It's the last friday of Vegan Mofo and the last lesson of lunchbox school. This week we'll be talking about the somewhat less glamorous topics of planning and preparation.
Lesson 4: Plan and Prep
The two things that make all lunchbox making endeavors go smoothly. This week I've made two boxes out of the same four key ingredients while less than ten minutes cooking time each morning.
Think Before You Buy
At the moment I make lunches two days a week, thursdays and fridays but I start thinking about lunch on a monday. I'm not an incredibly organised person or anything and I don't spend long thinking about it but as I draw up my shopping list I like to have a decent idea of what type of things I'm going to put in my box. It means I can make sure I buy all the food I need. This week I bought tofu, french beans, grapes and rice.
Leftovers, Overlap, Freezing Portions
Leftovers in your lunch box is a good option. In this box I used leftover curry. Think too about side dishes. If you are making glazed carrots the night before why not make a few extra for the box.
Overlap is another very handy thing. I knew that both days this week I was going to use the same ingredients so I was able to prep all in one go. The beans all got chopped at the same time. I boiled the rice one day and stir fried the leftovers the next.
You can also freeze things in lunchtime portions. If you only want two tablespoons of something like hosin mustard tofu (like this) then why not make a full batch and freeze the rest for next week.
You want to make fabulous, attractive, diverse lunches without doing all the work of making four or five tiny dishes each morning.
The Morning After The Night Before
So to make it easy for yourself you want to wake up in the morning knowing roughly what to put in your lunch and to have some of it leftover or prepped from another meal. You also have the option of getting things ready the night before though. In both these boxes the tofu was started the night before. The teriyaki tofu was put to marinate and the red hot saucy tofu was fried. In the morning I fried the teriyaki and put sauce on the fried tofu and done.
Nothing left to do but halve the grapes. Two lunches in ten minutes with the same four key ingredients: rice, teriyaki tofu, green beans and grapes, and fried rice with red hot saucy tofu and grapes.
Hope you enjoyed lunchbox school, it's possible a bonus lesson will come before the end of Mofo...