Sideshow

It’s time to start planning the big meal!

Need a little inspiration for some kid-friendly Thanksgiving side dishes?

See our latest post on Kidville: Voices from the Ville:

Thanksgiving Sideshow

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Pasta Strike

Check in any suburban kitchen pantry and you will inevitably find at least a dozen boxes of assorted pastas. It is inexpensive, easy to make, and kids (as well as my husband) always seem to enjoy it, especially if it has cheese or butter on it. As a mother of three, we eat pasta more than I care to think about. I love mac & cheese as much as the next person but enough already.

So we are on a pasta strike this week. Hope I don’t have a mutiny on my hands when the ubiquitous pasta doesn’t show up at the dinner table. And I probably won’t make it a whole week without pasta – who am I kidding?

I had some pork ribs in the freezer so it is pork-fried rice tonight. Fried rice is like a blank canvas; you can pretty much mix in whatever veggies and protein you have on hand. And because I love it I won’t be too upset if the boys don’t eat it, more leftovers for me!

Pork-Fried Rice

Ingredients:

2 garlic cloves, diced
1/3-cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 lb country style pork ribs (no bone)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 small onion

1/2-cup edamame (out of shell)

1/2-cup carrots, diced

4 cups white rice, cooked

3 Tbsp light soy sauce

Sesame oil

Directions:

Combine garlic, hoisin, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon in a shallow baking dish. Marinade pork overnight or for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet in foil and top with a baking rack. Transfer pork to rack. Reserve marinade.

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Bake for 1 hour, brushing with reserved marinade every 20 minutes until cooked through.

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Let rest 10 minutes before slicing into bite size pieces. (you will probably only need about half of the ribs, the rest can be frozen)

While pork is cooking heat one tablespoon of oil in skillet. Cook eggs until set, swirl around pan as they cook. Do not overcook. Set aside.

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Wipe out skillet. Heat another tablespoon of oil and sauté the onion, edamame and carrots until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside.

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Wipe out skillet and add remaining oil to skillet. Add the rice and sauté for about two minutes. Then add the eggs and vegetables, stir together.

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Add the soy sauce and sliced pork. Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Break out the chopsticks!

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And the VERDICT is:

Matthew: “Guys, you gotta try this, you will like it because I do, it is really good!”

Liam: “I don’t like that rice, I only like white rice. Don’t eat it Dylan!

Dylan: “Too much rice in my bowl, I am full, no thank you”

Okay, even though Liam and Dylan ganged up against this one (a first, but I am sure not the last time), Matthew ate enough for all of them!

Take-Out

One of the things I miss most about no longer living in Brooklyn is the diverse and delicious take-out food. Oh how I long for the Pad Thai from our favorite Thai restaurant – it was a Friday night tradition, movie and takeout…. Pre-kids of course! Fast-forward five years, now our Friday night is more likely spent eating dinner at 6pm and then watching the latest episode of SpongeBob.

So for nostalgia’s sake, I attempted an easy stir-fry, noodles are always a big hit in our house so I figured I couldn’t miss with this one. Dinner went pretty well until the chopsticks morphed from eating utensil to weapon and had to be confiscated.

This particular recipe turned out so good the boys practically finished the bowl before the fighting began and the noodles went flying. It might seem a bit daring for the average toddler but this dish is actually not spicy at all, just extremely flavorful, and I didn’t even have to camouflage the vegetables.

Chicken Stir-Fry Noodle Extravaganza

Ingredients

I package Stir-Fry noodles

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp sesame oil

1 red bell pepper diced

1 small yellow onion diced

1/2 cup edamame – frozen is fine – out of shell

Note: Assortment of vegetables is interchangeable, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant all work well here – use whatever you have on hand

1 lb chicken cutlets (cut into bite size chunks)

2 tbsp cornstarch

Salt & Pepper

1/4 cup minced garlic

1/4 cup minced ginger

1 tsp chili garlic sauce (optional)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and sesame oil in sauté pan. Add vegetables and cook until just tender. Remove from pan and set aside. (This step can be done ahead as a time saver)

Toss chicken with cornstarch, a large pinch of both salt and pepper.

Heat remaining oil in the pan on medium-high heat and add garlic, ginger, and chili sauce. Cook for about 1-2 minutes and then add chicken and stir to coat in garlic/ginger mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and sugar and bring to boil – approx 4 minutes until sugar has caramelized.  Stir in the vegetables, then add the soy sauce and cook for another minute or so.

Note: Can also be served over rice but noodles are much more fun for the under 5 crowd.

And the VERDICT is:

Matthew (right): “This is like real Chinese food, this is crazy yummy”

Dylan (center): “The chicken is so slippery!”

Liam (left): “GOOD – yes GOOD” (between noodle bites)