Monday, September 21, 2009

pack your own lunch

(Life has been crazy busy and when I had to sacrifice something, it was going to be blogging. I am happily back and hope I can get back to regular posting. Sorry for my lengthy absence.)

To my surprise, Rachael Ray has inspired me to blog again. I'm not a huge fan of hers either. I've been given a couple of her books but they have never been touched. Recently, I've been given a year's subscription to her magazine- Everyday with Rachael Ray- and I got my first issue (September 2009) in the mail last week. It has been such a good read, too. I have been inspired by so many of the ideas and love all the suggestions to make cooking easy, fun, and good! This magazine is my latest guilty pleasure (don't tell anyone).

Even though I'm not finished reading the magazine, my favorite article thus far is "Food A to Z: 2nd Annual Addition." It's so good I have to share it with you... in particular- L for lunch break. I want to try (almost) every idea on this page.

I try to pack a lunch daily because cafeteria food is for the pits and ordering food for delivery takes its toll on my wallet. At the same time, I can eat a salad or a sandwich for so often. This article takes the common to a not so common place. It actually gets me excited to pack lunch. Here are the ideas. Maybe you'll want to try one or two of them, too.

(direct from the magazine)

  1. Turn your go-to salad into a pasta: Toss your usual Caesar, chef's or Greek salad with penne. (It's either a leafy salad or pasta for me; never thought of combining the two.)
  2. Give mayo the day off: Make tuna salad using mashed avocado and lemon juice, then serve as a sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and red onions. (YUM!... except sourdough for me)
  3. Graze: Nibble on assorted berries, roasted almonds, some cheese, and dried apricots and figs over the course of a few hours. (I keep telling myself to pack some healthier snacks.)
  4. Make it the main meal of the day: Serve the heartiest meal for lunch (mmm, braised chicken in wine sauce with roasted veggies) and eat light at night. While you're at it, invite people over for a lunch party!
  5. Make the world's fastest French onion soup: Simmer beef broth with caramelized onions; top with garlic croutons and Swiss cheese. (I was just talking to someone about how easy French onion soup is to make and I should do it more often.)
  6. Turn a routine sandwich into a kebab: Thread lunch meat, cubes of cheese, and chunks of raw veggies onto skewers and pack with ranch dressing for dipping. (Gonna have to try this one fo sho.)
  7. Take a nostalgia trip: Pack a lunch of deviled eggs and gherkin, just like Mom used to make. (Um... my mom didn't make this for me but sounds yummy.)

Can't wait for the October issue!