Need simple dinner items that can be frozen or made in advance.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by altephor, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. altephor

    altephor

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    The laboratory in which I work is cracking down on lunch breaks, meaning instead of 45 minutes (half hour + a 15 minute break) we now only get a half hour, which means going to pick up food from Subway, Qdoba, etc is now pretty much out of the question.  I work second shift and go to the gym before lunch, so usually I pack a sandwich and small snack for lunch, but don't usually pack dinner.

    Since my schedule is so late, I usually do all my grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon.  I need some meals and/or meal components that are easily made in advance and can either sit in the fridge or be frozen.  Basically, my plan is to do a whole lot of cooking on Sunday, use the refrigerated items until Tues-Weds, and save the frozen things until later in the week.

    Our cafeteria has a microwave and a toaster oven in terms of reheating.  Any ideas would be great, so I don't end up living on Campbell's soup or lukewarm chicken breasts.
     
  2. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Go to Library get yourself 2 books. The Joy of Cooking and The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, both have anything you could want.
     
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,420
    Likes Received:
    645
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    Do you have a refrigerator at work?  If so go and buy yourself a large container with a lid.  Fill it with things like lunch meats, condiments, cheeses, hummus and veggies, enough stuff to last you a week.  Make sandwiches and salads fresh at work. 

    "cracking down" on lunch breaks eh?  What is this country coming to?
     
  4. altephor

    altephor

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Can't boil water
    Well, our policy has always been you get two 15-minute breaks and a half hour lunch.  Because it's a lab, this set up doesn't really work because usually you get screwed out of your 15-minute breaks because usually you can't just up and leave whatever you're doing.  So they let us combine one 15-minute and the lunch, for a 45 minute lunch.  But new management says no-no.

    We do have a fridge in the lunchroom.  Salads are a good idea, but I'm trying to get something beyond lunchmeat since I already eat it for lunch so often.  But thank you for the suggestions.
     
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,644
    Likes Received:
    557
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Simplest thing would be to make some soups, stews, and casseroles. Portion them out into individual sized containers after cooking and freeze them.  You can do this with any of your standard dinner meals, they work well this way as left-overs too.

    Lasagna, baked ziti, rueben casserole, turkey soup after thanksgiving (or anytime really as turkey is pretty affordable) turkey tetrazini, pot roast with vegetables.

    Crock pot dinners portion out just as easily too.
     
  6. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,140
    Likes Received:
    164
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Buy some premade pie shells in the freezer section{ small size }.  the make a mix of half well beaten egg and half cream plus salt and white pepper to taste.in the defrosted pie shell add ie... diced ham and shredded swiss cheese. add the egg/cream mix to come up over the ham and cheese, about 80% full and bake in a 300F oven until almost firm, a little jiggle in the center. set on the counter to cool to room temp. now you have a basic quich. It will refridgerate for days and freezes reasonable well. mico or toaster oven to reheat and take a small salad or cut fruit to the side.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Microwaving quiche makes it like rubber., Ok for home but in a class operation should not be done,
     
  8. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    67
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    If you can invest in a Food-Saver or other vacuum-sealer, you can re-heat frozen (or defrosted) meals in those easily. 

    I've often prepared frozen meals for my mother-in-law (low fat mac and cheese, pot roast, turkey piccata, meatball stew, chicken pot pies, etc. with a potato or other veggie side), and frozen them in microwave-safe disposable dishes with lids I bought at a restaurant supply house in town. True, I had to buy hundreds of them! But no harm in that if you must have disposable, microwaveable dishes. 

    I've noticed a lot of fast-food places serving "bowl" meals lately (for instance Boston Market). Those meals are loaded with fat and salt, but if you make and freeze your own versions, you can have your faves on hand. Defrost them in the fridge so they take only a minute or two to heat, and you've got a nice meal in no time- a nice change from a sandwich or salad.
     
  9. lagom

    lagom

    Messages:
    1,140
    Likes Received:
    164
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Yes it does, but he's looking for things quick and different at work, not serving it for 12.95 a slice. Myself when I had quich on the menu many years ago we made it in a springform and servered it the next day warmed in a radient heat bakers oven. I hope he opts for the toaster oven.
     
  10. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,091
    Likes Received:
    490
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Add chile verde and tortillas to the list of possibilities.  A chunk of pork shoulder overnight in a crock pot with canned tomatillos and a jar of salsa verde isn't the best example of the dish, but can still be tasty.

    mjb.
     
  11. chefedb

    chefedb

    Messages:
    5,516
    Likes Received:
    177
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    tRUE IT IS ONLY FOR HIS CONSUMPTION AND NOT PAYING CUSTOMERS.