Pressure Cooker Lentil and Chicken Soup

My starting point with this soup was a recipe I saw posted at Skinnytaste.  But, as usual, when reading the recipe, I decided I needed to make it my own.  I never make soup without packing it full of a bunch of veggies, because when they are cut up and buried this way, the kids eat more of them!  The shocking thing about this recipe is that we all really like it – the whole family, although we each add our own spin.  I love it with a splash of green Tabasco sauce, a cup of baby spinach and some diced avocado mixed in, the kids like to mix shredded cheese into theirs.

I make this in the pressure cooker I got for Christmas – an Instant Pot (affiliate link), which is my current favorite kitchen gadget, but you can make it on the stove top as well.  I love this recipe because it is so fast and requires very little prep work.  If you are pressed for cooking/prep time, you can replace the onions, celery and carrots with a container of pre-chopped mirepoix from the store.

Pressure Cooker or Stove Top Lentil and Chicken Soup (Serves 8)


  • 1 lb dried lentils
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 8 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, sliced thin
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (fresh, but I have also substituted 1/8 c. dried!)
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (undrained) (I use no salt added)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste


Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot:

All you do is put all the ingredients into the Instant Pot (affiliate link) or other pressure cooker, hit the soup (or high pressure) button and cook for 30 minutes.  After the pressure releases, shred the chicken and mix it back in.  Serve!

Stove Top:

  1. In a large pot combine lentils, chicken and chicken broth.
  2. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken and shred, return to the pot
  4. Add remaining ingredients and cook, covered until the lentils are soft, about 25 more minutes, adding water as needed if too thick.
  5. Adjust salt to taste as needed.

Serving suggestions:

This soup is very customizable and great with some add ins!  My kids love to add cheese and I love to take a handful of baby spinach and mix it into my bowl, along with some diced avocado and green Tabasco sauce.

I freeze leftovers in single servings for later lunches all the time as well, and it’s just as good defrosted and reheated.

Other great add ins:

  • Additional green onions and/or cilantro
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Sour cream or plain greek yogurt
  • Guacamole


Posted in chicken, Dinner, Freezer meals, Instant Pot, Leftovers, Lunch, Meal Plans, meal prep | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2018 Monday Meal Plan: Week 2 (January 8 through 14)

As promised!  Week 2 of 52 weeks of Monday Meal Plans!  My kids headed back to school this morning, and I am looking forward to getting us all back on a regular schedule and routine, making my weekly planning and prep all that more important.


This week I prepped for breakfasts by dicing up some bell peppers, green onions, and ham to be ready for a quick egg scramble each morning.  You could do this with any vegetable combo you enjoy with eggs – I was primarily trying to use up some fresh produce I already had on hand.  I will sauté them in a little oil, and then scramble a mix of egg and egg white on top, adding a cup of baby spinach at the very end (just to wilt).  I enjoy adding a little salsa or pico de gallo to the top after plating as well.

Ingredients for 5 breakfasts:

  • 5 green onions, sliced thin
  • 3 bell peppers, diced
  • 3.5 oz of ham, diced
  • 5 c baby spinach
  • 5 eggs (1 egg for each day)
  • 1 2/3 c egg whites (1/3 c egg whites for each day)

I prepped my ingredients like this – the spinach in the larger bag, with the other items (other than egg and egg whites) in a smaller bag inside.

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I extended Christmas by getting myself an instant pot this week, so I’m going to make these SkinnyTaste Instant Pot Chipotle Chicken Bowls With Cilantro Lime Quinoa for 4 lunches, and supplement with dinner leftovers for the rest.


Monday – No after school activities today, and the kids are usually melting, sobbing, exhausted disasters a little tired after the first day back, so I figure some comfort food and some relaxing time as it cooks.  I’m trying this Skinnytaste recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup.  I have vegetables prepped for a veggie tray side [for several days!] as well.

Tuesday – Sports practices start up again today, so a slow cooker meal it is!  And most importantly, one that is ready to go right when we walk in, with no additional steps.  I’ll prep all the toppings, get this in the slow cooker and we can walk into dinner.  Sante Fe Chicken – there are also stove top directions at this link if you prefer that preparation.

