Home and Living

5 Creative Make-Ahead Meals to Bring Into Work

As soon as it starts getting a little chilly out, the idea of bringing in meals to work suddenly doesn’t seem as burdensome. Whether you’re looking for breakfast recipes or a satisfying lunch, we’ve got you covered with the five recipes below.

1. Overnight Oats

Breakfast is the most important part of the day, or so the maxim goes, so we make sure to satisfy our appetites early, with a healthy bowl of oats and yogurt. We love to whip up a batch of this on Sunday night, and have 3 days worth of breakfast. The tangy yogurt, hearty oats, and dried cherries are a match made in heaven, and won’t leave you hungry at 11 AM.

(Makes 3 servings)

1 cup rolled oats
1.25 cup plain, 0% Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
2 teaspoons honey
1-1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-3 tablespoon dried tart cherries (no sugar added)

1. Mix it all together, and let it hang out in the fridge. You’re good to go!

2. Our Favorite Fall Soup

Provided you’ve got an airtight container, soup makes a perfect at-work lunch that’s easy to make ahead in large quantities (in fact, many soups get more flavorful the longer they’re kept!), and only a microwave and a spoon required! One of our go-tos is the Plated cookbook’s Fall Vegetable Soup, which will warm you from head to toe as the weather gets blustery.

(Makes 4 Servings)

2 yellow onions
4 cloves garlic
4 Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large dice
2 pounds Butternut squash, peeled and cut into large dice
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Toss apples, butternut squash, and sage with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 3. Roast for 25 minutes.
4. While apples and squash roast, in a medium pot, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the onions and cook until soft and translucent, 4-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
5. Add the cooked apples, squash, and sage to the onion and garlic. Add the stock and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
6. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (or, working in batches, transfer to a blender or food processor and blend, taking care to avoid splattering). Taste the soup and add more salt and pepper if needed.

3. Grain Salad

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, grain salads are the best. They come in myriad varieties, from a quinoa base to wild rice, or chewy farro, and can have any number of toppings. And, unlike regular salad, they don’t get soggy! Make ahead, and seriously enjoy your lunch.

4. Noodle Jars

Instant ramen may have worked for you in school, but at work, it’s a good idea to invest in the grown-up version. In Shape‘s September issue, Head Chef Elana Karp shared several noodle soup recipes that are served effortlessly in a mason jar. Check out the one for Spicy Curried Coconut Soup with Shrimp below!

1 ounce rice vermicelli, broken into smaller pieces
3 tablespoons coconut cream
1/2 tablespoon red curry paste
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 cup julienned red bell pepper
1/2 cup cleaned, cooked, and roughly chopped shrimp
4 roughly chopped Thai or regular basil leaves
1 tablespoon crushed peanuts
1 mason jar that holds about 18 ounces

1. Layer vermicelli, coconut cream, curry paste, ginger, carrots, bell pepper, and shrimp in the jar. Add basil and peanuts.
2. When you’re ready to eat, fill jar to the top with boiling water. Stir carefully, cover, and let stand for 7 minutes or until noodles are tender. Season to taste with salt.

5. Roast Chicken

Not only is roast chicken a super-impressive dish to master, it’s also an amazing recipe to make-ahead then use for lunches and dinners throughout the week. Shred the meat for chicken salad, or slice and then serve over lettuce or in a sandwich. Here, our much-loved recipe adapted from the Plated cookbook:

1 large chicken (about 6 pounds)
½ lemon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons French herb rub (1 tablespoon dried thyme, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, 2 teaspoons dried tarragon, 1 teaspoon ground fennel, 1 teaspoon dried marjoram, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper), optional
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Remove the chicken from the fridge and bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3. Pat the chicken as dry as possible, both inside and out. Generously season the cavity with salt and pepper, then stuff it with the lemon half and thyme sprigs. Place the chicken breast-side up on a cutting board. Use kitchen twine to tightly tie the legs together (optional). Rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil, then season all over with the herb rub, if using, and salt and pepper.
4. Place chicken in a roasting pan or oven proof skillet and roast on the bottom rack of the oven, until the skin is golden, and the juices run clear, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
As soon as the chicken has roasted, remove from the pan and set on a cutting board, loosely cover with foil, and allow to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.
5. Cut off and discard the kitchen twine, if using. Using a carving knife or chef’s knife, cut between the thigh and the breasts to remove the legs. Cut between the thigh and the drumstick, in between the joint, to separate the legs into 2 pieces. Starting with the breast bone, slice off each breast.


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