10 Minute Lunches, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

10 Minute Lunch #7: Curried Chicken Salad

Chicken salad… it can be boring, or awesome. This version is pretty darn amazing! I hope you give it a try. 🙂

Back in the days of grad school, I was ALL about the 10 minute lunch. These working days, I am ALL about leftovers for lunch… or special salads. 🙂 But I resurrected the 10 minute lunch lately with this fantastic curried chicken salad! I saw a few pics of curried chicken salad from different folks on Instagram, but I just made my own version based on what I had in my fridge.

Curried Chicken Salad: a 10 minute lunch on thepajamachef.com

I enjoyed this chicken salad on some fresh, homemade whole wheat bread. Recipe coming soon! But back to this chicken salad…it’s filled with all sorts of deliciousness. Golden raisins [golden > regular in my book!], crunchy celery, curry powder [duh], cinnamon [for a sweet kick!], and real mayo! I’ve tried to like using greek yogurt in the place of mayo, but I almost never like it… So why skip the good stuff?

Curried Chicken Salad: a 10 minute lunch on thepajamachef.com

This curried chicken salad was a great few day’s worth of lunches. I used leftover shredded chicken from one of the whole chickens we roast a couple times a month, but you could also use store-bought rotisserie chicken or just poach some chicken. It made for some great, hearty sandwiches. Creamy, crunchy, and flavorful! And fast! Just what I like for busy lunchtimes. 🙂 Enjoy!

one year ago: Coconut Curry Popcorn
two years ago: Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars
three years ago: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing
four years ago: Chicken Pot Pie

Curried Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Print


  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 of an apple, diced – about 1/2 cup
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • bread, lettuce, crackers for serving


In a medium bowl, combine chicken, apple, celery, and golden raisins. Add mayo, lemon juice, and mustard and stir to coat. Sprinkle curry powder and cinnamon on top then stir again.

Serve on good bread, a crisp lettuce leaf, or with crackers.

10 Minute Lunches, Couscous, Recipes, Sides

10 Minute Lunch #6: Italian Chicken & Veggie Couscous Bowls

Eeeek! It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a 10 Minute Lunch, eh? Whoops. I’ve been eating a lot of leftovers for lunch on days I work from home, or have been snacking my way through the day, which is not a good idea because then I’m hungry for dinner at 3 pm. Ahem. #seniorcitizeninthemaking

Italian Chicken & Veggie Couscous Bowl | The Pajama Chef

But not anymore! I’m bound and determined to let this month be the month I get my lunch act together and actually eat a real meal for lunch everyday–not just on days that I’m on campus at work. Starting with this little number! 🙂 It’s totally simple, flavorful, and fast–perfect for the days that you have to deal with crazy computer drama with no time to cook. As I said yesterday, my MacBook has been acting up–not charging, randomly shutting off, resetting the date, etc.  So now it’s back at the shop for the second time in a week, and thanks to my dramatic Facebook post, I had not one, but three offers of a loaner laptop until mine can be fixed or replaced. I have some generous friends, what can I say? 🙂

But laptop woes [and lunch breaks spent writing blog posts] aside, these couscous bowls are incredible! Quinoa is so popular and rice is so common that couscous [at least in my house] becomes the forgotten grain. You can bet I won’t forget it anymore! It is super fast to prepare and is so light and filling. Once you mix up the couscous, veggies, and chicken, just add a fresh Italian dressing to your bowl for instant flavor–minus the work of measuring and dicing herbs. Perfect! I can totally see so many variations–instead of chicken, beans! Instead of frozen veggies, a chopped tomato! Instead of Italian dressing, Caesar! I could keep going, but I gotta get back to w-o-r-k. What would you add? Enjoy!

Italian Chicken & Veggie Couscous Bowls
click to print


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 mini sweet peppers, finely diced [or ~ 1 cup diced bell peppers]
  • ~ 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • ~ 1 cup frozen vegetables
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic powder [could substitute 1 clove minced garlic]
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • large handful arugula, chopped [other light salad greens like spinach would also work]
  • Italian dressing–we are obsessed with this recipe from Macaroni and Cheesecake


In a small pot, bring water and butter to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in couscous, and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the chicken and vegetables.

