As most of my readers will know, I pack my lunch in the morning before going to work. I don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes on a “standard” lunch, so this means that I have to be quite organised in the morning.
To be so, I rely a lot on my freezer stash of food. One drawer in our freezer is dedicated to lunch, and holds lunch ingredients such as leftovers from dinner, cooked rice, tamago, salted salmon and various portions of (marinated) meat.
But of course that freezer doesn’t fill itself, so quite often I prepare lunch ingredients during the weekend, especially after a visit to the Korean supermarket.
I don’t make my own marinade but buy the beef bulgogi marinade, and I always use this for both beef and pork. Beef bulgogi marinade is quite sweet and pork bulgogi marinade is spicier but I find that the beef one works quite well with pork (but not the other way around), plus it saves me having to buy two different bottles 🙂
The pork belly is already sliced in strips, about 4mm thick, and I cut these into 1 inch pieces. The pork is marinated for about 30 minutes before dividing it into lunch portions, about 5 pieces per portion. Label it and ready for the freezer!
I am a big fan of the lock & lock divider boxes, they are great for freezing, micro and dishwasher safe, leak proof and come in all kind of sizes. These little boxes have 2 inserts, so the evening before I will just take out one portion and defrost that overnight in the fridge. In the morning I only need to quickly pan-fry the pork (I use a non stick pan, no oil needed) for about 3-5 minutes.
The other “dish” I made was beef mince, which has been marinated in the same way as the beef for my gimbap, it’s a lovely marinade and very easy to prepare. For about a pound of minced beef, I used 3 tbls soy sauce, 2 tbl sesame oil, 1 tbl spoon of sugar, 2 minced garlic gloves and some pepper.
Because I want to use the marinade/meat juices to help flavour the rice in my lunch box, I cook the mince before freezing.I heat up another table spoon of sesame oil in a non stick pan, add the meat and stir until brown. I also add another tablespoon of soy sauce to make sure that it won’t get too dry. After it has all cooked through and cooled down a bit, I pack up again in portions, cool down and label ready for freezer.
It’s not necessary to defrost this overnight, I reheat from frozen in the morning* before packing it into my lunchbox.
So, 2 very easy meat dishes to prepare in advance for lunch. It only takes about 30 minutes in the weekend, and saves lots of time in the morning!
Plus of course the other benefit of going to the Korean supermarket is that I can buy some ready made food from the deli-counter like Japchae! 😛
(yes, that is bell pepper in the Japchae, and no, I didn’t eat that as I still don’t like it, but the rest was yummie)
*It is worth mentioning that I always reheat food prior to packing, and let it cool down before putting the lid on, unless it are raw ingredients such as tomatoes, fruit, pickles etc. Just Bento has written a very informative post about bento & food safety, you can find it here.