Best Thing I Packed this Week: BBQ Lentil Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

Hi guys, happy Friday!

I have some more delicious meals to share with you all… I was on a roll this week with making delicious and healthy lunches. 

Best meals I packed this week:

In case you missed them, here are some of my past weeks of “Best thing I packed:”

Veggie-Packed Tofu salad with  Poppyseed Dressing

I ate this for lunch on Thursday, and it was especially delicious. I basically tried to add as much color/texture as possible to my Tupperware container by packing as many fresh veggies as I could into my salad.

Since veggies alone would keep me full for about 20 minutes, I added in some tofu and whole grain rotini pasta for some protein and whole grains (and staying power). 

I used a new to me dressing (Drews Poppyseed dressing) on top, and I loved it. I feel like I am always talking about this brand of dressing, but I have yet to try a variety I don’t like. I guess I am a big fan….

This salad was so filling, and I loved all the different components. My favorite salads always tend to be the ones with a lot of different ingredients thrown in so my taste buds never get bored… I also love including cold pasta in salads. It always soaks up the dressing and is so good (try it!). This particular salad contained:

  • kale
  • cucumber
  • radish
  • carrots
  • beets
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 block tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • whole grain rotini pasta (1/2 cup)

Dressing: Drews Poppyseed dressing

BBQ Lentil Kale and Sweet Potato Salad

This was another delicious lunch combo I concocted this week. It contained:

  • chopped collard greens
  • mushrooms, chopped
  • spicy roasted sweet potatoes
  • brown lentils (about 1/2 cup)… I made them over the weekend using the method I talked about here

Dressing: BBQ sauce

I loved the mix of the BBQ sauce (I love using condiments as dressing!) with the collard greens and the lentils. The spicy sweet potatoes were also a fun addition. I made the sweet potatoes over the weekend by roasting 2 cubed potatoes in a mixture of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and onion powder for about 40 minutes (flipping halfway through) in a 400 degree oven. I made them for dinner on Sunday, but the leftovers served as a great salad topper.

Again, this was so filling (probably because of the lentils and potatoes) and so satisfying.  My taste buds were very happy. I have been loving BBQ/spicy foods these days.  

I hope everyone has a great day and eats some delicious food!

 What is the best thing you packed/ate this week? (I love hearing about your delicious creations/meals!)

Best thing I packed this week (March 2, 2012)

Good morning and Happy Friday!

I am SO excited for this weekend. My stepbrother is coming to Pittsburgh today, and I can’t wait to see him/hang out with him(I haven’t seen him since December!).  As always, I must first be productive and go to work and go to school, so lets hope that these things go quickly so the weekend can start!  I better not have a long chem lab tonight….

Are you doing anything exciting this weekend?

Best thing I packed this week

Now lets move on to food…. and the next installment of  “the best thing I packed this week.” This week was full of delicious packed meals, so it was hard to pick a favorite. I did a lot of good prep work last weekend:

  • I made a grain salad
  • prepped lentils
  • made barley

that resulted in easy/delicious meals and made meal packing a breeze.

BBQ Lentil Wrap

I believe I have found a new favorite vegetarian protein source: lentils. I made a big batch this past weekend by:

  • Rinsing  1 cup dry red lentils
  • Placing them in a saucepan with 2 cups water
  • Letting them simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (until all liquid was absorbed)

I did this while I was making dinner on Sunday, so this was so easy and resulted in a big Tupperware full of lentils (about 2 cups) to incorporate into lunches throughout the week. I need to remember to do this more often because lentils are

  1. so good for you, and
  2. so cheap!

I have been searching for new ways to use them and have been enjoying them in my lunches this week in wrap/sandwich form.  On Wednesday night before class, I enjoyed a delicious wrap that contained:

  1. BBQ lentils (1/2 cup lentils mixed with about 1/8 cup Trader Joe’s BBQ sauce)
  2. spinach
  3. more BBQ sauce + nutritional yeast

This was a simple, yet delicious and filling meal that I most likely will be making again. I also had a variation of this on Monday night (an Indian-spiced lentil wrap) by combining the lentils with some Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce. I may be on a new lentil kick….

