Cottage Pie Work-Week Meals

This week I thought I’d post about a simple work-week meal based around the cottage pies I made the other day. They’ve been delicious, so far.

I froze enough for my four shifts at The Inn and, when I took them out of the freezer this evening to prepare them for tomorrow’s trip to work, I added just a couple of things to the containers. Organic carrots and grapes that taste absolutely amazing. Snacks for the weekend will be sliced cucumber.

I don’t care what anyone says, I can taste the difference between organic food and the other foods. Does anyone else? Is it just me?

This simple meal will fill me up during my shifts at work, in a healthy way. Can’t beat that.

~ Shannon



Invest in Containers for Meal Prep

And don’t worry about spending all outdoors on them. I found the containers I mention in this article at Walmart at reasonable cost. They are BPA free, and will be perfect for my work meals. These containers can go into the freezer, on the top shelf of the dishwasher, and even into the microwave if you have one, and are reusable. There is a place on the covers where you can write the date by which the meal or food items should be used; nifty for freezing. And these containers even have stay-cool handles.

Photograph copyright January 2017 by Shannon L. Buck.

These little containers come six to a package, and are each 4 fluid ounces. They’ll hold dips and sauces, as well as small bits of leftovers. You could also use them for pudding cups or trail mixes. The cost for these was $2.47.

Photograph copyright January 2017 by Shannon L. Buck.

I bought a variety pack as well, which includes two snack size (9.5 fl oz) containers, five entrée (25 fl oz) containers, and five soup and salad (24 fl oz) containers.  The cost for these was $4.47.

Photograph copyright January 2017 by Shannon L. Buck.

I also bought these round containers. They are bigger than the 4 fluid ounce ones, but I cannot seem to find the information for the exact size. They came in a four-pack, and cost $2.17.

I paid just under $10.00 for all of these, and they are going to be perfect for bringing my meals to work with me. I work 40 hours in 4 days every week, and I like to prepare my meals the day before my first shift. When I get everything to work I can put a couple of meals in the freezer to be moved to the refrigerator Saturday morning, put the snacks in the office, and put the other containers straight into the refrigerator. Easy-peasy!

NOTE: For items that may stain plastic container, such as my chili, I use glass canning jars or glass bowls with covers. Glass items are easier to keep clean under these circumstances.

What do you use for meal prepping?


Fruit and Chocolate Trail Mix

I don’t eat snacks often but, when I do, I’m trying to make healthy choices. These mixes can be placed in small jars and stored in the pantry, so you can quickly grab one when putting together a meal for work or when you want a snack.

Trail mixes are easy to make, and allow me to use up leftovers from other cooking ventures. The chocolate chips are not Paleo, but they are organic – as are the other ingredients.


( 4 (8 ounce) servings)

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

2/3 cup dried cranberry and blueberry mix

2/3 cup slice almond and dried cranberry mix

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
  2. Divide between four 8 ounce canning jars.
  3. Cover and place in the pantry.


  • Use different types of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, for variation.

Serving suggestions






When I’m too Lazy to Cook My Work Meals

I love to cook. It’s one of my favorite activities. But, once-in-a-while, I just feel too lazy to pull it off. On occasion, I also find I just don’t have time. So, what do I do? Well, I cheat. I buy pre-made salads and fruit for my weekend work shifts. No preparation needed!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright February 2017.

Last weekend was one such weekend where I didn’t feel like cooking and I didn’t have a lot of time for meal prep. I went to Wal-Mart and bought three prepared salads, some already cut watermelon, a banana, and two pears. That’s what I had for the three remaining shifts. (Note that the soda on the back is not mine, lol.)

I actually like salads and fruit, so it didn’t really bother me any to have these meals. To switch things up, I bought three different types of salads. Granted, the total cost for each meal was over $4.00, which was more than I would have wanted to spend. But it works in a pinch. And it was healthier (and cheaper) than ordering out.

What do you do when you don’t want to cook, or don’t have time, but need meals for work?


Quick Tip: Vegetable Cups for the Lunchbox

Vegetable Cups are quick and easy to create, and add a bunch of great nutrients to any lunchbox meal. Cut the vegetables up into easy to handle pieces, so that a spoon or fork is not necessary. Put them in a small container, cover, and you are done.

You can use any vegetable combination that you prefer. Try one of these in your next lunch sack meal:

  • Carrots, celery and cucumber.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
  • Zucchini, carrots and potato.

Let us know what your favorite combinations are.


Quick Tips: Berry Cups for the Lunchbox

Berry Cups are not difficult to make. They can be created using leftover berries from other cooking projects so extra money is not spent, and they wont take long to throw together. These add an interesting flair to any breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and make a healthy snack as well. Place in a small container and add to you or your childs’ lunchbox, along with a spoon if desired.

Simply put assorted berries into a small container and cover.


Turkey Roll-Ups

These are great as snacks, or in a lunchbox. They are affordable, and can be made from leftovers. Roll-ups are also quick and simple to make.

Turkey and Cheese Roll-ups

paleo tortillas

turkey, leftover, sliced thin

lettuce leaves

kale/spinach leaves

  1. Place the turkey on the tortilla.
  2. Place the lettuce and kale/spinach leaves on the turkey slices.
  3. Roll up the tortilla and wrap, or place a toothpick through the roll-up to hold it together.

NOTE: This recipe can be made without the tortilla if desired.


Lunchbox Recipes

Here are some possible ideas for your children’s school lunches, or for your work or school lunches.

Tortilla Roll-Up Ideas (I make Paleo tortillas):

(In each of these, you will spread the ingredients evenly, or lay ingredients flat, then roll it up. Place in container and slice if desired) (Update 2017 – what fillings you use will depend on the eating habits of your family. Some allow for limited cheese, others don’t.)

  • nut butter and banana slices
  • coconut cream and sliced strawberries
  • coco bliss and kiwi slices
  • cream cheese and pepperoni slices
  • cheese and ham slices
  • mustard and turkey/chicken slices
  • mustard and hard-boiled egg slices
  • cheese slices and ground beef with lettuce leaves and tomato slices

Soup/Stew Ideas:

(Cook each soup/stew in water, broth or stock. Just cut veggies and cook. Add peas and any seasonings at the end.)

  • clam chowder
  • tomato, pepper, and zucchini
  • carrot, celery, and potato
  • chicken, tomato, onion, and carrots
  • tomato
  • pumpkin, zucchini, and butternut squash

Sandwich Ideas (I make Paleo bread):

  • sliced ham and cheese with pickles
  • cheese and pickles
  • mayo/alternative, cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, shredded carrot


Layer in a pan:

  • sauce
  • Paleo noodles
  • sauce
  • meat/alternative
  • cheeses
  • noodles
  • keep layering, with top layer noodles, sauce and cheese only

You could also use tomatoes and zucchini when you add the meat.

Shepherd’s Pie:

This is a simple formula. Cook potatoes and mash. Cook meat. Layer in baking dish: 1/4 cup water, meat, vegetables and sweet potato or squash.

  • meat choices: ground beef/alternative, chicken. turkey
  • vegetable choices:  peas, carrots, green beans