Eggs are so long-lasting in the fridge that we always seem to have some around. You can make a fancy egg sandwich. You can try a million different frittatas depending on your leftovers situation, or practice your omelet moves. You can fold boiled or steamed eggs into mashed feta and top a flatbread. You can scramble eggs with spinach or chile crunch or salsa.
If you’re looking for easy lunch ideas, grilled cheese is here for you. But you are also allowed to add soft-scrambled eggs. You should definitely consider gochujang if you have any in your fridge. Or salami and pickles. Or hot cherry peppers or kimchi. Seasoned mayo. Gruyere and caramelized onions. Tomatoes, once they’re good. And if you’re really getting into this eat-lunch-like-nobody’s-watching thing, there’s always Nutella Grilled Cheese.
Sauté whatever vegetable or bean you have on hand in a nonstick skillet, then scramble in an egg. Add cheese if you want cheese. Transfer to a tortilla (I like to warm the tortilla directly on my gas burner, but be sure to watch carefully!) and top with hot sauce and/or salsa. Note: Before adding the egg, you may want to remove any greens like kale or spinach from the skillet and press out any liquid to avoid a soggy taco.
Cut last night’s leftovers into bite-sized pieces. Cooked chicken, grilled salmon, roasted broccoli, almost anything you’ve got, as long as it’s not, like, soup. Warm them up, wrap in a warmed tortilla, top with chopped cilantro if you have it and hot sauce if you like it.
Working from home is the time to get crazy with an open-faced sandwich on toast (or a rice cracker if you prefer.) Go savory with a smear of hummus, butter or vegan butter (we like this one), or avocado. That’s your creamy layer. Then, add whatever vegetables you have: chopped up pickled vegetables, leftover roasted veggies, a pile of spinach, whatever. Sometimes I put a chopped egg on top or a bit of smoked fish. The final step is a sprinkle of salt, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or toasted seeds. Or take all of these layers, but put them on a roasted or steamed sweet potato.
Power butter. Need we say more? We will. Smear it on your toast, then eat. Or top with sliced fruit or coconut chips or even bacon.
Not sure how to eat tinned fish? Toast is your friend. Try mashed avocado with smoked paprika and smoked fish on toast. Or mix some smoked paprika into mayo with a squeeze of lemon and some chopped garlic. Spread on toast, top with tinned fish, some chopped olives if you have a jar, plus a drizzle of oil.
Beans and Greens
Right when you wake up before you even brush your teeth, stick a pound of dried beans—no soaking required, we promise!—in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add a roughly chopped onion, a few smashed cloves of garlic, a sprig or two of rosemary or thyme, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (or whole chile de Arbol, if you have one lying around), a big pinch of salt, and a serious glug of olive oil. Cover with water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it cook with the lid on until lunchtime. Add a handful of torn kale for the last few minutes, to wilt into the brothy, bean mixture. If you’re feeling luxe, serve with a fried egg on top.
Smear hummus (homemade or storebought) on a plate. Top with things. Oh, you want recipes? We could eat this one every day all week. But meat works too, or any kind of beans, or just a swoosh of extra tahini or olive oil or a sprinkle of sumac or anything green.
We like to do a little prep-ahead to make this an easy assembly job when it’s time for lunch, but if you don’t mind doing a little cooking in the background of your day’s work, go for it. First, make a big batch of quinoa or farro or any other grain situation. Store your cooked grains in the fridge if you’re not ready to eat. For toppings, consider a mix of textures and flavors, including something crunchy and raw and something more sturdy and cooked, like roasted or steamed sweet potatoes or carrots or just a drained can of beans. Yes, you can repurpose your leftovers here and heat the whole thing up. Top with a fried or 7-minute simmered egg, or a scoop of silken tofu. Then garnish, garnish, garnish. Do herbs. Do crispy shallots or chopped peanuts or sesame seeds. Do fermented stuff like pickles or kimchi or kraut. Do feta or Parm or cojita. Do sauce (green sauce, hot sauce, harissa, thinned tahini, spicy tahini, salsa, chipotle + mayo, All Day Every Day Yogurt Sauce, peanut butter dressing, you get the idea.)
