“Soup’s not a meal!” – Kenny Bania, Seinfeld
The disruption of daily life by the coronavirus pandemic has forced many to “shelter in place” or “stay home, stay safe,” as we call it in the United States, and I’m noticing chatter online about how to prepare easy meals at home. I recently wrote about how to work from home, and today’s post shares a simple meal idea for lunch or dinner.
I love to eat but am not a huge fan of cooking. Cooking itself is a means to an end for me: Feeding my face with delicious food. Baking is a pleasure and hobby, something I rarely do but always enjoy. Cooking, however, is a daily chore that I often palm off on Mon Mari, who grew up in the kitchen of his Greek family’s restaurant and who loves to prepare meals.
A trait I do share with my spouse is the Greek penchant for frugality. As such, we’ve spent years making meals for consumption at home or at work, eating out for a date or treat. Soup, though arguably not a meal in and of itself, becomes a comforting classic with the addition of a heartier side dish.
Tomato Soup with Quesadillas
Fear not, dear reader. A great, simple meal for lunch or dinner chez vous is soup and a quesadillas. Canned or boxed soup has a long shelf life and comes in a variety of flavors for every taste (chacun son gôut, after all). And quesadillas are a nice change from cheese and crackers on the side.
My lunch today was a bowl of tomato soup, that great classic, flanked by quesadillas made with two flour tortillas filled with a blend of shredded Cabot cheese. Because I have IBS and try to stay away from gluten and other FODMAPs to manage symptoms, I normally eat corn tortillas in lieu of flour. But needs must and I worked with what I had in the freezer today, which also included a forgotten bag of pecan sandies from Krin’s Bakery in Huntington, Vermont. C’est si bon!
The soup was easy enough to heat in the microwave and the quesadillas took three minutes to melt in the toaster oven (two minutes open face and one minute folded over). Making this meal was so easy even I, the great cooking avoider, could hardly complain. And though it’s the end of March, it’s still winter in Vermont, so a hot meal was most welcome on chilly gray day.
A Note on Cheese
My journey to understand IBS and FODMAPs includes working with my lactose intolerance. I say “working with” because I love dairy products, especially cheese. Now that I live in Vermont, I have every intention of availing myself of its many fine cheeses as often as I can (and have several Emergency Cheeses stockpiled while I stay home, along with Emergency Wine.)
Lactose is a kind of sugar. The trick to eating cheese without making myself sick is to a) always have Lactaid pills on hand and b) stick to eating low-lactose cheeses. Lactaid pills contain the lactase enzyme, which counteracts the lactose in dairy products to which people are sensitive or intolerant. (I also drink lactose-free milk.) I swallow one to two pills at the beginning of any meal that contains dairy and manage my portions.
Some cheeses are now conveniently labelled “lactose-free,” including many of Cabot’s varieties of cheddars. If there is no indication of lactose content, check the Nutrition Facts label: Zero sugar means zero lactose.
Many hard, white cheeses like Parmesan contain little to no lactose. Swiss is another good option offering a decent flavor profile that is also lower in sodium. While everyone’s tolerance of dairy differs, white cheeses are where to experiment.
What’s your favorite quick and easy meal to make at home?
Today and going forward, I will sign off to your health. Please stay home and stay safe.
Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!
À votre santé,