Work Lunch Ideas – Autumn 2022

It’s finally Autumn. Working from home is now 2 days a week and the other days I go into the office. So before the Christmas adverts start, I’m sharing this post now!

On the days I go in, I really try my best to make my own food for lunch. It saves me some money, and gives me an excuse not to be lazy. Mrs Travels encouraged me to post some of my lunches (and I think some other food I make but have not posted) onto this blog, as I haven’t posted in a while.

Here’s some ideas which I had circling in my mind to make and try out. I’ve been watching a lot of food videos on YouTube for the past couple of years to get some ideas as well.

Macaroni and Vegetable Soup

I made this one day on the weekend, and thought this isn’t too bad! And it’s really filling. Hong Kongers often have macaroni soup for breakfast and lunch. So I made a slightly similar version.

  1. Add a bowl of water to boil (for 1 serving)
  2. Add one vegetable stock cube (any brand)
  3. Add some pre-cut vegetables – then boil for 2-3 minutes (try and get discounted vegetables – it gives you an excuse to cook them on the day)
  4. Add 2 handfuls of macaroni (add more if needed) – boil for 10 minutes
  5. Cool down, then add to a container and refridgerate if making this the night before.

If you have no microwave to use at work, just reheat the soup in the morning, and add into a food flask. If you’re making this in the morning, add to your food flask straight away. Take some bread rolls or an extra sandwich!

Spaghetti with Japchae sauce

Have you watched the Korean show The Backpacker Chef 백패커? In episode 15, the chefs come up with Pasta Japchae, which I wanted to try making myself. I had a look online to see who else have made this in the past, and saw one post. I already had readymade japchae sauce, which you can buy in Asian or Korean supermarkets.

  1. Cook some spaghetti (add more if you plan to eat some before you pack them).
  2. Stir fry some halved cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers and a couple of frankfurters in a frying pan (usually the Koreans would cook the ingredients separately, but I’m a lazy Geek, and this recipe is supposed to easy).
  3. Then drain the spaghetti, place in a bowl, add the stir fried ingredients into the spaghetti and finally added the ready made Japchae sauce and additional sesame oil (I find the japchae sauce doesn’t have enough sesame oil in it).
  4. Mixed it all together and finally pack it. There was space left in my container, so I made a Chinese style spring onion omelette. Nothing fancy.

When I had this the next day, I noticed that the spaghetti had soaked up the japchae sauce, and it tasted great! I bought some more spaghetti too.

Tinned Mackerel Stew & Rice

There was some tinned mackerel at home, which I was planning to make this in Hastings but that never happened, so the tinned mackerel came back to London. I actually found a recipe on YouTube, but only looked at the ingredients used, and used my own instinct to create my own version. .

One day I bought a pack of mushrooms in Tesco as it was on discount (33p). Thought they would come in handy for a work lunch.

So in this one pot stew, you can add any vegetables for this but here I just chose what I had:

  1. Added olive oil to the pan, and fried all the mushrooms in one go (they shrink, so it was fine).
  2. Added some chopped onions, and the last of my cherry tomatoes, and stirred it in.
  3. After a couple of minutes, I added 2 tins of brined mackerel into the pan with the brine included (you can drain it if you want to).
  4. Stir, then add some salt, 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, a table of corn syrup (or add some sugar, but corn syrup is not too sweet), a cube of vegetable stock and half a cup of water (add a tiny bit more water if needed), white pepper (optional), a sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional) and some chilli powder (optional). Stir and turn down to a medium heat, and boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Cool down for a few minutes before serving with some rice.

I scoffed my dinner down and happy that I made this with the thought of having this for lunch the next day!

Leftover stew and rice packed away… the stew can be heated the next morning, and added into a food flask, if you don’t want to stink up the work office kitchen!

Swedish Meatballs and Vegetable Soup

Have you gone into Icelands or Morrisons recently? In the frozen section, you’ll see bags of Swedish meatballs. It looks like they’re popular. Instead of eating them the Ikea or Swedish way, I tried using them to make a soup.

  1. Add olive oil to the saucepan, then add in as many frozen meatballs as you want… and fry for a little bit
  2. Add any chopped vegetables. Here I added an onion, carrots and spring onions. Fry with the meatballs for a minute
  3. Add 2 cups of water, vegetable stock cube and tomatoe paste, (optional: Add a teaspoon of sugar if you like a sweeter taste) then boil for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with pasta and rice … and make sure to leave some for work!

And if all stews and soups and pastas fail, there’s the ultimate traditional egg fried rice with a veggie and meat side dish!