While I don’t work in a regular office, working from home I still have to eat lunch. Plus my DIL is here at home for lunch as well and will soon be entering the work force full time and will need lunch to take to work with her. We buy frozen microwave meals often for our lunches but they are kind of expensive and you cannot adjust what is in them based on your likes or needs. So this week I’ve decided to make our own microwave chicken bowls myself using Sanderson Farms chicken (disclosure – I’m a compensated ambassador for them, opinions are my own).
You can easily adjust this idea to include whatever veggies and grains you want to include with your chicken in the bowl. Use whatever you like and adjust for any special dietary needs you have. You can adjust the amount of salt, fat, and anything else you need when you make lunches like this at home. They will keep about a week in the fridge also. Just grab one and go and pop in the microwave to heat up for lunch. Plus you can add different seasonings each day to change things up a bit.
We will be roasting all the ingredients for these microwave chicken bowls. Start by preheating your oven to 375° F. Lay out all of your boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of paprika for added color. Make sure you season both sides of the chicken.
Get all of your veggies prepped for roasting also. Remember, you can use anything you like. Today I used asparagus, cauliflower, fresh corn, broccoli, and red bell pepper. Onions, green peppers, carrots, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, and beets would all also make great additions to these bowls. Again, use what you like and you can make them individualized if you are preparing them for different people in your family. For all the veggies I drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You will roast these for about 45 minutes – but you may need to adjust based on different vegetables. In this instance, the broccoli was done much faster than the other veggies, I just took them off the baking tray and set them aside until the rest were done.
At the same time you are roasting your veggies you will be roasting your chicken. Depending on the size of your chicken pieces it will take between 30-45 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness and remove promptly. You do not want to overcook the chicken for this because it will be reheated in the microwave throughout the week.
While the chicken and vegetables are roasting, start your quinoa (or brown rice, etc.) as well. I made 2 cups (raw) quinoa for this batch of 10 bowls. Instead of cooking the quinoa in water, I used chicken stock also, but that is optional. I just think it adds more flavor.
Once you have all the ingredients cooked you will need to set up an assembly line. I put out all my reusable bowls on the table and had my chicken, quinoa and veggies ready to go. Then you just started adding a little bit of everything to each bowl.
Again, you can use whatever veggies and grains you like to make your bowls. Just keep the seasoning basic on all of it so you can use other additions to change things up during the week as you eat them.
If you are on a specific diet you can weigh the individual portions as well before adding them to your bowls. I used the smaller chicken breasts for my bowls since I eat smaller amounts of food.
Put your lids on and place in the refrigerator. These should keep about a week in the fridge. If you are making different combinations up for different people then make sure to mark which bowls belong to which person.
Again, you can change this up throughout the week by any extras you add on while heating or after heating. Try things like:
- Salad dressings – any flavor you like
- Cheese – sprinkle a bit of parmesan, feta, etc. on top before you heat it up
- Hot sauces or salsas – these really pack a punch and change up the flavor for you
- Lettuce – instead of heating up, use the cold chicken and veggies on top of lettuce, kale or other greens to make a cold salad
These are extremely versatile for everyone and you just make adjustments as you like them. They will be less expensive and healthier than store bought microwave meals as well.
Would you try making these yourself? What veggies or grains would you use? How would you change them up each day with additions at lunch time?