Sunday Night Prepwhat you’ll need:
a whole chicken, onion, carrots, celery, olive oil, salt and pepper, cilantro, lemon (optional), new potatoes
WHAT YOU’LL DO: Roast a chicken (about six pounds) using this easy method. (Put some new potatoes in the bottom of the pan, and they’ll cook in the pan juices.) When the bird is ready, let it cool slightly; pull most of the meat off the bones, except for a drumstick and thigh to eat for your Monday lunch, and keep it covered in the refrigerator.
Monday Lunch: Roasted Chicken and Saladwhat you’ll need:
spinach, dried fruit or nuts, lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper
WHAT YOU’LL DO: On Sunday night, pack up your drumstick and thigh and some of the new potatoes and pair it all with a small spinach salad tossed with dried fruit or nuts. In a small jar, combine a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil with salt and pepper. Keep the dressing separate, and dress your salad at work when you’re ready to eat.
Tuesday Lunch: Loaded Chicken Sandwich with Fruitwhat you’ll need:
bread, your favorite condiment, anything else you want on your sandwich, a piece of fruit
WHAT YOU’LL DO: On Tuesday morning, toast a couple of pieces of your favorite bread, slather on your favorite condiment (try CHOW’s mustard, mayo, or shallot jam), top with one-quarter of the remaining chicken, pile on a few veggies (scallions, bell pepper, avocado, or roasted beets are good options), and top with a few slices of your favorite cheese.
Wednesday Lunch: Quick Chinese Chicken Saladwhat you’ll need:
napa or savoy cabbage, some crunchy veggies, scallions, cilantro, rice vinegar, oil, honey, roasted nuts or crackers to snack on
WHAT YOU’LL DO: On Wednesday morning, thinly slice a few handfuls of napa or savoy cabbage; add a few handfuls of crunchy vegetables (thinly sliced bell pepper, celery, and/or carrots), some sliced scallion, and some chopped cilantro; and toss it together. Shred one-third of the remaining chicken; add a spoonful of rice vinegar, a spoonful of oil (peanut, canola, or sesame works great), and a squeeze of honey; and toss it all together with the veggies. By the time you get to work everything will be marinated and ready to go. Eat with a bag of sesame sticks, wonton chips, wasabi peas, roasted almonds, or rice crackers.
Thursday Lunch: Simple Chicken Soup and Saladwhat you’ll need:
onion, carrots, celery, oil, low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, a starch, salt and pepper, lemon, scallions, cilantro, spinach, leftover veggies
WHAT YOU’LL DO: On Wednesday night, sauté some finely chopped onion, carrot, and celery in oil until soft. Add a quart of broth and bring to a simmer. Shred and stir in one-half of the remaining chicken and add a starch of your choice (chopped potatoes, couscous, noodles, or cooked rice). Bring to a simmer for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper, and finish with some lemon zest, a few squeezes of lemon juice, sliced scallions, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Reheat at work and eat with a side salad of spinach and any other veggies you have left over from the week.
Friday Lunch: Barbecued Chicken Sandwich and Chipswhat you’ll need:
barbecue sauce, cabbage, celery, carrots, bell pepper, scallions, cilantro, lemon juice or vinegar, crusty bread, cheese, potato chips
WHAT YOU’LL DO: On Thursday night, shred the remaining chicken and mix in good-quality store-bought barbecue sauce. Chop up some of your leftover cabbage, celery, carrot, bell pepper, scallion, and cilantro, and toss it with a few dashes of lemon juice or vinegar (red wine or cider). Load it all on some crusty bread with a few slices of cheese, and carry along a bag of your favorite potato chips to round it out.
Take Your Lunch to Work:
One bird; five easy, varied, quick lunches
Buying a whole chicken is way cheaper than buying pieces. And one roasted chicken cooked over the weekend can be stretched—not literally—across a whole week of lunches, as a component in easy
salads, soups, and sandwiches. (If you want to stretch literally, buy a rubber chicken.)