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Between meetings with your Richmond Hill divorce lawyer, work and other obligations, you’re stretched pretty thin—but that doesn’t mean the contents of your brown bag lunch have to be boring. In fact, good food is a mood-booster, and it can perk up your spirits when you’re going through a rough spot. These time- and money-saving ideas can break the monotony and improve your afternoon outlook. Give them a try!

Garlic and Jalapeno Pasta Salad to Kick-Start Your Afternoon

In 20 minutes, you can make a scrumptious to-go lunch for the entire family. All you need is:

1 box rotini
1 bottle of zesty Italian salad dressing
1/4 c. chopped fresh jalapenos
2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic

Boil the pasta according to the box’s directions. Drain and rinse. Put the pasta back into its pan and add the zesty Italian salad dressing, jalapenos and garlic. Stir and place into a covered glass casserole dish (or, if you’re really into pre-planning, divide it up into single-serving plastic containers). Refrigerate until thoroughly cooled; stash it in a lunch bag and you’re ready to go.

Spice Up Lunchtime with Caliente Quesadillas

If you have 15 minutes to spare, you can whip up these deliciously spicy quesadillas and pack them away for lunchtime. You’ll need:

1 c. ground beef
1 large flour tortilla
1/4 c. shredded Mexican-style cheese
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
Taco seasoning (optional)
Green chile salsa (optional)

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Cook the ground beef just like you would for tacos and add your favorite seasonings, drain it and set it aside. Place the tortilla on a flat cookie sheet (cover it with tin foil for extra-easy cleanup).

Cover half the tortilla with shredded cheese and ground beef. Sprinkle the cilantro over the beef and cheese, and fold the tortilla in half to cover the ingredients. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and set a timer for 4 minutes; flip the tortilla and put it back in the oven for 4 more minutes.

Let your tortilla cool before cutting it and wrapping it in tin foil to avoid moisture build-up; put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready. A quick 30-second turn in the microwave (sans foil) makes this pre-made dish a delectable lunchtime treat.

Caesar Salad to Go

This recipe can be enjoyed with or without chicken—it just depends on how much time you can afford to spend cooking. You’ll need:

1 chicken breast, baked and sliced into strips
6-7 romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 c. Caesar dressing
1/4 c. croutons
1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper

Chop the romaine lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and put them in a large plastic bag with a zippered closure. Add the parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and black pepper (use as much as you’d like). If you’re including chicken in this delish dish, toss that in the bag, too. Stash the croutons in a separate bag to keep them crisp.

Keep the Caesar dressing in a small container with a lid. When you’re ready for lunch, add the dressing and croutons to the bag, seal it and shake it vigorously. Empty the contents into a bowl and you have a healthy, fresh lunch that’ll give you an energy boost when you need it most.