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Packed lunches: Hot Eats to Beat Cold Days

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The last thing you want on a cold day or a long journey is a soggy, uninspiring sandwich. Revolutionise your lunchbox this winter with some hot and spicy dishes that will keep you feeling warm and cosy, no matter what the weather’s up to.

A packed lunch will help you put some pennies aside for Christmas, so plan your food ahead and search for cheap train tickets to enjoy an economic trip and cut the cost of your commute. Read on for some top tips for tasty and warming lunchtime treats…

Chickpea Salad With A Kick

Think salads are only suitable for warm summer months? Think again. This simple, satisfying salad is perfect for chasing away chills with it’s spicy, warming flavour and chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates, to help you keep going through long, cold afternoons.

You’ll need:

• 1 Can of chickpeas
• 1 Avocado
• 1 Onion
• 1 Jalapeno or chilli
• 1 handful of roasted cashew or almonds
• 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
• Mustard, honey, olive oil and lemon juice for the dressing

Preparing your salad:

1. Start by mixing mustard, honey and oil together to make a tasty dressing that will keep your salad nice and fresh until you’re ready to eat it.
2. Chop your chilli and add it to your dressing, mix well and let the spiciness infuse your mixture.
3. Drain your cap of chickpeas and chop your avocado and onion into small chunks.
4. Mix your chickpeas, avocado, onions and nuts together and toss your ingredients in a salad bowl and add a squirt of lemon juice.
5. Add the dressing to the mixture and give it a good mix to make sure everything is covered.
6. Add your spinach leaves last and give your salad one last stir. Store your salad in container and keep somewhere cool for a spiced salad that will last for three days.

Warming Cold Chicken Curry

What better dish to bring a little warmth to your cheeks than a curry, and with a simple yet tasty chicken curry salad, you can enjoy this warming concoction straight form the fridge or during your train ride. This may take about half an hour to make if you don’t use rotisserie or pre-cooked chicken, but if you put this together the night before, you’ll end up with a kingly packed lunch.

You’ll need:

• 330g plain yogurt
• 3 tablespoons curry paste
• 2 Tablespoons honey
• 1 lemon
• 1 garlic clove
• 2 inches of ginger root
• 1 small red onion
• 75g raisins or a fresh mango
• 50g sliced almonds
• 500g cooked chicken – if you’re vegetarian, be grill and chop some Quorn or similar filets instead.

1. Finely chop or grate your garlic and ginger.
2. Chop your onion into small chunks and grate the outside of your lemon for it’s zest then cut in half and squeeze the juice into a cup.
3. Choose a nice big bowl and mix together your yogurt, curry paste, and honey. Add your chopped ginger, garlic, lemon zest and juice.
4. Add chicken (or chicken substitute), almonds, onions and raisins and toss thoroughly to make sure everything is nicely coated.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve as it is. You can also pack some tasty pita bread or take some cold rice with you for a nice addition to this dish.

Have you got a tried and tested recipe that always brightens up your lunch hour? What’s the best lunch you’ve ever made for yourself? Leave us a comment and share your packed lunch skills…

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