Easy Work From Home Lunch Recipes (Because We’re Still In A Pandemic)

I still remember my last day at work prior to the pandemic: March 17th, 2020. I was taking the next three days off to do a remote 3-day SQL boot camp, and my manager at the time told me that she argued for me to be permanently WFH to counter the – at the time – alternate weekday scheduling that had started in early March. (Bless working in Infection Control with folks that understand it ain’t easy being spleenless during an unprecedented pandemic. 🙃) I spent the next three days in said SQL boot camp, our teacher up in Ottawa doing his best to teach under circumstances that had him shaken up as well.

Needless to say, it’s two years later, I still work remotely – with the occasional pre-planned office day – and I couldn’t code SQL to save my life. But I do know what it means to join tables! (Someone…give me credit…PLEASE…)

Just me saying “Hello!” from Washington Heights, yet again. (Or Hudson Heights if you choose… 🤪)

I recently moved back up to Washington Heights near the GW Bridge, my current apartment two blocks away from one I lived in circa 2010 – 2014. It’s so great to be back in this neighborhood, and even better to be back here with a roomy eat-in kitchen. My work schedule, by and large, does have that 2 p.m. lull which allows me to whip up quick yet tasty lunches, and rarely do I order out.

Here are a few easy – to – make work from home lunches that have been doing the MOST:

NOTE: There are no exact measurements for these work from home lunch recipes, just months and years of tacit knowledge being explicitly stated in a non-organized way. Ha! No lists nor proper set steps as there should be in a food blog post, just vibes. 😎✨😅

Work From Home Lunches: Breakfast Quesadilla with Baby Spinach, Cheddar, & Tomatoes

I eat this more for lunch and dinner than I ever do for breakfast. (Then again, I’m usually never hungry until about 2 p.m. on any given day!) My Our Place pan makes the crispiest quesadillas ever, so this recipe has been on ample rotation.

To make my scrambled eggs, I whisk together two eggs with a squirt of mayo and a splash of whole milk. Next, I grab a handful of baby spinach and roughly chop, then I’ll quarter a 1/2 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes. I’ll mix the vegetables into the egg mixture. I’ll melt a tablespoon of butter over medium heat, and add to my Our Place pan. I’ll scramble the eggs until they are just set, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Pre-grated cheese is my friend for quick meals – I always go for Cabot – but if you don’t have any, grate up about 1/2 cup of cheddar or Colby Jack cheese. I’ll wipe out my pan, add another small pat of butter, then let is melt over medium heat. I’ll add a large flour tortilla – I go for burrito-sized! – and add 1/4 of the cheese to one half of the tortilla. Once the cheese has started to melt, I’ll add the scrambled eggs on top of the cheese, add the remaining cheese on top of the egg, and fold over the other half of the tortilla. (…got it?) I’ll give it a quick – yet – careful flip to make sure it’s toasted evenly on both sides, then I’ll cut into quarters and devour.

Work From Home Lunches: Breakfast Quesadilla with Baby Spinach, Cheddar, & Tomatoes

Work From Home Lunches: Mac & Cheese with Truff Black Truffle Mayo *or* Mac & Cheese with Sautéed Red Bell Pepper & Tomatoes

I have become a huge fan of Banza Mac & Cheeses; I think it’s a polarizing brand, as most folks do not enjoy the taste and / or texture of chickpea pasta. I eat gluten – a lot of it! – but I enjoy the slight nutty flavor of the pasta, and the cheese sauce is some of the best I’ve ever had from a boxed mac & cheese! I always have at least four boxes of these in my party at any given time, so I’m ready to go.

I always split my boxed mac & cheeses into two servings. For the first, after combining the pasta & cheese, I stir in an healthy dollop of the black truffle mayo. It adds an incredible depth of flavor, and I love to serve it with a simple side salad, because – as food content creators have been saying tongue – in – checkily for years – BALANCE. For my second serving, I’ll reconstitute my mac & cheese on the stovetop with a splash of milk and a small pat of butter, while lightly sautéing some red bell pepper and quartered grape tomatoes on the side. I’ll add the pepper into my mac & cheese, and occasionally hit it with an extra dose of cheese from my fridge; a nice 4-cheese Mexican blend is always a winner here!

Work From Home Lunches: Tuna Salad with Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Feta, & Red Onion

For someone that is averse to virtually all seafood, I love tuna, one of the fishiest fishes out there! There is nothing subtle about its taste, so it’s even beyond me why I love it so much. But, all these years later, a tuna salad is still one of my fallbacks for a quick and satisfying meal.

If you haven’t already picked up on this, these recipes involve very loose measurements. So grab a can of solid white tuna, pop it open, and drain; for me, I always get mine in water opposed to oil. Flake it apart in a large bowl.

