How to make varied packed lunches

Your packed lunches, microwavable or not, can be as varied as your evening meals. The trick in preparing packed lunch is to use the leftover meal from the night before (so make sure you cook more food than you actually need). Let’s see what I mean using pictures: (click pictures to enlarge)

Above is some leftover chicken casserole with fresh tagliatelle pasta. Once the food has cooled down, remove the flesh from the bones, cut into small pieces (it makes it easy to reheat in the microwave), mix the meat with the remaining sauce, spoon the lot into your plastic container pasta first (for presentation purposes only), put a plastic fork/spoon on top, close the lid and store in the fridge until needed.

Packed Lunch

Portions can be adjusted according to the person’s appetite.
Now, what happens if you prepare lunch for two people and one does not have access to a microwave at work or you simply do not have enough sauce or rice for two? No problems!

Leftover for packed lunch

Click on the following link to found out how to make the above recipe – Thai Red Curry Chicken with Basmatic rice.

With the leftovers, I managed to make one microwavable packed lunch. I did not have much rice left but all I needed to do is add more ingredients to bulk it up:

How to use leftover basmati rice

So I added tuna, corn, tomatoes, red onions, cheddar cheese… OK, I’d better stop otherwise I will end up with too much. Now, some balsamic vinegar, olive oil and rapeseed oil. I stir everything together, put it in a container and that’s it. Here is another lovely packed lunch meal :

Tuna and Rice Salad

Ta Dah!

In the next example, I used leftovers from a Chicken and Vegetable Bake with bulgur wheat.

Leftovers from Chicken Bake and Bulgur Wheat

I removed bones and any unwanted bits (fat, skin, black bits, etc.) and managed to make one whole microwavable meal. I had kept some of the roasted peppers for my salad but did not have much chicken left for two.

Making packed lunch using leftovers

So, I cooked a hard boiled egg to add more protein to my salad. I also cubed some tomatoes, cheddar cheese and cucumber. Chopped red onion works really well in salads too. Tip: to estimate how much of the ingredients you add, try and imagine you eating them all separately. Don’t cut anymore than you think you would be able to eat. Next, I added a couple tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 to 3 times the amount of olive oil and rapeseed oil (so about 4 to 6 tablespoons. You need to judge depending on how dry the bulgur wheat is). Add plenty of ground pepper. Do your body a favour and don’t bother with salt. You will get enough from the cheddar cheese.

Adding ingredients

Now, mix all the ingredients together and place in an airtight container with a plastic spoon or fork. And here is what you end up with:

Making a cold packed lunch from leftovers

Why not springle the top with some seeds (linseed, sesame and/or poppy) and/or small nuts (pine nuts for example)?

Just make your lunch according to what you have in your fridge or your cupboard. There is no right or wrong.

A colourful packed lunch will sure brighten up your day! 😉