Lunchbox contents from top to bottom, left to right: Protein snack bar, Crystal Lite individual pack, Protein shake, Cold Sesame Noodle Salad with Peanuts and Parsley, fresh pitted cherries, zuchinni sticks, baby carrots.
Last night was my first night back at work at the hospital (respiratory therapy) in right at three months. For the two people I haven't whined to I had a knee injury followed by an incredibly long diagnosis journey, followed by surgery exactly five weeks ago. Last night was my first night back on the job and it was a doozy. But such is life. Right now my life revolves around Aspercreme and ice packs.
Since I'm also back to wanting to take good, healthy meals to get me through my shifts rather than go to the cafeteria...I know. You'd think a hospital cafeteria would focus on only extremely nutritious food but the sad fact is no one would buy it. We have a nice salad bar and they do serve a poached fish several times a week but I wasn't consistently seeing or buying what I should be eating so, like a lot of people, I brown bag it. Or in my case, I cute little Japanese bento box it.
IF I can find foods that are fast, satisfying, and pretty in my fridge. Otherwise, it's a challenge.
Last night's lunch fulfilled all three. The cold sesame udon noodle salad was inspired by Sher, at What Did You Eat's Spicy Sesame Noodles with Peanuts and Basil. That photo looks so inviting to me that I had to make it even if I didn't have all the ingredients in the cupboard. Real creativity in the kitchen, mine at least, is brought on by cravings, a skimpy pantry, and an unwillingness to go to the grocery for one or two items. So my Sesame Noodle Salad with Peanuts and Parsley sved my day. Or dinner. Depends on how you look at it.
The best part was the entire lunch took less than fifteen minutes to prepare and I was on my way. It's all about a little juggling. While the noodles boiled, I prepared the vegetables for the salad and the rest of the veggies in the lunchbox. By the time the noodles were cooked, everything was packed, the dressing for the salad was made, and all I had to do was toss it all together and scoop it into the bento. You can't beat that with a stick, like my grandmother always said. Have no idea what it means but it feels right for this case.
My lunchbox noodle salad is my entry this week in Ruth of Once Upon a Feast's weekly Presto Pasta Nights event. Check her blog Friday to see all the pasta dishes being served up this week.