Day 1: Spaetzle and Sauteed Mushrooms
I thought I'd begin Lunch Week with the meal that started the idea.
But first, a little bit about our lunches. I find lunch to be the hardest meal of the day to come up with. The five lunches I'll share this week are common staples for us, although sometimes we have other simple lunches like fruit and almond butter or cheese and crackers (which I'm sure some would consider to be snacks but they can be good lunches, too). One thing you'll notice about our lunches: they're all vegetarian. Although we eat meat, I very rarely serve it as a lunch food, or even a breakfast food except on rare occasions. I try to keep things simple and healthy and I favor a plant-based meal for that. (Though I'm not against occasionally having high-quality hot dogs or a quick chicken noodle soup, or leftovers, of course -- if we have any.)
With that, on to the spaetzle. As I mentioned before, I have always loved spaetzle, as have my children. But the small boxes are pretty expensive so I was anxious to learn to make my own. I finally got a spaetzle maker a while ago and I've been so happy with how easy it is.
(This is a spaetzle maker. I think it makes sense to have a metal one rather than plastic, because of the sustained exposure to heat.)
I like sauteed mushrooms with it, because it gives the hearty flavor that gravy would without being so heavy. I usually just quarter the mushrooms but of course slicing would work, too.
For the spaetzle (this serves 3 as a main dish and about 5 as a side dish; we usually double this at lunch and have some, but not a full recipe, leftover):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup whole milk
Combine all ingredients using an electric mixer. Believe me that you don't want to hand-mix this. It will be a sticky, stretchy, very thick batter. Let it stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before using. I usually put the water on to boil while waiting.
Over a large saucepan of boiling salted water, using a spaetzle maker (or alternatively, I understand you can push it through the holes of a large colander, although this sounds time consuming and difficult. The spaetzle maker is only around $15 so it's worth it), drop the noodles directly into the boiling water. This is hot, but not difficult. (Whenever I'm doing this, I inexplicably think of Minnie, even though I'm not sure this is something she'd ever know how to make!)
When the spaetzle float to the top (within a few seconds), skim them out with a slotted spoon. They are very forgiving, if you get distracted by one thing or another and need to boil them a bit longer. (Haha, like Minnie!)
You can serve with butter if you desire, and the sauteed mushrooms (I saute them while boiling the spaetzle). You could also used roasted vegetables or sauteed greens in place of (or in addition to) the mushrooms.
This is the only recipe this week that requires a piece of specialty kitchen equipment, but let me know if you try it sometime in the future!
If you are joining me in Lunch Week, please leave a link to your lunch post(s) in the comments. I'd love to get fresh ideas for lunches, and I'm sure others would too. If you don't want to create a blog post, or don't have a blog, you can just leave your ideas in the comments! I thought about creating a linky for this, and may still do so later if there's interest, but I thought I'd start it off more casually to begin with.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
PS: Marching band season is over! Starting today, or yesterday to be more technical, I have my husband back!