Frozen Lunches for work- need suggestions!

sedwaFebruary 23, 2002

We're in economy mode, and are trying our luck at sending DH to work with a lunch instead of spending $10 a day to eat sandwiches. Today it was turkey Lasagne, which DH loves. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of other recipes which immediately come to mind- easy to freeze, easy to divide, easy to eat after zapping in the microwave. Also, while we're not neurotic about our fat intake, we don't eat much red meat or casserole-y type food high in sodium.

any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks a bunch!

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Does it have to be frozen? I'd make extra food the night before and send leftovers in a cooler.

I've found homemade soup and chili to freeze really well. Chili can be poured over the top of a lot of things like tamales, hot dogs or baked potatoes. I don't know about tomales, I've never made them, but hot dogs and baked potatoes can be made ahead and refrigerated.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2002 at 11:29AM
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What does he have access to at work? (Refrigerator, microwave, oven, etc.) I'm curious to see what kind of responses you get because I'd like ideas too. I think most things that Lean Cuisine sells can be mimicked at home. We made Chicken Enchiladas once and individually wrapped the leftovers in aluminum foil and stuck them in the freezer. Those kinds of things could be easily unwrapped and zapped in the microwave at your convenience. You could also make and freeze things like fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti, in fact... all sorts of pastas and sauces freeze nicely. Like the above post mentioned, we've put individual size servings of leftover chili in ziploc bags and froze them. They heat up easily! What about your DH keeping a loaf of bread, peanut butter, bag of chips, etc. at work for lunch. He could always pack the fixin's (lunch meat, mayo, etc.) the night before in a cooler and/or store them in the company refrigerator the day he wants to use them. In my file cabinet at work I have oatmeal (individually prepared with brown sugar, separated, and packaged by me), a box of Easy Mac (not the best but it works), Ragu Express, and plastic spoons/bowls. The last two aren't the cheapest methods but are convenient and still cost less than most items.

My best advice is to cruise the frozen food section at your local supermarket, take a peak at all the Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice entrees, Hungry Man, Budget Gourmet, etc. and see what you might be able to duplicate at home. I think the most trouble you'll have is trying to find packaging materials to freeze your homeade entrees in. Buy some disposable storage containers but don't dispose of them until they've seen plenty of washings and/or some cheapo tupperware to use especially for freezing meals. You'll have fun racking your brain for ideas once you see what is already out there. Good luck to you!!!


    Bookmark   March 1, 2002 at 1:18AM
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Try the Hamburger helpers and those, they are easy to make and you can freeze them individually and then bring them out for lunches. They microwave easy and are filling. Meatloaf is good and just about any casserole.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2002 at 1:34PM
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Well, if he was paying $10 for sandwiches each day, why not ask him what kind of sandwiches he was purchasing and get the ingredients to make him some of those to take with him instead. If he has access to a microwave, you could freeze some sliced leftver chicken or turkey in some gravy, pack a couple slices of bread separately and he could have hot turkey, chicken, roast beef, etc. sandwiches. You could cook ahead some turkey pattys in a good onion gravy, divide them up into serving sizes and send him a potato to microwave. Or you could send him with a good sized potato and some stuffing contents like cheese, chicken breast and broccoli or chili & cheese stuffing. Spanish rice with ground turkey or chicken, rice, tomatoes, bell pepper, peas, carrots freezes well as does arroz con pollo. Thin slices of round steak cooked with tomatoes, onion, & bell pepper served over leftover rice. I have a husband that has the luxury of coming home for lunch. I let the weather be my guide. The colder the weather, the warmer the lunch. The hotter the weather, the simpler the lunch.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2002 at 9:42PM
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I do lots of chili and stew with sandwiches, subs or wraps but somtimes cabbage rolls, burritos, sausage rolls & pizza work well. If you have leftover sausage with saurkraat or onions you can heat it and put it in a themos and send him with a slice of bead or bun.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2002 at 12:36PM
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All of the above sound good. You can got to a Dollar General Store and buy those divided plates w/lids and fix leftovers in them and freeze for a lunch. They are not that expensive. They last a while, just remember that Spaghetti and tomato dishes stain plastics very easy when reheating in a microwave. Homemade soup is a good item to fix up and freeze that can be reheated in a flash.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2002 at 11:47PM
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I know these are not the cheapest, but check out the Glade containers that can go in the freezer, dishwasher, oven and micorwave. I think I got huge ones, that were 3 for $6 for family size lasanges. I know they have individual size ones too.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2002 at 3:39PM
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I've been doing a lot of this lately, as my wife and I both need lunches that are ready in the fridge/freezer in the morning.

