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Tasty lunch in a cooler--any ideas?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I would appreciate ideas for lunch that I can prepare in the evening when I have time to cook, and will taste really good from my igloo lunch cooler the next day. I usually park my van in a shady quiet spot and eat lunch.
post #2 of 5
You can always go for the classic muffalata route (mortadella, cheese, and olive salad), there is also pan beignet (tuna, veggies, hard boiled eggs, and vinegrette). Another good one I had was skirtsteak, browned mushrooms, cheeder, and chipoltle mayo. All three sandwiches are pressed overnight.

Tabouli salad is also a good dayafter meal. It's just 2 parts fine grind bulger wheat soaked in 1 part of liquid. Add chopped herbs (I like parsley, spearmint, scallion, and garlic), olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice, diced veggies (Cuccumbers and tomatoes are classic. Shallots are good too.). Add some feta if ya like.
post #3 of 5
I like using a pasta as a base for a salad - macaroni/penne/spiral/bows - adding either drained tinned tuna or diced leftover chicken - really nice if you have some leftover rotisserie/bbq chicken. Add some diced spring onion, celery, capsicum, cucumber, torn up rocket leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, green grapes with the chicken, crispy crumbled bacon pieces - whatever tickles your fancy - chillis if you like 'em. Add a lemony mayonaisse or a sour cream dressing especially with the chicken, good amount of pepper, chopped parsley, toss it, and chill overnight. The flavours develop really well overnight. You could pack the rocket separately - it probably would be better, just pack it alongside your lunch and mix in at last minute the next day.

You could also try things like crumbed lamb cutlets/chops - they taste great cold, or crumbed chicken pieces. Pack a tossed salad to go with.

Tincook - the steak and mushroom sounds delish!
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #4 of 5
Wow! Where to start? The choices are unlimited. Just think in terms of "picnic" instead of "workday lunch" and you'll suddenly open your horizons. Even the classic cold fried chicken with sides is doable, and enjoyable.

I won't even look at sandwiches. They are limited only by your imagination.

Chef's Salad is always a good choice. Basically, toss together some lettuce and other greens. Maybe some chopped red onion, diced bell pepper. Whatever. Then layer (or toss in) julienne strips of cheese and meat. Ham or turkey and Swiss are traditional. But run the changes. Thinly sliced flank steak, for instance, with gruyere is a nice combo. Or even sirloin and a nice blue. Top with your favorite salad dressing. If you like tomato, cut it ahead of time and carry it in a separate container. Then add it to the salad just before eating. If you let it sit overnight the whole thing can turn soggy. I like adding olives at the last minute, too.

Finger pies are equally good whether hot, cold, or at room temperature. Vary the dough (I love them made with a cornmeal pastry) the fillings, and the sauce and you have a different lunch every day. If you need a recipe, let me know and I'll post it.

Grain salads can't be beat. Rice, bulghur, millet, quinoa, barley, etc. all can be used as the base for fantastic salads. This time of year grains work particularly well mixed with fruit. Quinoa and grapes salad, for instance.

So long as you trust your cooler, seafood makes a great picnic luncheon. You could go with plain boil & eat shrimp, for instance. Or as fancy as seafood lollipops with a dipping sauce. Crab salad is an obvious choice, either out of the bowl or as a sandwich. But a crabcake sandwich kicks this idea up a notch or two.

How much to you want to fuss around while in the van? Most sandwich fillings can be used to make lettuce wraps. But you'd have to do the construction in the van, cuz they won't sit overnight without going soggy.

Well, I'm getting carried away, so will give others a chance. Hope some of these ideas click.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, for some great ideas! Plenty to keep my lunches interesting :)
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