Author Topic: The Price of a Lunch Salad Went Berserk While You Were Working From Home  (Read 8975 times)

Zikoris

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Just talking to a coworker about this last night.  He's doing Hello Fresh, because he can't cook and was eating out too much.  However, he complained that because he can't cook, the recipes that say 20 minutes are really 40-45, etc.  He needs more practice.

Lol, I am so curious WTF he's doing, when those kits are literally zero prep at all - everything is already chopped/portioned/cleaned/ measured for you, and there's also zero mental work in thinking about what to make, what ingredients you need, where did I put the paprika, etc.

Villanelle

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Just talking to a coworker about this last night.  He's doing Hello Fresh, because he can't cook and was eating out too much.  However, he complained that because he can't cook, the recipes that say 20 minutes are really 40-45, etc.  He needs more practice.

Lol, I am so curious WTF he's doing, when those kits are literally zero prep at all - everything is already chopped/portioned/cleaned/ measured for you, and there's also zero mental work in thinking about what to make, what ingredients you need, where did I put the paprika, etc.

I've said several times that I (a 40+ yo woman) learned to cook during Covid, thanks largely to Hello Fresh.  I come from a family of cooks--scratch cooks who make amazing things, often either  without recipes, or with recipes that they make many significant changes to.  But cooking always overwhelmed me.  With HelloFresh, over time I was eventually able to see patterns so that I can now actually make some things without a recipe.  And I also have basic ideas for things to make, because choosing what to make was one of the most stressful parts.  I've made a recipe book out of HelloFresh cards, in fact.  But it really bolstered my confidence, helped me see patterns so I can make something from what I have on hand, and gave me a manageable list of recipes from which to work, and feel confident. 

But HelloFresh is definitely not chopped and prepped.  You get a whole onion and must dice it, a whole jalepeno which you much deseed and slice, a lime you need to zest and squeeze, potatoes to wash, carrots to peel (it says to do that, but I generally skip that step), etc.  Sometimes you even need to measure. ("Add 1 tsp of WhateverSpice.  Make sure to measure as we sent more.")   It varies from meal to meal, but often there is a fair amount of chopping and other prep.  (Probably no more than 10 minutes.) 

Zikoris

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Just talking to a coworker about this last night.  He's doing Hello Fresh, because he can't cook and was eating out too much.  However, he complained that because he can't cook, the recipes that say 20 minutes are really 40-45, etc.  He needs more practice.

Lol, I am so curious WTF he's doing, when those kits are literally zero prep at all - everything is already chopped/portioned/cleaned/ measured for you, and there's also zero mental work in thinking about what to make, what ingredients you need, where did I put the paprika, etc.

I've said several times that I (a 40+ yo woman) learned to cook during Covid, thanks largely to Hello Fresh.  I come from a family of cooks--scratch cooks who make amazing things, often either  without recipes, or with recipes that they make many significant changes to.  But cooking always overwhelmed me.  With HelloFresh, over time I was eventually able to see patterns so that I can now actually make some things without a recipe.  And I also have basic ideas for things to make, because choosing what to make was one of the most stressful parts.  I've made a recipe book out of HelloFresh cards, in fact.  But it really bolstered my confidence, helped me see patterns so I can make something from what I have on hand, and gave me a manageable list of recipes from which to work, and feel confident. 

But HelloFresh is definitely not chopped and prepped.  You get a whole onion and must dice it, a whole jalepeno which you much deseed and slice, a lime you need to zest and squeeze, potatoes to wash, carrots to peel (it says to do that, but I generally skip that step), etc.  Sometimes you even need to measure. ("Add 1 tsp of WhateverSpice.  Make sure to measure as we sent more.")   It varies from meal to meal, but often there is a fair amount of chopping and other prep.  (Probably no more than 10 minutes.)

Oh, that's interesting. When I've seen Youtube videos of meal prep kits it seems like most of them chop and portion everything for you ahead of time. And of course wrap it all in a mountain of plastic.

kite

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/inflation-lunch-work-from-home-11647611074?st=ddv2ix4mo3ljyr9&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

The whole article is interesting, but this is the money quote:

Quote
Mark Davis, a 30-year-old tech sales representative in Chicago, returned to working from the office two or three days a week in October. He says he is spending roughly $50 more every day on food and commuting than he was while working remotely. 

ďBut whether itís because of the commute, having to carry an extra bag, putting it in the floorís fridge and all the additional steps, I donít enjoy bringing food in.Ē What was once a $9 sandwich from a local sandwich chain now costs $15 or $16, he says. ďBut what am I going to do, not eat something?Ē

I'd be spending a similar amount, but all of it commuting. Between the gas, parking at the train station, the train ticket and the subway, it's $50. No sandwich.
 

Cranky

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Just talking to a coworker about this last night.  He's doing Hello Fresh, because he can't cook and was eating out too much.  However, he complained that because he can't cook, the recipes that say 20 minutes are really 40-45, etc.  He needs more practice.

Lol, I am so curious WTF he's doing, when those kits are literally zero prep at all - everything is already chopped/portioned/cleaned/ measured for you, and there's also zero mental work in thinking about what to make, what ingredients you need, where did I put the paprika, etc.

I've said several times that I (a 40+ yo woman) learned to cook during Covid, thanks largely to Hello Fresh.  I come from a family of cooks--scratch cooks who make amazing things, often either  without recipes, or with recipes that they make many significant changes to.  But cooking always overwhelmed me.  With HelloFresh, over time I was eventually able to see patterns so that I can now actually make some things without a recipe.  And I also have basic ideas for things to make, because choosing what to make was one of the most stressful parts.  I've made a recipe book out of HelloFresh cards, in fact.  But it really bolstered my confidence, helped me see patterns so I can make something from what I have on hand, and gave me a manageable list of recipes from which to work, and feel confident. 

But HelloFresh is definitely not chopped and prepped.  You get a whole onion and must dice it, a whole jalepeno which you much deseed and slice, a lime you need to zest and squeeze, potatoes to wash, carrots to peel (it says to do that, but I generally skip that step), etc.  Sometimes you even need to measure. ("Add 1 tsp of WhateverSpice.  Make sure to measure as we sent more.")   It varies from meal to meal, but often there is a fair amount of chopping and other prep.  (Probably no more than 10 minutes.)

