Week 1: Lunch Recipes

Lunch is Difficult

I’ve done other diets of this kind, and depending on where you work, this can be the most difficult part of the diet. And/or the part that seems to fizzle out the easiest. How many salads can a person eat before they just get sick of said salads (especially when you’re trying to avoid fat, and therefore flavor)? How the hell do you make a protein shake at work? Which employee is going to kill you for trying to cook fish in the microwave?

Let’s just say that I didn’t follow the diet very closely on my lunches. That said, it wasn’t as if I ate a Big Mac everyday–no–I tend to stock up on cans of soup that are on sale and take them to work for an easy lunch that i do not need to think about. Around a 300 calorie lunch, can store in cupboard, $1.50. Easy. But LOTS of salt. And carbs.

My partner–who really is trying to follow this diet/regime more closely than myself–works in a pretty typical, crowded work environment with different shifts, a break-room and a crowded fridge. Making a lunch at work wouldn’t work. Salads for him. And when he’s not working and I’m not around, he tends not to eat. Also not good.

Anyhow–good luck on lunches, we’re having our own hiccups here. Therefore you won’t see a ton of recipes on lunch.

Chicken Stir-Fry : Modified p90x Shrimp Stir-fry

Serves 2+ (this is ingredients for two people per p90x–that high volume business–but this STUFFED us, and could’ve easily fed 3-4, especially if you incorporate rice)

2 frozen chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups snap peas, cleaned
1/2 bell pepper (your choice of color), cubed
1 cup mushrooms (we used portobellos–this was about a half of one), sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced–thick if you like onion flavor, thin if you don’t
1 cup broccoli florets
1 inch ginger–minced or grated
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Lemongrass, cilantro, chili, lime, basil – to taste (see below)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (yep, really recipe)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
White pepper to taste
2 TBS roasted peanuts
Olive oil for wok–can use no oil in nonstick pan, but no.
Water from chicken (see below) or just some water on the side, broth if you’re fancy and have it.

I never think to thaw chicken breasts prior to using. In this instance I threw the breasts in a pot of boiling water and while they cooked, I prepared the veggies. By the time I was done, the breasts were completely cooked. If they’re not done, but cooked enough to slice, this also works. If you have raw and thawed chicken breasts already–awesome, slice up and see below.

With raw/not completely cooked chicken–small amount of olive oil in wok over high heat. Once hot, toss in chicken and cook until almost completely cooked through. Remove from wok, place in a bowl and set aside. Add more oil and place wok back on high heat. Once oil is heated, add garlic and ginger–stir fry about a minute, until aromatic, add onions and mushroom. Stir fry about 1 minute. Add snap peas and broccoli. Add about 1/4 cup water and let the veggies steam for about 3 minutes (add more water if it evaporates too quickly).

Toss in chicken. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar. For extra flavoring: lemongrass, chili (1 whole, minced or a squirt/scoop of your favorite chili sauce), half a lime and a handful of cilantro and basil add A LOT of flavor without any fat or carbs. I’ve become a fan of the tubed herbs–the flavor is not nearly as good, but they last longer than fresh herbs. In the summer I try to keep a patio garden full of herbs, but when it’s winter? Tubed herbs are great. I currently have this one--and it’s awesome.

once your seasoning is coated, remove from heat. Freshly ground white pepper to taste–adds great aromatics and flavor. Toss. Add peanuts, toss.

Place in bowls and serve (no rice–not needed, but if you want to stretch out the meal, rice would be great)

Start to finish 20 minutes – which means it is lunch worthy if you can cook for lunch. Also dinner worthy.

Chef Salad: P90x modified

Serves 1

2 cups lettuce–this equals about 1 whole romaine lettuce heart (very recommended–keeps well, priced good, and while Kale and some other leafy greens have gotten the spot-light, romaine is really good for you)
1/4 cup avocado cubed
1/4 cup tomato, cubed
1/2 bell pepper cubed
2 scallions chopped
handful of basil leaves–torn so they don’t blacken (and any other herbs you’d like)
1/2 cucumber, chopped
6 oz Meat (blanket statement, they say chicken breast, canned tuna, we had deli meat–my partner is a huge sandwich fan, so we’re still eating stored food, we also had left over salmon from another meal, so one salad included salmon)
Nuts–a couple of TBS of cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans (your choice), add great flavor, crunch and great nutrients

Dressing: They suggest 2 TBS non-fat ranch, but again, no.

So we did– 1 TBS olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp dijon mustard – Salt and pepper. And or, lemon juice and olive oil and garlic.  Flavored salt goes a long way with salad as well.

Start to finish: five minutes — mixed it all together, if you have small containers for the dressing, even better. We did keep the nuts separate until time to eat.

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