My go-to cucumber is always a seedless; cut one in half through the middle – width-wise, not length-wise! – and dice. Take 1/2 of a small red onion and dice. Take 1/2 of a bell pepper and dice. (Are we sensing a theme here?) Mix vegetables with tuna, and add in two heaping tablespoons of mayonaise; add more to your liking, I prefer a binding coat of mayo to my tuna salad rather to have my ingredients swimming in it. Sprinkle in some feta. Season to taste, I love to go for some garlic powder, either fresh or dried dill, and a grind or two from my Trader Joe’s Everything Seasoning Grinder.

Work From Home Lunches: Tuna Salad with Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Feta, & Red Onion

Work From Home Lunches: Yogurt Bowl with Fruits, Nuts, & Seeds

So. Damn. EASY. Some days, there just isn’t time to eat a solid meal, but I can make something simple more elaborate and filling. More often than not, I just rip the top off of a pack of yogurt, add my toppings, and go to town. On occasion, I get fancy…such as if I need Instagram or website content. *ahem* Please don’t make me explain how to assemble a yogurt bowl, I hope you can figure that out on your own. (Ha!) I gravitate towards Siggi’s and Icelandic Provisions when it comes to yogurt – skyr, rather! – because if it ain’t thick, I don’t want it.

Work From Home Lunches: Yogurt Bowl with Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds

I’ll continue to post my work from home lunch standbys on my blog and on my Instagram, because they won’t be slowing down anytime soon! Continue to stay safe and eat well, y’all! ✌️

I feel like I should have done a grandiose “2021 Year in Review!” blog post weeks ago, full of accomplishments and lessons learned in the realm of food blogging.

I was too focused on too many other things to make conscious food blogging decisions throughout 2021. Let’s be honest. Ha!

I shared a few recipes, managed to increase my website traffic by some miracle with minimal effort, made a solid four figures in supplemental income from just three collaborations (two of them were even with brands I liked… 😆), and kept my head on while starting a few position at my hospital remotely while doing my previous infection control data role and current project lead role concurrently for roughly six months. 

I’ve got no gems or true wisdom to share, I’m just glad I’m still here, sane enough to whip up this post. 😂

This labradoodle coat From Lucky Brand was my favorite Pandemic Purchase, with this iced chai coming in at a close second. 💁🏻‍♀️

However, “spark” is my word for 2022, and I think I’ll have my spark again in the coming months. I’ll soon have a space to cook, photograph, and create unencumbered, and I think having my autonomy back is going to make a huge difference. I’m not looking to move mountains and hustle with dozens of campaigns, but I am happy I have a space larger than 3′ x 3′ to work in soon with ample natural light so I can show off avocado toasts once agin. (Remind me, is this 2022 or 2017? Haaa…)

Here are a few highlights from 2021, where I was actually able to grab an outdoor drink with friends every now and then and still managed to avoid COVID despite being directly exposed to Omicron a few times in December. (Gotta love the “new normal”, awful phrase be damned!)

Ramen By Rā – An At-Home Ramen Experience

Ramen By Rā – An At-Home Ramen Experience

Necessity is the mother of invention: In a world where dining out was put on pause for many due to the pandemic, many of us yearned for what restaurants brought, whether it was comfort, innovation, or an entirely new experience.

Ramen By Rā brings all of these together.

I first heard of Ramen By Rā via Ada Supper Club, a curated food delivery service focusing on Black and female culinary creators. Rāsheeda Purdie worked in collaboration with ASC to create multiple thoughtfully-put together ramen experiences, drawing from various inspirations. Though I didn’t get a chance to try any of them, the envy was real when I saw the menus and photos she put together, a full-meal experience with an appetizer, ramen, dessert, and drink. As I continued to eye when her next drop would be – working weekends in healthcare analytics during the height of the pandemic made it hard to even order in sometimes, let alone EAT at all! – you better believed that I pounced on the opportunity to try her Ramen Bodega menu when I knew I was available to.

The Ramen Bodega menu was an exploration and celebration of some of New York’s best offerings from around the corner, showcasing a unique spin on a beloved New York City creation, the Chopped Cheese. (Don’t say it’s like a Philly Cheesesteak! NOPE.)

To order, keep an eye on the Ramen By Rā Instagram to know when the next drop will happen; when it goes up, go to her website and hop on that RSVP page quickly, because this particular experience was sold out within a few days. Once I ordered, paid, and received my confirmation, I waited the few days until its delivery, getting occasional updates throughout the week.

On the day of delivery, I knew my order would be delivered anytime between 2 – 7 p.m.; I was pleased to get a text around 3:30 that afternoon to not only inform me of my delivery, but I was given a live map to follow my driver’s progress as my food made its way towards my apartment; I’m both voyeuristic and incredibly anxious, so being able to know exactly when to go outside to grab my food was incredibly satisfying. 😂

Let me just say: The curation of this entire experience was so incredibly laid out. Every detail was thought of in terms of transporting and packaging the food in the most efficient way as well as tying in the bodega inspiration. Black clamshell boxes came full of our food items, that quintessential black and white checkered paper covering their bottoms. Each element of each course was meticulously wrapped and sealed with easy – to – follow instructions to prepare; there is a DIY element to the experience, yes, but do not let that hold you back if you are not a wiz in the kitchen. The directions were made for the layman!