Wednesday – I promised to put a meal plan up weekly, I didn’t promise to follow it, right?  Last week some of my plans changed, and I made this Chicken and Corn Chowder (CrockPot/Slow Cooker) on Sunday night, but there’s a ton left!  So I froze some for lunches in later weeks, but the rest will make a great second dinner [I hope.  Everyone liked it Sunday.  That doesn’t mean they still will Wednesday I guess….]

Thursday – Balsamic Pork Chops with wild rice and green beans.

Friday – I feel like I’m going to need a dinner out on Friday.  Or takeout.  I don’t want to get too ambitious this week or anything.

Saturday –  Pasta (or spaghetti squash – I’ll cook both), with sauce and meatballs.  I have a big container of homemade sauce in my freezer, and I want to open up some space.  So I’ll use it, and make meatballs to go with.  Salad and/or veggie tray on the side!

Sunday – Clean out any leftovers or takeout!

Have a great second week of 2018!


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Chicken and Corn Chowder (CrockPot/Slow Cooker)

This recipe is adapted from the Farmhouse Chicken and Corn Chowder appearing in the America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution (affiliate link) cookbook.  As a side note, all the recipes in this cookbook that I’ve tried are good.  You know how you try a crockpot or slow cooker meal from the Internet and it turns out it’s a bland, textureless, blob it doesn’t really resemble the pictures or taste the way you wanted?  That never happens with the America’s Test Kitchen recipes.  Some of them are a lot of work, and every once in a while one is a dud, but they are generally not lacking in texture or flavor.

Most of the changes I made to this recipe cut out some steps, to make my life easier – who knows, it might be better as written…I also cut out some added fat.  My bacon created more than enough to cook the onions etc. in.  Oh wait, maybe that’s because I also doubled the bacon.  Scratch the part about how I eliminated fat.  Just kidding.  But I did triple the carrots, that’s healthy, right?  Also, I used 1.5 lbs of potatoes, because that’s how big the bag is…what was I going to do with a leftover 1/2 pound of red potatoes?  I’ll tell you what.  I was going to find it in the bottom of the pantry rotten, the next time something smelled funny in there.  This seemed like a better use.

This hearty soup serves at least 8 people, maybe 10.  Maybe more if they are smaller people.  I found that my chicken and potatoes were done after 5 hours on high, and the entire meal finished up in just over 6 with the other steps.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Corn Chowder


  • 4 slices bacon, minced
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 2 tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 TB of tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 c of all purpose or whole wheat flour
  • 8 c low sodium chicken broth
  • 1.5 lb of red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 in thick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 (15 oz) can of creamed corn or, if, like me, you forget creamed corn at the store, and don’t want to go back, you can make your own!  I followed this recipe.  Except I left out the parmesan.
  • 3/4  c heavy cream
  • 2 tsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo
  • 4-6 TB minced fresh cilantro


  1. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in onions and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in 2 cups broth, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Stir remaining broth, potatoes, carrot and bay leaves into slow cooker.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on high.  [The original recipe calls for this on low.  On low, my potatoes did not cook.  Yes, I pretty much had to make this twice….]
  3. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly.
  4. While chicken is cooling, discard bay leaves and add peppers and corn to the slow cooker, replace cover and cook until heated through, around 15 minutes.
  5. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir.  Add heavy cream and chipotles into soup and let it sit until heated through, around 5-10 minutes.
  6. Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

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2018 Monday Meal Plan: Week 1

I have set a goal for 2018.

A goal involving this little blog.

Every Monday I hope to post a meal plan for the week, as well as at least one time saving trick, or hack, but I hate the word hack.  I bet people search for hack a lot though, so I might have to use it.  Or use “time hack” or “mom hack” or “kitchen hack.”  Although I’m not sure which I hate more….but I digress.

So here’s week 1 of 2018, a meal plan and a time saving mom kitchen time hack tip for saving time in the kitchen.  The tip?  When you cook, eat twice from it.  Or more than twice.  Read on for more…..

