My Favorite Meals to Make Ahead and Take to Work for Lunch

5 Easy Make Ahead Lunches

Summer break is over, and that means I am back to work. (Which I am actually pretty happy about!)

The thing I dread is having to come up with something to bring for lunch every day! I hate buying prepackaged freezer meals or a bunch of processed snack foods. It gets expensive and is really not very good for you.

Last year, I realized that if I start stocking up on leftovers from dinner a couple of weeks before school starts, I can stay ahead of the game and not be trying to scrounge together scraps of food from my cabinets each night.

I have discovered a few favorites that work really well for me. They are easy, make great dinners, and freeze/reheat really well when it comes time for lunch. Each recipe makes plenty, so I can usually get 1-2 dinners and 3-4 lunches.

Soon enough, I have a couple of weeks worth of lunches stocked up and don’t have to put any thought into it for several days!

My top five that I use on repeat are linked below:

stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe

Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese – Baked Bree (This recipe is for stovetop, but she also includes instructions for how to bake it – I always bake it!)

Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole - all the makings of a chicken enchilada but with rice. It's simply delicious!

Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole – Jo Cooks (I don’t eat meat, so I leave the chicken out of this one and add in a can of black beans.)

A simple, flavorful no-boil, Mushroom Baked Ziti with Spinach and Ricotta ( or sub tofu ricotta) that can be made in one pan and requires no pre-boiling of pasta. Perfect for weeknight dinners! #noboil, #ziti, #vegan |

No Boil Mushroom Baked Ziti – Feasting at Home

Smashed Chickpea Avocado Sandwich with milk

Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich – Two Peas & Their Pod (For this one, I bring the bread separately and assemble the sandwich at lunch so it doesn’t get soggy.)

One-Pan Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice in a pan

One Pan Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice – The Girl Who Ate Everything (Again, since I don’t eat meat I leave out the chicken and add extra broccoli.)

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Best Black Bean BBQ Veggie Burgers!

The other day I wanted to make veggie burgers from scratch. I have made them before, but never found a recipe I really love.

After browsing through about 10 different recipes on Pinterest, I realized I didn’t have all of the ingredients for any of them.

I decided to wing it and I’m glad I did! The recipe below is not an exact science, and I’m sure it would be easy to substitute ingredients as long as the ratio of wet to dry is kept the same.

These ended up being the best Black Bean burgers, topped with BBQ sauce and avocado slices!


1 can black beans (15 oz.), rinsed and drained

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa

1 c. baked sweet potato

1/2 c. ground oats (dry)

1 egg

1/4 c. breadcrumbs

2-3 tbs. salsa

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper


In a large bowl, mash black beans with a fork until just a few beans remain whole.

Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing as you go, until everything is well combined.

Divide into six equal portions and form into a round patties.

To cook, heat a frying pan on medium/low heat with a little but of olive oil. Add patty/patties and cook 4-5 minutes on each side until hot throughout.

Add BBQ sauce to the patty while the second side is cooking and serve on a toasted bun with sliced avocado.

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