Now that I’m back at work, things tend to be a little bit hectic in the mornings. Prior to bubs being around, I would plan my meals for the week prior to doing the grocery shopping and then everything would be sorted each time at dinner. Plus, I would always make enough for us to have leftovers for lunch the next day.
However, now that there’s a little toddler in town, things have inevitably changed. I sometimes manage to plan out what we will eat before going to the supermarket, but more often than not lately, I just grab what I can on a quick shop. Therefore, our meals are a tad more spontaneous these days (“Which vegetable in the fridge looks the saddest and must be cooked immediately?”) and on top of that, bubs is now eating what we eat so there are now less leftovers available for the next day.
So I’ve found myself in a position I’m unused to: actually having to think about what to bring for lunch. A while ago, I saw Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall making his own instant noodles at home and I realised how easily and quickly you could put together a decent, hot meal for work. (Serious Eats has a great post dedicated to DIY instant noodles, including specific recipes, which you can find here if you’re interested.)
So I’ve been putting these together whenever the need has arisen and I’ve really enjoyed having them for lunch. As you all know, sometimes there’s just no time to go and get something to eat if you’re really busy at work, so something like this works great if you have access to boiling water.
I found these jars with handles and lids at Briscoes for cheap, but you can use any heatproof container that has a lid. I decided to go with these jars as they can be carried around quite conveniently and you can also drink up the broth easily if you wish.
And note: the following is not a recipe, but a food idea that can be adapted any which way.
Homemade instant noodles
Firstly, you’ll need some noodles. I’ve used a variety, but the ones I like best are the very thin mung bean or rice vermicelli noodles, as all they need is a soak in boiling water for a couple of minutes and they are cooked. The ones pictured below come in handy serving size packets. Other ones you could use are noodles which are already cooked and just need to be heated up such as the ones that Trident sells (the ‘shelf-fresh noodles’). You could also use the noodles they give you in instant noodle packets and just jazz up the rest of it.
Then you need to think about the broth. You could go with a plain chicken, vegetable or beef broth by using frozen concentrated stock cubes, or you could use the concentrated stock melts/pots that you can buy (such as the ones that Maggi and Continental make – I find that one of these make up two cups of stock so I use one between our two jars). Instant miso also works well. You could add layers of flavour by using curry pastes, or one of my favourites is a tom yum paste I have in the fridge. I just add a teaspoon or two to each jar.
Then there are the extras. Some ideas are: sliced mushrooms, shredded baby spinach leaves, finely chopped spring onions, finely sliced capsicum, tofu, grated carrots, sliced tomatoes, boiled egg, cooked meat/seafood, preserved meat, sweet corn kernels, kimchi, sliced cabbage, peas, sliced chilli, grated ginger, herbs such as coriander – really, anything that doesn’t require cooking and just needs to be heated through. If you’ve got leftovers bits and pieces from dinner, throw them in!
And that is pretty much it. You put your stock base, your noodles and your extras into your container, seal it up and take it to work. At lunchtime, you put in your hot water, cover it and wait for it all to heat through. Then give it a good stir and enjoy!
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Cynthia from Eat Munch Love. You can check out her fun blog here.
You can find out more about Our Growing Edge by clicking here.