Anyone else a fan/have good ways of preparing them? I’m looking for ideas!

Other notable meals of the week:

I also really enjoyed my Lemon Dijon Kale and Barley Salad on Monday for lunch

and  had some leftover Red Kidney Bean Curry soup/stew on top of some kale that was rather delicious (I need to post the recipe for this soup… it’s so good).

tastes better than it looks...

 
What was the best thing you packed/ate this week?

Best thing I packed this week (February 24, 2012)

Hi! whose excited for the weekend?

I have had a rather long week  (has anyone else had a busy week?) and am pretty excited to relax a little. I am also craving a good beer so I am hoping to make that happen tonight…. Any suggestions?

Before that time comes though, I must be a productive person and go to work and school (I have a Chem test tonight and Chem lab). The key for me to getting through these long days is having fun little things to look forward to (which usually takes the form of meals and snacks). I bought a few things today to keep my spirits up that I am excited about:

I just ate the  Chobani yogurt (SO GOOD) and plan to have the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Mojo bar as a snack and to sip on the seltzer throughout the day. I’m a little excited for both (it’s all about the little things, right?). I love fun snacks.

Best Thing I Packed this Week

Anyway, other than talking about my busy day and fun snacks, I though I’d end the week by sharing the best things I packed this week!

The winning day of packed meals was on Wednesday of this week, as I packed a delicious lunch and dinner.

Best Lunch: Tuna Salad with Dijon Honey dressing

I made myself a salad for lunch on Wednesday that contained:

  • spinach/romaine (as the base)
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • 1 slice  colby jack cheese (cut into squares)
  • 1/2 can tuna

Dressing:  Dijon Honey dressing I made with:

  • 3 tbsp (approx) apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tsp (approx) dijon mustard
  • 1 squirt (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp?) honey

I also ate a whole wheat wrap on the side that I dipped in the extra dressing and scooped up some of the salad with (I love doing this).

I don’t normally eat a lot of tuna (I think I just forget about it), but it is such an easy/delicious protein option to incorporate into lunches. (Side story… in third grade my friend and I decided we would eat tuna for lunch every.single.day… don’t ask me why. It lasted for a few months, and I literally could not look at tuna for years after that. I’m surprised my mom let me do it and that I didn’t get mercury poisoning… don’t judge me). Anyway, I am glad that my aversion has passed because tuna can be quite delicious every once in a while.

This salad was really simple and contained ingredients that I always have in my fridge, but, for some reason, it tasted extra delicious. Sometimes it’s the simplest foods that are the best.

Best Dinner: Strawberry and Goat Cheese Pita Sandwich

I’ve already posted about my half and half pita sandwich idea (in this post), but since I actually have a picture to show this time around, and since I can’t get over the delicious combo of goat cheese and strawberries, I had to share this again.

My first pita half contained hummus, kale, nutritional yeast and black beans (very similar to my wrap from Monday), but I want to focus the attention on my sweeter half that included:

  • spinach
  • goat cheese
  • chopped strawberries
  • strawberry jelly

I can’t explain to you how much I love this combo. There is something about  the creaminess/saltiness of the goat cheese paired with the sweetness of the strawberries that just works. If you can’t tell, I am a big fan. I can’t   get enough.

Have a great weekend!

What was the best thing you packed this week?

Best thing I packed this week (February 17, 2012)

Hi everyone, Happy Friday!

I am pretty excited because I have the day off of work today! I still have chem lecture + lab from 5-10 tonight, but I refuse to let that dampen my day. It’s so nice to have the morning/afternoon free! What should I do with myself? I’m not used to this freedom…..

Anyway, moving on…. Since it is Friday, I have another installment of “the best thing I packed this week.” I hope you guys are fans of eggs because my favorite meals revolved around them this week. For some reason I was craving egg salad last weekend (which is odd because I rarely crave eggs), so I decided to do something about it. I buckled down, decided to be my domestic self, and I made some hard-boiled eggs (I had no idea what I was doing and had to look up directions... it ended up being really easy, by the way).

