Happy Monday! It's Day 1 at my new job and, even though I schedule my posts, I can guarantee you I'm a jittery blend of nervous and excited at the same time. I have my outfit picked out and a positive attitude - it's a pretty winning combination, in my book.
Budget-wise, J and I are tightening the belt a bit through the end of the year to save for some bigger, 'funner' things down the line. I'm giving myself a mulligan during this First Week, but packing lunches will be the name of my game going forward. I'm a big fan of making one large lunch meal on Sunday and packing it up for each day of the week. One of my last weeks at my former job, I whipped up a rainbow veggie quinoa in the slow cooker.
I started with some farmers' market bounty: a beautiful red onion, two baby eggplant, yellow squash, and zucchini. I also used some starting-to-wilt celery from the bowels of my fridge and a yellorange (seriously, which color is it?!) pepper. I diced everything up into nice solid bite-sized chunks.
I also threw in about a tablespoon of crushed red pepper and two large garlic cloves, smashed.
Into the slow cooker, I poured one cup of rinsed quinoa. I covered the quinoa with the vegetables and poured two cups of home-made chicken stock over the whole mix.
I also threw in a Parmesan rind. I save these for slow cooker creations or for fancy tomato sauces. They add another layer of flavor and a bit of creaminess, too.
I set this to cook for 3 hours on high. I actually made this on a Sunday night AFTER I cooked dinner. It was ready just before I went to bed, so I packed everything up in Tupperwares for the week and then hit the hay.
This was exactly what I wanted. High protein, high veggie content (and prettiness!), slightly rich and creamy from the stock and Parmesan rind, with a punch of heat from the peppers. I had five solid servings come out of this and, thanks to a well-stocked fridge and pantry at my last job, was able to slightly tweak the flavors each day. One day, I drizzled some balsamic vinegar on top. Another day, some sesame Asian-style dressing. Sriracha also made an appearance. The Friday of that week? I simply doused the entire thing in grated cheese. Being able to customize the exact same lunch every day saved me from palate boredom, but bringing lunch saved me from shelling out $50+ in lunches. Ah, New York City. Your prices slay me constantly.
Once I get fully up to speed with my new role, I will endeavor to show off more of my Packed Lunch creations. If you have any suggestions or go-tos that you would like to share, I would love the recommendations!!!