Oh, that's interesting. When I've seen Youtube videos of meal prep kits it seems like most of them chop and portion everything for you ahead of time. And of course wrap it all in a mountain of plastic.

We got Blue Apron for a while, and nothing was prechopped except sometimes chicken. And honestly, it was no more plastic than going to the grocery store, plus I didnít have to run around looking for not easily available ingredients.

I have been cooking for over 50 years. I like cooking. I have worked in restaurants. I have been a personal chef, though it wasnít called that at the time.

I like to do all the prep work and have everything set out in little bowls before I start cooking. I can do it all at once, but I donít enjoy it. It makes a job I do enjoy really unpleasant, for me.

Iíd rather use time while something is browning, etc. to clean up as I go along. So some of that is just personal preference, not experience.

OtherJen

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I think the issue is variability in speed between people. I can make the same recipe in 10 minutes that it will take my wife 25 minutes to do.  To the point where we will decide who is making dinner depending on how much time we have.  I think chopping/cutting is where I save the most time. My pieces are usually a bit bigger and slightly less uniform, plus I just move more quickly.

I think one of the things that makes the biggest difference in time-saving is being fast enough that you can prep and cook at the same time. A lot of people need to chop/measure everything first, and then start cooking, which makes it take twice as long as someone like me who just churns it all out at once.

I think you're both right. Seems like the common denominator is practice, time spent in the kitchen, experience, etc. (Also, maybe being willing to let some perfectionism go.) I think when people say they "can't cook," they mean that they're not efficient at it. If you can read a recipe and know some basic terms, you can cook. It's just a question of experience after that, and since most households (I've read) make the same 7-10 recipes over and over, it seems like anyone could get pretty good at cooking those 7-10 things after a few weeks of practice.

It's a learned skill. A recipe that took me an hour of prep work 20 years ago (i.e. when I finished undergrad and started learning to cook) might only require 10-15 minutes now because I've had so much practice.

GreenSheep

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I like to do all the prep work and have everything set out in little bowls before I start cooking. I can do it all at once, but I donít enjoy it. It makes a job I do enjoy really unpleasant, for me.

Iíd rather use time while something is browning, etc. to clean up as I go along. So some of that is just personal preference, not experience.

I prefer to do it this way, too, even though I CAN do it all at once and prep as I go. So I agree, there is definitely some personal preference going on here, too. I think even when you prep in advance, experience still helps make the prep go faster. And the cooking process is less tedious and faster because you know where to set the stove to ensure that something browns sometime this century but doesn't burn, and you have some idea of how long something will take to brown, so you don't have to peek at it every 20 seconds, and you're free to do dishes, etc.

I think it's easy to forget that something we've been doing forever is still difficult for someone who's just starting. I remember making cookies with a friend in high school -- something I had been doing for years with my mom. I was quietly shocked that she couldn't seem to get the batter out of the bowl cleanly and quickly. She kept flapping around in there with the spatula. So I guess there are some motor skills that grow with time, too, and I can see how cooking could be an exercise in frustration until you nail that stuff down.

Runrooster

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As long as you have a refrigerator, I don't see the big deal of making lunch for yourself. I even make it in the morning. I have it down to a science. It's a salad mostly of pre-made salad mix, add some combination of carrots, cauliflower, green pepper, tomato, onion with pecans, boiled egg, or chicken for protein. It takes me about 4 minutes in the morning and costs me around $2.00-$3.00. I throw in an apple and banana for a snack later. I just don't understand the issue. It tastes fine to me, and I have gotten compliments on it at work.

I need a youtube video of this.  I take 3 containers to work most days - 1, fruit - strawberry and mango say 2. veg - tomato, cuc, pepper say 3. lunch - ravioli with spaghetti sauce say and often 4. a banana.  Ideally I will pre-pack the lunch portion, sometimes making a batch on the weekend to last through the week.  I've been doing the fruit and veg in the morning (not ideal) and that alone takes 10 minutes.  I even used already-cut pineapple this morning rather than having to cut a mango.

4 minutes for a salad - yeah I get the pre-made mix, but do you cut anything else?  Even pecans need chopping.  I'm reminded of my brother, an engineer, who bragged about his easy no-chop salads - he'd take leaf spinach, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.  I thought it sounded awful.  I know I have a habit of being literal, but who says 4 minutes if it really takes 20?

I feel you on being literal. I'll admit that I was estimating at 4 minutes, but I felt pretty confident that it took less than 5. I didn't want to reply until I actually did it and timed it. It's really not that impressive when I do it, and given your other comment, I am pretty sure a decent part of our differences are related to your size preferences. I timed it this morning, and with nothing set up except the container (I counted the time taking everything out of the refrigerator), I made the salad in 3 minutes 14 seconds. The salad consisted of salad mix, baby carrots, a green pepper, some cauliflower, and two boiled eggs. My time included bringing them out and peeling the eggs, pulling the cauliflower off the bunch, and disassembling the green pepper, and adding some salad dressing. My salad dressing emptied out, so I stopped the time while I used a knife to get more out of the bottle. I also did clean up of putting things back in the refrigerator separately, which upped it to 3 minutes 45 seconds. All that being said, I did not break up the cauliflower into small pieces. I used whole baby carrots. I broke the green pepper apart by hand just tearing it into pieces. I don't know if I would enjoy it more if the carrots were grated, for example, or not, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make enough difference to merit the greater time it would take. If it did, I would probably just buy pre-grated carrots if it wasn't too expensive. As it is, baby carrots are $.99 a pound, I'm pretty sure. I might save a few pennies getting whole carrots and chopping them, but it's worth it to me to get them smaller.

Thanks! Yes it sounds like you're okay with larger pieces.  I don't understand the bell pepper by hand (no seeds?) but I doubt it's that much faster than chopping by knife.  I'm slow at peeling eggs, but I eat eggs for breakfast anyway.  You didn't chop the eggs either, I guess.

