Sunday, March 15, 2009

Easy Noodles for Lunch

Today's happiness is the recipe for the lunch I eat on a regular basis. I love the Trader Joe's noodles-in-a-box stuff, but (1) we don't have Trader Joe's in Rochester, (2) the calories and sodium are through the roof if you eat the entire box, and (3) all that extra packaging makes me feel guilty. I came up with a much healthier subsitute that is super-simple to make the night before, and it tastes like lots more work than it really is. It causes serious lunch-envy at the office.

What you need:
  • Microwave-safe container
  • 1 package of pre-cooked udon noodles (7 oz) [If the noodles come with a packet of seasoning mix, read the sodium content. Read it again. Say "That can't possibly be right." Read it again. Drop the seasoning packet into the garbage in horror. Try to forget how much Ramen you ate in college.]
  • 1 cup frozen chopped vegetables (although there's nothing wrong with fresh!)
  • 1 cup frozen pre-cooked meat-like substance (I use Quorn)
  • 3 tablespoons of marinade
Put the ingredients into the microwave-safe container in the order listed, seal the lid, shake, then refrigerate until meal time (for me, that's overnight). When you're ready to eat, shake the container to distribute the sauce, unseal one edge of the lid, and microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Stir and enjoy.

This dish is a pretty balanced, filling meal, it takes less than five minutes to put together, and the calorie count is only 405 as long as you're sensible in your choice of marinade, and stick to only a few tablespoons (which is all you need, because the dish is going to soak in the seasonings all night). Most commercial marinade's only have about 30 calories/tablespoon, which isn't bad. I sometimes add a tablespoon of peanut butter, which adds more protein and fiber, but you have to be mindful of the added calories, sodium, and fat if that's a concern.

I'd love to find a healthier alternative to the pre-cooked Udon noodles (i.e. something with whole wheat) that doesn't sacrifice the "I can make this in five minutes" easiness. If you have any ideas, let me know...


Ben Collins-Sussman said...

Love Quorn!!!

But we have no microwave. :-(

Bittersweet Sage said...

Hey Ben,

I'm pretty sure that my meager steamed noodle dish pales in comparison to the world-famous Google cafeteria. Have you ever blogged about the amazing food, or was that just something you sent out in an email?