Notes and a Family Recipe
I, and all my close family, as far as I know, are not lactose intolerant, but, I was fascinated to try the Arla Lactofree Challenge for two weeks, which involved cutting out all lactose products to see how we all felt, and at the same time, to see if there was any reduction in taste and flavour when using lactose free produce. Up to 15 per cent of the UK population are thought to be lactose intolerant, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinal Nutrition‘ and, although I am not aware of any lactose intolerance myself, as I mentioned before, after two weeks of only using Arla UK Lactofree dairy products in place of my usual ones, I did notice some small but beneficial effects. Today’s post is all about my how we got on, and I’ve also shared a new recipe for Pork and Pepper Enchiladas, which uses lactose free cheese and yogurt and is perfect for any midweek family meal, or for a healthy “fake-away” meal over the weekend.
I was sent two weeks of lactose free products, which covered all of the dairy bases…….there was long life and fresh milk, cream, yogurt, hard cheese, soft white cheese and spreads; the plan was to replace all of my usual dairy products with the lactose free ones for two weeks, and to drink, cook, bake and prepare all my usual (and new) recipes as I normally would but with the replacement lactose free ingredients. I kick-started the challenge on day one by replacing the usual milk I used with lactose free milk in my early morning cup of tea – well two cups actually, as I always start the day off with 2 cuppas! Breakfast was a Lactofree strawberry yogurt, served with a chopped banana, and we all commented on how beautifully creamy the yogurt was, and there was no discernible lack of flavour, or indeed texture.
We eat a lot of eggs, as we keep chickens, and so eggs on toast is a favourite breakfast or light luncheon dish, so I was keen to try the spread next; the spread was easy to use, and again, none of us noticed any difference in taste compared to the usual low-fat butter spread that we normally use. The next three to four days followed the same routine, and by day five I had cooked with and tried all of the lactose free products from breakfast through to tea and with some baking in between. One thing we had started to notice by this time, was that the slight, almost sick feeling that we sometimes (me and my husband) felt after our early morning cups of tea, had dissipated……we had put it down to excess tannin or caffeine, but maybe it has been the milk we normally used, we’re not sure if it was the change to lactose free milk, but it was a small and positive benefit.
As a “cheeseaholic”, I was very keen to test the cheese – I was sent two types, mild Cheddar and mature Cheddar; we like mature cheeses in our family, so we all found the mild cheese a bit too mild, like a “kiddie” cheese! It was creamy and grated well, and it would be great for the school lunch box – however, the mature cheese had a great “bite” to it and was almost like a normal lactose Cheddar, with the exception of the texture, which was not as crumbly and a bit more “processed”, as in waxier and more solid. But, it tasted wonderful and melted well when I made Welsh Rarebit, as well as today’s recipe for Pork and Pepper Enchiladas. The soft white cheese was also delicious, and I devised a new sandwich spread by adding chopped spring onions, red onions, celery seeds and some grated mild Cheddar to it, which was slathered between some wholemeal bread and was served with radishes, lettuce and cherry tomatoes.
After two weeks of using the Lactofree products, we also noticed that we felt less bloated after drinking a milky cup of coffee (latte), and after using the milk in porridge too, but other than that, there were no changes. Could these be the effects of lactose, maybe, it’s hard to tell, but they were positive changes that we all noticed. The taste and texture of most of the products was the same as normal dairy produce, and the range was diverse enough for any person with lactose intolerance to feel as if they could eat, bake and cook as normal, with the obvious exceptions of choices of cheeses…..but, for everyday swaps such as milk, yogurt, soft and hard cheeses, it’s handy to know you can enjoy dairy without any of the unpleasant side effects that is normally associated with ingesting lactose, including my husband’s favourite, Cauliflower Cheese!
But back to my new recipe – lots of family recipes for easy mid-week enjoyment are savoury tray bakes such as gratins, pasta bakes, lasagne and toad in the hole etc; so, with that in mind I decided to create a tasty Mexican inspired meal that uses Lactofree cheese and yogurt…..these Pork and Pepper Enchiladas were a HUGE hit when I served them, and if you can substitute the minced pork for beef, chicken or turkey if you wish, as well as making the dish vegetarian by using lentils for the enchilada filling. I’m planning on making a fish pie and cottage pie soon, using the lactofree spread, cheese and milk too, as I still have quite a lot left to play with! The recipe is shared below, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did when I last made it. You can see where and who stocks Arla Lactofree products here: Where to find us. And, so see if you may have symptoms of being lactose intolerant, why not take the test here: Lactofree Discovery Tool.