I also was thinking that if I chopped my pepper/cuc tomato one level smaller, it would be small enough to throw in with pre-bagged lettuce and call it salad.  I haven't seen pre-bagged on the clearance rack lately and in fact haven't bought lettuce in a couple months. 

It usually takes me 30-40 minutes to make 4 servings of salad, starting with grating a large carrot, with or without a protein, ending with chopping lettuce.  I then eat one portion and pack up the other 3.  On a good day, it has more ingredients, but the 4-minute salad has the advantage of using different ingredients every day, or at least rotating with frig ingredients over the weeks.

I'm a small female but 2 eggs wouldn't get me through the work day, but maybe you're a smaller female.

crimwell

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I take the previous night's leftovers to work most days. We have a family of 6 and I have to work extra hard these days to generate enough dinner to have leftovers.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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As long as you have a refrigerator, I don't see the big deal of making lunch for yourself. I even make it in the morning. I have it down to a science. It's a salad mostly of pre-made salad mix, add some combination of carrots, cauliflower, green pepper, tomato, onion with pecans, boiled egg, or chicken for protein. It takes me about 4 minutes in the morning and costs me around $2.00-$3.00. I throw in an apple and banana for a snack later. I just don't understand the issue. It tastes fine to me, and I have gotten compliments on it at work.

I need a youtube video of this.  I take 3 containers to work most days - 1, fruit - strawberry and mango say 2. veg - tomato, cuc, pepper say 3. lunch - ravioli with spaghetti sauce say and often 4. a banana.  Ideally I will pre-pack the lunch portion, sometimes making a batch on the weekend to last through the week.  I've been doing the fruit and veg in the morning (not ideal) and that alone takes 10 minutes.  I even used already-cut pineapple this morning rather than having to cut a mango.

4 minutes for a salad - yeah I get the pre-made mix, but do you cut anything else?  Even pecans need chopping.  I'm reminded of my brother, an engineer, who bragged about his easy no-chop salads - he'd take leaf spinach, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.  I thought it sounded awful.  I know I have a habit of being literal, but who says 4 minutes if it really takes 20?

I feel you on being literal. I'll admit that I was estimating at 4 minutes, but I felt pretty confident that it took less than 5. I didn't want to reply until I actually did it and timed it. It's really not that impressive when I do it, and given your other comment, I am pretty sure a decent part of our differences are related to your size preferences. I timed it this morning, and with nothing set up except the container (I counted the time taking everything out of the refrigerator), I made the salad in 3 minutes 14 seconds. The salad consisted of salad mix, baby carrots, a green pepper, some cauliflower, and two boiled eggs. My time included bringing them out and peeling the eggs, pulling the cauliflower off the bunch, and disassembling the green pepper, and adding some salad dressing. My salad dressing emptied out, so I stopped the time while I used a knife to get more out of the bottle. I also did clean up of putting things back in the refrigerator separately, which upped it to 3 minutes 45 seconds. All that being said, I did not break up the cauliflower into small pieces. I used whole baby carrots. I broke the green pepper apart by hand just tearing it into pieces. I don't know if I would enjoy it more if the carrots were grated, for example, or not, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make enough difference to merit the greater time it would take. If it did, I would probably just buy pre-grated carrots if it wasn't too expensive. As it is, baby carrots are $.99 a pound, I'm pretty sure. I might save a few pennies getting whole carrots and chopping them, but it's worth it to me to get them smaller.

Thanks! Yes it sounds like you're okay with larger pieces.  I don't understand the bell pepper by hand (no seeds?) but I doubt it's that much faster than chopping by knife.  I'm slow at peeling eggs, but I eat eggs for breakfast anyway.  You didn't chop the eggs either, I guess.

I also was thinking that if I chopped my pepper/cuc tomato one level smaller, it would be small enough to throw in with pre-bagged lettuce and call it salad.  I haven't seen pre-bagged on the clearance rack lately and in fact haven't bought lettuce in a couple months. 

It usually takes me 30-40 minutes to make 4 servings of salad, starting with grating a large carrot, with or without a protein, ending with chopping lettuce.  I then eat one portion and pack up the other 3.  On a good day, it has more ingredients, but the 4-minute salad has the advantage of using different ingredients every day, or at least rotating with frig ingredients over the weeks.

I'm a small female but 2 eggs wouldn't get me through the work day, but maybe you're a smaller female.

That's a good point on the green pepper. I'm honestly not sure, but you've made me curious. I'll have to time it and check :-)! I can peel most boiled eggs in just a few seconds, and yes I just sort of break them apart with my fingers. The pre-packaged salad mix I use is around $1 per bag, and I usually get 2 salads out of each one with the other ingredients adding in. I agree that I like the rotation of ingredients that making salads each day allows - I can make it at the whim of my mood as to which side ingredients I want or don't want.

I typically do a couple of eggs or 1/2 cup of oatmeal for breakfast with an apple or banana and the salad with a couple eggs in it and an apple and banana for lunch. It holds me fairly well until around 5 or so when I get hungry. I'm definitely not a small female (215 lb guy) :-), but I typically eat my largest meal in the evening.

OtherJen

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As long as you have a refrigerator, I don't see the big deal of making lunch for yourself. I even make it in the morning. I have it down to a science. It's a salad mostly of pre-made salad mix, add some combination of carrots, cauliflower, green pepper, tomato, onion with pecans, boiled egg, or chicken for protein. It takes me about 4 minutes in the morning and costs me around $2.00-$3.00. I throw in an apple and banana for a snack later. I just don't understand the issue. It tastes fine to me, and I have gotten compliments on it at work.

I need a youtube video of this.  I take 3 containers to work most days - 1, fruit - strawberry and mango say 2. veg - tomato, cuc, pepper say 3. lunch - ravioli with spaghetti sauce say and often 4. a banana.  Ideally I will pre-pack the lunch portion, sometimes making a batch on the weekend to last through the week.  I've been doing the fruit and veg in the morning (not ideal) and that alone takes 10 minutes.  I even used already-cut pineapple this morning rather than having to cut a mango.

