Entries in sling (1)

Monday
Apr042011

daily specials 04

Preface. If someone can tell me the secret to keeping a newborn from crying while I cook dinner, then I'm all ears. Especially a newbie who only wants to be held. If ours isn't hungry, dirty, sick, sleepy, etc, then he provides us background noise as I cook away. The older two are used to it - from the car rides to the dinner prep, they can tune it out like the best of them.

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Tonight's Special is titled: Spring Vegetables and Sausage Chow Mein. Loosely based on Catherine Scorcese's "Pasta with Peas and Sausage" recipe.

Chow mein because I think Chinese noodles taste much better than boxed pasta. And if you grew up with a mom who made spaghetti with Chinese noodles then you know what I'm talking about.

I somehow found minutes throughout the day to prep the veggies (during naps, alongside homework, with the baby in the sling*). They included shredded carrots, thinly sliced celery, frozen petit peas, asparagas (that I blanched to retain the green), shredded zucchini, and a tomato (that I blanched along with the asparagus making it easier to peel).

I began by sauteing onions (that I pre-chopped over the weekend) and minced garlic in olive oil. At the same time, I started a pot of boiling water for the noodles. When the onion and garlic were nice and translucent, I added the turkey and chicken italian sausage (that was frozen from last week's grocery prep) and broke them into bite-size pieces, then poured about 2 cups of chicken broth (I used packaged low sodium) into the mix. I brought everything to a boil and allowed it to simmer on low for 1/2 hour. About half way through I added the frozen peas. When the liquid was reduced by half, I added the carrots and celery and let it stew. Then I added the zucchini. When the liquid was nearly gone, I added the peeled tomato and broke it up with my spatula. I did this simply because I was too lazy to chop up the tomato.

By the way, this was my view from the stove into the living room when I added the tomato:

Other than the mess and the crying baby in the swing, all seemed well.

Back to cooking...

The noodles only took about 3 minutes to cook so after adding the tomato I added the dry noodles to the boiling and salted pot of water. A minute and a half later, I transferred the half-cooked noodles into the wok with the veggies and meat. Along with some noodle water, I tossed the "chow mein" around to allow the noodles to finish cooking, making sure to test the noodles for doneness. At the last second I added the asparagus (don't want it to overcook), tossed for a minute and turned off the heat.

After plating, I sprinkled fresh basil chiffonade and generously grated parmesan reggiano over the noodles.

The best part? My kids ate it!

I don't know that they loved it, especially the veggies, but the deal was that I'd keep grating reggiano over the bowl as long as they ate it with the veggies. Worked like a charm.

They rested while we cleaned up.

Then on to dessert.

 

*A note on the sling: I slinged (slung?) all of my kids religiously and even call myself a "sling slut," however I don't cook with a baby in a sling on me. I'd be irresponsible and would rather hear him cry. When he's old enough, I'll ergo him on my back which I think is safer (but not by much). For now, it'll just have to be.

*A note to my favorite JLSH: we eat pasta at least once a week also!