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Preparing Lunch as Dinner

by Meghann on June 29, 2011

I’m not sure why, but I tend to be lazy when it comes to preparing lunch.

Maybe it’s because I only give myself a 30 minute break? (I’m a tough boss) Or maybe it’s because I wait until I’m starving to finally make my lunch? (Workaholic. Right here.) But I can tell you that my lunches tend to be quickly thrown together meals that take about 5 minutes to make and less than 5 minutes to eat. Creative, but mostly forgettable.

Today I tried something different. Instead of approaching lunch as ‘lunch’ I approached it as ‘dinner.’ I gave it as much forethought and consideration as I would when planning my evening meal and – what do you know? – I ended up with something fabulous.

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And the best part was it didn’t take much longer than my usual 5 minute lunch routine. The most work involved was chopping the veggies and waiting for them to cook on the stove top (maybe 10 minutes total?).

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I’ve discovered a good trick when it comes to chopping and cooking veggies on the stove top. Start by chopping the more dense veggies first and throw them in the pan first. i.e. I chopped the carrots and put them right in the pan. Give them a swirl with the spoon and start chopping the next dense veggie ( in my case radishes) then add those right away. By the time you get to the least dense (yellow squash) the carrots are already halfway done and you can add the yellow squash right away. This way you save time and everything cooks evenly!

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Here’s my dish in layers:

Layer 1:

A bed of spinach

Layer 2:

Hot veggies (In my case: Carrots, radishes, onion, yellow squash, and zucchini. See above for prep instructions)

Layer 3:

Marinara sauce (Warmed in the same pan the veggies came out of)

Layer 4:

Fresh feta cheese and basil

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Lunch is served. πŸ™‚

1 Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups June 29, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Looks delicious! I love feta!
Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups recently posted..Eating in: pea pesto

2 Sarah June 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I tend to do the same thing with my lunch. I put so much time into breakfast and dinner but lunch always seems to get left out.
Sarah recently posted..A Mission a Mile

3 Katherina June 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm

I think you meant forgettable! Either way, looks delicious!
Katherina recently posted..What I Would Eat

4 Meghann June 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Thanks. I fixed it. πŸ™‚

5 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife June 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I swear, I always, ALWAYS wait til the last second for lunch. So true that it usually turns out to be less than satisfying….thanks for connecting the dots for me!!
Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife recently posted..Backstroke

6 Fit Chick Britt June 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I’m a lazy lunch person too- prob bc I eat lunch in an office (prob where you developed the habbit). Your lunch looks yum!

7 Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn June 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Beautiful!! There is nothing like a salad on a day like today πŸ™‚
Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn recently posted..My house is bursting with juice.

8 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food June 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

ohh that looks wonderfully Veggiefull! πŸ™‚

I feel the same way about lunch and, when I’m busy, dinner! πŸ˜› My motto is typically quick, healthy, and veggiefull – anything that fits in that goes! πŸ™‚
Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday – Seared Tuna, Cookie Dough Balls & More!

9 Alex June 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I am sooo borig when it comes to lunch . Always have the same kind of sandwich thing. Today I switched things up by having breakfast for dinner, a big bowl of joghurt, apple, nectarine, and homemade seeds & nuts granola.
Alex recently posted..Koreatown

10 Gina @ Will Run for Cupcakes June 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Your meals always look fabulous! I need to get on the “cooking” wagon soon…
Happy Wednesday!
Gina @ Will Run for Cupcakes recently posted..I overslept!!!

11 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Some of my best meals come from random veggie chopping and throwing in the saute pan!

12 Hope June 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Lunch is always the hardest meal for me to figure out what to eat. I never know what to bring with me to work. Thanks for the great idea! Your lunch looks healthy and satisfying! πŸ™‚
Hope recently posted..50 First Dates…

13 Cait's Plate June 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm

My lunches are always super quick (and super repetitive) for the same reasons. I like this idea because I definitely make dinner a HUGE deal – gotta give some of that love to lunch tomorrow πŸ™‚
Cait’s Plate recently posted..That’s What She Said

14 Jess June 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm

During the week I’m really good about planning out and packing my lunch-I often make a large batch of something and spread it out. But on the weekends I don’t tend to think about lunch until I’m hungry. I, too, end up eating some pretty random combinations πŸ™‚
Jess recently posted..Round Seven

15 Margo @ peanut butter trees June 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

My lunches tend to be quickly prepped too. I often put salsa on my salads or similar dishes like yours here, but pasta sauce is a great idea. I like the basil too, I’ve got a basil plant sitting in my bedroom window that has been very underutilized this summer so far!
Margo @ peanut butter trees recently posted..Wednesday, almost my Friday

16 Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health June 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

That looks really good! I need to start getting more creative with my lunches.
Lindsay@ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..My Red-Headed Lover

17 Christine June 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Not bad! I just had a bowl of cereal with a banana- talk about lazy!
Christine recently posted..Books on Your Back- Up Top For the Snobs

18 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) June 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm

My lunches are usually pretty lazy. Since I work in the morning and am home the rest of the day, I just sort of graze throughout the day. Not the best way to eat!

19 lauri (redheadrecipes.com) June 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I almost always take leftovers for lunch! If I don’t have leftovers, then lunch is pretty boring (sandwich)
lauri (redheadrecipes.com) recently posted..GAME!

20 kristy @ kristyruns June 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm

that lunch looks great! i usually make a yogurt bowl or amy’s burrito with avocado for lunch at work, bc i can store everything in my office fridge. i should be more creative though!

21 Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) June 29, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Haha I feel the same way about lunch! I usually just end up throwing a Greek yogurt, Kashi cereal, and some fruit into my bag for lunch at work. Easy and quick.. I always dread preparing my lunch for the office!
Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) recently posted..Transformers and a dinner date

22 Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers June 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Once for a lunch I did a sort of “kitchen sink” salad with lettuce, turkey, cheese, marinara, and chopped veggies. I just shook it up in the tupperware I brought it in and nibbled away in front of others. The stares of confusion were soon replaced with a, “Wait… is that pasta sauce?”

Why yes.
Yes it is.
Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..β€œDiet Foods”: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly-Part TWO

23 Meghann June 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Marinara sauce goes on everything. Enough said.

24 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey June 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Looks delicious! I usually eat leftovers for lunch during the school year when I’m teaching, but I go all out in the summer!
chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..happy birthday little brother

25 Katherine June 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Nomnomnom!

26 Laura (Cookies vs. Carrots) June 29, 2011 at 10:21 pm

I have a similar issue where lunch doesn’t seem as important as dinner, so I don’t put the same amount of thought into it. I work in an office, so sometimes I think ‘Oh, I’ll just eat that can of soup I have in my desk drawer.’ Generally, when lunchtime rolls around that is the last thing I want, so I go out to eat! However, if I put effort into packing a healthy and yummy meal, its a win-win situation.
Laura (Cookies vs. Carrots) recently posted..Wine & Dine Wednesday: Week 2

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