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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: mozar on June 01, 2016, 10:57:39 AM

Title: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: mozar on June 01, 2016, 10:57:39 AM
You know how food served on an airplane is spicier because of how being in an airplane dulls your sense of smell? That's what eating lunch in an office feels to me. I'm out of ideas of what to take. This week has been home made falafel in a pita with vinegared radishes, shredded carrots, hummus, and roast potatoes. I can hardly finish it tastes so bland to me. Any recipes or suggestions?  It has to be something I can make on Sunday and will last 5 days in the fridge because I won't cook during the week. I don't want to eat pasta. I would eat animal products but its not my preference. All I have at work is a microwave.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: horsepoor on June 01, 2016, 11:05:38 AM
I'd do curries.  You can make them as spicy as you want.  Bonus points for starting with fresh ginger, lemongrass, etc.  Could do tofu for the protein if you want to stay vegetarian.  Or make a spicy dahl with lentils.  Or palak paneer (can use Mexican queso fresco instead of paneer). 
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: abiteveryday on June 01, 2016, 11:09:51 AM
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/16641/red-lentil-curry/ (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/16641/red-lentil-curry/)

It's good, healthy, cheap, and can be as spicy as you make it
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: elaine amj on June 01, 2016, 11:34:58 AM
I do a lot of curries but avoid bringing it to my office for lunch (some of my coworkers don't like the smell and admittedly, its strong). What about chana masala? I haven't attempted making it on my own, but it reheats well.

Anything that uses sriracha sauce? You can also get a jar of chilli oil and add it to a lot of food to get the zing.

A stirfry with sriracha sauce and/or lots of chilli peppers tossed it?

Mexican food with lots of jalapenos/other chillis?

Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: trashmanz on June 01, 2016, 11:42:53 AM
I have been looking for a curry dal recipe.  Can make as tasty as you want.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: mozar on June 01, 2016, 12:38:17 PM
That's a good start. I've struggled with lentils in the past they either come out hard or mushy. I'll have to try again. I don't think smelly foods would be a problem.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: dinkhelpneeded on June 01, 2016, 12:43:36 PM
Since boredom is part of the equation. I'd suggestion a wednesday intervention (something easy)

Boil eggs on a wednesday (add to lunches on Wed, Thu, Fri)
Add a pre-made salad
Chilli oil or sriracha is always a good addition
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: mozar on June 01, 2016, 12:50:46 PM
Boiling is too much too ask of me on a weeknight :) But I do boil eggs for the week.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: rocklebock on June 01, 2016, 12:51:46 PM
I just had a burrito made with the spicy black beans recipe from Budget Bytes, spinach rice, and feta cheese. I often make about 10 burritos on Sunday night and then freeze them.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: rockstache on June 01, 2016, 01:02:43 PM
Budget bytes turkey sriracha meatloaf is spicy and delicious. We also add diced green pepper to ours. I highly recommend it.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: GuitarStv on June 01, 2016, 01:07:53 PM
Curries work well, and between Indian style stuff and Thai you've got a wide variety to choose from.  Chinese Sichuan Dan Dan noodles are tasty and not too hard to make.  You can always do a mean, spicy chili (use beer instead of broth for extra flavour) too.

My personal favourite is BBQ'd jerk chicken.  Properly jerked chicken will make you cry when you cook it, then cry again when you eat it . . . but somehow it's still awesome.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: horsepoor on June 01, 2016, 01:12:41 PM
Boiling is too much too ask of me on a weeknight :) But I do boil eggs for the week.

Steaming HB eggs has changed my life.  They practically peel themselves.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/04/steamed-hard-boiled-eggs-recipe.html

Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: galliver on June 01, 2016, 02:22:06 PM
I'm a carnivore but maybe you can modify these ideas for a more vegetarian option:

Some-assembly-required tacos: I bring filling, salsa, cilantro and/or greens, cheese or sour cream, avocado, and tortillas (wrapped in damp paper towels). Warm up the tortillas and filling, assemble and nom the taco. Can get messy. Taco mac with lots of peppers and onions was also a great flavor but you said no pasta.