I cook up a batch of chilli, like 6 quarts worth, and freeze it in the Glad lunch containers. Why that brand? Because it has more than one compartment in it, and it's the only one I've seen where the lid actually forms separate seals in each compartment. I've wanted that for years, now I've found it. We cook up corn bread with the chilli, and it freezes well also. Now if you tip your lunch after it thaws, the chilli doesn't slop all over the cornbread. I just have to pull out the cornbread and nuke it separately; it takes a lot less time.

Beef stew and a hearty dark bread are also a great combo.

Pizza works too, but only if there's a toaster oven. Nuke it to reheat, then dry it back out in the oven for 5 minutes.

Finally, my wife slices up some carrots, bell peppers, and celery about twice a week and throws them in a ziplock sandwich bag with cherry tomatoes. It's a cheap, healthy side dish. But the peppers last in the fridge uncut, but get soft after 2-3 days once cut.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2002 at 12:43PM
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Just so you know I don't work for Glad, my wife bought the Ziplock disposable containers this week, and they also have seals between the different compartments. Didn't know that when I put the last post up.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2002 at 9:18PM
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Not working at the moment but when I did.........I just cooked plenty for supper in the evening and made a lunch for myself for the next day. If I had any leftovers I always froze them even if luch for the next day was already done......I love the little disposable containers too but I never dispose of mine..LOL ..I just keep on using them.....

    Bookmark   May 1, 2002 at 12:59PM
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I sometimes freeze leftovers for lunch and I really like soup without potatoes (they get mushy), mashed potatoes and gravy (they're fine if mashed already :)), and chicken and dressing. You can freeze these and then eat with a side salad.
Oh, FYI, scrambled eggs and eggplant do NOT freeze well!!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2002 at 1:22AM
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These may not be frozen, but they're for nuking at work.
Hope it helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: microwavable lunch recipes

    Bookmark   August 3, 2002 at 9:27PM
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I packed a lunch for years and found pasta casseroles very convenient, like ratatoule with sauteed onions, hamburger,spices, tomato sauce or your favorite pasta sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. I froze individual servings, took a plate or keep one at work (but may be inconvenient to wash there) to heat in the microwave. I used pint plastic containers had had cottage cheese or wwhatever and tossed them if they looked messy and thast didn't cost me anything. I also liked to make a pot of beef veg soup or Albondigas (meatball soup). Recipe below. Very easy, very quick,very good. I never measured anything, make your own variations.


1-2# lean or reg. hamburger
1 egg
1-2 Tbs raw rice
1-2 Tbs finely chopped onion

Boil about 1 qt water in small soup pot. Mix in bowl with hands until well blended. Form small meatballs about the size of walnuts (I like them smaller) and carefully drop into water. When done, I add diced celery, small diced potato, chopped tomato (optional), sliced carrots. When boiling, skim foam with slotted spoon. Simmer for about half hour until vegs are tender. Taste for salt Serve with hot tortillas or french bread. If you use smaller amount of meat add beef bouillion, this requires less salt.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2002 at 12:42AM
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here's my all favorite veggie enchiladas

1 bag of large tortillas
1 bag of Cascadian farms Aztec mix ( available in most grocery stores in the frozen organic aisle).

Oil a large baking pan. Warm 8-10 tortillas in microwave. Thaw the Aztec mix in microwave. Add your fav salsa to it and mix.
Add a generous helping of the aztec mix to the center of each tortilla,
sprinkle with grated cheddar or mexican cheese and roll.

Arrange in the baking dish so the tortillas are not in contact with each other. Add more salsa on top of each tortilla but - i also
add tomatillo sauce. Sprinkle with more cheese. Cover with aluminium foil and Bake at 350 C for 30-45 min until the tortillas begin to crisp.

I wrap each tortilla in aluminium foil and freeze individual portions. Make a great lunch !!


    Bookmark   March 26, 2003 at 4:51PM
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This is not a frozen recipe, but I have a George Forman grill (the small one) in the kitchen at work, and I can make hambergers from frozen patties, grilled cheese (take the makings in a lunch bag in the morning; keep the spray butter in the fridge), you can grill veggies, all sorts of things. That way, you have a hot lunch w/ mimimal fuss.

Sorry, I know this is off topic-- :):)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2003 at 1:43PM
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