Adding Pizzazz To Lunch You Bring To Work

Everyone is trying to save money wherever they can these days, and one way is to bring your lunch to work rather than buying it. You might be surprised how that daily expense can really add up and how much you could keep in your own pocket by bringing your own mid-day meal.

On The Early Show Tuesday, contributor Katie Lee Joel offered some great recipes and some cool grown-up lunch boxes to make it all much more appetizing than brown-bagging a boring peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

She prepared:

  • Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Curry Chicken Pitas
  • Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Baguette
  • Whole Wheat Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Pesto
  • Whole Wheat Chocolate Brownies

    Grown-Up Lunch Boxes

    Thermos All-in-One Meal Carrier -- TherMax double wall vacuum insulation locks in temperature to preserve flavor and freshness. Four microwaveable containers nest inside so you can bring a variety of flavors; soups, salads, even dessert. ($40,

    Boat and Tote Lunch Tote -- This new lunch bag is fully insulated to keep sandwiches and snacks cool while you're away from home. Interior is spacious enough to fit plastic containers and features mesh pockets for ice packs or cutlery. ($20,

    Wrap-N-Mat Reusable Sandwich Wrapper -- sustainable product that offers an intelligent alternative to the millions of disposable sandwich and snack baggies used each day. Simply fold around sandwiches, veggie sticks, cookies and other goodies, fold the cotton wrapper closed, secure with the Velcro closure, and food stays put. ($7,

    I'm Organic Lunch Bag -- Made of 100 percent certified organic cotton. I'm Organic offers fun designs to express your passion for your organic lifestyle. Velcro sealed top and looped handle. ($17,

    ECOBAGS Canvas Lunch Bags -- A basic cotton lunch sack that's reusable and machine washable. Nothing fancy about it. Just a basic lunch sack with an easy to use VELCRO® like closure. ($6,


    Asian Chicken Soba Noodle Soup

    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon onion, minced
    1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
    3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
    1/2 cup carrots, shredded
    1/2 cup snow peas, thinly sliced
    2 ounces soba noodles, prepared to package instructions

    In a small pot over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onions and ginger. Sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Bring to a simmer and stir in chicken, carrots, snow peas, and soba noodles. Serve in bowls or transfer to thermos.

    Curried Chicken Salad Pita Pocket

    3 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
    1/4 cup granny smith apples, diced
    1 tablespoon scallions, thinly sliced
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    2 Whole wheat pitas
    Butter lettuce

    In a bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Add chicken, apples, and scallions and mix well. Spoon chicken salad into whole wheat pitas and add a leaf of lettuce.

    Grilled Vegetables

    1 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
    1 Japanese eggplant, thinly sliced lengthwise
    1 Portobello mushroom, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Juice of 1 lemon
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    Pinch of garlic powder
    Pinch of onion powder
    Salt and pepper

    In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper until emulsified.

    Place zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and marinade in a sealable plastic bag. Toss to combine. Let sit 20 minutes.

    Heat grill pan over medium heat. Remove vegetables from marinade and cook about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.