Sushi variations: veggie rolls (with spicy pepper, wasabi, sriracha, or sriracha mayo), or bowls with some rice, desired toppings, a sauce, sprinkled shredded nori flakes. "California bowl" is usually easiest (crabsticks, cucumber, avocado). Could also do sushi-rito (toppings +rice wrapped up like a burrito, not cut). Wouldn't last long in the fridge before getting soggy but might bring variety to Monday and maybe Tuesday?
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Brokenreign on June 01, 2016, 04:01:29 PM
My go-to is to fry potatoes, onions, peppers and whatever other veggies I can find with garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in some jalapenos or tiny Thai death peppers (I believe that's their Latin name). After that's all cooked down I add tofu or eggs. Cook til done. Cover with cheese, take the pan off heat and cover until the cheese melts. Throw the mix into wraps and drown in Sri racha sauce.  Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze. The freezing makes the potatoes more tender so undercook them slightly if you want an firmer texture after they're thawed.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: wenchsenior on June 01, 2016, 04:09:42 PM
Given my lack of enthusiasm for preparing lunches for my husband as bitched about in another thread, I am TOTALLY following this for ideas. Also, I apparently need to buy Si Racha sauce. Somehow, I've never owned any.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Brokenreign on June 01, 2016, 04:26:25 PM
Given my lack of enthusiasm for preparing lunches for my husband as bitched about in another thread, I am TOTALLY following this for ideas. Also, I apparently need to buy Si Racha sauce. Somehow, I've never owned any.

I am insanely jealous of you right now. Your life is about to improve immeasurably after you try it. I wish I could go back and try it again for the first time.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: sheepstache on June 01, 2016, 04:43:50 PM
A vegetarian roommate would make this on the weekend and eat it throughout the weekend.  I'm not vegetarian but I love it. I also like that the heat mostly comes from the jalapeno so it's not as harsh as when it all comes from dried spices. You can add as much or as little jalapeno as you like, of course.

Quinoa Vegetable Stew/Chili

1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed well and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 large carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14.5 oz. can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
3/4 c. basic vegetable stock or water
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, cubed
1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 c. fresh or frozen peas
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
freshly milled black pepper
grated cheddar or monterey jack cheese (optional)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/2 to 1 fresh minced jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 to 2 cups cooked pinto, chick, or garbanzo beans (optional)
 
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to very low, cover, and simmer until the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the carrot and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrot is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes more.
 
Add the tomatoes and their juice, vegetable stock or water, bell pepper, zucchini, corn, peas, cumin, coriander, oregano, chili powder, and cayenne (and jalapeno).  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are cooked to the desired doneness, 10 to 15 minutes.  (Add beans after 5 minutes.) Stir in the quinoa and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot, garnished with the cheese and/or sprinking of cilantro, if desired.

Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: horsepoor on June 01, 2016, 06:01:55 PM
Given my lack of enthusiasm for preparing lunches for my husband as bitched about in another thread, I am TOTALLY following this for ideas. Also, I apparently need to buy Si Racha sauce. Somehow, I've never owned any.

I am insanely jealous of you right now. Your life is about to improve immeasurably after you try it. I wish I could go back and try it again for the first time.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/sriracha
(http://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-img/comics/sriracha/4.png)
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: meghan88 on June 01, 2016, 06:21:11 PM
Ah ... The Oatmeal ... love that guy!
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: wenchsenior on June 01, 2016, 07:33:12 PM
Nice! Next shopping trip...
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: ubermich on June 01, 2016, 09:18:51 PM
Wow, I am following this thread.  To think I ate chicken soup almost every day this school year...  (I am not a smart man.)
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Radagast on June 01, 2016, 10:38:18 PM
Dave's Private Reserve can make the most boring meal a tasty inferno. It may look expensive, but dipping in even the tiniest part of a toothpick allows you to inscribe letters of fire, so it's safe to say 5 ounces is at least a year's supply. Overkill, yes. Boring, no.

http://www.hotsauce.com/Dave-s-2014-Gourmet-Insanity-Scorpion-Reserve-p/1108r.htm
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: eyesonthehorizon on June 02, 2016, 12:25:25 AM
...home made falafel...

