Fritters seem to have gone out of fashion, as have fish cakes. I have fond memories of Corn Beef Fritters and Tuna Fish Cakes. They were meals which helped stretch the family budget a little further and/or use left overs or small quantities of a meat or fish to feed a family of six.
These fritters are perfect for the gluten free lunch box or as a meal served with a salad.
Cooking oil spray
3 bacon rashes chopped
1 cup cooked gf spaghetti or gf elbows
400 g corn kernels, rinsed and drained
¼ cup cheddar cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
½ cup milk
½ cup gluten free plain flour
Heat non-stick frying pan on medium and spray with oil. Cook bacon for 3 – 5 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towel.
Cut spaghetti into short lengths. Place spaghetti, bacon, cheese, corn in bowl and mix to combine.
In another small bowl, mix together eggs, milk and flour. Pour over corn mixture and mix to combine.
Heat oil in frying pan on medium heat. Cook heaped tablespoons of fritter mixture in batches for 1 – 2 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel.
Serve with a relish or chutney.
In the beginning: High School Lunches
My son was 15 1/2 years old when diagnosed and I remember saying to him at the time, “school lunches are going to be difficult for the next 2 1/2 years “ and crossing my fingers and thinking then once KJ is at work or uni lunches will be easier. You can find my school lunch suggestions at Lunch a Challenge and The Teenage Lunchbox or by doing a search ‘lunch’. Finding a “liked” bread was a challenge as was trying to keep variety in the offering.
Now: Uni and Work Lunches
KJ has just finished his first year of uni and my reflection is now, gf lunches at any stage in a coeliac’s life is never easy, it just requires a bit of planning.
My son is lucky, he lives less than a 10 minute drive from uni so other than planning his day to incorporate lunch at home, lunch is manageable.
He also works at a hardware superstore which has a well equipped lunch room. Two of his ‘go to’ work lunches are Mum’s Home Made Frozen Meals and Ham Cheese and Tomato Toasties (see below)
The Future: 2016
KJ is not only leaving home in 2016, but he is also moving interstate, to continue his university studies. He will not have the ease of uni being a 10 minutes drive away from home, will not have a car as transport to get to and from work or go grocery shopping, nor will he have the convenience of a freezer full of home made frozen meals. My son will need to be super organized and plan ahead, which will require much more than a ‘bit’ of planning.
So my edited reflection is : gf lunches at any stage in a coeliac’s life is most definitely never easy and requires much more than a bit of planning.
*************”GO TO” WORK LUNCHES***********
Mum’s Home Made Frozen Meals
Many dinner left-overs: pasta bake, lasagne, spaghetti, curry, stews are all easily packed into take-away containers, labelled and frozen. The night before work, a container is taken out of the freezer and placed into the fridge to defrost and then once at work, my son reheats his lunch. Many of his colleagues are envious and comment on how good his lunch smells.
KJ’s favourite is Passage to India Butter Chicken. Any of the Passage to… Simmer Sauces are great and gluten free… Passage to Italy, …. to Singapore, … to Thailand, … Japan, … Morocco… Found in the ‘normal’ part of the supermarket in the ‘International Aisle’.
And I have also included a recipe below for Sticky Garlic Chilli Chicken which has been given the thumbs up.
Ham Cheese Tomato Toasties
Prepared and wrapped in baking paper, these are simple to prepare and easy to cook. Wrapping the prepared toasties in paper removes the concern of contamination when using a communal sandwich press.
Recipe for Sticky Garlic Chilli Chicken
800 g chicken breast fillets, cut diagonally into 2 cm wide strips
1 /12 cups jasmine rice
2 bunches steamed, halved Chines broccoli or Pay Choy
¼ cup kecap manis (use gf soy sauce)
2 tablespoons chilli garlic sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2/3 cup water
Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
Cook chicken, in two batches, in an oiled large, non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat, for about 3 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan.
Add sauce to pan and gently boil for 5 minutes. Return chicken to pan, stir chicken and coat in sauce. Simmer for 3 – 5 minutes.
While chicken and sauce are cooking, cook rice and steam vegetables.
Serve chicken on a bed of rice and vegetables.
(New Idea : New Food Ideas)
How cute are these!
Or at least these are the words I used to my teenage son as I packed a pink mini sauce bottle, filled with gluten free bbq sauce, in his lunch box.
Seriously, these are perfect sizing for lunch on the go for adults and children alike.
I found them in the section of Woolworths supermarket where you find lunch boxes and esky ice bricks.
Once your child hits high school, you can no longer pack their lunch into a durable hard plastic lunch box and/or containers or have access to a fridge. In tropical north Queensland, my children would take a small esky (cooler box) to school packed with their lunch. Not only could you pack ice bricks and frozen drinks, it also was used as a seat.
The teenager’s school bag is packed full of textbooks and lunch is packed in a soft pack lunch bag. Once you put an ice brick inside, you learn to become a master puzzler in getting food inside to sustain a growing teenager. My son is going through a growth spurt and now I have to pack a second smaller lunch because he tells me he eats everything in the 11 am break.
Those first few months post diagnosis was a difficult time for KJ not only with the obvious changes to his diet but also in trying to find food that was durable, wasn’t affected too much by temperature and “looked” normal. You can only pack rice crackers in zip lock plastic bags so many days in a week. Fruit gets bruised, salsas and dips don’t keep cool enough and sitting down to a can of baked beans and a fork in front of your friends…. well!!!!
If you have just started your journey, then maybe some of these ideas will help you and while some people will say, “but this is not a healthy balanced diet”, all I can say is ‘you do the best you can in the circumstances’. And you make sure they get the double dose of healthy for breakfast and afternoon snacks.
Single Serve products
Zip Lock Bag Snacks
Fruit and Nut
Biscuits, Cakes, Brownies, Muffins (whatever has been baked for the week)
This time next week I will be thinking…. “ah!!! lunch boxes, I have to stock the cupboard in preparation for the start of school”. In Queensland school starts 28 January, just around the corner.
So here is a product, newly found that is a snack pack size, gluten free and gets the thumbs up from my non-coeliac teenager.
Available at ‘Crazy Clarks’ in Townsville, I am sure you will find them in any of the overflow type stores near you.
In the beginning, our son rejected gluten free bread for sandwiches. We had to think outside our comfort zone to find alternative ways to make sure he had a healthy and substantial school lunch.
Vietnamese Rice Wraps are a good alternative to the sandwich and they survive the battering and throwing of the school bag.
The key to making this is organisation. If you can have all you ingredients prepped and ready, then the making is not that difficult. Below are the ingredients that work for my son. Use the tastes and textures that work for your teenager.
Sliced cold meat (roast chicken or pork, soy chicken, tandoori chicken, sweet chilli beef: whatever left overs you happen to have)
Finely diced celery/sliced capsicum/sprouts
Rice Vermicelli (only takes a few minutes to soften, make sure you drain them well)
Sweet Chili Sauce
Rice Paper Wraps
Soak for 10 seconds each rice paper in warm water. Overlap slightly the papers so as to strengthen the wrap. I use four papers per wrap.
Roll tightly and cut in two.
I have sourced some take away containers to put them in or otherwise wrap them in foil.