It’s Sunday afternoon. You’ve finally made the realization that it’s time to put on your grown-up pants and cook your lunches for the next week (money-saver lesson one). It’s also winter, which means that unless you’re in sunny LA or one of those other rare places that don’t understand seasons, it’s gross outside. All in all, the thought of getting out of your sweat pants and going grocery shopping is just not going to happen. Admit it.

So what do you do? Spend $20 a day getting a gorgeous-looking, gross-tasting gourmet sandwich at the pretentious restaurant down the street? Absolutely not. Turns out, you can make some pretty delicious, relatively easy lunches using what you already have in your kitchen. Here are some of my favorites:

Manestra (Orzo in Tomato Sauce)

  • What you’ll need:
    • 5 tablespoons orzo (or however much is left in the box)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 2 cups canned tomatoes (can be any kind you have, but crushed or puréed will work best)
    • Salt & pepper
    • Parmesan
  • What to do:
    • Put the chicken broth and tomatoes in a pot and bring to a rolling boil
    • Add the orzo and turn the heat to medium low
    • Let simmer until the orzo is cooked. Be sure to stir frequently or the orzo will stick to the bottom
    • Top with parmesan
  • How many lunches do you get? At least two!


Frittata “Cupcakes”

  • What you’ll need:
    • 6 eggs
    • Whatever veggies you have in the fridge, chopped
    • 1/4 cup of your favorite cheese, grated
    • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and any of the spices in your spice rack
    • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • What to do:
    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
    • Melt the butter in a large pan; once melted, add the veggies and a bit of salt and pepper; sauté
    • While the veggies are cooking, whip the eggs in a large bowl with the cheese, a little salt, pepper, garlic powder and the other spices you’ll be using
    • When soft, take off the heat and add to the egg mixture
    • Spray your muffin tin with Pam (or whatever non-stick spray you have); fill each with the egg mixture
    • Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes – they should be puffed up and golden on top
  • How many lunches do you get? Depends on how many cupcakes you have each day!


Mom’s Linguine

  • What you’ll need:
    • Olive oil
    • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1 lemon
    • 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs
    • Dried red pepper flakes
    • Salt
    • 1 box linguine
  • What to do:
    • Bring a large pot of HEAVILY SALTED water to a boil; add the linguine and cook according to the box’s instructions
    • Right after the pasta goes in, heat up the oil in a separate saucepot
    • Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and sauté until the garlic is just beginning to become golden; turn off the heat
    • Once the pasta is done, add it to the saucepan
    • Add the bread crumbs and the juice of a lemon; toss
  • How many lunches do you get? Four


Old Reliable Chicken

  • What you’ll need:
    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 2 cups bread crumbs (whichever you have)
    • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 Tablespoon of any of your favorite herbs (I recommend oregano, parsley and thyme)
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon milk
    • Salt & pepper
    • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Canola oil
  • What to do:
    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
    • Make your dredging station:
      • In one bowl, whip the eggs with the milk
      • In another plate, mix the bread crumbs, parmesan, dried herbs, garlic powder, salt & pepper
    • Put enough canola oil to cover at least an inch of the pan
    • Add the garlic and sauté until golden brown; take out of the pan
    • While the garlic is cooking, begin dredging the chicken: first, put the chicken in the egg mixture until it is well coated; then place in the bread crumbs
    • When the garlic is out of the pan and the oil is super hot, add the chicken pieces until browned; as each is done, take out and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet
    • Once all of the chicken is browned and on the cookie sheet, top with the juice of one lemon
    • Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes
  • How many lunches do you get? Four