Me and eggs have a weird relationship. I either love them or hate them (and there is no in between). I was definitely on the “love” side of the spectrum this week so I just went with it and had some egg-inspired meals….

The best thing I packed this week: Hard-boiled egg edition:

Best Lunch: “Cobb”-esque Salad

For lunch on Monday, I made myself a “Cobb-esque” salad (I am calling it that since it contained no bacon, chicken, or tomatoes like a typical cobb salad, but did have the egg and cheese components…). My salad contained:

  • romaine lettuce
  • carrots
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • mushrooms
  • snap peas
  • a slice of cheddar cheese (cut into squares)
  • 1 chopped hard-boiled egg
  • Dressing: homemade honey mustard dressing made with apple cider vinegar, mustard, honey and pepper

I loved all the different textures and tastes in this salad and the cheddar cheese was a fun addition (I have a similar relationship with cheese as I do with eggs…. love it or hate it). I guess I am in a dairy loving mood this week?

I think I was inspired to make this after seeing a Cobb salad on Pinterest the other week… I have been loving getting food inspiration from the site (side note…. I really want to try to make these apple pies in an apple…).

Best Dinner: Healthy Egg Salad Sandwich

Keeping with the egg theme, my favorite pre-class packed dinner this week was a egg salad wrap that I had on Wednesday night. I made the egg salad by combining (enough for 2 sandwiches):

  • 3 eggs (chopped)
  • 1-2 tbsp greek yogurt (I just eyeballed this)
  • a squirt of dijon mustard (maybe 2 tsp?)
  • pepper
  • a sprinkle of paprika

I made my wrap by combining half the egg salad mixture with some romaine lettuce.

This ended up being so good and definitely satisfied my egg salad craving. Not only was it a protein packed wrap with the addition of both eggs and greek yogurt, it was also a bit healthier than the standard mayo-heavy egg salad you would find in most deli’s or supermarkets.

I was a little nervous to use greek yogurt  as a mayo replacement (I usually use it as a sour cream replacement), but it turned out really well! This tasted  spot on to the mayo-heavy egg salad I remember eating as a child, only this version was so much less dense and calorie heavy! I know some people are against using greek yogurt as a substitute for other condiments, but I am a big fan. It’s just so versatile.

Other notable meals/snacks of the week:

Tofu sandwich with Trader Joe's Lentil Masala dip, cucumber and spinach

Snack of cottage cheese and pumpkin topped with craisins, raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon and raw oats

 What was the best thing you packed this week?

Have a great weekend!

Best thing I packed this week: week 2 (February 10, 2012)

Happy Friday! Anyone doing anything exciting this weekend?

So the time has come again for “The best thing I packed this week” (here is week 1 in case you missed it)!

Best lunch: Roasted brussel sprout, sweet potato and black bean salad (with BBQ hummus dressing)

I can’t take credit for this delicious combination (my sister made it for me), but it was definitely the best thing I ate for lunch this week. Sami (my twin sister who is a busy grad student and lover of healthy packed lunches as well) and I tend to help each other out during the week and make each others lunches on certain days (she usually packs my lunch for Thursday, since I don’t get home until 9:30ish, and I tend to help her out Tuesdays or Fridays). It definitely makes my life a little easier, and I appreciate her SO much for helping me out. Thanks Sam!

This salad contained so many delicious things, I didn’t want it to end. My favorite salads tend be (1) ones with a lot of various ingredients to pick at and taste, or (2) ones that contain different or “less typical” ingredients than the standard salad (think carrot, cucumber, tomato, etc.), This salad definitely fell into the second category with the addition of brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes. I am a BIG fan of both (I love roasted brussel sprouts!), and while I typically eat these types of veggies for dinner, it was fun to enjoy them in the middle of the day. 

