Spring into spring with easy lunch ideas
This winter, I’ve fallen into a bit of rut and have treated lunch like a second breakfast. This because I manage to be both busy and lazy at the same time. When busy, I scoff down cereal or a round of toast then head out the door to fit in some daylight & exercise before the next call. On less busy days, well, I tend to eat the same lunch because I'm lazy.
With spring just around the corner, I’ve dusted off a few easy recipes to ‘spring’ out of the lunch rut. A PKU friendly Waldorf salad for those days when the sun comes out between the clouds. A protein free Mac & cheese for the days when we need a bit of comfort food, and easy soup recipes to fill up the freezer.
PKU Waldorf salad: 1Phe
1 red apple
1/2 stalk celery (optional)
20 g PKU friendly feta cheese, diced or crumbled
7g pinenuts (1 phe)
Handful of fresh rocket
Salt & pepper to season
- Core & dice the apple. Put this into a large bowl and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt to bring out the flavour while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Dice the celery and the cheese then mix into with the apple with the pine nuts and rocket. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.
- Mix and taste to see if it needs more salt & pepper.
Phe-free Macaroni & Cheese
Takes about 20 mins from scratch, 15 minutes with a microwave pasta cooker & a bit of practice.
80g dried PKU pasta
10g PKU flour
1/4 cup PKU friendly milk
1/4 cup PKU friendly grated cheese
1/4 tsp mustard powder (optional)
1/4 tsp grated horseradish (optional)
Salt & pepper
- Cooking the pasta is the time sink here, so the first thing to do is put the kettle on. While the kettle boils, measure out your pasta and get a saucepan ready. Once the kettle boils, pour the water into a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and set a timer for the cooking time, I find 12 minutes works so start with that and adjust as necessary.
- While the pasta cooks, take a second saucepan and melt the butter over a low heat. Then add the flour and mix to a paste. Gradually add the milk and mix in between additions to avoid lumps. The sauce will gradually thicken.
- When all the milk is in, add the low protein grated cheese. The mustard powder helps with the cheese flavour while horseradish adds a kick. If you are using either, or both, add them now.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and combine with the sauce. Add salt & pepper to taste and enjoy.
It is still early in the season, so there will be plenty of cold squalls ahead. Having a few soups in the freezer can brighten a wet afternoon. The carrot soup I posted previously is a great protein free option for batch cooking and freezing.
Alternately, you might want to whip up a quick soup from freezer ingredients. Try this butternut squash soup which I shared with NSPKU News & Views magazine several years ago. It is ready to eat 30 mins after getting into the kitchen.
Phe-free Butternut Squash soup
1/2 Tbsp oil or butter
1 onion, diced or sliced
1 clove garlic, diced or sliced
1 bag of about 500g frozen butternut squash
1 low protein vegetable or chicken stock cube made up with 2 cups of water. Pinch of rosemary or mint or mixed herbs (whatever is handy!)
- Fry onion and garlic in the oil or butter for 5 minutes or so until it browns.
- Add all the butternut squash, stock and chosen herb. You can add more water while it is cooking to make a thinner soup. Stir well to mix and boil until a knife goes easily into a bit of pumpkin (usually 10-15 mins)
- Remove pot from heat and purée smooth before serving with PKU bread.
I am always interested in more low protein and protein free lunch ideas, please do share on twitter!