Heat olive oil in a small saute pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add peppers, chicken, and frozen vegetables, then season with pepper and garlic to taste. Saute for a minute, then cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes to heat everything up.

Next, add green onions to the chicken and vegetable mixture.

To serve, divide the couscous between two bowls, then top each with half of the chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir in green onions and arugula, then top with a drizzle of Italian dressing to taste. Enjoy!

Time: 10 minutes.

Yield: 2 delicious lunches!

Notes: To take this lunch to go, I’d recommend keeping the green onions and arugula separate and stirring them in immediately before eating and after heating it up. The dressing would be fine mixed in already, though!

10 Minute Lunches, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

10 Minute Lunch #5: Black Bean Wraps

So…. I totally realize black bean wraps are nothing new, nothing exciting, nothing original. You can probably google a bazillinon kajillion different variations right now. Or you don’t even have to, because who really needs a recipe for a simple black bean wrap?

The truth is… you don’t. And the truth also is… I don’t have and/or use one either.

But guess what? I’m sharing this non-recipe anyways… for a couple reason. First of all, I realized over the long weekend that I hadn’t shared any of my 10 Minute Lunches with you in way too long. Like, two months too long. Whoops. 😦 And secondly, I eat this easy black bean wrap [or a variation thereof] for lunch quite often and find it quite tasty [especially when there are no leftovers that sound good or I’m not feeling particularly inspired and needalunchlikenow.] Since I assume I’m not the only one who ever finds themselves in that situation…uninspired, hungry, pressed for time. If that’s you, then this go-to non-recipe recipe for black bean wraps is for you.

Maybe this is a little simplistic, but so what? It’s packed with flavor, texture, and tons of good-for-you nutrients and protein. Simply top a whole wheat tortilla with Mexican-spiced smashed black beans and lots of fresh veggies for a lunch that you’ll be looking forward to all morning long. I used spinach, red onion, bell pepper, avocado, and tomato, but feel free to use whatever strikes your fancy. Top your wrap with some cheese and you’re good to go! This lunch is filling, portable, inexpensive, and packed with fresh flavor. You can heat it up or eat it cold, depending on your preference and work situation… it’s great either way. I hope you love it as much as we do!

What are some of your go-to non-recipe recipes?

Black Bean Wraps
click to print


  • 1/3 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • desired seasonings: garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, etc. + lime juice [I used ~ 1 1/2 teaspoons total, plus a splash of juice]
  • whole wheat tortilla
  • baby spinach
  • red onion, diced
  • avocado, sliced
  • roma tomatoes, sliced
  • red bell pepper, sliced
  • grated cheese [I used cheddar + pepperjack]
  • salsa or sour cream, as desired


  • Mash together black beans with seasonings and a little lime juice.
  • Place baby spinach on a whole wheat tortilla, then top with black bean mixture. Add red onion, avocado, tomato, bell pepper, and cheese along with salsa or sour cream if desired.
  • Roll up and enjoy!

Time: 5 minutes.

Yield: 1 delicious lunch! [or more if you multiply the black bean mixture]

Linked up at Successful Together.

10 Minute Lunches, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

10 Minute Lunch #4: Cinnamon Curry Tuna Wraps

So, I was very, very brave on Wednesday. Perhaps you saw my tweet? I rarely, if ever, tweet, but I felt that my midday activities were worthy of such public notification.

It all started a few minutes before I was going to break for lunch. I’m fortunate enough to have a campus job I can do remotely [at home (!)], so I had been working hard all morning and happened to glance over at my phone as it lit up with a call from my dentist office. I hadn’t been since December, and already have my next appointment scheduled, so I thought it was odd. When I answered the call, I found out that the claim for the x-rays/checkup in December had been denied and that my insurance company claimed my coverage had been terminated.

Terminated? News to me.

