Foodie Public: Getting out of the Lunch Rut

June 19th, 2010 by katie

Are you in a cooking rut? Need inspiration?  Confused about a recipe, technique or ingredient?  Simply send me your questions via email at katie at chaosinthekitchen dot com or post them to the facebook fan page.  I will post them here for the foodie public to respond to, along with a few of my own ideas.  So foodies, put on your thinking caps for our inaugural question:


Do you have any great lunch ideas for a brown bagger with limited access to a microwave and fridge? Hubby takes his lunch everyday and we have exhausted the sandwich option. I am looking for some great ideas and I thought you might be able to help.

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Honestly, I am a poor choice for lunch questions.  Everyone in my house gets the same sandwich for lunch every day.  We rotate pb & j, ham and cheese, and turkey and cheese!  I am going to assume hubby can carry a soft or hard cooler with an ice pack in it (but not all of these would need refrigeration).

One thing that is a great substitute for sandwiches are muffins or scones (think of them as biscuits if its more manly).  For example these Bacon and Swiss Rye Muffins or these Quiche Lorraine Scones are a good sandwich substitute.  Also many variants of pizza bread need no refrigeration.

Salads are also a good choice since they only need to be kept cold, not cooked.  Cobb or pasta salads are a little heartier if your husband eats a big lunch.  This one looks great as does this one.  Depending on how adventurous an eater he is you could send bean and cheese burritos, at room temperature, or spring rolls, which just need to be kept chilled.

Just approach it the way you would any picnic.  Fruits, vegetables, salads, cheese, smoked meats, summer sausages, a variety of breads or pastries, cold chicken, chips and crackers are all good picnic fare.  He won’t notice a single, substantial sandwich is missing if he has a variety of foods to choose from at each lunch.

* Ok foodie public, here is where you come in-do you have any ideas for Stacy (and the rest of us who brown bag it everyday)?  How do you keep free of the sandwich rut?  Feel free to link up your own or your favorite blog posts.

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Posted in Tips and Tricks

5 Responses

  1. Stacy

    Katie – Thanks for the great info and the shout out! I will link back! Have a great weekend.

  2. Renee

    My hubby likes to take crackers, cheese, and pepperoni – almost like an appetizer platter. Also he doesn’t mind eating homemade chicken nuggets at room temperature. So I pack them cold and by lunch time their room temp. Bagels with cream cheese offers alot of options. You can do a savory bagel with a savory cream cheese – like onion bagel with veggie cream cheese. Or a sweet bagel combo of cinnamon raisin with regular or cinnamon sugar cream cheese. Those are a few of my hubby’s favorites to spice up the sandwich lunches.

  3. Frank

    Boar’s Head has some pretty amazing cured meats and cheeses if you want to change things up a bit, strictly from a flavor standpoint. Also, as Renee mentioned, swapping out bread for a bagel or some other sort of holder for the meat and cheese can be a good idea.

    Personally, I am a huge fan of wraps. You need:

    1 sturdy tortilla
    lunchmeat
    vegetables
    salad dressing or cheese or something to “glue” it all together

    Put all the stuff on the tortilla and wrap it up. Done. Eat when ready. The main thing is that wraps are infinitely variable. Want breakfast? Use breakfast stuff. Lunch? Use anything else. Dinner? Whatever you want, and it all comes wrapped in a hand-held convenient package.

  4. Melissa

    I’ve made this one of Rebecca’s and I highly recommend it for the summer:

    http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/blog/2008/08/05/the-promised-zangy-quinoa-salad/

    I also suggest pasta salads (non-creamy since she said there was limited access to a refrigerator) because they’re fine at room temperature if you just do something simple. Round it out with raw vegetables and dip, and maybe fruit, and it’s nutritious in addition to tasty.

    Check out Dan’s Retro Sundays link from today for some ideas and a handy dandy pasta salad permutator:

    http://casualkitchen.blogspot.com/2010/06/retro-sundays_20.html

    Let’s see, what else… you could also do hummus and pita chips, again rounding out the meal with some vegetables and fruit.

  5. Jessica

    My husband takes hummus and pita to work, with carrots and celery. Or try this (very manly) Wolverine salad: http://thecrabbycook.com/?p=74

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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