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Hot Lunch on a Cold Winter’s Day

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January 3, 2018

Frigid weather outside calls for warm lunch inside. Skip the sandwiches with their utterly cold cuts and pack a hearty meal in a container that promises to keep it warm. Our family’s go-to lunchbox system is the Vaya Tiffin—a functional and versatile container that keeps wholesome lunches warm—but any insulated food jar will do.

Here are three easy ideas for warm meals on the go.

Easy Fried Rice, Takeaway-Style

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 4 tablespoons frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the rice into a large mug. Lay the peas, carrots, and red pepper on top. Cover the mug with cling film. Using a knife, poke two small holes through the film. Microwave on high for 1 minute 15 seconds.

Beat one egg. Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil, onion powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the mug, and stir with the vegetables and rice.

Cover the mug with cling film again, and microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds. Take the mug out of the microwave, and give everything a good stir. Let the fried rice stand for a minute to finish cooking. Use a fork to fluff up the rice and transfer to an insulated food jar.

Loaded Baked Potato To-Go

  • 1 russet potato, scrubbed clean
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled bacon

Prick the potato several times with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 5 minutes. Turn over and microwave on high for 5 more minutes. When the potato is soft, remove from the microwave, peel and place it in a bowl. Mash it a bit with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, top with butter and cheese. Return to the microwave for about one minute, until the cheese is melted. Place immediately in an insulated food jar.

Place sour cream and bacon bits in separate containers, to be served atop the potato at lunch time.

Easy Tomato Soup for Two To-Go

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into four pieces
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion, chicken stock, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream. Cook for three more minutes. Blend the soup with an immersion blender or use a regular blender.

Pour hot soup into an insulated food jar. Serve with oyster crackers or croutons and grated cheese.

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