Sesame Noodles √
Serves 8 as a side dish, 4 to 6 as a main dish with add-ins.
Note: It took quite a few attempts to get the right balance of flavor and consistency for this perennially popular Asian noodle dish. Success had clearly been attained when my son took a first bite and said, "Put this in the book — I command you." After a gentle reminder about the best and most appropriate ways to ask people to do something, here it is. You can prepare noodles ahead of time and let them sit for up to three hours, but if you're using add-ins, toss them in right before serving. From "The Mom 100 Cookbook," by Katie Workman (Workman Publishing).
For the sesame sauce:
• 1 (2-in.) piece peeled fresh ginger
• 3 garlic cloves
• 2 tbsp. light or dark brown sugar
• 1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
• 2 tbsp. rice vinegar or sherry vinegar
• 2 tbsp. regular or low-sodium soy sauce
• 1/2 to 1 tsp. chili pepper sauce, suce as Sriracha or Tabasco
• 3 tbsp. vegetable, peanut or canola oil
• 2 tbsp. Asian (dark) sesame oil, divided
For the noodles:
• Kosher or coarse salt, optional
• 1 (16-oz.) pkg. dried thin spaghetti, or any pasta you like, such as rotini or linguine
For garnish, pick and choose:
• 2 green onions, both white and light green parts, thinly sliced
• 1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
• Fresh cilantro leaves
Make the sesame sauce: Place the ginger and garlic in a food processor or blender and run the machine until they are finely minced. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, chili pepper sauce, vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Process until smooth and reserve the sesame sauce in the food processor.
Prepare the noodles: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and let the water return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook them according to package directions until just tender. Set aside 1 cup of the noodle cooking water, then drain the noodles. Rinse them quickly with warm water and drain them again.
Add the reserved cup of cooking water to the sesame sauce and process to blend. Place the warm drained noodles in a large bowl and toss them with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, then add the sesame sauce and mix everything until the noodles are well-coated. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
Let the noodles cool to room temperature; they will absorb more sauce as they sit.
Serve the noodles garnished with green onions, sesame seeds and/or cilantro, if desired.
To serve with add-ins: Set out a variety of add-ins for people to customize as they please. Suggestions include: shredded chicken; sliced seedless cucumbers; shredded carrots; cooked broccoli florets; or slivered red, orange or yellow peppers.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:
Calories 406 Fat 15 g Sodium 503 mg
Carbohydrates 55 g Saturated fat 3 g Calcium 24 mg
Protein 12 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 4 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 3 ½ bread/starch, 3 fat.
Soy-Ginger Flank Steak √
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: The combination of garlic, soy and ginger with a bit of brown sugar is just a complete home run; there's a simplified teriyaki quality to the whole thing. Serve with generous scoops of rice and roasted asparagus or broccoli or a big green salad. Flank steak is a thin and somewhat chewy cut of meat, so you'll want to broil or sear it quickly. Skirt steak or London broil will work, too. You can also prepare this steak on a grill or use a grill pan and sear it on top of the stove. From "The Mom 100 Cookbook," by Katie Workman (Workman Publishing).
• 1 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
• 1 1/2 tbsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger
• 1 tbsp. minced garlic
• 2/3 c. low-sodium soy sauce, or 1/2 c. regular soy sauce and 3 tbsp. water
• 1/2 c. lightly packed light or dark brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
• 1 (2 1/2 to 3 lb.) flank steak
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Thinly sliced green onions, both white and light green parts, optional for serving
• Lime wedges, for serving
• Hot cooked rice, for serving
Preheat the broiler and, if you have an adjustable rack, make sure it is as close to the heat source as it can get.
Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, until you can really smell everything and the garlic turns golden, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes, if using. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the soy glaze simmer until slightly reduced and syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set the glaze aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
Season the flank steak lightly with black pepper. Brush the top side of the steak with some of the soy glaze, then broil it for 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the steak, then brush the second side with the glaze. Broil the flank steak until it is done to your liking, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring the remaining soy glaze to a simmer over low heat.
Thinly slice the flank steak across the grain and brush the slices with some of the reheated soy glaze. Transfer the sliced steak to a platter and scatter the green onions, if using, on top. Arrange the lime wedges on the edge of the platter for people to squeeze over their steak if they like. Put the rest of the soy glaze in a small pitcher or bowl to serve at the table for drizzling over rice.
Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:
Calories 310 Fat 7 g Sodium 770 mg
Carbohydrates 16 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 22 mg
Protein 42 g Cholesterol 102 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb, 6 lean meat.
Homemade chicken tenders √
Serves 4 to 6.
Note: Here are four versions of chicken tenders (or nuggets or fingers, or whatever you want to call them). One is super simple. The next is a bit crunchier (and only involves adding a couple of eggs). The third, even crunchier, version has some bread crumbs as a final coating. And the fourth is the "Mom, that's so cool!" showstopper — Chicken Parmesan on a Stick, which we have yet to encounter on a kiddie menu. You'll need about 10 to 15 wooden skewers if you want to serve the tenders on a stick. From "The Mom 100 Cookbook," by Katie Workman (Workman Publishing).
For the chicken:
• 1 lb. chicken tenders, or 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
• 3/4 c. flour
• 1 tsp. kosher or coarse salt
• 1/4 tsp. black pepper
• About 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
For serving, optional:
• Yellow, brown or honey mustard
• Barbecue sauce
If using pieces of chicken, not tenders, cut them lengthwise into strips 1 inch thick. There should be between 10 and 15 pieces.
Place the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and, using a fork, mix them together. Coat the chicken strips in the flour mixture.
Heat about 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook half of the chicken until lightly browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the rest of the chicken strips the same way.
Insert a skewer lenghwise into each of the chicken strips, if desired. Serve the chicken with ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce or whatever other dipping sauces your kids like.
To make Crispy Chicken Version: Lightly beat 2 eggs in a shallow bowl. After coating the chicken pieces with flour mixture, dip them into the eggs, let the excess drain off, then dip the chicken back into the flour mixture to coat. Proceed with cooking the chicken; you may need a bit more olive oil in the skillet and you will need to cook the chicken strips for 30 seconds to 1 minute longer on each side, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side.
To make the Crispier Chicken Version: Place 3/4 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs) in a shallow bowl. Then follow the instructions for the Crispy Chicken Version, but instead of the second dip in the flour mixture after the egg dip, make the final dip in the panko crumbs. You may need a bit more olive oil in the skillet to achieve the crispiest crust for this version, and you will likely need to cook the chicken strips for 4 minutes per side for them to be done through.
Chicken Parmesan on a Stick: You'll need 1/2 cup of marinara sauce; 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh; 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and 10 to 15 wooden skewers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Make the Crispy Chicken or the Crispier Chicken by cooking it for only 2 minutes per side for Crispy Chicken, 3 minutes per side for Crispier. Insert a skewer lengthwise into each strip of chicken, making sure it's secure. Place the skewered chicken on a baking sheet with a rim. Spoon a bit of marinara or spaghetti sauce down the center of each strip of chicken. Line up a few pieces of the shredded mozzarella down the center of each strip, on top of the sauce. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan over the mozzarella. Bake the skewered chicken until the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes.
Nutrition information per each of 6 servings of Crispy Chicken:
Calories 211 Fat 11 g Sodium 255 mg
Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 16 mg
Protein 20 g Cholesterol 88 mg Dietary fiber 0 g
Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, 3 lean meat, ½ fat.