As summer is here, let’s just admit it. I tend to get lazier and lazier. I’m so tired of turkey sandwiches I could cluck. I don’t care if it never exceeds 70 degrees here, this Southern girl is used to air conditioning in the summer. So, round about lunch time, the last thing I feel like doing is creating some complicated meal. I feel like throwing open the windows and snacking on something delicious and easy.
So I’ve sat down, made myself a list of delicious and interesting mini-meals to have this summer for lunch, and, out of the goodness of my little lunch-lovin’ heart, thought I’d share with my SIT friends, in case you’re having the same luncheon boredom I am.
Here are a few simple brown bag lunches to throw together, inspired by many places, most especially Mark Bittman. Most of these are great hot or cold, if you don’t have a microwave handy. No recipes, no proportions – just ideas. Y’all Southerners know what tastes good – just throw it together until it looks right. It’ll come out tasting good, no matter how you put it together.
Why 43? Because that’s all I could think of (for now)! We’d love to hear your suggestions for more!
Of course, all of these taste best with a big glass of iced tea alongside!
- Tuna salad sandwich with pimentos and white beans.
- Favorite greens, crumbled bacon, feta cheese, grapefruit, hard boiled eggs.
- Tomato chunks, basil, mozzarella, cubed bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar.
- Tuna salad with parsley.
- Yellow bell pepper slices, red onion, olive oil and chopped salami.
- Shrimp sautéed in chili powder, tomatoes, corn, and a hearty green (watercress or bok choy).
- Tuna with chopped apples, halved grapes, red onions, black pepper and cumin.
- Turkey, swiss, and cabbage on rye.
- Cold cooked sesame noodles covered in this quick sauce combination – about a half-cup peanut butter, soy sauce, and garlic – blended. Add a few shredded carrots if you wish.
- Rice with lime and soy, radishes, scallion, sprouts, and leftover chicken if you have it.
- Pasta salad – artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, sliced prosciutto, balsamic vinegar and a little mustard.
- Shrimp, white beans, salt.
- Gazpacho – food process tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic, green peppers, cucumbers until desired consistency.
- Grilled cheese with basil leaves.
- Greens, crumbled bacon, dried fig, blue cheese, oil, vinegar.
- Cheese quesadilla.
- Chop up a brat, sauté with garlic and parsley. Serve on hot dog bun.
- Add broccoli, zucchini, onion, chicken, pork, or whatever other leftovers you have to your easy mac.
- Almost takeout. Broccoli, onions, whatever meat you like, soy sauce… over cooked noodles.
- Grown-up pork ‘n’ beans – sausage with white beans, mixed with a little garlic, thyme and oil. Garnish with a little tomato if you have it.
- Heat up a canned V8 juice in a mug. Enjoy as tomato soup.
- Brat with chopped apples and coleslaw.
- Shrimp, beats, a little dill and vinegar.
- Portobello mushroom, chopped onion, olive oil, pepper.
- Canned sardines served on toast or wheat crackers.
- Corn, jalapenos, onion, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper – mix it up and serve in a wrap.
- Crab salad sandwich – crab with mayo, mustard, and chives. Served on white bread with potato chips.
- Italian sausage, halved grapes, onion, and rosemary, cubed bread tossed with a little oil.
- Flatbread with chicken, pepperoni, cheese, peppers.
- Breaded chicken patty with tomato and mozzarella.
- Cold noodles, chicken, broccoli, radishes, orange slices.
- Spinach salad with chicken, carrots, yellow peppers and parmesan cheese.
- Baked potato (only takes about 5 minutes in the microwave).
- Chicken, rice, garlic.
- Favorite salad greens with green beans, chicken, sliced almonds, and honey mustard dressing.
- Chicken, mushrooms, green beans, cubed potatoes.
- Beef, peppers, potatoes.
- Broccoli and cheese with red peppers.
- Rice, green beans, mushrooms, chicken.
- Spruce up some canned soup with beans, shredded cheese, or a little crumbled bacon.
- Can of black beans, garnished with a little salsa and/or sour cream.
- Rotini noodles, broccoli, parmesan cheese.
- Take a Saturday. Set aside. Buy stacks of those Ziploc Tupperware boxes. Make up huge batches of your favorite combination of “frozen dinners” (I’m partial to pastas for a warm, comforting food in the middle of the day packed with energy). Freeze in individual portions and you can microwave for 4 or so minutes to thaw. Viola – instant Lean Cuisines. Here are some suggested combinations. You can add or omit the suggested pasta, depending on your taste and desired calorie level.
- Shrimp, peppers, garlic, linguine.
- Chicken, tomatoes, tomato sauce, penne.
- Italian sausage, peppers, tomatoes, chili flakes, rigatoni.
- Chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, fettuccine.
- Beef, tomatoes, rigatoni.
- Chicken, zucchini, basil, tomato sauce, linguine.
- Chicken, tomatoes, bowtie.
- Shrimp, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, penne.
Anytime you need to spruce up your favorite sandwich, put it on a different sort of bread (I love onion hamburger rolls), warm it, or my super special secret – put steak sauce on (any) favorite sandwich. Tastes like a rich treat.
If you’re having another salad after salad after salad, think what you would put when going to one of those all you can eat salad bars that used to exist before we all got obsessed with Purell – mushrooms, shredded carrots, croutons, cubed ham, a different dressing… whatever makes it seem special to you.