Posted by: Hil | March 7, 2009

Lunch, In and Out


I think lunch is probably my favorite meal of the day, when its done properly.  I particularly love lunch during wintertime, as it is often the only meal of the day I get to eat while the sun is out!  But too often during the work week, I rush through lunch all.  Part of this is because I tend to pack practical, serviceable lunches rather than fun ones…food that will travel well and hold me until dinner.  Typically, my lunch is either a one-dish meal of some sort (bean salad, soup, etc.) or a sandwich with fruit.  It works, but I always find home-cooked, hot lunches a lot more satisfying.  Food reheated in the microwave just doesn’t seem the same. 

But last Thursday, I made a wonderful discovery:  precooked turkey sausages take almost exactly the same amount of time to cook in the microwave as a hearty vegetable like broccoli.  And unlike most meats, you can heat a sausage in the microwave without overcooking it and rendering it tough and tasteless.  It takes very little time to load some raw veggies and a sausage into a tupperware container with a little leftover pasta or grains, and it makes a very satisfying hot lunch.

Another solution I have recently discovered to my hot lunch problem is to pack a cup of broth-based soup along with whatever my main course is.  Even if the rest of my meal is cold, having multiple courses and something hot really makes lunch more satisfying for me.  This, of course, requires me to actually make a pot of soup at the beginning of the week.  But I’m finding that my quick, kitchen sink veggie soups work really well in this context.  (Recipe = mire poix + other veggies (optional) + broth + canned diced tomatoes + canned beans + fresh or dried herbs.)  The main disadvantage of fast soups, in my experience, is that they just don’t have the same depth of flavor as a soup that’s been simmering for a few hours.  When the soup is sitting in the fridge over the course of a week, the flavors have time to marry and the taste improves enormously. 


I worked from home this Friday and actually had the opportunity to make a home-cooked lunch.  While I ended up opting for something cold, I chose something that definitely wouldn’t pack well:  spinach salad with Yukon gold potatoes (from the previous night’s dinner) and tuna mixed with diced red pepper and chimichurri sauce.  For the dressing, I whisked together some more of the chimichurri sauce with good mustard to give it body.  This was really good.  I love eating potatoes cold in a salad–they really make a salad hearty enough to be a meal on its own.  I’m always experimenting with different things to mix into tuna.  I don’t have any deep aversion to using mayo, but sometimes I think something a little lighter or more flavorful is called for, depending on the dish.  The chimichurri sauce worked very well–it added loads of flavor, but wasn’t at all overpowering.  I would definitely make this salad again.




  1. Broccoli!! My favorite.

    Gorgeous salad!!

  2. Great discovery! Now I want turkey sausages! LOL!

  3. Nice lunch suggestions!

  4. i LOVE roasted red pepper in tuna! so good. my favorite combination is balsamic vinaigrette, dijon, some plain yogurt, s&p, red onion and peas. SO good.

  5. My husband loves those sausages!

    Hope you are well!

  6. Great post!

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