Lunch Time

If you haven't already, go here and see how taking stock is critical to easy meal planning! 

Next comes the meal planning. This week (and many), the plan went like this:

1. Shopping. Stock up on the things that are missing from this list. Usually this means going to buy a bunch of vegetables and fruits and sometimes a few of the staples. 

2. Planning. Depending on what is fresh, on sale and available, the weekly plan is made.

I know, this may be backwards. Shop THEN plan? To this I say, YES. I always have my staples so I have pretty much done the "planning" already. All I need to do after shopping is decide what I want to cook. 

Today I am going to only talk about the lunch planning portion. Each week, after seeing what the haul is for the week, I make a big batch of ___ (fill in the blank with a bean dish here). I also cut up all of my vegetables to go along with my meals. This usually means cutting cabbage or broccoli for salads, and cutting carrots and celery for snacks.

Cabbage Salad

This week, we had several vegetables left over from last week. This is normal. I always do a little bit of "overbuying" in order to have a quick snack or to anticipate extra hunger! But fear not, it does not go to waste!

Needing to be used up from last week: Red, yellow and orange bell peppers. Carrots. Serrano peppers.
Add to that from on hand items: Onion, Garlic, Garbanzo beans, Curry powder, Diced tomatoes, corn.
Put in Crock Pot for 8 hours and you get: Garbanzo Stew (recipe below)!

Garbanzo Stew

This was put into 8 one cup containers.. 6 of them go into the freezer and two go into the fridge. I like to put 6 in the freezer, so that way I will always have a variety to choose from. I usually eat 3-4 of them for lunch and then I have some from last week as well as having fresh veggies on hand so I am not always eating the same thing over and over.

Freezer mini meals

Remaining peppers were added to quinoa, basil and lemon to make a quinoa salad, which will be used as lunches as well. The I pair each one up with a various salad and lots and lots of fruit. I usually bring one or two pieces of fruit as well as some loose fruit, cut melon, grapes or berries. So this weeks lunches will look like this:

Veggies for quinoa salad

Monday: Garbanzo Stew, cabbage salad, fruit

Tuesday: Turkey Chili (last week's big pot meal), broccoli salad, fruit

Wednesday: Quinoa Salad, beet salad, fruit

Thursday: Garbanzo Stew, broccoli salad, fruit

Friday: Chicken Curry and Rice (week before last's big pot meal), cabbage salad, fruit

Saturday: Party food (@ my uncle's memorial)

Sunday: Clam House with Mom, Dad and Grandma for a  post race meal!

Garbanzo Stew: 

2 cups dry garbanzos
2 carrots, chopped
1 each red, yellow, orange bell peppers, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Serrano peppers, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 can of yellow corn
5 cups of water

1 tbsp Curry powder
1 tbsp salt
2 packets of Trader Joe's concentrated chicken stock

Mix everything together. Leave in crock pot on low for 8 hours. 

How do you do to use up older veggies before they go bad? What do you eat for lunch every day?

Check out Jill and Laura's sites for more meal planning tips! 


  1. Great post, that stew looks yummy and SO easy. Jessica


  2. Gotta try the garbanzo stew! I love my crock pot!

  3. I like your order of things... when we got a huge amount of veggies from the CSA, I had to wait until I saw what we had before menu planning. Right now, it's easier to make the list in advance and get in and out as fast as possible with a toddler. But I do switch things up based on a good deal. Great idea to focus on lunches this week!

  4. I'm so boring with my lunches - it's almost always sandwiches, tacos, salads or omelets. Every single week!

  5. I really should eat more veggies. I'm not creative at all in incorporating them in meal unless the recipe calls for it. Your stew looks good though! Pinning to try later.

  6. Great tips on using what you have for leftover fruits and veggies to make a stew! I try to make extra to eat for dinner or lunch the next day, the kids don't mind nor does hubby......makes my life a bit easier!

  7. your lunches look tasty, i am awful at having a good healthy lunch, instead i have a smoothier or juice and move on! soup sounds great!

  8. I want your freezer right about now. Seriously. It has been about 10 days since I have made a meal. I am hoping to make something this weekend. I am gone so much right now, it's tough to make time to cook (and grocery shop). Like yesterday I was going to but then thought about the fact that I am home for 5 days in the next 2 weeks of 3 of those 5 days I will be out and about until after 8, and I just gave up. I am living on things like baked potatoes, rice, and salad. And apples. Exciting stuff!

    But, when this travel stretch ends, I am going ot make that soup recipe! Yum!


Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!