So, this is the first post from this section. This is how I prepare my weekly Lunchbox. I do the main prep on Sunday and pack 3 lunches. The other 2 are usually assembled Tuesday night after I get home from the university. I do this because: 1) I don’t want to spend all my Sunday prepping my lunchboxes, and think 2 different kinds are good enough for not getting bored with the same flavor. 2) If I prepare in advance all the lunchboxes (for 5 days), the fresh veggies get oxidated. 3) Here in Japan, you cannot throw away the garbage every day! So, in order to avoid a stinky apartment and unwanted bug visits, I try to minimize my organic waste.
I usually do as following: 2 different meals, 1 base starchy side and plenty of salad as you can see in the picture below.
I’ll explain briefly the preparation and components.
- Sauteed carrots and green beans with chicken. I do a base with ginger paste, a little bit of minced garlic and soy sauce and mix it with the sliced chicken, carrots, and green beans. I top it off by adding a Lil’ bit of sesame oil to give the dish an amazing flavor and aroma.
- Oregano Alioli spinach and chicken. Start with a base with minced garlic and water, when the garlic is done, add the chicken and spice it with oregano, salt and pepper. When the chicken is done, add the chopped spinach. Once you finish, add Olive oil and oregano.
TIPS: Try to use water or broth instead of oil to saute the garlic (and onions when using them) And add sesame or olive oil in the end! try not to cook them, as they will lose the good properties when exposed to high temperatures.
Try to put at least 4 ingredients to make a non-boring salad. And although I use the same ingredients for all of them, I do my best to combine them differently, to avoid the feeling that I’m eating the same old thing! Lettuce and tomatoes bring freshness, cucumbers, and celery an extra crunchiness, Basil gives the extra something with olive oil and makes it more fulfilling. I also add here either boiled eggs or shredded chicken. The dressing is the soul of a salad. The problem, however, is when the soul is too heavy it will try to haunt us down. Try to make a simple dressing yourself as an Italian inspired one with lime juice, salt, pepper, dried oregano or basil and olive oil. I sometimes buy one here made from sesame seeds that is just great. Sometimes dressing can be too rich in fat and will kill the healthiness of our salad (or like in the opposite way, people think that asking for light mayo on their McDonald’s Big Mac will make it a healthier option #dietcoketooplease). So, let’s try to be careful with our dressing (^^)
I use quinoa as it is a great super cereal high in protein levels, gluten free and rich in fiber among other properties. I use a mix of 3 kinds: Black, red and white quinoa grains. It’s so versatile, you can use it to make salads, main dishes or even desserts. I mixed it here with 1/3 part of rice and frozen veggies mix (corn, green peas, carrots). I tried to do a version of Peruvian rice and chicken (here without the chicken though Lol). Saute garlic and onions and add 1 tablespoon of cilantro paste (or 2 if you want a stronger flavor). Then add 1 cup of quinoa and rice mix and 1 cup of water. Add salt and cover the pot on a low fire and stir from time to time (can even do it in a rice cooker if you have one).
TIP: If you make too much, don’t worry, you don’t have to eat it all! Let it cool down, put it in a zipper bag and freeze. You can use up to 2-3 months.
Here is the final result:
Hope you liked this post! If you have any questions don’t be afraid and leave a comment below. Also don’t be afraid to experiment and season your food according to your preferences or what you have at home. See you next time!
PS: Doing this week’s lunch cost less than $20! (I will try to respect this budget for lunchboxes to make it also wallet-friendly)