I apologize for all the January re-runs here.  With the kids off school another week, my brain is looking for easy and “hey I made that before and my brain remembers it.”  Stay tuned for newer ideas in later weeks.

Breakfasts for the week:

The kids are still off school this week, so in theory I have time to cook every morning, but in practice, I want to pull breakfast out and have it ready to eat or ready to reheat.  So I have these ready for this week.  Egg White Breakfast Sandwich Variation.

I cooked once for these, and other than reheating, I’m not cooking again.  Cook once, eat multiple times.  Huge time saver. #timehack #hahahahah #hashtags #momhack #kitchenhack #Imightneedtosleep

Lunches for the week:

So the tip is, cook once, eat more than once!  I will have dinner leftovers for lunches all week long.  See below!  Next week, as I get ready to send the kids back to school (thank you Jesus for school, thank you Jesus), I will do make ahead lunches for myself for the week again…so stay tuned for those ideas.


This is a rare period of no practices and few after school activities for us, which makes this plan easier:

Monday – Pork Carnitas and Cowboy Caviar over spinach.

Tuesday – Korean Rice Bowls and cucumber salad.  I love these, because all 3 of the small Koreans (even the middle one – the one who thinks every one I make is disgusting – eat them happily.  Okay, the middle one picks out the veggies, but he doesn’t complain while he’s doing it).  Such an easy week night meal that I double it (see the theme?) so I’m cooking once and eating twice [I have at least a couple lunches out of this + dinner for 5  if I do 2 pounds of meat]

Wednesday – [side note: it’s so good that you don’t have to be in my brain while I write these.  7 minutes elapsed between Tuesday and now, because 1 Barbie needed a braid and 2 needed ponytails.  I’m not sure why they needed fancy hair, given they are naked, but I try not to ask too many questions.]  This is the casserole that made my life in 2017, when I discovered you can bake pasta casseroles WITHOUT FIRST COOKING THE PASTA.  My mind is still blown.  We just have a veggie tray with this as a side.  No Boil Chicken Sausage and Pasta Casserole

Thursday –  I’ll evaluate and see if the leftovers are building up – since we are all home this week [pray for me] they might not.  If they are, we’ll eat them.  If not, I’ll make Navy Bean Soup With Ham and cornbread.

Friday – By Friday I’m ready for some take out or a dinner out – TBD.

Saturday – Leftover clean out night!  Or “pick your choose” as my eldest calls it.

Sunday – Chicken Tortilla Soup with all the add ins I can think of to put in it.  I love a soup that has more things in it than you can easily list, and, spoiler, you might see this one in Week 2’s lunches.

Now to make my grocery list and order up the ingredients!  Happy 2018!


Posted in Breakfast, Dinner, Easy Breakfast, Easy Lunch, Lunch, Meal Plans, meal prep, Quick Breakfast, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Carnitas….revisited for 2018

Last year I wrote this blog post and recipe on Carnitas, which, along with Cowboy Caviar, is our traditional New Year’s Day meal (we also have greens – spinach or kale or both), as family tradition on my husband’s side dictates one must eat black-eyed peas for prosperity in the new year, and tradition on my family’s side leans toward pork and greens for good luck (actually, I think it’s pork and cabbage, but cabbage?  eh).  This year, I put aside my beloved slow cooker (mostly because I had two pretty new red casserole dishes I really wanted to use) in favor of slow roasting the pork in the oven.  We all agreed that while the crockpot version is delightful eating, this is a notch higher on the list.