4 minutes for a salad - yeah I get the pre-made mix, but do you cut anything else?  Even pecans need chopping.  I'm reminded of my brother, an engineer, who bragged about his easy no-chop salads - he'd take leaf spinach, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.  I thought it sounded awful.  I know I have a habit of being literal, but who says 4 minutes if it really takes 20?

I feel you on being literal. I'll admit that I was estimating at 4 minutes, but I felt pretty confident that it took less than 5. I didn't want to reply until I actually did it and timed it. It's really not that impressive when I do it, and given your other comment, I am pretty sure a decent part of our differences are related to your size preferences. I timed it this morning, and with nothing set up except the container (I counted the time taking everything out of the refrigerator), I made the salad in 3 minutes 14 seconds. The salad consisted of salad mix, baby carrots, a green pepper, some cauliflower, and two boiled eggs. My time included bringing them out and peeling the eggs, pulling the cauliflower off the bunch, and disassembling the green pepper, and adding some salad dressing. My salad dressing emptied out, so I stopped the time while I used a knife to get more out of the bottle. I also did clean up of putting things back in the refrigerator separately, which upped it to 3 minutes 45 seconds. All that being said, I did not break up the cauliflower into small pieces. I used whole baby carrots. I broke the green pepper apart by hand just tearing it into pieces. I don't know if I would enjoy it more if the carrots were grated, for example, or not, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make enough difference to merit the greater time it would take. If it did, I would probably just buy pre-grated carrots if it wasn't too expensive. As it is, baby carrots are $.99 a pound, I'm pretty sure. I might save a few pennies getting whole carrots and chopping them, but it's worth it to me to get them smaller.

Thanks! Yes it sounds like you're okay with larger pieces.  I don't understand the bell pepper by hand (no seeds?) but I doubt it's that much faster than chopping by knife.  I'm slow at peeling eggs, but I eat eggs for breakfast anyway.  You didn't chop the eggs either, I guess.

I also was thinking that if I chopped my pepper/cuc tomato one level smaller, it would be small enough to throw in with pre-bagged lettuce and call it salad.  I haven't seen pre-bagged on the clearance rack lately and in fact haven't bought lettuce in a couple months. 

It usually takes me 30-40 minutes to make 4 servings of salad, starting with grating a large carrot, with or without a protein, ending with chopping lettuce.  I then eat one portion and pack up the other 3.  On a good day, it has more ingredients, but the 4-minute salad has the advantage of using different ingredients every day, or at least rotating with frig ingredients over the weeks.

I'm a small female but 2 eggs wouldn't get me through the work day, but maybe you're a smaller female.

That's a good point on the green pepper. I'm honestly not sure, but you've made me curious. I'll have to time it and check :-)! I can peel most boiled eggs in just a few seconds, and yes I just sort of break them apart with my fingers. The pre-packaged salad mix I use is around $1 per bag, and I usually get 2 salads out of each one with the other ingredients adding in. I agree that I like the rotation of ingredients that making salads each day allows - I can make it at the whim of my mood as to which side ingredients I want or don't want.

I typically do a couple of eggs or 1/2 cup of oatmeal for breakfast with an apple or banana and the salad with a couple eggs in it and an apple and banana for lunch. It holds me fairly well until around 5 or so when I get hungry. I'm definitely not a small female (215 lb guy) :-), but I typically eat my largest meal in the evening.

Women and men definitely have different metabolic needs (this is a generalization, of course; I'm well aware of differences related to age, pre- vs. postmenopausal status, activity level, etc.). I'm 5'0", 121 lbs, and have lost 17 lbs over the last few months while eating larger breakfasts and lunches. I get too hungry otherwise and can't focus on work. Breakfast is usually eggs plus oatmeal plus fruit, lunch may be a big salad with eggs, beans, and meat or fish (and possibly feta for flavor) or leftovers from the previous dinner. There's also usually an afternoon snack (fruit plus nuts is common) before dinner.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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As long as you have a refrigerator, I don't see the big deal of making lunch for yourself. I even make it in the morning. I have it down to a science. It's a salad mostly of pre-made salad mix, add some combination of carrots, cauliflower, green pepper, tomato, onion with pecans, boiled egg, or chicken for protein. It takes me about 4 minutes in the morning and costs me around $2.00-$3.00. I throw in an apple and banana for a snack later. I just don't understand the issue. It tastes fine to me, and I have gotten compliments on it at work.

I need a youtube video of this.  I take 3 containers to work most days - 1, fruit - strawberry and mango say 2. veg - tomato, cuc, pepper say 3. lunch - ravioli with spaghetti sauce say and often 4. a banana.  Ideally I will pre-pack the lunch portion, sometimes making a batch on the weekend to last through the week.  I've been doing the fruit and veg in the morning (not ideal) and that alone takes 10 minutes.  I even used already-cut pineapple this morning rather than having to cut a mango.

4 minutes for a salad - yeah I get the pre-made mix, but do you cut anything else?  Even pecans need chopping.  I'm reminded of my brother, an engineer, who bragged about his easy no-chop salads - he'd take leaf spinach, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes.  I thought it sounded awful.  I know I have a habit of being literal, but who says 4 minutes if it really takes 20?

I feel you on being literal. I'll admit that I was estimating at 4 minutes, but I felt pretty confident that it took less than 5. I didn't want to reply until I actually did it and timed it. It's really not that impressive when I do it, and given your other comment, I am pretty sure a decent part of our differences are related to your size preferences. I timed it this morning, and with nothing set up except the container (I counted the time taking everything out of the refrigerator), I made the salad in 3 minutes 14 seconds. The salad consisted of salad mix, baby carrots, a green pepper, some cauliflower, and two boiled eggs. My time included bringing them out and peeling the eggs, pulling the cauliflower off the bunch, and disassembling the green pepper, and adding some salad dressing. My salad dressing emptied out, so I stopped the time while I used a knife to get more out of the bottle. I also did clean up of putting things back in the refrigerator separately, which upped it to 3 minutes 45 seconds. All that being said, I did not break up the cauliflower into small pieces. I used whole baby carrots. I broke the green pepper apart by hand just tearing it into pieces. I don't know if I would enjoy it more if the carrots were grated, for example, or not, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't make enough difference to merit the greater time it would take. If it did, I would probably just buy pre-grated carrots if it wasn't too expensive. As it is, baby carrots are $.99 a pound, I'm pretty sure. I might save a few pennies getting whole carrots and chopping them, but it's worth it to me to get them smaller.

