Stir-Fried Udon Noodles with Pork

Recipe Notes

  • Requires a large skillet.  Our 14″ cast iron is the perfect size.  It’s not quite a one-pot meal, because there’s a swap of ingredients in the middle, but it’s close.
  • Mirin is like sweet sake syrup.  The Japanese equivalent of cooking sherry, you should be able to find bottles of it in the grocery store.
  • The original recipe was pretty strict about amounts, but we’ve found that this recipe is pretty tolerant of variation.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups very coarsely chopped green cabbage (from about ¼ medium head)
    • Substitute 1 bag of dry slaw, 2 if you’re really feeling it
  • 2 x 7-ounce packages instant udon noodles
    • discard any flavor packets, if they’re included
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Ground pork, between a 1/2 and 1 pound
    • Substitute a similar amount of shiitake mushrooms to make this a vegetarian dish
  • Scallions, around a half-dozen
    • Chop the white parts
    • thinly slice the dark green parts and set aside for later
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ⅓ cup mirin
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for serving
  • Vegetable oil

Steps

  1. Put six cups of water on to boil while you work on step 2
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add cabbage and cook, tossing often, until edges are browned, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, tossing often, until thickest parts of cabbage leaves are tender, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set skillet aside.
  3. While the cabbage is finishing on low heat:
    1. Place udon in a large heatproof bowl (or pot if you don’t have one) and cover with 6 cups boiling water. Let sit 1 minute, stirring to break up noodles, then drain in a colander.
    2. Transfer noodles back to bowl and toss with sesame oil.
  4. Transfer cabbage to bowl with noodles. Wipe out skillet.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in same skillet over medium-high and add pork, breaking up and spreading across surface of pan with a spatula or tongs.
  6. Cook pork, undisturbed, until underside is brown, about 3 minutes. The pork will never brown if you’re fussing with it the whole time, so when we say “undisturbed,” that means keep your paws off it and let the heat of the pan and the pork do their thing.
  7. When pork is browned, break up meat into small bits. Cook, tossing, just until there’s no more pink, about 1 minute.
  8. Add chopped scallions (the pale parts), ginger, and red pepper. Continue to cook, tossing often, until scallions are softened and bottom of skillet has started to brown, about 1 minute.
  9. Add udon mixture, mirin, and soy sauce and cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are coated in sauce (be sure to scrape bottom of skillet to dissolve any browned bits), about 45 seconds.
  10. Remove skillet from heat and fold in 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and dark-green parts of scallions. Top with more sesame seeds before serving.

Adapeted from https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/stir-fried-udon-with-pork

 

Last-Minute Chicken

This recipe is shamelessly copied from https://iwashyoudry.com/last-minute-chicken-recipe, which itself copied the recipe from “The Weekday Lunches & Breakfasts Cookbook.”

Ingredients

 

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika OR smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Enough olive oil to coat chicken
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine the garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, pepper, salt, and olive oil into a freezer bag
  2. Toss in the chicken
    • Most pre-packaged chicken thighs get folded into themselves, so be sure to spread them out as you put them into the bag so they get evenly coated
  3. Seal up the bag and mix everything thoroughly
  4. Heat up a grill pan over medium-high heat, or a grill, while the chicken steeps in it’s spices
    • If using a grill pan, add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan – but be sure to use a splatter guard
  5. Cook the chicken until not pink throughout, about 5 minutes on the first side and three or four minutes on the other side

Garlic Roasted Potatoes

This is a great side for pretty much any meat dish, especially on a cool fall day.  The smaller, skin-on potatoes are tasty and not nearly as bad for you as a full-size, peeled and boiled starch-bomb white potato.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of small red, white, and/or purple potatoes
    • Lots of supermarkets carry 2- and 3-pound bags of mixed, pre-washed small potatoes, which is really handy if you want more colors
  • Olive oil
  • 6 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • A couple of shakes of black pepper
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley (optional)

Steps

  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F
  2. Halve and/or quarter your potatoes; chunks should be roughly between 1 and 3 cubic inches
  3. Toss the chunks into a freezer bag with the remaining ingredients, adding enough olive oil to coat the potatoes, then mix in the bag
  4. Spread the potatoes into a single layer on a pan or baking stone
  5. Bake for an hour, flipping everything over at least once to keep things from scorching

American Chop Suey

American Chop Suey is Meghan’s comfort food.  It’s quick to cook so I can generally make it on short notice, when I know she’s had a really bad day.

The instructions below are meant for multi-tasking and making everything come together at the right time — an expression of an unplanned dinner made on short notice.  🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of small-shape pasta (elbows, mini-shells, or rotini are all good)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 2-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce, 15 oz or so, depends on how saucy you like it
  • 1 or 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • olive oil

You’ll also need a large skillet and a 9×13 glass pan to go in the oven.

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Put on a pot of water to boil, and put on a large skillet on the stove with medium-low heat
  3. Dice onion and pepper
  4. When the water is very close to boiling, turn up the skillet to medium heat, add some oil, and throw in the onions and peppers
  5. When the water boils, add the hamburger to the skillet and brown it with the onions and peppers
  6. Put the pasta in the water and cook to al dente; strain.  If the meat isn’t done yet, toss with a little oil to keep it from sticking.
  7. When the meat is brown, drain off the fat and mix in the jar of sauce.  Put back on medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble.
  8. Pour the cooked pasta into the 9×13 pan, and stir in the meat sauce.
  9. Sprinkle (or if you’re like me, shovel) the cheese on top, cover with foil, and cook at 350° for 20 minutes

Tortillas

Tortillas are surprisingly easy to make, but it does go a lot faster with two: one to flatten dough while the other cooks the previously-flattened dough.  Each tortilla takes about as long to cook as to roll.

These tortillas are good enough to eat plain.  They store well in a ziploc baggie.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • (up to) 1 cup warm water

Steps:

  1. Preheat a large skillet on medium heat (our stove runs hot so it’s more like medium-low, YMMV)
  2. Mix flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl
  3. Cut in oil with a pastry blender or a fork
  4. Slowly incorporate water, mixing until a soft dough forms
  5. Make 2-inch dough balls – probably ten or twelve
  6. Roll flat with a rolling pin.  The dough should be as close to paper-thin as you can make it (you’ll probably wind up with cardstock).
    • You  won’t need to flour the surface – if the dough is good it won’t stick (except maybe to the rolling pin)
  7. Cook the tortillas one at a time until they start to bubble, then flip and heat until brown spots form.

Credit to https://kbmillers.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/169/

D-Angelo’s #9

I discovered the D’Angelo’s sandwich chain in my late teens and fell in love with their ‘Number 9’ grilled sandwich.  It’s very easy to make for yourself and it’s delicious!

This recipe makes enough to feed two or three people (or more, if they’re kids).

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 chicken breasts (2 if they’re small) or a steak’s worth of beef
  • a quarter of a green bell pepper, diced
  • half a small yellow onion, diced
  • a couple of spoonfuls of sliced mushrooms (optional, kids get weird about ‘shrooms)
  • a couple of slices of american cheese
  • a loaf of french bread (softer is better)

Steps

  1. add a little vegetable oil to a hot pan on medium heat, and throw in the onions, peppers, and mushrooms.  Let it soften.
  2. While the above is cooking, dice the meat and add to the vegetables.  Occasionally flip the whole thing over so nothing burns and the meat cooks evenly.
  3. While the above is cooking, slice the bread grinder-style
  4. When the meat is cooked, pile everything together and add the cheese to cover it
  5. When the cheese melts enough to collapse into the meat and veggies, scoop it into the bread and serve.