The Weekend Advantage

Over the weekend, it’s easy to get a leg up on weekday lunches. To get my first head start, I turn to leftovers from Saturday or Sunday dinner.


The key to turning my leftovers into lunches is how I put them away in the fridge. On Saturday, I made a big pot of beef stew. When I put it away after dinner, I did not pour the stew into a big container. Instead, I ladled out individual servings in mason jars.

Storing servings in jars provides many advantages:

  • By design, mason jars are ready to go into a lunch bag. They do not leak, and they hold single servings.
  • Mason jars are nimble. They are easy to shuffle around in a packed fridge, unlike a big tupperware full of soup.
  • Convenience. Storing in jars also means no more ladling and no more ladle washing. A bowl of soup is already measured out, ready to be reheated.


A roasted vegetable is almost always part of my get-ahead plan. On Sunday afternoon, in the lull of the day, I roasted a butternut squash. Squash, roasted ahead of time, is wonderful in lunches. Finely cubed, it can go on top of salads, rice, quinoa, and even oatmeal. I like to store my butternut squash in slices, so it can also be “deli meat” in a sandwich.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Quarter the squash lengthwise.
  3. Grease a sheet pan with coconut or canola oil. Put the four pieces of squash on the pan, skin side down.
  4. Set in the oven. Go do your favorite Sunday afternoon activity, and come back in 45-60 minutes. If the squash is done, it should look a little translucent and be tender when stuck with a fork.
  5. If it’s done, set the sheet pan on top of the stove or a cooling rack. Go back to your favorite Sunday afternoon activity. Come back when you are ready, and the squash will be cool.
  6. Remove the skin with your fingers and with a knife. Cut the squash into ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange them in a tupperware, and secure the lid. If you want, puree some of the squash in a food processor and put it in a separate tupperware for soup or baking during the week.


Roasting butternut is so simple and so hands-off. It involves maybe ten minutes of attentive work.


One comment

  1. I love butternut squash and recently bought one before I knew what to do with it. Haha! Such a great, simple, easy idea. And even better when cooking-for-one. Thanks!

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