Thanks! Yes it sounds like you're okay with larger pieces.  I don't understand the bell pepper by hand (no seeds?) but I doubt it's that much faster than chopping by knife.  I'm slow at peeling eggs, but I eat eggs for breakfast anyway.  You didn't chop the eggs either, I guess.

I also was thinking that if I chopped my pepper/cuc tomato one level smaller, it would be small enough to throw in with pre-bagged lettuce and call it salad.  I haven't seen pre-bagged on the clearance rack lately and in fact haven't bought lettuce in a couple months. 

It usually takes me 30-40 minutes to make 4 servings of salad, starting with grating a large carrot, with or without a protein, ending with chopping lettuce.  I then eat one portion and pack up the other 3.  On a good day, it has more ingredients, but the 4-minute salad has the advantage of using different ingredients every day, or at least rotating with frig ingredients over the weeks.

I'm a small female but 2 eggs wouldn't get me through the work day, but maybe you're a smaller female.

That's a good point on the green pepper. I'm honestly not sure, but you've made me curious. I'll have to time it and check :-)! I can peel most boiled eggs in just a few seconds, and yes I just sort of break them apart with my fingers. The pre-packaged salad mix I use is around $1 per bag, and I usually get 2 salads out of each one with the other ingredients adding in. I agree that I like the rotation of ingredients that making salads each day allows - I can make it at the whim of my mood as to which side ingredients I want or don't want.

I typically do a couple of eggs or 1/2 cup of oatmeal for breakfast with an apple or banana and the salad with a couple eggs in it and an apple and banana for lunch. It holds me fairly well until around 5 or so when I get hungry. I'm definitely not a small female (215 lb guy) :-), but I typically eat my largest meal in the evening.

Women and men definitely have different metabolic needs (this is a generalization, of course; I'm well aware of differences related to age, pre- vs. postmenopausal status, activity level, etc.). I'm 5'0", 121 lbs, and have lost 17 lbs over the last few months while eating larger breakfasts and lunches. I get too hungry otherwise and can't focus on work. Breakfast is usually eggs plus oatmeal plus fruit, lunch may be a big salad with eggs, beans, and meat or fish (and possibly feta for flavor) or leftovers from the previous dinner. There's also usually an afternoon snack (fruit plus nuts is common) before dinner.

I think I would do better having a bigger breakfast and lunch and smaller dinner, but I just have such a hard time with willpower and not eating a lot for dinner.

fuzzy math

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I did buy a panera salad on a 13 hour drive the other day and was surprised to see it was $12. A chik fil a salad on the return trip home was under $9.

Due to the nature of my employer and location (hospital without restaurants across the street), my options are to pack food or donate my paycheck back to work for some pretty nasty food and a depressing experience that doesn't even approximate an escape from work. So I always pack food unless there's an extenuating circumstance. I go by the one container per meal principle, breakfast is eggs slopped together with veggies or meat, lunch is whatever can get stuffed in a container - salad, leftovers, frozen tamales (very handy grab and go on no motivation days).

Missy B

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Weekends with kids look a lot different than weekends without kids, IME.  There is a lot more to do - swimming lessons, grocery shopping, anything social for the week. Adding a big cooking session is more work and stress for some situations than others.

My dd does zero cooking. Her weekends are for kid activities and church and resting up.

I would say our struggles come down to a couple/few things:
1. We get our vegetables from two CSA delivery boxes.  It's great stuff and saves time.  They arrive on Tuesday and Saturday, so have to plan around what we get and around Tuesday and Saturday.  So, I can't "bulk cook" on Sunday for the stuff we get on Tuesday.

2. I have a teenaged boy YO!  And an almost 10 yo boy.  They eat so damned much.  And as they age, they are getting pickier.  Just eat the damn lentil soup and toast and salad and stop arguing with me and telling me that you want pizza.

3.  In the last few months I've put on a few (8) pounds, and dammit I'm menopausal and now I have to count calories and eat more protein and blech.  More calculus.

4.  I do bulk cook on the weekend, but only one day.  I don't have church, but I do potluck on Sunday mornings with the neighbors, and go for group runs, and you know, sometimes (like every weekend), I just want to sit on my ass in the afternoon one of the 2 days and read my book with a dog on my lap.  I'm 51 and I'm tired.
I feel you. I'm trying to keep my weekends more clear of major food prep, at least doing it less often.
One thing that I do that might work for you with the twice a week CSA delivery is a bulk cook of just the protein, something flexible like meatballs that freeze well and don't take long to reheat. I use those in soup/ramen or jarred tomato sauce, curry sauce, teriyaki... It's good to know they're there for the nights I'm wasted and too tired to do any more than drop stuff in boiling water.


MayDay

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Yesterday I worked on chores and parented most of the day. Then from 4-7 pm I made breakfast and lunch food for the week and packed it all into containers. That time includes prepping, cooking, packing into containers, and cleaning up the kitchen.

I was exhausted afterwards and regretting not just buying a bunch of frozen meals.

Cut a ton of veggies
Roasted them
Made boiled eggs and peeled
Made quinoa
Made dressing
Made taco filling
Cut up a pineapple
Packed portions of hard boiled eggs
Packed portions of roasted veg over quinoa with dressing
Packed portions of tacos
Did a million dishes

Not sure exactly how much the groceries cost as they were mixed in with other stuff.

Roasted veg
6 peppers, 2 zucchini, mushrooms 10$
Hummus for dressing 3$
Quinoa ?
Feta 3$
Misc spices ?

