just a minute to mix the mayo, honey and mustard and add the pasta.
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  • elona
    elona Posts: 11,806
    Combo Breaker First Post

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY sorry for shouting but I cannot do pretty pictures!
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  • nabowla
    nabowla Posts: 567 Forumite
    I made a v. yummy sandwich yesterday with some leftover chicken, leftover steamed asparagus and leftover plain greek yoghurt on wholegrain bread. One of my colleagues wandered into my office and asked where I'd bought my sandwich as he fancied getting one himself!
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