Go-To Ingredients

Go-To Ingredient: Eggs

Eggs are NOT boring. They are the kind of secret weapon ingredient that prevents the I-have-nothing-to-make-for-lunch excuse.

Eggs aren’t fussy. If I’m working from home, I can cook them. If I’m working away from home, I can eat them boiled—or baked into a “muffin.” And I consider them a homemade food, and one that’s super-quick (unless you’re making hollandaise). Eggs also keep well. You can store enough in the refrigerator to save you that the mid-week run to the supermarket.

egg salad 1.jpg

There’s nothing hard about hard-boiling eggs, and they’re happy to be turned into enough different dishes that you won’t get bored with them over night. Or just eat them with salt and cayenne pepper.

Do you have a go-to ingredient? Let me know, and I’ll share it with the gang.


Go-To Ingredient: Rotisserie Chicken

What was life like before it was so easy to pick up a high-quality rotisserie chicken at the grocery store? (Probably like this, but a little less grainy.) Rotisserie chicken can turn into a homemade lunch as quick you can add some interesting mayo for instant chicken salad. With two vegetables, tomatoes and cucumber slices for example, you’re done.

Did you know I’m a part-time team member at Whole Foods Market? (I am.)

Did you know I’m a part-time team member at Whole Foods Market? (I am.)

Here’s another option that’s perfect for your Box Lunch Lifestyle. Why?

  • It scales easily from “I can’t cook” to “I [heart] Instagram.” (I love the idea of a lunch garnished with lime wedges, but I doubt that will ever happen.)

  • Two vegetables are built in, but they’re easily switchable (e.g., cauliflower rice, regular old cooked or raw cauliflower, or something you like better than cauliflower).

  • You could eat this hot or cold, depending on what fits best into your day.

  • If you’re curious about paleo, this is a simple starter dish. Don’t care about paleo? Use rice and enjoy it. Or noodles. Or whatever other delicious substitute you choose for you.

Making lunch simple means you more likely to make it. Period. Here are a few other ideas, and if you have one to share, don’t be shy!

Go-To Ingredients: Mural of Flavor and Magic Mushroom Powder

Don’t be alarmed. Neither of these is as exotic or dangerous as its name implies.

Nom Nom Paleo’s Magic Mushroom Powder adds salty, savory flavor with a little extra character from dried porcini mushrooms and red pepper flakes. You can buy this at Whole Foods Market, or make it yourself thanks to Michelle Tam generously sharing the recipe here.

Don’t need the salt? Try Penzeys Mural of Flavor. I can’t explain why this one is so good. It just is. (Besides offering terrific deals on spices and shipping, Bill Penzey writes one heck of a passionate newsletter. Subscribe and see for yourself.)

Why are these so great? Because it means you don’t have to hunt down new vegetables or dishes when you want a lunch break change of pace. These seasonings can turn eggs, rice, soups, or even an ordinary potato with butter into something really worth looking forward to.

Go-To Ingredient: Sweet Potatoes

First things first: What you see at your grocery store is almost certainly NOT a yam. It’s a sweet potato.

Why are sweet potatoes so great?

  • They are simple to cook. You don’t even have to peel them.

  • You can make a lot of dishes from them—from soup to fries.

  • They store (raw or cooked) for several days in the refrigerator.

This easy-to-add vegetable is also a good helper for those of us craving a little something sweet after lunch. They aren’t candy, but they might be sweet enough to save you from other workplace temptations.