Tacos
Tortillas 2$
Quinoa ?
Corn 2$
Diced tomatoes 1$
Black beans 3$
Avocados 5$
Cheese- 2$

Eggs
Eggs- 5$

Fruit
Pineapple- 2$

So maybe 38$, let's say 45 with taxes and small items that do add up like oil and spices and the quinoa. Plus 3 hours labor to make plus time to wash all the containers, another hour labor. 80$ of labor and that's a lot less than I actually make.

Cooking sucks man. And I'm good at it.

Zikoris

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Yesterday I worked on chores and parented most of the day. Then from 4-7 pm I made breakfast and lunch food for the week and packed it all into containers. That time includes prepping, cooking, packing into containers, and cleaning up the kitchen.

I was exhausted afterwards and regretting not just buying a bunch of frozen meals.

Cut a ton of veggies
Roasted them
Made boiled eggs and peeled
Made quinoa
Made dressing
Made taco filling
Cut up a pineapple
Packed portions of hard boiled eggs
Packed portions of roasted veg over quinoa with dressing
Packed portions of tacos
Did a million dishes

Not sure exactly how much the groceries cost as they were mixed in with other stuff.

-snip-
So maybe 38$, let's say 45 with taxes and small items that do add up like oil and spices and the quinoa. Plus 3 hours labor to make plus time to wash all the containers, another hour labor. 80$ of labor and that's a lot less than I actually make.

Cooking sucks man. And I'm good at it.

I don't understand how that could possibly take three hours + one hour of dishes. Isn't that basically just making two large meals? Were you doing just one thing slowly at a time? If it was me, I would probably do most of those things at the same time in maybe 45 minutes to an hour, except I would also make the tortillas by hand since I prefer them that way to store bought. Quinoa takes like five minutes to make. I don't eat eggs but they must be something like that as well? Also, why aren't other people in your household helping at all?

investnoob

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My office did its first lunch out in a while. I had a crispy chicken sandwich, substituted fries with a salad and had two 14 oz glasses of beer. After tax it was $42.50.

I tipped 20%. So $50 bucks for my office lunch. This is Canadian dollars. So around $40 USD.

It was at a trendy spot in a bit of tourist trap. I guess I could have skipped the beer.

MayDay

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Yesterday I worked on chores and parented most of the day. Then from 4-7 pm I made breakfast and lunch food for the week and packed it all into containers. That time includes prepping, cooking, packing into containers, and cleaning up the kitchen.

I was exhausted afterwards and regretting not just buying a bunch of frozen meals.

Cut a ton of veggies
Roasted them
Made boiled eggs and peeled
Made quinoa
Made dressing
Made taco filling
Cut up a pineapple
Packed portions of hard boiled eggs
Packed portions of roasted veg over quinoa with dressing
Packed portions of tacos
Did a million dishes

Not sure exactly how much the groceries cost as they were mixed in with other stuff.

-snip-
So maybe 38$, let's say 45 with taxes and small items that do add up like oil and spices and the quinoa. Plus 3 hours labor to make plus time to wash all the containers, another hour labor. 80$ of labor and that's a lot less than I actually make.

Cooking sucks man. And I'm good at it.

I don't understand how that could possibly take three hours + one hour of dishes. Isn't that basically just making two large meals? Were you doing just one thing slowly at a time? If it was me, I would probably do most of those things at the same time in maybe 45 minutes to an hour, except I would also make the tortillas by hand since I prefer them that way to store bought. Quinoa takes like five minutes to make. I don't eat eggs but they must be something like that as well? Also, why aren't other people in your household helping at all?

The last hour I was counting coming home with a bag of dirty dishes for five days, and needing to wash them.

I don't know what to tell you, it took me 3 hours to cut, cook, clean up including some dishes needing to be hand washed because the dishwasher was full.  Congratulations on being faster?

Zikoris

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The last hour I was counting coming home with a bag of dirty dishes for five days, and needing to wash them.

I don't know what to tell you, it took me 3 hours to cut, cook, clean up including some dishes needing to be hand washed because the dishwasher was full.  Congratulations on being faster?

You let dirty dishes sit around unwashed for five days? That's... gross.

Cranky

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The last hour I was counting coming home with a bag of dirty dishes for five days, and needing to wash them.

I don't know what to tell you, it took me 3 hours to cut, cook, clean up including some dishes needing to be hand washed because the dishwasher was full.  Congratulations on being faster?

You let dirty dishes sit around unwashed for five days? That's... gross.

Thats a little harsh.

Maybe they were office mugs? Maybe there were dishes that had been left in the car? Maybe a teenager had them stuck under the bed?

Iím a crazed Sink Zero person, but not everyone is.

moof

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The last hour I was counting coming home with a bag of dirty dishes for five days, and needing to wash them.

I don't know what to tell you, it took me 3 hours to cut, cook, clean up including some dishes needing to be hand washed because the dishwasher was full.  Congratulations on being faster?
+1.  I cut anyone with kids a huge amount of slack.  Life can be busy, and anyone prioritizing home cooked meals for their kids is already way up in positive points in my book.

You let dirty dishes sit around unwashed for five days? That's... gross.

Thats a little harsh.

Maybe they were office mugs? Maybe there were dishes that had been left in the car? Maybe a teenager had them stuck under the bed?

Iím a crazed Sink Zero person, but not everyone is.

chaskavitch

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I feel like they were counting the cumulative time from 5 days of washing the dishes from each day?

mm1970

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The last hour I was counting coming home with a bag of dirty dishes for five days, and needing to wash them.

I don't know what to tell you, it took me 3 hours to cut, cook, clean up including some dishes needing to be hand washed because the dishwasher was full.  Congratulations on being faster?

You let dirty dishes sit around unwashed for five days? That's... gross.
I'm pretty sure she's saying that she comes home every day (for 5 days), with a bag of dirty dishes.  That need to be washed.

I think I said it up thread, but my husband REALLY loves it (not) when I work at the office, because I come home with a bag of dirty dishes every day.  Plus, we don't have unlimited dishes, so they really need to be washed immediately.

