Monday, January 21, 2008

TV Dinners, They Really Can't Be Beat

Anyone remember that ZZ Top song? It's been stuck in my head for a week.

I'll be going back to work tomorrow, and I'll have just 30 minutes for lunch. Because of where I'll be working (IRS), there's no way I can get to my van, out for food and back through security in half an hour. There is a cafeteria on-site, but there's no way I'm going to pay government prices for a meal. Instead, I'll be taking my lunch.

Sandwiches are fine a couple of days a week, but I like a hot lunch, so I've been making up as many homemade TV dinners as I can. The one in the picture is pork loin with mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes. I'll add a cookie and a piece of fruit and call it a meal.

Most things freeze just fine, and I've learned that putting a little bit of plastic wrap right on the food will keep it from getting freezer burn or forming ice crystals. I just take the plastic off before I heat the food in the microwave.

When there aren't any leftovers? I keep cooked rice in 2-cup portions in the refrigerator or freezer. It only takes an egg, a bit of frozen mixed veggies and few minutes to turn it into fried rice. Cheap, filling and tasty.

By taking my lunch, I figure can save between $20 and $40 a week over buying my lunch in the cafeteria. My homemade lunches are practically free, since they are usually from leftovers I hadn't planned on having available in the first place.


Donna said...

You're right about eating out! Cost WAY too much...Hubby and I need to back off of doing that. You really can save a ton! Have a wonderful day!!

Nobody™ said...

You'll want to kick my ass when you read this...

I was stopping at the convenience store everyday before work and buying two 20oz bottles of soda. That's almost $4/day for soda! I know, I know, that's really stupid!

I finally wised up and bought a 24 pack at Wally World for $5.98 and took that to work. It lasts me a couple weeks.

Annie Jones said...

Donna: I think in a situation like that, they're counting on the captive audience to buy lunch there every day. I may end up trying the cafeteria at some point while I'm there, but for the most part they can count me out.

Nobody: Can I kick your ass and pat you on the back at the same time? ;)

Tug said...

I work 1/2 hour away from home, so NEVER go home for lunch. I order out probably once a month, and eat out (away from the office) probably once every 4 months. hee...I take a LOT of lunches. This week it's roast, potatoes & carrots I crock-potted yesterday. ANY ideas are welcome. You can only eat so many pot pies...(a pretty good deal @ WalMart)

Lisa said...

gas is too expensive to drive home everyday for lunch for me also, plus it would be close on the 30 minutes.

My hubby is in the same boat. We take a lot of soup during the winter. I also love frozen burritos. A package of 10 is 2.48 at Wal-mart. Makes a pretty cheap lunch with some chips or fruit.

Annie Jones said...

Tug: Thanks for the idea...maybe I'll work up some kind of lunch post. :)

Lisa: I don't think I've tried the W-M burritos. Are they good? My favorite frozen ones are Marquez brand, but they're 50¢ each. Not a bad price, but still double what you're paying.