Working from home has a lot of benefits including never having to remember to bring your lunch to work.
But let’s be honest, how often do you find yourself rummaging through your kid’s school lunch snacks in the pantry instead of eating the leftovers staring at you in the fridge?
These three easy lunch ideas are my go-to meals for re-purposing leftovers and food that’s almost always already in my fridge.
Three Easy Lunch Ideas Using Leftovers
1. Sweet Potato Toast
I was scrolling through Instagram after finishing a report for a client when I saw Smitten Kitchen’s squash toast photo. Yummm I thought to myself. Followed by I wonder if anyone else in my house would eat this as I checked out the recipe.
Then remembered I had a leftover sweet potato in the fridge, ricotta and whole wheat bread from my daughter’s faux preschool PB&J’s (sunflower butter – I’m not a fan – but she is.) And it didn’t matter if anyone else would eat it because I could make it for lunch.
If you are avoiding eating carbs and the thought of sweet potato on toast scares you – but you have all the ingredients – give it try just once. This combination of leftovers is worth it!
I’ve modified Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for a quick lunch option:
Half of an already cooked Sweet Potato
2 glugs of Maple Syrup
Ricotta or Cream Cheese (low fat its totally good here!)
Whole Grain Toast
Chop a shallot* and cook it with a little olive oil in a small pan on low heat until it starts to soften. Pop a piece of whole grain toast in the oven. Add leftover sweet potato to the shallots and heat until warmed. Add Maple Syrup and heat through.
Spread some Ricotta or Cream Cheese on the toast followed by a big spoonful of the warm sweet potato mixture. Enjoy!
This is a little sweet, so I usually eat it with a side of cucumbers or bell pepper slices. *The shallot is optional but an ingredient I always have on hand because it’s faster to chop and cook than an onion.
2. Chicken Mediterranean Wrap
One of my favorite downtown sandwich shop items is a warm Mediterranean turkey wrap. When I was pregnant this was THE meal I craved that I didn’t eat.
I might have taken my newborn daughter to meet my co-workers ONLY so I would have an excuse to get this wrap!
Since I no longer work walking distance this sandwich shop I make a version of my favorite wrap it at home. A lot.
Wrap/Tortilla (I love the Trader Joe’s Low-Carb warps)
Leftover cooked chicken (turkey lunch meat works great too!)
Greek Dressing (any vinaigrette will work)
Turn your oven on, 350 is fine. This is one of those wraps that’s even better warm.
Spread some hummus on the wrap and add a little bit of all the remaining ingredients except the lettuce. Leave the wrap open and warm for a few minutes in the oven. Pull it out, add the lettuce and wrap it up. Enjoy with an apple or some grapes.
3. Tortellini Salad
I discovered this lunch after serving my daughter a dinner of leftovers. You might already be ahead of me on this one but if tortellini salad isn’t already in your lunch rotation this is a great way to enjoy leftovers.
Leftover Cooked Tortellini (I use Trader Joe’s)
Diced Leftover Meat (chicken or pork tenderloin both work)
Diced string cheese stick (or you can cut a piece of provolone into bite-sized pieces)
Favorite vinaigrette (I love Garlic Expressions Classic Vinaigrette – a little goes a long way)
Chopped Lettuce and leftover salad veggies
Defrost the peas for a couple of seconds in the microwave and combine all of the ingredients through the vinaigrette. Wash and chop salad and salad veggies. Spoon tortellini mixture on top of salad and enjoy!
Turning leftovers into lunch is a win-win. And it only takes a few minutes to turn leftovers into easy lunches that are healthier than your kid’s chips or Oreo’s.
These three easy lunch ideas are my go-to’s. If you try them or have some of your own please share in the comments below. I’m always looking for new lunch ideas.
P. S. I eat bread for lunch. If you do too it can be our little secret. Kind of like that saying, if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it did it make a sound? If no one saw you eat bread did it happen?