Back to school time has arrived. For the first time in a long time no one in our house is heading back to school this fall. Despite this, we know the benefits of planning ahead when it comes to lunches. Today we’re going to share some of our best tips on how to plan out lunches for the week. These tips aren’t just for those of you (or your family members) going back-to-school. We use these tips and recipes to plan and prepare lunches for work and travel too!
Keep in mind the magic formula for lunches: Protein + Vegetables + Carbohydrate = a filling and nutritious lunch. A whole container of pasta at lunch with leave you in a terrible place come 2pm – don’t forget to add protein!
One of our easiest tips is to strategically plan your leftovers to make lunches. You can do this two ways:
- Cook more portions of what you’re already making. For example, my partner and I always cook dinner as though we are feeding 4 – one portion for each of us, and one portion for each of us to take for lunch.
- Bulk cook to make lunches for the week. For example, at the beginning of the week cook several chicken breasts to portion out and add to a salad or a big pot of chili or a hearty soup that will serve as your lunch for the week.
Other Lunch Options
If leftovers aren’t your game, try making filling salads (add meat, tuna, beans, etc to up the filling-ness) or a good old sandwich. Both of these can still be made ahead of time so that you won’t be left scrambling in the morning.
Adding protein (think nuts, yogurt, nut butter) and fibre (whole grains, flax) to your snacks will keep you fuller longer. Some of our favourite options include:
Find what works for you and you’ll never have to buy a lunch at work again!
With spring now upon us, we get to enjoy a whole new crop of vegetables. Leeks are a great spring vegetable which can be used in many different ways. Here, we have developed a very tasty quiche that you can use them in, as well as your leftover Easter ham.
Ham and Leek Quiche
Sift together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add shortening and cut into dry mixture with pastry cutter or two knives. The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, beat together egg, vinegar, and cold water. Add to the flour mixture and stir together roughly with a fork so it comes together. You don't want to work the pastry too much; it's okay if it looks a bit shaggy when you're finished bringing it together.
Flour your work surface and turn out the pastry. Cut in half and work with one half at a time. Roll until pastry is about 1/4 inch thick. Once the pastry is rolled out, carefully use the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Gently press the pastry into the edges of the plate and leave any extra around the edges until it has been filled. The pastry is quite resilient, so if it cracks it can easily be repaired simply by bringing the two edges together and pressing. The key is to move as quickly as possible - you don't want to leave the pastry on the counter for too long once it has been rolled.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Once the pastry is ready, prepare your leeks. Wash and trim the dark green leaves. Slice thinly, about 1/8" thick, and saute over medium low heat until softened. This may take about 10-15 minutes and you can add some salt to draw out excess moisture. This will reduce the chances of your quiche turning out soggy.
Prepare ham by trimming excess fat and chopping into 1/2" pieces. The bottom of the pastry should be well covered with ham.
Break eggs into a bowl and add milk. Whisk together very well. You don't want any little pieces of yolk visible in the mixture. Season with freshly ground pepper. You can trim the edge of the pastry now, if needed.
Once leeks are finished, add to the pie plate and pour egg mixture over top. Place pie plate onto a cookie sheet, just in case the quiche bubbles over. Slide into oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. The filling will be set, but not solid. It should be a light golden brown on top and the pastry will be golden around the edges.
The pastry recipe is good for 2-9-inch pie crusts. Any extra pie crust can be stored in the fridge (up to 1 week) or freezer (up to 1 month), until you are ready to use it.