Wednesday, March 14, 2012

two quick/easy/healthy lunches

whether you bring your lunch to work or eat lunch at home or school, making it is one of those hassle-y things that you either sigh and do or sigh and don't do and then you end up buying a sub-par sandwich from the little shop on the ground floor of your office building.

wait, i guess that's only related to the bringing-your-lunch-to-work thing. and it's really only related to my work, because probably not everyone is lucky enough to work in office buildings containing shops with mediocre sandwiches on the ground floor.

anyway, i've never been that into making lunches. but i try to do it, because on tuesdays and thursdays i have to be Out and About for like 13 hours so if i don't make one i get into the whole sandwich shop malarkey and am mad at myself later.

two lunches that have been treating me right lately are a beans/kale/tomato melange and a vaguely asian chicken and broccoli thing. both are super quick and quite tasty and they will power you through any number of meetings, memos, or research rabbit-holes you find yourself falling into.

kale is probably my favorite green. it's milder than other greens like mustard or chard and it has more texture and heft than boring old spinach (which also has the non-benefit of making my teeth feel weird - thanks oxalate, you jerk!).

anyway, for this you just need one bunch of kale (washed, stems removed, and chopped into vaguely bite-sized pieces - 1"-2" or so), some garlic and/or shallots or onion, a can of white beans, and a can of diced tomatoes. heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a large pan (medium heat), then add the garlic/shallot/onion. let these cook for a minute or so, then add the kale. stir it around a bit and let it go for another two minutes-ish, then add the tomatoes (with their juice) and the beans (drained and preferably rinsed, because that bean-juice in cans is so nastily viscous). then you are basically done. let it cook, stirring occasionally, for perhaps another 10 - 15 minutes or until the kale becomes texturally pleasing to you. that's it! maybe also add some salt. a little lemon juice or cider or balsamic vinegar is nice, too.

the great thing about this is that it's vegan and it has lots of protein and vitamins. you can also grate a little cheese on it if you're feeling frisky. we had some cotija cheese that went particularly well with it, but asiago or parmesan would also be nice. it's also good warm or at room temperature, so if you can't stand the thought of hanging in the breakroom with your homies, you can hunch over it in your cubicle while reading a magazine. your choice!

here are the ingredients of my lunch today. i roasted a chicken the other day, so we already had some cooked leftovers. if you don't have a roast chicken in your fridge, you could always get one of those rotisserie ones or use tofu or add the extra step of cooking up a chicken breast. but it's definitely quicker if you have chicken that's already cooked. obviously.

other than that you just need a stalk of broccoli, a couple of cloves of garlic, a shallot (or equivalent amount of onion, or just leave it out), and perhaps half a jalapeño or other pepper (this one was mild). you can also add whatever else you have around - scallions and/or cilantro would be nice, as would some peanuts or cashews. but lo! i had none of those.

this is actually kind of similar to the kale thing in that you cook the garlic and whatever (here, shallot and jalapeño) for a hot minute, then add the green stuff (broccoli!) and let it cook for a bit. once i put the broccoli in, i added a tablespoon or so of water and then covered the pan and let it steam-cook for about two or three minutes. basically from here on out it depends on how crunchy you want your broccoli to be. i think mine cooked for a total of 7 or 8 minutes. the timing also depends on how large your broccoli chunks are - the smaller they are, the faster they cook.

once it's just about done, add some soy sauce (to taste, but maybe 1-2 teaspoons) and a teaspoon or so of sesame oil. then add the chicken (if you're using tofu, you could add it soon after the broccoli or cook it separately so it gets sort of crunchy) just to let it get all melded with the other stuff. also, incidentally, i was eating this at home, so i wanted to get it heated through. yay for home-lunch!

when you're ready to eat, a dollop of chili-garlic sauce is a great addition, as is sriracha, if you haven't already used it all up in some terrible apocalypse drink.

if you're taking it to work, you'll probably want to keep it cold until you're ready to eat it because salmonella.

*ingredients for kale thing*
1-2 cloves garlic
1 shallot or 1/4 of an onion
1 small bunch kale
1 can white beans
1 can diced tomatoes
balsamic or cider vinegar, optional
cheese, optional

*ingredients for chicken-broccoli thing*
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot or 1/4 of an onion
1/2 mild jalapeño or other chili or some red bell pepper
1 largish stalk broccoli
1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped, cooked chicken
soy sauce and sesame oil, to taste
chili-garlic sauce and/or sriracha, to taste
other good additions - sesame seeds, nuts, other vegetables

listening to: the clientele

1 comment:

  1. Hi Leola, well we made the kale thing, but we made our own white beans that we got in our CSA share (ditto the kale). Then we added a can of Ro-tel tomatoes with chilies and lime and voila, was it yumeriferous? Yes it was and is, and we liked it just fine, so thanks for a really good and easy meal. But what's for dessert?