I work at home, which means I have free rein when it comes to making lunch for myself during the week. Most of the time I reheat leftovers from last night’s dinner –all the prep and the dirty dishes are distant memories, and lunch is just a microwave minute away. However, there are always days that there are no leftovers and I have to make do with peanut butter and jelly.
Last week I opened the fridge to see what I had to work with. Several nights of minimalist dinners had left precious few leftovers. I was faced with some white rice and three oven French fries. Who saved three fries? I probably did, because I hate to throw anything away. There was also about a quarter cup of pizza sauce – see previous sentence.
The rice and oven fries weren’t doing anything for me. What I really wanted was the pepperoni pizza that we had made over the weekend, which was, sadly, gone. The pizza sauce started me thinking about the bagel pizzas I lived on in college – white bagels, fat free mozzarella cheese and sauce. In my defense, it was the fat-phobic 90’s and whole grains weren’t big yet.
I had whole wheat bagels in the freezer, along with turkey pepperoni. And there was part of a chunk of mozzarella (not fat free!) in the cheese drawer. Lunch was looking better and better.
I didn’t feel like a thick “crust,” so I sliced each bagel half into two horizontal slices and topped them with my bounty while the toaster oven preheated. A few minutes’ baking, with a finish under the broiler, and my 21st century bagel pizzas were ready – crispy on the bottom, topped with just a touch of garlicky tomato sauce, browned cheese and pepperoni that was just crisping on the edges. Take that, boring PBJ!
You may not have the chance to be creative at lunchtime during the week, but take the time to let your imagination free on the weekends. Use those little bits of leftovers in the fridge and freezer as inspiration – perk up grilled cheese sandwiches with that last bit of deli ham or turkey; add the last slice of cheese to your tuna sandwich and make a melt; or use the last dabs of vegetables from last night’s dinner in an omelet. And if you think of anything I can do with three oven fries, let me know.