Ingredients (serves 8-12 depending on size of roast):

  • 3-5 pound boneless pork loin roast (you can also use a pork shoulder roast, or one of the other cuts that you enjoy that slow cooks well, but probably not a pork tenderloin – those don’t lend themselves as well to slow cooking)
  • 1 TB each of garlic powder, cumin and chili powder (combined)
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle in adobe sauce (chopped) (reserve sauce – see below)
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tsp of the reserved adobo sauce
  • 1/2 c beer (or beef or chicken broth if you prefer)


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rub the roast all over with the spice mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a large covered casserole over medium heat.
  4. Brown roast in oil, turning, so that alls sides get browned.
  5. Add onion, minced garlic and chopped chipotle pepper to the casserole dish.
  6. Mix together juices, adobo sauce and beer (or broth) and pour into casserole dish around the roast.
  7. Roast in oven for 2.5 to 3 hours, until pork pulls apart easily. Remove from oven.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Remove pork from casserole, shred and place in a shallow roasting pan.  Ladle sauce over the top.
  10. Return to oven and roast 20-25 minutes, or until it is nice and browned and a little bit crips.
  11. Instead of step 10, you can also heat oil in a large pan and put the shredded pork in that, pressing down, until it gets nice and crispy, and then flip and do the other side. Make sure to reserve some sauce for gravy/dipping.

We serve this with tortillas, chopped tomatoes and jalapeno and Cowboy Caviar over greens.

HAPPY 2018!

Posted in Dinner, pork, Slow Cooker, Southwestern | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Egg White Breakfast Sandwich Variation

We did a whole “make your own pizza” thing here last night with some extended family, and I had a pile of leftover peppers and onions I wanted to use up.  And I also had a package of english muffins that I needed to use (although in retrospect, why to my english muffins have so much sodium? I mean, how did they get 530 mg of sodium in a tiny 130 calorie muffin?  But I digress…anyone want to recommend a way lower sodium whole grain bread or muffin alternative?)


  • 1 c chopped bell peppers (I used a mix of red and green)
  • 1/4 c chopped sweet onion
  • 1 1/3 c egg whites
  • 5 TB shredded cheddar
  • 5 english muffins (preferably with less sodium than mine have)


  1. Saute peppers and onions in a medium to large non-stick pan (with a little oil if you’d like).
  2. As the veggies start to soften, add the egg whites and allow to cook until set and cooked through, frittata style.  I covered the pan for a few minutes to make this happen.  You could also just scramble it all up and cook until cooked through.  Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile,  toast sodium bomb bread forms english muffins.
  4. To assemble the sandwiches, once the egg mixture has cooled, divide it or cut it up, into 5 equal portions and place each on a salty slab of an english muffin half, top with 1 TB cheese each.  Top with the second english muffin half.  And yeah, I know you actually know how to assemble a sandwich and I do kind of feel stupid for typing the last couple sentences.
  5. Wrap in foil and refrigerate until ready to eat.
  6. To reheat, place in an oven or toaster oven pre-heated to 350 and cook until warmed through, around 15 minutes.   Or remove from foil, wrap in a paper toil and microwave on low power for a minute or so.  But they aren’t really as good that way.  I’m warning you.

Egg white


Posted in Breakfast, Easy Breakfast, Freezer meals, Make Ahead, Meal Plans, Quick Breakfast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guacamole Costs Extra….Prep Ahead Chicken and Rice Bowls

I don’t know why, but whenever I make anything Mexican or Southwest themed and rice is involved, I always think of Chipotle and how every single time when you ask for guacamole, they remind you it costs extra.  So, on this one, guacamole costs extra.  But it would be a great addition!

Prep Ahead Chicken and Rice Bowls


  • 1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or small chunks
  • 1 TB chili lime olive oil (or olive oil, and then add some chili powder to the marinade)
  • 2 TB white balsamic vinegar
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp dried jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 2 c cooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 c. frozen corn, defrosted, and prepared according to the package (or, if you are a rule breaker like me, however you’d like it prepared…I sauteed it in a dry pan to give it almost a roasted flavor and look)
  • 1.5 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced

To Prepare Chicken:

  1. Mix together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, oregano in a medium bowl.
  2. Add chicken and mix with hands (wear clothes!) to help the chicken soak up the marinade.  Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Prepare chicken by grilling, baking or broiling until cooked through.  I broiled mine this time, for 15 minutes with one side up, flipped and then finished for 5.