 I ate around the spinach first (I usually always save the best parts for last in salads) and left all the brussel sprouts, beans and sweet potatoes for last. This salad contained:

  • spinach
  • sweet potato cubes
  • roasted brussel sprouts
  • black beans
  • quinoa

Dressing: Homemade BBQ dressing made with:

  • BBQ sauce (approx 1 tbsp)… I never really measure these things
  • apple cider vinegar (approx 1-2 tsp)
  • a drop or two of water – to thin it out

I love making my own dressings, since I typically don’t tend like many bottled options, and I like to be in control of how much of certain ingredients I use.  Sami is actually a pretty talented dressing maker and is always whipping up some delicious combinations. My favorites of hers include:

  • BBQ (and BBQ Hummus)
  • Honey Balsamic 
  • Honey Mustard-esque dressing

Making your own dressing is really easy, and I find that they taste just as good (if not better!) than many bottled kinds (I HATE that artificial taste in certain types of dressing). Since a dressing can make or break a salad, they are definitely an important feature of my daily meals. What are your favorite kinds of dressing?

Other notable meals of the week….

kale, goat cheese, kidney bean and veggie "pasta" salad

olive tapenade, hummus and kale on whole wheat

So that concludes the “Best thing I packed this week.” I hope you have a great Friday/weekend!

What was the best thing you packed this week?

Best thing I packed this week (February 3, 2012)

So for a couple of weeks, I was showing and photographing all the meals and snacks I packed for work and school.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

I wanted to do this to:

  • Show how it is possible to pack easy and healthy food  when you are on the go (It is possible to eat plenty of fruits and veggies on a daily basis!)
  • To avoid getting into a food rut and packing the same things all the time

Well, after doing this for a while, I have found that  my current method of showing everything I pack is a  little monotonous and not very useful in helping me brainstorm new meal packing ideas. I find myself taking more time photographing everything than actually focusing on what I care about – making fun/delicious food (This also gives me a whole new respect to the 3x a day bloggers out there…. they are good at what they do)!

Anyway, I think I have come up with an alternative. Instead of showing everything I pack, I plan to showcase or “spotlight”  the most notable or delicious meals that I pack throughout the week. This way, I can focus more on the food and less on documenting my not so beautiful array of Tupperware containers and tinfoil.

So to start things off, here are the “best things I packed this week:”

Best Lunch: Citrus Romaine Salad

This salad was kind of a odd mix of ingredients thrown together that ended up tasting really good.

The star ingredient in this salad concoction was some spaghetti squash that I decided to use last minute.  I usually only think to use this type of squash in Italian-themed dishes because of its “noodle-like” consistency, but the flavor of it is so mild, it worked rather well in this  less “traditional” way. While I am definitely  not one to shy away from weird food combinations, but I swear this was good! The squash soaked up the dressing very well and tasted delicious when paired with the clementine segments that I also added to the mix.

This particular salad contained:

Veggies/Fruit

  • spaghetti squash (it was on the bottom of the container so you can’t really see it)
  • romaine lettuce
  • yellow and orange pepper
  • carrot
  • clementine segments

Protein/Grain:

  • black beans
  • quinoa

Dressing: Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar

Best Dinner: Sweet + Savory Pita Sandwich

I actually forgot to take a photo of this, but lets just say it looked like this (just pretend the chicken is tofu…)

For dinner before class on Wednesday, I packed myself a sandwich using an Arnold’s 8 Grain Pocket Thin (a new product that I heard about from my friend that works for the company!). I saw the Pocket Thins at the store this past weekend and, even though I would probably buy them for myself anyway, I, of course, had to support my friend and pick up a pack.

I packed myself 2 halves (the serving is 100 calories for 1/2…. but I needed a bit more for a meal) with 2 different types of filling; One sweet, one savory.

Half #1 = savory

  • tofu
  • broccoli sprouts
  • cucumber
  • Trader Joe’s lentil masala spread

Half #2 = sweet

  • goat cheese
  • balsamic strawberries (I soaked some chopped strawberries in balsamic vinegar overnight…)
  • spinach

This dinner ended up being so good! The Pocket Thins are so soft and doughy (they have the same sweet/doughy taste that I love so much about sandwich thins), and I loved having two different sandwiches in one.  I ended up eating the savory half first and then the sweet. It was like I had dinner and dessert all in one!  I will most likely be doing this again….

What was the best lunch/dinner/snack you packed (or ate) this week?