This tells me you haven't added enough cayenne into your falafel. Do. I also suggest extra cumin & paprika.

More generally, start cooking with at least 1.5x the spices any recipe suggests, and explore fresh herbs (you can make a lot of intensely flavored sauces ahead for tacos/ falafel/ pasta/ general food ahead of time by combining an intense flavor - cilantro, lime, basil, sage - with a fat - coconut milk, crema or sour cream, hummus, butter - and then using it to dress otherwise-bland boiled or steamed dishes). But a few shakers of different powdered peppers, ideally roasted ones (chiles arbol, cayenne, New Mexico) can go a long way to keeping things interesting.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: rpr on June 02, 2016, 01:09:04 AM
Dave's Private Reserve can make the most boring meal a tasty inferno. It may look expensive, but dipping in even the tiniest part of a toothpick allows you to inscribe letters of fire, so it's safe to say 5 ounces is at least a year's supply. Overkill, yes. Boring, no.

http://www.hotsauce.com/Dave-s-2014-Gourmet-Insanity-Scorpion-Reserve-p/1108r.htm

I had Dave's hot sauce (not the scorpion) without knowing how spicy it would be. Against the admonitions of my colleague, I put about 10 drops of this into some rather bland pasta. Suffice it to say, my mouth and stomach were burning for quite a while afterwards. The devil's hot sauce.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Rezdent on June 02, 2016, 06:24:17 AM
I keep a few things in my desk drawer to change things up - soy sauce, hot sauce and a Cajon seasoning blend.  That way, if my food needs kicking up in the moment, I can add something to it.
If I didn't have a desk drawer, I'd probably keep these in my backpack.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: ltt on June 02, 2016, 06:34:58 AM
Our daughter loves spicy food--and she usually puts cayenne pepper on almost everything she eats.  Maybe keep some spices at your work, that way you can add whatever heat level you want that day.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: mozar on June 02, 2016, 11:01:55 AM
Thanks for the ideas so far.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: zephyr911 on June 02, 2016, 11:11:46 AM
Last week I bought 48oz of hot smoked sausage, threw it on the grill, and stirfried three different kinds of veggies and/or veggie mixes while it cooked. Ended up with 12 meals for about $14. Low carb (a new experiment for me), tasty, and spicy. Each of my varieties was spiced with a different blend, but I like to throw in things like red/black pepper, cumin, season salt, Cajun spice, lemon pepper, etc.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: CLB on June 02, 2016, 11:24:35 AM
For anything Mexican or Tex-Mex, I add El Yucateco Kutbil-ik.

(http://www.hotsaucefever.com/images/sauces/7/xtra-hot-sauce-salsa-kutbil-ik-de-chile-habanero.jpg)

http://www.elyucateco.com/products/salsas-picantes/salsa-kutbilik (http://www.elyucateco.com/products/salsas-picantes/salsa-kutbilik)
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: ReadySetMillionaire on June 02, 2016, 11:26:21 AM
I think the best thing is to focus on foods that provide what I'll loosely call a "blank canvas." Rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lentils, etc. You can season these a million different ways. For protein, I alternate between chicken, steak, and pork. Those are also blank canvases as well.

For example, this week I made spicy sweet potatoes and garlic crusted chicken. And even though I've had chicken and sweet potatoes 1,000 times for lunch, just switching up the seasoning every week makes it taste pretty darn good.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: dcozad999 on June 03, 2016, 10:42:54 AM
I do a lot of curries but avoid bringing it to my office for lunch (some of my coworkers don't like the smell and admittedly, its strong). What about chana masala? I haven't attempted making it on my own, but it reheats well.

Anything that uses sriracha sauce? You can also get a jar of chilli oil and add it to a lot of food to get the zing.

A stirfry with sriracha sauce and/or lots of chilli peppers tossed it?

Mexican food with lots of jalapenos/other chillis?


You must not work in IT then.  :)

I use Chipotle Tabasco sauce as a go to. It's not spicy but has a lot of flavor.