The appetizer was Chip, Pick, & Dip, a delightful combination of tempura-battered nori, spicy pickles, and spicy mayo. This hit the spot flavor and texture-wise, the fried dimpled batter holding the addictive mayo nicely. The pickles had a bite, but were ultimately juicy and refreshing.

Coming in strong was the Chop Cheese Ramen, served with Lawry’s chop beef, spicy cheese crunch, roasted tomato, steam iceberg lettuce, red chili, bean sprouts, and scallions with a shoyu beef broth. The depth of flavor in this dish was amazing; the broth was incredibly robust, and the chop beef combined with the spicy cheese crunch adding a type of savoriness that I had never experienced in a ramen dish prior. Closing my eyes, I could absolutely taste the Chopped Cheese, minus the bread. The accompanying vegetables added additional layers, from the subtle sweetness of the roasted tomatoes to the palate-cleansing power of the bean sprouts. I am not using hyperbole when I say this is the most unique bowls of ramen I’ve ever had, and one of the best overall! I’m usually more of a fan of creamy tonkotsu broth, but this shoyu beef broth definitely won me over in the end.

Dessert rounded off this 3-course delight nicely with Hot Buns: Honey buns served with hot honey, ginger buttercream, and black sesame seeds. Those that know me know that I can get a little overheated with just fresh cracked black pepper – yes, I go mild on just about everything! – but I’ve long been a fan of hot honey, and when you combine it with the ginger buttercream, they balance each other well enough to give you enough of a bite without knocking you on your ass.

Topped of with an Arizona Ginseng Green Iced Tea – a corner store staple and a favorite for many of us 80s Babies & 90s Kids – this experience couldn’t have gotten much better! (Well…perhaps three or four Hot Buns would have made it even better!)

On her Instagram, Rāsheeda notes that her ramen experiences are a culinary journey of cultural admiration & appreciation, and I couldn’t agree more. This particular experience truly paid homage to appreciating what ramen is, what ramen can be, and showcasing those corner store favorites in a new light; honestly, a plain ol’ Little Debbie Honey Bun just won’t hit the same after having Rāsheeda’s re-imagination of them! This experience hit the spot, and I cannot wait to see what she comes out with next!

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

(Originally posted on Seek Satiation on November 7th, 2017)

Well, lookie here, I’m bringing an old recipe back from the achieves! (And, of course, the photos are from 2017, too. Ha! Time for a reshoot? Those cinnamon sugar rims could use a clean-up… )

The mocktail seems to be coming to the forefront of people’s minds as of late. While I believe their popularity has been on the rise, I’ve seen a plethora of articles about mocktails as of late, whether its a newly-developed mocktail recipe or people debating the merits of being sober and sober-curious. And, of course, no one ever has to explain why they choose not to drink alcohol. All reasons are valid!

As for me, I’ve never been a big drinker, and when I do drink alcohol, it’s never to get drunk. (Ugh, not my end game!) Rather, I love the science behind the creation of a good cocktail or a unique hard cider. I love to see how creative folks get with mixing liquors, liqueurs, flavors, and additional elements. The great thing? These basic elements can be applied to mocktails as well! Where alcohol is removed from the equation, other elements can be added in to make a charming mocktail, such as effervescent liquids, flavorful juices, bitters, smoke, spices, you name it!

Many moons ago, I created this recipe for a disposable recyclable drinkware company – please note my article about getting fair monetary compensation for content creation, since exposure doesn’t pay the rent! – but even though 2021 Allison would have asked for a nice chunk of money for this when 2017 Allison was happy with receiving 24 plastic drink vessels because “FREE PRODUCT AND EXPOSURE, YAY!”, this recipe turned out beautifully, and I still make it during the holidays!

I will always go for apple cider. Once September comes around, I’m drinking it well into January or February; it’s the perfect cold weather beverage, especially when heated up and mixed with some warming spices. For those times when I’m feeling a bit more festive, I turn it into this Sparking Apple Ginger Mocktail, made with Q Ginger Ale, which is my mocktail ginger ale of choice.

Enjoy this Sparking Apple Ginger Mocktail this holiday season! Hopefully your cinnamon-sugar rims turn out cleaner than the ones in these old photos. 😉

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 liter ginger ale (I used Q Ginger Ale)
  • Whole fresh cranberries, rinsed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (optional)

Before We Get Started…

  • The addition of cinnamon-sugar to the rims is optional, but it’s oh-so pretty!

Directions:

1.) If decorating rims: In a small shallow bowl or on a small plate, combine sugar and cinnamon until well-mixed. Wet the rims of the champagne flutes, then dip in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

2.) Fill each champagne flute with 1/4 cup apple cider, then top off with ginger ale.

3.) Float fresh cranberries on top of mocktails, if desired. Serve immediately!