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What we eat while working from home (5 easy home cooked lunch ideas)

  • Food

It’s pandemic time and we have been working at home for 2 weeks straight at this point (Prior to this we were allowed to enter office 50% of the time) due to tighter lockdown. As we both tend to have busy work schedules we needed lunches that were relatively quick and reasonably easy to prepare. Alternatively we could have ordered food delivery services but we didn’t want to risk the waiting time and to be honest, trying to figure out what to eat takes almost the same amount of time as it does to cook. Apart from that, the majority of Grab or Food Panda meals can be quite costly after we include the delivery fees, as our house is far from town. Another option is to go out to pack food but again, we will need to invest time to get dressed and drive out some ways to the nearest shops, which we did previously when we were allowed dine ins.

Another plus for cooking at home is that we get to have no spend days. What are these you may ask? As it sounds, no spend days are days that we don’t spend any money at all, and it can be useful to practice these once in a while to exercise control over our impulses to buy. If you’re interested to know more, here’s a video on Tedx talk platform on an account by someone who went by a full year without spending money (My No Spend Year | Michelle McGagh | TEDxManchester). More on this on my next blog post.

That being said, when we do choose to spend, we will spend on local small businesses and hawker stalls that could use with the help during lockdown times.

However for this post it will be a sharing on what we ate for lunch while working from home this week, basically a quick run down on what we prepared within 15-30 minutes cook time for two adults.

1. Teriyaki chicken with shrimp noodles and soft boiled eggs
Cook time: 20-25 minutes

The chicken pieces are thawed and marinated the night before in the leftover teriyaki sauce from the last weekend. Boil the shrimp noodles separately for 3 minutes in hot water, drain and set aside. Then fry up cut onions and garlic with bak choy . Combine the cooked noodles into the same pan. Make a space in the middle of the pan to fry up the teriyaki chicken pieces. At the same time, boil 2 eggs (soft boiled) separately. Last part is just to assembled into a bowl, and below is how it looks. Below is the final product.

Soft boiled eggs, teriyaki chicken and stir fried shrimp noodles with vegetables

2. One pan stir fried Lap Cheong with shimeji mushrooms, broccoli and egg
Cook time: 15-20 minutes

This is relatively quick due to every ingredient is cooked in a one pan (except the rice). Cook rice ( we used our Philips Pressure cooker rice mode) early in the morning. During lunch time cut up 2 lap cheong and stir fry in a pan (without oil as the lap cheongs will ooze oil), after that throw in the broccoli and mushrooms into the same pan. Turn off the flame, then throw in a knob of butter and squeeze in half a lemon ( for added flavor kick) and stir together. After transferring the ingredients to the rice bowls, fry 2 eggs in the same pan and place on top of the serving bowls.

Steamy hot rice with stir fried tastiness

3. Rendang chicken with steamed/fried Man Tao
Cook time: 30 mins (with pressure cooker for rendang and buns steamed separately)

I bought a pre-made rendang marinade packet for this recipe, so we did not have to prepare the raw ingredients. In the morning before work began I stir fried the rendang sauce in the pressure cooker then poured in the chicken cutlets, and then added evaporated milk to the mixture, stir to mix and let it cook together. In my case since we have the pressure cooker we set it to chicken mode and it cooked for 15 minutes on its own then keep warm till we are ready to eat at lunch.

Then as the sides I steamed 3 man tao buns, and hubby fried up additional 2 man tao, and voila, lunch is ready. The rendang was a tad salty due to the serving size for was 1.2 KG of chicken and I cooked half of that amount. As for the man taos , we preferred the fried buns over the steamed version due to the crispy outer skin. Apologies for the photo , I am improving my photography skills as we go along.

The salty rendang went well with the neutral man taos.

4. Teriyaki chicken chop with stir fried noodles and vegetables
Cook time: 20 minutes

Again we still had leftover home made teriyaki sauce, so we made teriyaki chicken chop on this day. Chicken chop was bought at RM2.50 a piece from a local supermarket and thawed the night before. We didn’t pre-marinade it this time, instead the chicken chop was fried up in a pan and the sauce poured over the chicken and simmered down to thicken. Separately cook the shrimp noodles and set aside, and then stir fry the carrots and bak choy ( another leftover vegetable in our fridge from the 1st meal to avoid wastage) together. That’s it, place everything in a plate together and enjoy.

5. Curry laksa mamee chef with crabstick and teriyaki chicken
Cook time: 15 mins

At this rate , you can see the teriyaki marinade was used in 4 meals ( one on the weekend for a fish dish, and three meals on the weekdays to use it up), and on this day we fried up balance chicken cutlets with the teriyaki. Then we cooked two instant noodles packet of Mamee Chef Laksa with crabsticks. This was the simplest of the 5 meals we had on that week and the quickest to prepare .

Special mentions and bonus meal
For quick and tasty noodle base I would personally recommend below kamfen noodles, the noodles are thin and has an el dante texture to it after cooking, its natural flavours go well as a base to any meat toppings or seasoning. They have also other flavours eg, egg and scallop flavored noodles. Cost per packet at RM8.90 for 10 pax at Aeon outlets.

Shimeji mushrooms , both the white and the brown types are about RM4 per/packet or they sometimes well in a pack of three for RM11.90

On the left- Kamfen Hong Kong Style Shrimp Noodles , and on the right – Shimeji mushrooms

Bonus meal during the weekend? We still had chicken chops in the freezer so husband did fried chicken chop off a new recipe he found from Youtube, and cooked the balance man tao for the kids. Top it off with steamed brocolli and carots drizzled with Kewpie roasted semame salad dressing. Done , as Gordon Ramsay would say.

My daughter’s grubby lil hand on the right for added cuteness

Hope this post gives you some ideas. On other weeks, our meals will change depending on what we got from our weekly groceries shopping haul (I tend to get when we eat with the kids) and other days we do go out to pack food (especially on weekends to spend more time with the kids). We eat with my in laws for dinner on weekday nights, where either we will pack for the whole family or my mother in law will cook up a meal.

Thanks for reading.

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