Anything that works as a grain bowl can also be a noodle bowl, though you may want to dress your noodles with the sauce first. We’re very in favor of ramen (have you tried these?) with ginger-scallion sauce, though we’ve been known to eat sesame noodles for days on end.
We won’t promise that it’ll keep you feeling great all afternoon long, but yes, you can just make movie-theater-style popcorn at home and eat a bowl full of it for lunch. And sometimes that’s what you need to do.
1 medium leek (white portion only), finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Select saute or browning setting on a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. Adjust for medium heat; add oil. When oil is hot, brown ribs in batches; set aside.
Add butter to the pressure cooker. When melted, cook and stir leek until tender, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add stock to the pressure cooker. Cook 1 minute, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Press cancel.
In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; spread over ribs. Return ribs to pressure cooker. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 40 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.
In large heavy-bottomed skillet, cook bacon on medium until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and reserve bacon fat from pan.
Heat oil in skillet on medium-high. Working in batches, add sprouts, flat side down, in single layer to skillet. Once sprouts are sizzling, add 1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp butter. Cook sprouts until flat sides are dark mahogany brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer sprouts to plate. Repeat with remaining sprouts.
When all sprouts are cooked, add bacon and 1 tablespoon butter to skillet. Return sprouts to skillet and toss until heated through. Add vinegar and simmer until reduced slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Information (per serving): About 210 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated), 10 g protein, 435 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 6 to 8 drops liquid green food coloring (optional)
34 chocolate wafer cookies (we used Nabisco Famous Wafers)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter,
3/4 c. heavy cream 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped Directions
In a medium saucepan, heat milk on medium until hot. Add
marshmallows and butter and stir
to melt. Remove from heat; stir in
2 tablespoons heavy cream, extracts, and
food coloring (if using); let cool
to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, line a 9-inch square
baking pan with parchment paper,
leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides.
In a food processor, pulse cookies to
form fine crumbs. Add butter and pulse
to combine. Press evenly into bottom
of the prepared pan and refrigerate.
Once marshmallow mixture is
cool, using an electric mixer, beat
remaining 1 cup cream until stiff peaks
form. Fold a spoonful of cream into
marshmallow mixture to loosen, then
fold in remaining cream and spread
on top of chilled crust. Refrigerate
until set, at least 30 minutes.
Make topping: In small pot, heat cream on medium until hot but
not boiling. Remove from heat and
add chocolate; let sit 1 minute, then
stir until melted and smooth. Spread
evenly over filling and refrigerate
until set, at least 30 minutes or up
to a day. When ready to serve, use
overhangs to transfer to a cutting
board and cut into pieces.
PER SERVING 235 CALORIES, 18 G FAT (11 G SATURATED), 3 G PROTEIN, 95 MG SODIUM, 19 G CARB, 1 G FIBER
Mix yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, and salt together in a bowl. Add chicken breast; toss to coat evenly. Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator, at least 1 hour.
Place rice in a bowl and add enough water to cover; set aside to soften. Place saffron threads in a small bowl with 1/4 cup water; set aside to bloom.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Coat a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Arrange onions in the prepared baking dish in a single layer. Top onions with marinated chicken breast, reserving marinade. Add 1/2 cup water to the reserved marinade; pour marinade mixture over chicken. Top with tomato slices.
Bake in the preheated oven until chicken breasts are no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, 30 to 3 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and cumin. Drain rice and add to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until softened but still firm, about 8 minutes.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add masala curry sauce; cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add parboiled rice and stir to combine, about 1 minute more. Stir in saffron-infused water and 3/4 cup water. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until rice is fluffy, 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon rice onto serving platter; top with chicken breasts, onion, and tomatoes.
½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Coat the paper with cooking spray.
Combine confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add vanilla. Fold in the cocoa powder mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Fold in chocolate chips (or chunks).
Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are just beginning to crack on top, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool slightly on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make ahead: Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Serving Size: 1 cookie Per Serving: 66 calories; 2.3 g total fat; 1.3 g saturated fat; 25 mg sodium. 28 mg potassium; 12.8 g carbohydrates; 1.2 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 1 g protein; 1 mcg folate; 2 mg calcium; 7 mg magnesium; 11 g added sugar;