To assemble bowls (okay, mine aren’t bowls, mine are these containers, because I like to go from refrigerator to microwave to eating all in one….):

Using 1/5 of each ingredient for each:

  1. Add rice to containers.
  2. Top rice with one row each of black beans, tomatoes, corn, green pepper and red pepper.
  3. Top with chicken.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to heat and eat!
  5. Serve with guacamole, if desired, but remember, it always costs extra (cheese is good too, and green onions, maybe a little salsa and sour cream?)

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My Take on Korean Rice Bowls

Recipes for Korean Rice bowls abound across the Internet, and they are all delicious, in my experience.  But naturally, I am incapable of just following a recipe and had to create my own.  But credit should definitely be given to The Girl Who Ate Everything for her Cheater Korean Beef recipe, since that was my inspiration.  The two best things about this dish are that my 7-year old who says that everything I cook is awful EVERYONE eats it and asks for seconds, and it’s incredibly easy and quick to make.  I generally have to double this recipe when I make it for dinner (to ensure we have enough and have leftovers).

This week I made these for my make ahead lunch of the week (read HERE to find out why I have to do that), and I’m sure I’m going to have to keep the containers hidden in the back of the refrigerator with “don’t touch, Mom’s lunch” signs on them.

Korean Rice Bowls/Serves 4


  • 2 tsp avocado oil (I like an oil with a high smoke point for this kind of dish, so I can get the wok nice and hot!).
  • 1 TB minced garlic (fresh or jarred is fine)
  • 1 TB minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef (or sub turkey or chicken)
  • 1/3 c reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp of dried red pepper flakes (depending on how much spice you like)
  • 3 TB sugar in the raw (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 TB sesame oil
  • 1 c shelled edamame (I used frozen, defrosted)
  • One red pepper, diced
  • One green pepper, diced
  • 3-4 c of broccoli slaw (I used a 10 oz package)
  • 1/2 c sliced green onions (optional)
  • 2-4 c cooked rice, depending how much you want per serving (we use brown, but any variety you like works)
  • Korean Gochujang (Chili) sauce (optional)


  1. Heat large wok or pan on the stove over medium high heat until drops of water sizzle when tossed at it.
  2. Add oil, garlic and ginger and stir, cooking for 30-60 seconds, until it really smells good.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, add ground beef and cook, breaking up with wooden spoon or other utensil, until cooked through (7-10 minutes).
  4. While ground beef is cooking, mix together soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar and sesame oil in a small bowl or measuring cup.
  5. When beef is cooked through, add sauce and stir to mix thoroughly.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Add edamame, bell peppers and broccoli slaw and stir to mix.
  7. If you are serving right away, continue to cook until vegetables are desired doneness.  When I use this as a make ahead lunch, I cook the vegetables only for a minute or two, knowing they will cook when I reheat.
  8. Serve over rice, garnished with sliced green onions and gochujang, if desired.
  9. If using for make ahead meals, divide beef mixture over rice in the containers of your choice (I used these) and refrigerate until reheating to serve.

Posted in Dinner, Easy Lunch, Leftovers, Lunch, Make Ahead | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Make Ahead Lunches (Subtitle: Why I Sometimes Don’t Eat Lunch – Part 2)

I won’t bore you again with the details of how the planets must align perfectly in my planning and prepping if I’m going to eat lunch on a daily basis, but if you’re interested in reading more, you can find it HERE.

Here are some of the things I make ahead (and package in single servings in the fridge) if I want to eat on a regular schedule….I’d love to see your ideas for great make ahead lunches too – please share!

Make Ahead “Hot Lunches”

I love to make these meals in a batch, and then store them in single servings in the refrigerator (sometimes I throw one or two in the freezer to stock me up for weeks I don’t have time as well).  Bonus when I can just reheat from the same container (read HERE for the containers I use).

  1. Turkey Taco Bowls; 
  2. Black Bean, White Bean and Beef Taco Chili;
  3. From, Honey Balsamic Chicken and Veggies – I also add a half cup of brown rice to each serving;
  4. White Chicken Chili (this is delicious with some fresh baby spinach wilted in as you reheat too, if you need to up those greens – and who doesn’t?);
  5. Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup; 
  6. From The Girl Who Ate Everything (I feel like she and I would get along really well), Cheater Korean Beef (or chicken, or turkey….I find this delicious with any of them!).  I serve this with brown rice, and usually add some veggies while cooking.  I also cut the amount of sugar in half, but don’t tell my kids that.