After I told the nice lady from the dentist office that I knew I had coverage and thanked her for calling before sending me the $150 bill, I logged into my insurance account online to get some info and called Ben for instructions on what to say to the insurance company when I called [he works in insurance so he’s a pro at these things]. Then I took a deep breath, expecting the worst, and dialed the phone. Pretty much right away I talked to someone and found out that, imagine that, I do have dental insurance. Righto.

And I did on the date of my last appointment, too. Well looky there.

But apparently the claim had been mis-processed as a medical claim, not a dental claim, so that’s what the situation was. A few questions later, I was good to go, and called Ben and my dentist office back with the good news. 🙂

Then I skipped to the kitchen and whipped up this tasty tuna salad lunch in a jiffy, thanks to some inspired googling earlier in the day.

Like my insurance snafu that I went into expecting the worst and emerged happy in a matter of minutes, this tuna salad might seem risky from the exterior. However, I’m confident that one bite will turn your uneasiness into delight at this 10 Minute Lunch that makes a double portion–perfect for an extra filling lunch or lunch for two.

Fragrant curry powder pairs with sweet cinnamon, tangy mustard, and crunchy celery for a new take on boring tuna. You can take this wrap on the go, or enjoy it at home… perhaps even hot with cheese, if that’s your thing. It’s not mine–that would certainly not be the happy ending that my insurance claim situation and tuna wrap found, but if it’s yours… go for it! 🙂

How do you like your tuna?

Cinnamon Curry Tuna Wraps [inspired by Allrecipes.com]


  • 6 ounce can tuna in water, drained
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
  • a third of a stalk of celery, chopped in small pieces
  • lemon pepper
  • dash ground cinnamon
  • smidgen curry powder [yes, smidgen is an actual measurement, but it’s just a small amount so don’t fret if you don’t have this measuring spoon
  • 2 tortillas, for serving
  • spinach, for serving


  • Mix together all ingredients except spinach and tortillas, then adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • Layer spinach on top of each tortilla, then top each with half of the tuna salad.
  • Roll into a wrap and enjoy!

Time: 5 minutes.

Yield: 2 delicious lunches!

10 Minute Lunches, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

10 Minute Lunch #3: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese

Another 10 Minute Lunch for you! So, what makes this grilled cheese extraordinary? Let me give you a hint.

It starts with bacon.

and ends with avocado…

and has some bell pepper in there too.


ohmygoshiwantanothernow. Please?

So my inspiration for this quick Wednesday lunch was derived from all those fancy grilled cheeses and quesadillas and stuff that I’ve seen on Pinterest [follow me!] but never think to make. I didn’t want to take the time to look up recipes… so I just improvised. To make my Extraordinary Grilled Cheese, I paired flavorful white cheddar cheese with creamy avocado, crisp bacon, and sweet bell pepper strips and grilled it up on the stove real fast. A filling, fun lunchtime entree to brighten up a dreary day of graduate schoolwork. Works for me!

Sorry it’s not packable. Melted cheese never really is… sad day. But this is awesome [even if it’s not awesomeforyou], so you can enjoy it on days you will be home. Like tomorrow. Saturday=grilled cheese day. If that’s not a tradition, it should be.

And if you have more time, maybe add some caramelized onions or roast those bell peppers up. More depth of flavor is always welcome in my book. 🙂 But it’s also great as-is, and is a nice change up from your regular friend to tomato soup.

Hope you enjoy!

And in case you want some lunchtime reading, my husband, Ben, has recently started contributing to a video game blog. Check out his review of Assassin’s Creed Revelations here! [Not that I really know much anything about video games, but hey… maybe some food-lovers are also video game addicts too! :)]

Extraordinary Grilled Cheese


  • 2 slices wheat bread
  • butter
  • white cheddar cheese
  • bell pepper slices
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked
  • avocado slices
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat skillet over medium heat.
  • Butter one side of each piece of bread.
  • Assemble sandwich, with butter side out, with cheese and peppers on one slice of bread and bacon, and avocado on the other [put avocado next to bread so bacon sticks].
  • Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the avocado.
  • Cook in skillet, flipping after a few minutes, until both sides are golden brown and cheese melts.
  • Enjoy!

Time: 10 minutes or less.

Yield: 1 delicious lunch.