This post was sponsored by ALDI, but all of the opinions are my own.
Anyone else not know what day of the week it is?
It feels like everything has been a bit… crazed? Off-kilter… since March. We’re all trying to cope and figure out how to navigate this new way of life with added challenges the pandemic has presented. I know my family personally had to find new routines and ways of managing time and juggling our jobs and watching our kids (plus moving and other personal issues that have come up).
So Dan and I are constantly on a mission to make life easier, less stressful, and more manageable, especially with the two boys and Tucker.
One of the things we’ve struggled with the most since moving is grocery shopping and meal planning. Fortunately technology has helped in more ways than one.We’ve been almost exclusively using grocery delivery since March, and we’ve gotten into such a good routine for breakfast and lunch that I can basically add my regular favorites to my online grocery cart with my eyes closed. In fact, we were thrilled that the ALDI store close to our new house is one of 600 ALDI stores offering Curbside Grocery Pick-up, ensuring we feel safe and help minimize exposure to ourselves and others.
ALDI is my favorite store when I’m really in a hurry (which is always) because their offering makes it so easy. They offer a streamlined selection which removes all the guesswork from shopping–they don’t carry two dozen types of peanut butter, just the best options at really great prices. I can quickly fill my cart and place my order on my lunch break, and one of us can pick it up in the morning or when the other one is putting the boys to bed.
You choose your groceries through shop.ALDI.us either on a computer or on the ALDI mobile app, select the date and time for pick-up, and pay online. Then when it’s time to pick up, you login to the app and alert them that you’ll be arriving soon and even write in the type of car you are driving. When you arrive, you pull into one of the marked Curbside spots, and a store rep brings your cart of groceries out to you and loads them into your trunk! I kind of feel super fancy every time I do it. Hah but more importantly, it’s completely contactless, safe, and convenient. And easy.
So what do I get from ALDI to create said easy, cook-free lunches?!
Here’s the basic list:
Happy Farms Deli Sliced Mild Cheddar Cheese
Savoritz Wheat Round Cracker–truly my favorite cracker ever
L’oven Fresh Wheat Pita Bread
Park Street Deli Classic Hummus
Granny Smith apples
Raisins–this lasts us a long time
Southern Grove Pistachios Single Serve–the single serve is clutch for portion control
Southern Grove Dry Roasted Peanuts with Sea Salt–this also lasts us a long time
Emporium Selection Original Feta Cheese Crumbles–you could also do a brick of Feta and crumble yourself
Simply Nature Organic Quinoa
Organic Grape Tomatoes, Package
Organic Mini Cucumbers, Bag
Alright… without further ado, my trusty, no-cook, whip-up-in-a-flash or make ahead on Sunday lunch recipes! And I just realized both are vegetarian-friendly!
Lunch 1: Healthy Home-made Mix & Match Plate
Most days are crazy and when COVID started we were relying heavily on this assortment of yummy, healthy snacks compiled together to create a filling, easy-to-make and eat meal. Fruits, veggies, proteins, nuts, crackers, cheeses. The gang is all there!
We never really include meat simply because I’m not a big lunch meat fan and the only meat Henry likes is breakfast sausage. But I make sure he gets protein through nuts, peanut butter, and hummus.
Might not look fancy, but the kid loves it!
And the best part is–I often make myself a plate and enjoy this as lunch, as well!
We mix it up every day! Well, the hummus and the cheese and crackers are a must always. But sometimes we throw in an apple and peanut butter, some days it’s a banana, other days it’s berries. And everyone loves it! We’ll also take it outside to picnic sometimes. It’s such easy finger food I can enjoy at my desk.
Lunch 2: Tomato Quinoa Salad
Ok so lunch #2 requires a little more time because you technically do have to cook the quinoa. But my recommendation is cook this on Sunday or Monday, and you have a giant container to serve yourself from all week long.
- Simply Nature Organic Quinoa
- cherry or grape tomatoes
- Emporium Selection Original Feta Cheese Crumbles
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- other veggies optional like asparagus
- meat option like grilled salmon or chicken
- red onion optional
- basil optional
First up–cook the quinoa. Yes, there are frozen microwavable options that exist that I have tried, but nothing compares to the fluffy freshness of quinoa cooked on the stovetop.
I follow a cookbook recipe which basically has you boil it (1 cup dry quinoa and 1 and 3/4 cup water), then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
While the quinoa cools–get chopping!
Use as much or as little as you like of any of the ingredients. And get creative. I often roast asparagus and grill chicken and add it, I just didn’t here. And it was still delicious. Grilled salmon would also be good. Roasted sweet potato could be fun to add. Anything!
I recommend grape or cherry tomatoes halved or quartered.
Cucumbers. I recommend peeling them so they are softer to eat in this mix.
Avocado, cut up.
Throw it in a bowl and stir it all up!
Mix it all together in a bowl, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. And it’s done! Even Henry can help me make it. 🙂 We’ll make this on Sunday afternoon and put in the fridge, and I have it to portion out all week long. It’s not super filling so I’ll usually get 4-5 solid servings out of it.
And that is that! Easy and delicious.
What are some new normals you’ve found your family leaning into?
Have you ventured out, or are you relying on curbside or delivery options?
Stay safe, everyone.