Friday, December 5, 2008

Lunch Recipes, part 1

Continuing my lunch series, in this post I'll describe a few of my favorite lunch recipes. These are also delicious meals for anytime. The thing that makes them particularly good lunch recipes is that they cook well in quantity, and freeze well. Usually I double most of these, divide them up into individual portions, and freeze. Then I can go to my freezer stock and have an easy lunch. Now onto the recipes!

When I moved to Greensburg, I made it a mission to learn to cook Thai food. Many of those recipes I still struggle with, but two that I've found to be easy, dependable, and delicious are gaeng phed gai (red curry chicken) and tom kha gai (chicken soup with coconut milk). Both are great alone or with jasmine rice. I get the curry paste, fish sauce, and other Thai ingredients from importfood.com. The rest I can get locally. I am not particular about using authentic veggies, so my curry often has carrots and zucchini in it, not peas or eggplant. I just at my last chicken curry today. Time to restock the freezer! :)

Another of my favorites is this crustless quiche recipe. I love quiche. I just don't love pie crusts. I've never been that impressed with store bought pie crusts. I do know how to make them myself, but that takes time. This crustless quiche recipe uses breadcrumbs instead of the pie crust. I make bread on a regular basis, so I pretty much always have the end of a loaf hanging around. It's no big deal for me to toast a couple of pieces, smash them to bits, and throw them into the bottom of the cooking dish. The rest of the quiche assembly is quick and easy.

Quiche is another recipe that's easy to customize. The first time I made this I did ham and cheese, but cheddar instead of Swiss. The second time I did shrimp (cooked), and a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Both were delicious. The thing to remember is that all ingredients need to be cooked ahead of time. The 20 minutes the quiche cooks in the oven is not long enough for shrimp to cook, so I sauteed them on the stove first. Veggies can be raw so long as you don't expect them to fully cook. I always cook onions before I put them into quiche because I strongly dislike partially cooked onions. I wouldn't bother with tomatoes or mushrooms though.

A couple of times a year I make Alton Brown's chili recipe. It's very meaty, just how my husband and I like chili. I don't have a pressure cooker, but it turns out just fine on the stove or in the crock pot. It just takes longer that way. I particularly like that he uses salsa for the vegetables. It adds dimension to the taste, as well as being quick and easy. For lunch I can eat this as a meal, or as an awesome salad topping.

I also keep some individual items in the freezer. I'm nearing the end of the the pork carnitas I've got in there. I have some sliced flank steak in individual packets. I didn't do anything exciting to that - just cooked it to medium rare, sliced thinly against the grain, and divided into servings. You can find lots of marinade and sauce recipes online if that floats your boat though. I froze left over mashed potatoes after our Thanksgiving dinner. And just as soon as I get around to cooking the rather large butternut squash that's in the kitchen, I'll be adding that to the freezer.

The best thing about cooking is that it gives us the chance to play around with recipes and tweak them to our individual tastes. I often try out a new recipe in small batches, sticking close to the recipe at first. Each time I repeat a recipe I'll tweak it a little until it's as delicious as I think I can make it. Then when it has become a great recipe I'll add it to the list of things I cook in larger quantities for the freezer.

I'll end this post with one important hint for tweaking recipes: Write down the adjustments you make every time. There's nothing more annoying than finally getting a recipe down perfect and not knowing how the heck it got there! :)

1 Comment:

Hamster said...

Try this Thai cooking website.
www.thaifoodtonight.com
It's got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along.

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