Most of what I have detailed in recent weeks relates to dinner, or in the case of Perfect Pancakes - breakfast. But as a work-from-home mom, I often find myself in need of a quick, satisfying lunch that's as easy to prepare as the dinner that follows.
That in mind, I've come to appreciate that there are a few foods that answer the lunch bell's call almost without fail. Baked potatoes are like a diamond - they are forever... okay, so maybe that's pushing it... but if you don't overcook them in the oven, they really can hang out for a while (in the 'fridge of course) and keep their quality quite nicely.
My go-to quick-and-easy lunch of late is to re-warm a baked potato in the microwave and pack it with a mighty helping of the roasted veggies for that week. A little bit of butter (yeah, I said butter... let's be real ... a baked potato begs for the best) and a sprinkling of some high quality cheese, and you're in business.
The funny thing is that when I go out to lunch with my husband, he often questions the nutrition credibility of ordering a baked potato. First, know that he is not an RD, but he definitely fancies himself nutrition-minded. Likely, his concern is based in things he's "heard" about potatoes... i.e. "they make you fat."
Really? Aren't we beyond that single food evil notion?
So let me clarify.
Eating too many calories and being sedentary lead to calorie imbalance. Calorie imbalance lead to weight gain. Period.
It should be noted, however, that calorie imbalance as a function of the type of calories is more relevant now than ever. Research to evaluate whether "healthy" foods actually prompt your body to burn more energy is ongoing. Janet Helm recently discussed this with Cooking Light. Be sure to check it out. It's exciting research for those of us who consistently promote eating less-processed foods as your primary source of calories. But for the purposes of explaining to my husband and anyone else who listen that baked potatoes are fine for lunch, the simple calorie equation will do for now.
Anyway, I'll concur that the humble baked potato is not likely to top the list of nutritional powerhouse foods any time soon. But they are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and frankly, they just taste damn good to me. They provide a wonderful vehicle to transport other nutritious foods into a hearty and satisfying lunch and are always on-hand at the Make Ahead Mom's house.
So, what is your go-to quick and easy lunch?