Laptop Lunches #123

Cherry tomatoes, snow peas, and carrot sticks with yogurt-ranch dip; a small apple cut in half (to make it fit in the box), taco casserole (America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2012), and slices of nectarine.

The taco casserole was surprisingly low brow for America's Test Kitchen. I liked it and it was pretty easy, but I was a little taken aback at the list of ingredients. Their recipes usually involve re-inventing the wheel; this one involved mixing Ro-Tel tomatoes with canned refried beans and laying it in with cheese and seasoned ground beef, then topping it with crushed corn chips and more cheese before baking it for about ten minutes. The only nod to the sort of thing one usually gets with America's Test Kitchen is that they required you to use real seasoning for the beef (not just a taco seasoning packet, but chili powder, cumin, and ground coriander) and wanted you to put fresh chopped cilantro on top. Otherwise you might find such a recipe on the label of a can of refried beans. But it was really very good. I liked the way they spiked the refried beans with the Ro-Tel and bottled hot sauce. That was good enough on its own to make a great filling for vegan burritos.

This is turning out to be one heck of a week. I'm taking tomorrow off other than a dissertation defense I have to attend, because I am well and thoroughly burned out and already have a work-related meeting scheduled for Sunday. Lunch has been the bright spot in an otherwise dreary existence.

Sidenote, though: I really do love college freshmen. In the end, all the stress is worth it for getting to be a part of their transformation into confident adults. Here's to new students! (But stay out of my parking space, will you?!)

 Bento Lunch


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