Mason Jar Salads

Mason jar salads are great for a quick lunch.   You just grab them, shake them, and pour them on a plate.  Or eat them right from the jar.  I do that sometimes when I’m really rushed, or eating out and about!

  1. Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Mason Jar Salads
  2. Chopped Chicken Cobb Salad in a Mason Jar
  3. Shrimp Mason Jar Salads with Lemon Vinaigrette
  4. Caprese Mason Jar Salads with Broiled Chicken
  5. Mason Jar Chicken Salad with (Not Really Caesar) Lemon Dijon Dressing

Snack Boxes and Homemade “Lunchables”

Sometimes it’s easier just to have some “snack” style lunches ready to go.  No cooking or heating required!  I love yumboxes for this.  They come in a lot of sizes and colors, and it’s possible I have almost all of them.

  1. I like to fill the Tapas Size one with a combination of cut up veggies, hummus or guacamole, almonds, olives and a cheese stick and a hard boiled egg for lunch on the go.
  2. I also like to make my own “lunchable” style lunch with whole grain crackers, organic cheese, uncured lunch meat, sliced apples or strawberries and some cut up veggies.  I use that cute little circle in the middle for my chocolate fix.  It holds one square of chocolate perfectly!
  3. My kids get yumboxes for school lunches too!  They like picking one category of food for each compartment (fruit, vegetables, protein, grains and dairy).

What’s on your lunch plate this week?


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Posted in Easy Lunch, Freezer meals, Leftovers, Lunch, Make Ahead, Mason Jar Meals, salad, Snacks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How I Prep Lunches Ahead (Subtitle: Why I Sometimes Don’t Eat Lunch – Part 1)

Wow.  I started this one so long ago, I’m not totally sure what I was going to write about. You know how there are all those studies about kids taking too much time off in the summer and losing the education they got the prior year?  I’m pretty sure summer break eats away at my brain cells too…..

I was talking with a friend today, and I was telling her how I’ve finally just resigned myself to the fact that lunch has to be all of the following things for me to actually eat it during busy days ever.  Basically, if does not meet all of the following criteria, I either don’t eat lunch or eat something from a drive through.  Or just have more coffee.

Very Important Lunch Criteria:

  1. Already made.
  2. Already in a container that only contains one serving of exactly what I should be eating.
  3. If reheating is required, must be done from said container.

Seriously.  If it is made, but not portioned out.  Too much effort.  If it is in a container and needs to be transferred to be reheated.  Too much effort.  6 servings in one container?  FORGET IT.  Open fridge.  Pull out.  Insert in microwave (optional).  Eat.  That’s apparently all I can handle.

As I have developed this annoying and ridiculous lunch process and criteria lovable little personality quirk over time, I’ve developed a container problem amassed a set of tools that allows me to eat lunch daily most of the time.

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Container problem?  I don’t have a container problem….

When things don’t have to be reheated, I am a big fan of plastic.  I know many people have eliminated it, but you can’t beat it for durability (or frankly, disposability) and price.  I recently found these 3 compartment divided plastic containers on Amazon for a great price.  Also, they came with sporks.  Who doesn’t love a spork?  I’m using these for cold lunches. I don’t have any high hopes for them surviving more than a few hand washes, but for the price, I can live with that.

On the other hand, when I want to reheat things, I have a glass preference.  I just always worry about the plastic melting or giving off toxins or something.  Since I have no actual science to back this up, you should definitely not just go along with what I say, but if you like glass containers, some of these are great:

3 compartment containers.

2 compartment containers

Single compartment containers

Pyrex round containers

Mason Jars (quart sized)

Mason Jars (pint sized)

Mason Jar Lids (wide-mouthed)

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What are your favorite lunch prep tools?  I’d love to hear!

Posted in Freezer meals, Leftovers, Lunch, Make Ahead, Mason Jar Meals, Meal Plans, Repurposed Leftovers, salad, Snacks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment