An almost free lunch

You know, I’m really proud of The Kid.At work, my child is within walking distance of at least twenty really outstanding restaurants.  It would take no effort at all to spend $200 a week on lunches.

But The Kid only goes out for lunch two or three times a month.  My frugal, sensible, little worker bee is a charter member of the brown bag club.

Actually, it’s a box–this box, in fact.  Ain’t my child special?

Sunday is spent preparing large batches of grub which are split up and frozen.  The newest addition is a dish using a spaghetti squash.

So here, in The Kid’s own words is that recipe, along with a little lunch box advice.

Spaghetti Squash bake

spag-squash2 Spaghetti squashes

3Tbs Capers

1C Spaghetti Sauce

2 cans canellini beans, rinsed.

1lb mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 onion, small diced

¼ c Parmesan cheese, grated

¼ c white wine

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Slice squashes into rings, remove seeds and center. Put onto lined baking sheets and brush both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. When oven is up to temp, bake squash for 40 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce the rings.Let the squash until it is cool until it is able to be handled. Then remove the peel, and delicately break into strands. It will want to break apart on its own, so just follow how it wants to fall. Put the strands into a mixing bowl, and set aside.

Heat a pan to medium. When hot, add a splash of canola oil and add onion to pan. Season with salt and stir occasionally. When it gets soft and translucent, add garlic, and season. When the garlic gets fragrant, add mushrooms, and heavily season with salt. Stir occasionally, and cook until mushrooms are caramelized. Add wine, and cook until pan is dry. 

When mushrooms are done, add to bowl with the squash with beans, capers, and sauce.

Transfer mixture to a 8X8 baking pan and top with cheese. Bake for twenty minutes, and then put under the high broiler until cheese has color.Throw it in the fridge. Once cool, slice into servings, and put into separate containers. Freeze all portions not to be eaten in the next couple days.

*Biggest thing about lunches; have lots of options in the freezer. That way it’s super easy and you don’t have to eat the same thing until it’s gone.

While my child may be an expert on the art of carrying meals to work, I’ve become pretty proficient in healthy snacks, either at home or on the road.

I always keep a bag of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in the fridge.  I love the salty/sweet and crunchy/chewy contrast.  It’s also great to sprinkle in salads or hot cereal.  Right now my mix is mainly cherries, strawberries, cashews, and almonds.I’m also fond of raw veggies and dip.  Buy whole and cut them to your own desired shape.  For dips, try hummus, whipped low-fat cream cheese with herbs or hot sauce mixed in, or nut butters.  I love carrots dipped into peanut butter.  But for the love of all that’s delicious, please don’t use those bagged “baby” carrots.  They’re just whittled-down regular carrots sprayed with chemicals.

The weather’s getting cooler every day.  Take some tuneage, a book, and your homemade lunch outside and enjoy your break.  At home, grab the kids, some snacks, and go for a walk or climb a tree.

There will be no rescue squad to save you.

*Any injuries sustained during aforementioned tree climbing are solely the responsibility of the climber and in no way the fault of the well-meaning food columnist.

Thanks for your time.