Last-Minute Lunches

tapas-plateIt’s Monday, it’s lunchtime, and you’re lunch-less and hungry. Odds are, you’re stuck going to the nearest faux-healthy restaurant. (Ever looked at the ingredients in a Panera sandwich? If you print out what’s in the Turkey Artichoke Panini, it’ll take up almost a full 8 1/2″ x 11″ page. But hey, I guess that’s better than Jimmy John’s – they refuse to disclose what’s in their sandwiches. If anyone ever does succeed in breaching their corporate “we won’t tell you what you’re eating” wall, I’d love to hear about it.)

While you might be up the prandial creek without a fork on Monday, take heart! The rest of the week can be much tastier and healthier. All you’ll need to do clean out your fridge, pantry, and fruit bowl by enjoying a midday assortment of odds and ends. If you were in Spain, you’d be calling the idea tapas; if you were in Greece, you’d be lunching on mezze. And your truly tasty and healthy meal will cost you under $10 (mine was $5). So don’t be afraid to explore the corners of your fridge!

Suggestions for your Tapas Plate


Cheese, preferably made from grass-fed milk



Deli meats from pastured animals (such as Applegate Farms and Niman Ranch products)

Hard-boiled eggs


Whole-grain bread

Any leftovers that need to be eaten

Remember, simplicity is your most delicious ingredient! Not throwing away money is probably the second most delicious one…which is what you’ll achieve by tossing some tasty leftovers into a bag and taking them to work with you rather than throwing them away and going out to eat.

For this plate, I went with what I had on hand:

Wedge of Prairie Fruits Moonglo raw goat cheese $2.10

Wedge of ricotta salata cheese made of sheep’s milk (I love cheeses made with sheep and goat milk) $1.00, garnished with sweet paprika

Satsuma mandarin orange $0.58

Half an organic Gala apple $0.30

Olives $1.36

For the heck of it, I threw in an anchovy-wrapped caper $0.20

Total: a very delicious $5.54 (Prairie Fruits cheeses are amazing!)

In other words, an adult version of Lunchables…except much more health- and cost-effective.

Enjoy exploring your fridge and cupboards!

Courtesy of Cultured Cook.

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