It is difficult to find cheap and clean food when dining out. In Singapore, “clean lunches” typically cost $10-$16 for protein salads and protein bowls. Sure, there’s the carb-heavy noodle dishes in the food courts for $5-6, but these usually come laden with oil and salt, with sparing amounts of greens.
I started my lunch making journey a few years ago, and I try to make lunch at least a couple of days a week. Usually I make my lunches ahead overnight, or I batch cook stews and soups on Sundays. The last week, I tried making hot lunchboxes in the morning.
Risking sounding like proponents of “30 Minute Meals” or “Dinner under an hour”, the key to morning cooking is PREPARATION, PREPARATION and PREPARATION. Prepare your menu, prepare your ingredients and prepare to multitask. I marinate my chicken overnight in the refridgerator not just to seal in the flavour but also for convenience. This is how a typical morning schedule looks like for me:
7.01am: heat up oven to 220 deg C
7.02am: retrieve marinated chicken, leave out to reach room temperature
7.03am: wash and cut the vegetables
7.08am: pop chicken into the oven
7.25am: blanche the vegetables and meanwhile prepare breakfast
7.30am: remove chicken from oven
7.31am: pack lunch box
7.35am: breakfast and news
8am: dry hair, makeup and prepare to leave for work
How to whip you a simple marinade the night before? I chop some garlic, dried herbs (rosemary, Italian mix), shallots and mix them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, paprika and black pepper in a zipper freezer bag and put my fillet chicken breast in and keep it overnight. Simple yet flavourful. For a last dash of spice, especially for the vegetables, sprinkle some Cajun spice mix after everything is cooked and boxed.