Noodles always go over well after swim practice. These vitamin-packed soba bowls are also easy to make ahead and let people eat as they get home without worrying about a cold dinner.
Lots of room to improvise with whatever you have in the fridge too! Peppers, pea pods, edamame, even protein–ahi tuna would be killer!! You could also go the other way and omit the egg. 😉
Soba noodle bowls
- 8 oz soba noodles, cooked
- 12 oz extra firm tofu
- Soy and sesame oil
- 1 small head napa cabbage, chopped
- 1/2 c matchstick carrots
- 3 green onions, chopped
- Hard boiled egg, 1 per bowl
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- Jalapeno, sliced
- Cashews and peanuts, chopped
- Juice of 1/2lime
- 1/4c low sodium soy sauce
- Crushed red pepper
- Lime wedges
Drain tofu. Slice brick into 1/2″ slices. Lay flat on plate, cover with paper towels and weight with saute pan. After 30 minutes the towels will be soaked. Dice tofu into cubes, toss with soy sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil. Marinate for 30 minutes. Coat in cornstarch. Heat several tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan, sauté tofu until golden on each side, about 10 minutes total.
Mix soy, lime juice and pepper together and toss noodles in dressing. Assemble bowls.
I’m trying to honor the idea of Meatless Monday, which is to say that one day of the week we don’t eat meat. It’s a philosophical notion for me mostly, as I realize growing up in the American Midwest, the “norm” is red meat and potatoes. I like to think of those foods as a splurge rather than everyday eating.
For growing boys looking to build muscle, that definitely requires some creativity to add in protein on those days. (Most of the time I don’t tell them we’re doing this and they don’t notice). 😉
Here’s a few tips to add meatless protein:
- Breakfast: Whole oat granola with seeds and nuts (flax, pepito, almonds, walnuts) over greek yogurt, which has nearly 2x the protein as regular. Or add ricotta cheese to your favorite boxed pancake mix. It makes them fluffier too!
- Lunch: Beans and old world grains. A favorite lately is farro with garbanzos, kale, olives and tomatoes in a greek vinaigrette. Even just adding beans to a pre-made pasta salad helps bulk it up.
- Snacks: Smoothies with protein powder or the old standby of apples and peanut butter.
- Dinner: This meatless dish always gets raves and is super fast for weeknight cooking:
Pineapple red curry
- 8oz can crushed pineapple
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 tbsp red curry paste, more or less depending on how spicy you like it
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsbp sugar
- Extra firm tofu, pressed to remove excess water, cubed. Or shrimp if you insist 😉
- Cilantro and coconut flakes for garnish
Sauté fresh pineapple and red pepper 2-3 minutes until softened. Add coconut milk, crushed pineapple, and curry paste, stir, add in sugar and fish sauce. Simmer 10 minutes until thickened. Sauté tofu cubes in 2tbsp oil until browned. Mix into curry. Garnish with coconut and cilantro. Serve over rice or rice noodles.
This is a versatile recipe either as a cocktail finger food app or as a main dish paired with a side such as Chinese noodles.
My trick with meatballs is to bake on high heat to start and then lower temp to cook fully. They get a nice crust, yet stay moist. Way easier and less mess than pan sauté.
Serve these with a readymade condiment of your choice–Sriracha, Szechuan sauce, chili-garlic sauce. No leftovers in our house!
- 1lb ground beef
- 1lb ground pork
- 1 slice white bread, torn into pieces
- 3tbsp milk
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 3 tbsp chopped ginger (Ginger paste is a new fav of mine, so easy!)
- 5 cloves chopped garlic
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp Sriracha (optional)
- 1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
- 1/3c chopped cilantro
Soak the bread in milk–it should crumble easily but not be soggy. Squeeze out excess milk if necessary. Mix in remaining ingredients by hand, do not overmix! Add sesame oil and/or Sriracha if you like a bit of heat. Roll into 1 inch balls. Make a bit smaller for app size. Or a bit bigger if you just get lazy or impatient hungry boys pressure you to hurry up.
Line a large baking pan with tinfoil, bake meatballs at 500 degrees for 5 min, turn the heat down to 350 (keep the meatballs in the oven) and cook another 15 min. Let them set a bit to cool.
My darling 16-year-old graciously offered to make spaghetti one night last week when I was late getting home. His version of portion sizes for 3 adults: 2 lbs of noodles. Needless to say, I had to figure out a couple ways to use up the leftovers!
This recipe is great for that because it’s got a different flavor profile (Asian), and it’s very flexible–you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, and it can be served warm or chilled.
Peanut butter noodles
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 3/4c creamy peanut butter
- 1/3c low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp hot chili oil or 2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3 green onions chopped
- 1/2c chopped cilantro
- Veggies of your choice: I threw in sauteed napa cabbage, cucumber, shredded carrots. Pea pods, peppers and broccoli are also good!
Chop garlic in food processor. Add remaining dressing ingredients (through sesame oil) and puree until smooth. Cook noodles. Toss noodles in sauce, thinning sauce with pasta water as needed. Add veggies, top with green onions and cilantro. Drizzle with more sesame oil if desired. We serve with chili-garlic sauce for the half of our family that likes spice.
This week is a crazy week for us. Not a single weeknight for dinner together. We will all be eating on the go 😦
To keep us eating healthy vs stopping for unfulfilling junk, I prepped ahead everyone’s favorite salads on Sunday night. I simply grilled off a whole cutup chicken using the easiest ever salt n pepper chicken technique –some of it got eaten that night and others got used in salads.
- Pasta with chicken, tarragon and grapes (unique lower-fat tangy dressing: 1/2 c buttermilk, 1/2c yogurt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 c mayo, 1 tbsp tarragon, salt+pep).
- Asian sesame chicken salad (make the dressing ahead and cut up vegs)
- Egg salad for wraps (Matt’s favorite — add dill!)
- 5 bean salad (I use this recipe as the base, but add green beans, wax beans, small white beans, garbanzo and light red kidneys)
- Grilled vegetable salad (side dish for the grilled chicken the first night, great leftover!)
Fresh herbs really make these salads pop.
I am thankful too for grill night at baseball 🙂