----
I'm pretty sure 2 hours would be about how long it would take me to do all that too...especially when you talk about a "ton" of veggies.  It's a lot of washing, chopping, and peeling.  When I make my own salad dressing, I use an entire bunch of parsley, so that's washing & spinning and picking the parsley off the stems.  Then washing the blender afterwards, of course.

OtherJen

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It's almost as though different people have different tolerance levels, skill sets, and life circumstances. Which most of us have been saying all along.

mm1970

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It's almost as though different people have different tolerance levels, skill sets, and life circumstances. Which most of us have been saying all along.

And this week...OMG.  What a, um challenging week in the produce department.

2 head cabbage
2 bunches carrots
2 bunches dill ... sigh ...
2 lbs tangerines, 2 lbs oranges, 2 lemons, 2 grapefruit
1 head kale
2 bunch spinach (not my favorite, and spinach takes forever to wash because it's really dirty)
1 leek
1 onion
2 heads lettuce
2 heads broccoli
1 head cauliflower
1 bag snap peas
1 basket strawberries

there's no room in my fridge, and I wonder if something else is lurking back there...a lot of greens to wash.

GreenSheep

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When I make my own salad dressing, I use an entire bunch of parsley, so that's washing & spinning and picking the parsley off the stems.

I used to pick individual leaves off of parsley, basil, cilantro, etc. But if you have a good blender, you don't need to. Even if you have a not-so-good blender, you can just give the whole bunch a few good chops so the stems are too short to get tangled around the blades. I do the same when putting herbs into soups, curries, etc. I just chop up the whole bunch or handful or whatever, and if I make sure the stems are short enough, I don't notice them in the finished dish. Maybe a professional can weigh in, but I'm pretty sure that's what most restaurants do, too. I can't imagine paying someone for the time it takes to pick off all those little leaves!

Zikoris

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When I make my own salad dressing, I use an entire bunch of parsley, so that's washing & spinning and picking the parsley off the stems.

I used to pick individual leaves off of parsley, basil, cilantro, etc. But if you have a good blender, you don't need to. Even if you have a not-so-good blender, you can just give the whole bunch a few good chops so the stems are too short to get tangled around the blades. I do the same when putting herbs into soups, curries, etc. I just chop up the whole bunch or handful or whatever, and if I make sure the stems are short enough, I don't notice them in the finished dish. Maybe a professional can weigh in, but I'm pretty sure that's what most restaurants do, too. I can't imagine paying someone for the time it takes to pick off all those little leaves!

As long as I can remember, I've just sort of grabbed a spring of herb, pinched it, and then sort of dragged my fingers along stripping off all the leaves. I think I picked up the habit when I was a little kid in the countryside playing with oat plants? My description is probably pretty bad. You sort of hold it in one hand and use the other pinching fingers to pull away from where you're holding.

GreenSheep

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When I make my own salad dressing, I use an entire bunch of parsley, so that's washing & spinning and picking the parsley off the stems.

I used to pick individual leaves off of parsley, basil, cilantro, etc. But if you have a good blender, you don't need to. Even if you have a not-so-good blender, you can just give the whole bunch a few good chops so the stems are too short to get tangled around the blades. I do the same when putting herbs into soups, curries, etc. I just chop up the whole bunch or handful or whatever, and if I make sure the stems are short enough, I don't notice them in the finished dish. Maybe a professional can weigh in, but I'm pretty sure that's what most restaurants do, too. I can't imagine paying someone for the time it takes to pick off all those little leaves!

As long as I can remember, I've just sort of grabbed a spring of herb, pinched it, and then sort of dragged my fingers along stripping off all the leaves. I think I picked up the habit when I was a little kid in the countryside playing with oat plants? My description is probably pretty bad. You sort of hold it in one hand and use the other pinching fingers to pull away from where you're holding.

Yep, I know what you mean. I do that with thyme when I don't want the hard stem in whatever I'm making. I just don't like the fact that it still requires that I pick up each individual stem, which is fine if you don't need much, but the time adds up when making large batches of things!

mm1970

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When I make my own salad dressing, I use an entire bunch of parsley, so that's washing & spinning and picking the parsley off the stems.

I used to pick individual leaves off of parsley, basil, cilantro, etc. But if you have a good blender, you don't need to. Even if you have a not-so-good blender, you can just give the whole bunch a few good chops so the stems are too short to get tangled around the blades. I do the same when putting herbs into soups, curries, etc. I just chop up the whole bunch or handful or whatever, and if I make sure the stems are short enough, I don't notice them in the finished dish. Maybe a professional can weigh in, but I'm pretty sure that's what most restaurants do, too. I can't imagine paying someone for the time it takes to pick off all those little leaves!

As long as I can remember, I've just sort of grabbed a spring of herb, pinched it, and then sort of dragged my fingers along stripping off all the leaves. I think I picked up the habit when I was a little kid in the countryside playing with oat plants? My description is probably pretty bad. You sort of hold it in one hand and use the other pinching fingers to pull away from where you're holding.

Yep, I know what you mean. I do that with thyme when I don't want the hard stem in whatever I'm making. I just don't like the fact that it still requires that I pick up each individual stem, which is fine if you don't need much, but the time adds up when making large batches of things!
Each bunch of herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill) from the CSAs end up being at least 3-4 cups.  I peel the leaves off like @Zikoris, but it still adds time.  They are large bunches.

jeninco

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When I make my own salad dressing, I use an entire bunch of parsley, so that's washing & spinning and picking the parsley off the stems.

I used to pick individual leaves off of parsley, basil, cilantro, etc. But if you have a good blender, you don't need to. Even if you have a not-so-good blender, you can just give the whole bunch a few good chops so the stems are too short to get tangled around the blades. I do the same when putting herbs into soups, curries, etc. I just chop up the whole bunch or handful or whatever, and if I make sure the stems are short enough, I don't notice them in the finished dish. Maybe a professional can weigh in, but I'm pretty sure that's what most restaurants do, too. I can't imagine paying someone for the time it takes to pick off all those little leaves!

