As promised, a microwave lunch post — not the kind in the frozen section!
My goal in making dinner is often to have at least enough of one component of the meal to bring to work the next day as part of lunch (if not all of it). Maybe I made a whole chicken and have turned the breast meat into chicken salad. Maybe I didn’t finish all the roasted sweet potatoes or have a leftover meat sauce or soup.
GREAT! Easy, no prob.
Well sometimes I don’t do any of that. Sometimes I don’t have time to cook at home and don’t want to order an extra entree at dinner. And maybe I don’t have the time or money to go out for lunch the next day. Sound familiar? What then?
My go-to habit is to bring raw greens to work.
I know what you’re thinking.
Noooo! Not salad! (although my chicken salad over mixed greens is delicious!) I’m talking hearty greens: kale, chard, or even collards or cabbage (purple cabbage works too, it doesn’t ALL have to be green) — filling greens that usually get cooked on a stove top. I’ve also been known to bring in a few whole zucchini or a bag of raw green beans.
So what now? What to do with all these foods that usually need to be cooked for us to want to eat them?
5 Easy Steps to Microwave Gourmet:
- Dress it up
This is less of a recipe and more of a formula — a simple and delicious way to enjoy a break room lunch (or breakfast!), save money, and make a healthy choice.
- Tear: prepping your greens is easy.
-for kale and collards, remove the ribs and tear into pieces
-for chard, chop the stem where the leaf begins and tear (you can either chop the stems into small pieces and use them in your dish or toss — I’m not a fan of wasting food though). You really want to fill the bowl to the brim and have it spilling over if you’re using leafy greens — you’d be surprised how much they shrink. I usually use between 7 and 10 leaves
-for green beans, pop off the ends and snap in half. For beans, I estimate about two big fists full.
-for zucchini or other summer squash, chop off the ends and cut into whatever size pieces you want to eat (larger pieces take longer to cook, but smaller pieces take longer to chop) 1 full-sized squash or 2 smaller ones is usually enough for me.
- Rinse: in your break room sink, fill your glass bowl of greens with water, shake the greens around with your hands, and drain (for garden greens, this step also serves to remove any unwanted “protein” that might be hiding in your bounty)
- Cover: using a glass plate, cover your bowl of freshly rinsed greens, leaving a small amount (and I mean small), of water in the bowl — for leafy greens, this is often just what’s left on the leaves themselves, for beans and zucchs, leave a little puddle at the bottom. I also usually add a little pinch of Real salt or sea salt here.
- Nuke: The timing here depends on your machine. The one in our office is a little weak, so I tend to set the time at 1 minute if I’m only making greens, 30 seconds if I’m starting with greens and adding something to the mix once they’ve wilted slightly. For green beans, I might do 1.5 minutes.
- Dress it up: My favorite step! This is where you add about 1 tsp of ghee or a tablespoon of hummus, along with a can of salmon or tuna (or 1/2 a can, depending on how hungry you are) to the warm greens. Or try some chopped nuts and seeds (with the ghee), and maybe a drop or two of hot sauce. If you’re lucky and have some leftover meat or beans from last night’s dinner, throw them in! I also like to add in some fresh garden herbs here — basil, parsley, and cilantro all work great and have awesome micronutrients that will blast you through the last half of your workday.