 
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Maya Freegalson on June 08, 2016, 05:42:47 PM
Make your own Thai curry paste and then make a Thai curry. It is honestly so delicious and flavourful, and very spicy. I used to see Thai food as a cuisine that would be difficult to make at home - but it's not at all. This would be great for weekly lunches because most of the work is in making the paste, and you could make a big batch of paste and then freeze it. The actual making of the curry on Sunday would be really simple.

I wanted to post the recipe but the blog it was on is no longer functional and I can't seem to find my printout. But I am sure there are lots of recipes for homemade Thai curry paste online. It is 100 times better than the store-bought stuff.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: mozar on June 09, 2016, 11:01:49 AM
Maya, what do you put in your curry? Honestly what I really want is food that lasts all week. But rice only lasts about 3 days before it gets gummy. Any suggestions for prolonging rice? I made a jambalaya for this week and it got gummy quickly.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Adge on June 09, 2016, 11:20:14 AM
Maya, what do you put in your curry? Honestly what I really want is food that lasts all week. But rice only lasts about 3 days before it gets gummy. Any suggestions for prolonging rice? I made a jambalaya for this week and it got gummy quickly.

Are you mixing the rice with the jambalaya or do you store them separate? I don't like rice that's been sitting in sauce for more than a couple days, but if I keep it in a separate tupperware it stays good for a week. Cooked rice also freezes well.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: noodlestache on June 09, 2016, 11:29:07 AM
I freeze rice all the time. After cooking a batch in a rice cooker I like to divide it into single sized portions and wrap in saran wrap or a fold top sandwich bag. Freezing it preserves the texture better than refrigerating it and is more convenient, unless you're making fried rice, then day old refrigerated rice is best. In the morning I throw a frozen rice ball into my lunch bag with whatever I'm eating, then remove the plastic wrap before nuking it. For Jambalaya I'm not really sure how to prevent the rice from getting gummy if it's already mixed into the stew since it will continue to absorb the sauce as time passes. I would recommend keeping the stew separate from the rice when storing leftovers.

I bring my lunch to work every day and typically do curries, stews, chili or some sort of noodle dish or soup. I keep Tapatio and Sriracha in my desk to use as needed too, those are great.  There was a sale on pork shoulder not too long ago so I made a huge batch of pressure cooked pulled pork seasoned with spicy bbq sauce. Ate it in sandwiches and also with some veggies on its own when I got tired of eating bread.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Maya Freegalson on June 09, 2016, 07:19:43 PM
Quote
Maya, what do you put in your curry? Honestly what I really want is food that lasts all week. But rice only lasts about 3 days before it gets gummy. Any suggestions for prolonging rice? I made a jambalaya for this week and it got gummy quickly.

I usually put tofu or chicken, lots of vegetables and yes, rice. We usually make rice for 2-3 days and then make more on a weekday evening or morning using the rice cooker. But if you find boiling to be too much during the week, then the rice cooker probably will be too! I really like the idea of freezing rice above.

Instead of rice you could maybe try quinoa. I've had it instead of rice in a few dishes recently and it also absorbs sauces well. You could also try couscous or Israeli couscous. Or perhaps a slightly more radical but healthier option: cauliflower rice.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: Lmoot on June 09, 2016, 08:40:23 PM
Habanero salsa hot wings. You can either make or buy naked chicken wings. For the salsa chop up habanero chili peppers, red onions, and tomatoes, and pour in some olive oil and vinegar, garlic salt and pepper, and toss with wings. You can add some avocado or fresh mango for different flavors. If you buy the chicken cooked it takes less than 5 min to prepare.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: elaine amj on June 10, 2016, 09:15:39 AM
I freeze a lot of rice too - typically whatever is leftover after dinner. And rice stores ok in the fridge without getting gummy if you keep it separate from sauce. I do find white rice dries out after a few days in the fridge though - i usually sprinkle water before reheating in the microwave. Otherwise, freezing is the best. I have a bunch of baggies with half cup servings of rice in the freezer.
Title: Re: Spicy, tasty options for lunch
Post by: mozar on June 10, 2016, 09:25:44 AM
Wow, frozen rice balls! That's a whole 'nother level of terrific ideas.