Favorite meal of the week (it might surprise you!)

One of my favorite times of the day is when we gather around our table and eat dinner together.  Often we'll all tell our "best" or "favorite" parts of the day.  The kids love this.  The other night Ella asked each of us what made us laugh that day, and so we all shared what had made us laugh, and then Ella finished with what had made her laugh--- something God said to Joshua about getting up off his face.  :)  I treasure these times. 

I love to change things up when it comes to making meals for our family.  I can't handle eating the same thing all the time.  I need some variety.  And I got a new cookbook for Christmas-- I LOVE getting new cookbooks--- so I've been trying some new recipes, which is always fun.  :)  This past week I tried two new meals out on them.  I told the kids they were allowed to rank them, since I'll need to know if I should ever make them again.

So.  One of the recipes I had on our meal plan for the week was Chow Mein, from The Pioneer Woman's Dinnertime cookbook.

I love Chow Mein and wanted to give it a shot even though I was fairly certain that none of my kids would appreciate it.

Of course, when I was at the grocery store shopping for our weekly meals, I realized I hadn't written down the ingredients for this particular meal, so hurriedly found the recipe online and we shopped off the online recipe.  Then we thought we might never get the chance to try it at all since the recipe calls for "thin lo mein noodles."  And Ella and I spent approximately ten full minutes in the appropriate section of the grocery store looking for the words thin and lo and mein all on the same noodle package and trust me, there is no such package.  There are no thin lo mein noodles.  No lo mein noodles, even.  No thin mein noodles.  Whatever, Ree.  We came home with these:

Because we're smart like that.  Basically, the recipe has you saute some onions and cabbage and carrots in soy sauce and peanut oil (which I didn't have so we went with sesame oil) and then you boil these noodles for 3 minutes and stir fry it all together with soy sauce and voila!  Dinner. (See why I chose this recipe?)  Also, rewind to the onions + cabbage + carrots part.  (See why I thought the kids would hate it?)

I have this little fixation with thinking that every meal I serve must contain meat.  (I'm not sure who I should thank for that.  Probably one of my grandmas or my mom.)  But I genuinely feel like it cannot be a complete and proper meal unless there is meat somewhere, so at the last minute I thawed some chicken breasts and sliced those up and stir fried those, too.  (Bonus points for the kids who were going to have the Ew! look on their faces when I served them up their cooked cabbage and carrots. They could enjoy the chicken, then.  And the noodles.  And just tolerate the rest.)

I was personally super excited about the meal, but told Mark before calling the kids to the table, "I'm sure that none of them are going to like this." He shrugged and said something to the effect of, "They don't have to like it, they just have to eat it."  And we called them to the table and served it up and they all loved it.  Loved it.  As in, wanted seconds and would have asked for thirds if it weren't all already gone.  So there.  Thank you Ree and Sun Luck and my kids.

Here's the official recipe from the book, should you want to give it a try:
1 T peanut oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup julienned carrots
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
8 oz thin Chinese noodles, cooked according to the package directions (aka: thin lo mein noodles, as listed here)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
My paraphrase of what to do:
Saute the onions first, stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until onions start to soften.
Add in carrots, saute for 2 minutes.
Add cabbage and half the green onions.  2 more minutes.
Then add cooked noodles, soy sauce and sesame oil.  (I added my cooked chicken at this point, too).
Finally, add the rest of the green onions, and there you go.  Dinner is ready.

My notes: I already mentioned that we didn't have peanut oil, so I just sauteed everything in sesame oil.  I doubled the recipe but out of compassion for my kids, I used only half an onion total.  I grated my carrots because I don't have any fancy julienne tool, if there is such a tool.  I used maybe 3/4 head of cabbage, but had two 8 oz packages of the noodles.  And 3 chicken breasts.  Probably less soy sauce since I just drizzled it in-- my guess would be that I used about 1/8 of a cup, total. 

She has all sorts of variations listed in the book, such as adding GROSS mushrooms (which will never ever happen in this house ever because they make me gag.  My apologies to Mark, who loves them.  But he also loves me, so he's very understanding that I won't let mushrooms enter my home.  And he orders mushrooms practically every time we go out to eat, so he's just fine.)  But if you'd like to add them to this recipe, be my guest.  ;)

Did any of you receive cookbooks for Christmas?  What's your favorite cookbook? 

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  1. Sounds like the big bags of shredded lettuce and carrots from Cash and Carry would be perfect for this! And I'm going to try it :) We have really enjoyed Miss Kay's Duck Dynasty cookbook. We've tried five or six recipes and enjoyed them all.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll have to check it out at the library! :)

  2. But Stacy- "you don't have to like mushrooms, you just have to eat them!" ;) He is a very good man.
    And we love the Pioneer Woman's recipes. And I love Chow Mein. And I want this cookbook. So off I go... <3

    1. Ha! I love it that you said that, Elise. It's my *one* thing. I've given the kids permission to detest and refuse one thing. (Only because mushrooms must be mine.) ;) Love you!

  3. I got this cookbook, too! And her first one, so my collection is complete 😀 I love, love, love how much you value your family time! It is so encouraging to my heart, because I always want that to be a priority in our family.

    1. Sarah~
      Same here. I like her kind of food. :) Aw, thanks, sweet friend, for your kind words! Love ya.


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