As long as I can remember, I've just sort of grabbed a spring of herb, pinched it, and then sort of dragged my fingers along stripping off all the leaves. I think I picked up the habit when I was a little kid in the countryside playing with oat plants? My description is probably pretty bad. You sort of hold it in one hand and use the other pinching fingers to pull away from where you're holding.

Yep, I know what you mean. I do that with thyme when I don't want the hard stem in whatever I'm making. I just don't like the fact that it still requires that I pick up each individual stem, which is fine if you don't need much, but the time adds up when making large batches of things!
Each bunch of herbs (parsley, cilantro, dill) from the CSAs end up being at least 3-4 cups.  I peel the leaves off like @Zikoris, but it still adds time.  They are large bunches.

Herbs with softer stems can be handled as described above, or -- if you want the leaves for somethings, wash them, dry them either on kitchen towels or in a salad spinner, use a big knife to cut off the attractive tops, then cut off the tougher bottoms and stick the middles -- stems and all -- into a cup (I like using a 2-cup or 4-cup pyrex measuring cup) add a little garlic, some lemon (or lime, in the case of cilantro) juice, a bunch of olive oil, and go to town with an immersion blender. Poof -- green goddess dressing!

mm1970

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Herbs with softer stems can be handled as described above, or -- if you want the leaves for somethings, wash them, dry them either on kitchen towels or in a salad spinner, use a big knife to cut off the attractive tops, then cut off the tougher bottoms and stick the middles -- stems and all -- into a cup (I like using a 2-cup or 4-cup pyrex measuring cup) add a little garlic, some lemon (or lime, in the case of cilantro) juice, a bunch of olive oil, and go to town with an immersion blender. Poof -- green goddess dressing!
@jeninco add dijon mustard and that's my go to dressing.

jeninco

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Herbs with softer stems can be handled as described above, or -- if you want the leaves for somethings, wash them, dry them either on kitchen towels or in a salad spinner, use a big knife to cut off the attractive tops, then cut off the tougher bottoms and stick the middles -- stems and all -- into a cup (I like using a 2-cup or 4-cup pyrex measuring cup) add a little garlic, some lemon (or lime, in the case of cilantro) juice, a bunch of olive oil, and go to town with an immersion blender. Poof -- green goddess dressing!
@jeninco add dijon mustard and that's my go to dressing.

Sure, or chipotles in adobo (just a bit) for the cilantro/lime version. Yum!

shureShote

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It's almost as though different people have different tolerance levels, skill sets, and life circumstances. Which most of us have been saying all along.

No, not true. Some of us are just normal, while the rest are just plain nutsÖ. Just kiddingÖ

I love these threads, because you get to see how crazily different we are. And how we tend to think everyone else is certifiably mad for their habits. Leave a cup unwashed for an hour? Crazy. Wash a cup the moment itís empty? Crazy.

I am remote now, but still eat the same as the twenty years I was in cube farms. Bunch of quick oats with a squirt of honey for breakfast. Something that was made in bulk for lunch as main course (may or may not need reheated), then a handful of carrots and maybe an apple. This all fit in a small bag. I never noticed it taking any measurable time to prep. The bulk was maybe planned leftovers, or maybe the result of a large grill session. Iíd make a dozen or more pork chops or chicken and freeze them. Two plus weeks worth of lunches for 90 minutes of time with maybe 10 minutes of actual cooking related action.

I did iterate for a while trying to optimize the overall efficiency. Most meals for me are about completing the task (fueling) in the most efficient way possible. And that includes the entire chain, from shopping to the dishes being back in t(e cupboard. I donít care how good the food tastes, if it creates a disaster of the kitchen, I am not going to enjoy it very much.

Runrooster

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Roasted veg
6 peppers, 2 zucchini, mushrooms 10$
Hummus for dressing 3$
Quinoa ?
Feta 3$
Misc spices ?

Tacos
Tortillas 2$
Quinoa ?
Corn 2$
Diced tomatoes 1$
Black beans 3$
Avocados 5$
Cheese- 2$

Eggs
Eggs- 5$

Fruit
Pineapple- 2$

So maybe 38$, let's say 45 with taxes and small items that do add up like oil and spices and the quinoa. Plus 3 hours labor to make plus time to wash all the containers, another hour labor. 80$ of labor and that's a lot less than I actually make.

Cooking sucks man. And I'm good at it.

I know I'm late to this post, but

1. your prices seem high.  I get eggs $1/dozen, I notice you're not eating meat but I doubt you're eating a dozen eggs per day.  Cagefree organic eggs maybe?  In general I'd say I get food at half the price in a HCOL area.  Not that that's the bulk of your costs but...

2.  You used $20/hour and said "that's a lot less than I actually make" - did you consider taxes in that?  Cause on my side-hustle I'm a contractor and pay 15% FICA, 8% state, 22% federal (marginal rates).  Can you earn $40/hour after your normal job doing something other than cooking?  I recently quit my side hustle cause I found I was eating cheap, easy-to-cook junk due to lack of time.

3. I've only seen coworkers eating microwave lunches but they seem small, no dishes cause they fill up landfills, the variety is garbage, and the vegetables are cheap squash, not expensive peppers, mushrooms, and avocado.  The point is, you could buy two microwave lunches per day or you could buy cheaper ingredients than the fancy eggs you're buying.

4.  This week in the middle of tax season and home stress  and a kitchen remodel I ate the same thing for 4 days (work buys lunch on fri): omelet breakfast strawberries/mango snack1 tomato/bell pepper/cuc snack2 tortellini with spag sauce lunch.  The tortellini was $5 sauce $1 eggs $1 strawberries $3 mango $2 tomato $1.50 pepper $1 cuc $1.50 for a total of $16, plus some onions and oil $17, no tax.  Not as healthy as your quinoa and hummus but not bad and fast.  I like pineapple but i spend 30 minutes coaxing all the flesh out.  if you're going to cook them anyway, frozen vegetables save money and prep time, and come in interesting mixes.

5. 10 meals, 3 hours of cooking, 18 minutes per meal doesn't seem bad.  Its annoying to do at once, but then its done.  I won't count doing dishes, cause thats just doing your part for the planet.