Disclaimer: Collaborative work with Arla Lactofree
Pork and Pepper Enchiladas
|Serves||4 to 6|
|Prep time||20 minutes|
|Cook time||35 minutes|
|Total time||55 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Serve Hot|
|Occasion||Barbecue, Casual Party, Halloween|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 1 x 28g sachet of enchilada seasoning mix (or taco or fajita seasoning mix)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 red pepper (trimmed and diced)
- 1 yellow pepper (trimmed and diced)
- 1 red onion (peeled and diced)
- 1 bunch of spring onions (trimmed and sliced)
- 2 cloves garlic (peeled and minced finely)
- 12 to 15 cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
- 500g minced pork (8% or 5% fat is best)
- 1 x jar enchilada sauce (325g to 340g)
- 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 8 x corn or wholewheat tortilla wraps
- 200g mature Cheddar lacto-free cheese, grated (I used Arla LactoFree Mature Cheddar)
- 6 tablespoons lacto-free natural yogurt (I used Arla LactoFree Natural Yogurt)
- Jalapeno peppers to serve
This recipe for Pork and Pepper Enchiladas is perfect as a mid-week family meal or as a healthy "fake-away" for the weekend; it is packed with lots of vegetables to go towards your five-a-day (or ten-a-day now!) and is suitable for those who are lactose intolerant, as it uses lactose-free cheese and yogurt in the recipe. (Serves 4 to 6, allowing 2 tortillas per adult and 1 per child) NB: I have a recipe for home-made enchilada sauce here: Easy Enchilada Sauce.
|Step 1||Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.|
|Step 2||Fry all the fresh vegetables with the sachet of enchilada seasoning mix and the oil in a large covered frying pan, such as a wok until the vegetables are soft - this will take about 5 to 6 minutes with the lid on the pan; keep stirring the vegetables as they cook to stop them sticking. Put the cooked vegetables into a container and set to one side.|
|Step 3||Add the minced pork to the same pan, replace the lid and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring every now and then until the mince is lightly browned.|
|Step 4||Add half of the enchilada sauce to the minced pork and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.|
|Step 5||Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the chopped tomatoes, and spoon a quarter of it over the base of a large rectangular or oval baking dish.|
|Step 6||Take the meat off the heat, scatter some of the grated cheese over each tortilla, then spoon the meat mixture down the centre of each wrap. Roll them up pancake style and lay them side by side, seam side down, in the prepared baking dish. Continue until all the meat mixture and tortillas are used up. (use half of the grated cheese at this step)|
|Step 7||Spoon the cooked vegetables over the top of the enchiladas and then the remaining enchilada sauce and chopped tomatoes over the whole dish.|
|Step 8||Scatter the remaining grated cheese over the top, along with the yogurt, and bake in pre-heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the dish is bubbling, the cheese has melted and is golden brown.|
|Step 9||Serve immediately with jalapeno peppers and extra yoghurt on the side, with a side salad if desired.|
Thanks for the recipe. I’m keen T o give it a try but can you tell me what is in the seasoning mix? I prefer to put my own seasonings together rather than use pre packed as they often have a higher salt ratio. My husband follows a low sodium diet so putting my own enchilada seasoning together means I can put it in a jar for the next time. It does look delicious!
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thank you! I’ve shared my own recipe for homemade enchilada sauce in the recipe and as for a seasoning mix, use ground cumin mixed with a little ground chilli and some coriander – add salt and pepper to taste – The ratio of cumin to the remaining spices is 2 to 1 – hope that helps? Karen
Chris Berry says
Really interesting article. I think I may be mildly lactose intolerant so now use Arla skimmed milk in my tea and coffee. I actually didn’t realise that they also produced lacto-free cheese, so will definitely have to give it a go. And having recently got into Mexican cuisine, the enchilada recipe would be ideal – looks delicious! Thanks for posting.
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks Chris – I am so pleased that I alerted you to the fact that Arla also does cheese, as well as yogurt and spread etc! Karen
Thanks Karen! Yes, I’ve made a note of the homemade sauce so will give that a go and freeze that for future use too. thanks for the tip on the seasoning, that’s really helpful. I don’t follow many food blogs – to be honest – a lot just repeat recipes I already have in cookery books but I really enjoy yours, not only the recipes but your other insights too.
Keep up the good work and thanks again!
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks so much for your kind and supportive comments Tanzynia! I try to create and post authentic and creative recipes that are bespoke to me and my site, and it is lovely that you appreciate this! Thank you again, Karen
Dana Evans says
All looks wonderful – but sadly we are mostly dairy free in our house as my 12 year old son has been allergic to the protein in Dairy since birth. VERY different from being lactose intolerant as ingesting could cause him to go into anaphylactic shock. Just wanted to share the difference as it drives him nuts when after he tells someone new of his dairy allergy they say “Oh so you are lactose intolerant?”
As a result we mostly stay away from super cheesy meals like the above (yum!) because it’s just too anxiety provoking for him and for me to have it so heavily in the house. I might have to give that Cauliflower cheese recipe a go for my husband and myself though!!!
Karen Burns-Booth says
Wonderful and very helpful information, thank you so much for sharing this here Dana! I hope you and your husband enjoy the Cauliflower Cheese if you make it, Karen
I love your enchiladas, the recipe is wonderful. I too was on the lactofree challenge and found the products really satisfying, particularly the soft cream cheese… your cauliflower cheese looks divine too!
Karen Burns-Booth says
Thanks Dom – I also loved the cream cheese too! Karen