March 29, 2005

The Lazy Chef does lunch: Everybody into the freezer!

I suffer from one of the eternal quandaries of working humans: What To Do For Lunch? My commute is longer than my lunch hour, so coming home isn't an option. Restaurant or take-out lunches on my secretarial paycheck are an impossibility even for yours truly, Fiscal K. Undependable. This all adds up to bringing bag lunches from home, but I've got some problems with acquiring them. Time has a tendency to tick on to 9:00 with me barely dinnered, and there's nothing like starting preparing food all over again when you're full and sleepy to make you... well, I wouldn't even know, because I can never bring myself to do it. Andrew has an elegant, high-volume solution, but my pathological aversion to sandwiches makes it less than perfect for me. So? Burritos!

I made a pot of rice, got out some frozen corn and frozen bell peppers, opened a can of pinto beans and a can of black olives, and swore a blue streak because my soy cheese was moldy. Having thrown away the cheese and recovered my composure, I made an assembly-line burrito factory only slightly less efficient than Andrew's sandwich factory. Warm tortilla to soften, pile on scoop of rice, handful of beans, handfuls of corn and peppers, and sprinkling of olives. Fold into burrito-shaped package, wrap in saran wrap, and fling into the freezer. The freezer! Mankind's great miracle, the freezer! Behold, my children, thy lunches shall remain fresh, and they shall be tasty, and so too shall they be convenient and reasonably healthy, and all of this shall be thine for a lesser price than thou shalt find in thy local grocery store freezer section.

Sing hallelujah, and praise thy upstairs neighbor who had the idea first. Oh, and maybe next time remember to put some salsa in the things, because heavenly inspiration alone is kind of bland.

Posted by dianna at March 29, 2005 09:27 PM

i love you so much right now. i'm doing that this weekend! i'm so excited. also, why did i never think of that before? it's such an elegant solution.

Posted by: marina at March 30, 2005 08:52 AM

It's a fantastic solution, and I say this as someone who didn't actually think of it. The credit goes entirely to the aforementioned upstairs neighbor, Katie. It's so freakin' brilliant that I don't know why she didn't do it every day for the next year after she came up with it. Must be one of those eccentric genius things, I guess.

I'm also wondering if I could do something like a Hot Pocket. Flaky pastry crust and maybe some gravy? It's definitely more work than burritos, but if I could harness two hours of cooking energy I'd be set for a delicious week.

Posted by: Dianna at March 30, 2005 09:30 AM

i took a hot pocket with me to class last night to heat up in the microwave. but it was from a box. and full of both meat and cheese. though it did only cost me $5 for 8 of them, so none too shabby on the pocketbook front. plus, absolutely no cooking/prep time required and plenty of oppurtunies to say "hot-to-tot-to-tooooooooooooo!"

Posted by: michele at March 30, 2005 10:38 AM

A brand called Amy's makes really good hotpockety things that they sell at Berkeley Bowl. They're full of veggies and inexplicably cheesy sauce that is nonetheless actually safe for me to eat. Not so good on the pocketbook front, though, since each one is about $2.50. But damn, they're delicious.

Posted by: Dianna at March 30, 2005 10:47 AM

Whole Foods tends to have Amy's sales about every other week. We tend to fill up the freezer at work during those glorious times, when they go for about $1.50 each. The truly creative frozen food arbitrager with no brand loyalty can switch between Amy's and the Whole Foods 360 brand, depending on what's on sale, and never have to pay more than two bucks. I recommend the Tofu Scramble and Roasted Vegetable pockets.

Posted by: sean at March 30, 2005 11:31 AM

Gasp! Sale? Did I hear the word sale?

I have no brand loyalty and my store loyalty is dangerously weakened when I hear phrases like "$1.50". I must investigate this!

Posted by: Dianna at March 30, 2005 11:41 AM