Mom-Friendly Meals: Ramen

Ramen with spinach and poached egg

  • Bring two cups of vegetable broth to a boil.
  • Open a packet of ramen noodles. Throw away the flavor packet. Boil the noodles for three minutes.
  • Add a handful of rinsed spinach leaves, a splash of soy sauce, a splash of sesame oil, and a few drops of sriracha.
  • Pour ramen, broth, and spinach into bowl.
  • Boil another pot of water. Stir into a whirlpool and drop in a cold, cracked egg. Turn off the heat and cover for five minutes.
  • Remove the egg from the pot with a slotted spoon. Add to bowl.

Seriously, this could not be easier, or tastier. And just for the record, this is the first time I ever poached an egg this way.

Mom-Friendly Meals: Strawberry Spinach Salad

I went to the farmers’ market on Sunday morning and found some unbelievable strawberries and fresh spinach. My first thought was “Smoothies!” But then I came up with another option.

The big question was dressing. We don’t eat a lot of salads, so we don’t have dressing just sitting around waiting to be eaten. and I have never really gotten into vinaigrettes. But a quick search turned up a recipe that sounded good, and I remembered that I do have balsamic vinegar.

I washed a couple of handfuls of spinach and used the recipe I’d found to make a quick dressing: I splashed balsamic vinegar, a little honey, and some olive oil into a bowl and microwaved it quickly to make it easier to blend. Then I tossed the spinach in the dressing and microwaved it again to wilt the spinach.

After that, I sliced a few strawberries on top of the spinach and added some goat cheese and walnut pieces. And voila!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Mom-Friendly Meals: Stone Soup

Remember the story of “Stone Soup“?

I’ve always been a little conflicted about that story. Sure, the villagers were miserly with their food stores. So you can read it as the story of how a traveler convinced them to open up and be a community.

But can’t you also read it as the story of someone who entered a town, tricked everyone into eating the last of their food, and then left a starving village behind?

Fortunately, one of the main points of the story doesn’t involve trickery at all. It simply involves using what you have available.

The other night, I wanted to make soup. In the freezer, I found chicken stock and a variety of frozen vegetables–peas, corn, and spinach, in this case. And in a jar on the counter, I found what I think was linguini (I’m not sure why we had it, since we tend to buy capellini, and since I am not terribly well-versed in pasta varieties, it might have been something other than linguini).

Now, if I’m shopping to make vegetable soup, I might include carrots and bell peppers. But I didn’t have time to go to the store, so I used what I had on hand.

I put the stock in a pot and added some water (I hadn’t thawed enough stock, I realized after the fact). When it came to a boil, I added the vegetables and broke the linguini into smaller pieces. Once everything was hot and the pasta had softened, I added some salt and pepper–you could, of course, add any other spices you want, but I kept it simple this time.

Stone Soup

What have you got on hand? And what can you do with it?

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini Soup

In my efforts to eat what we already own, I discovered an enormous package of cheese tortellini in the chest freezer we have in the garage. This recipe only uses about a third of that, but it’s a start, right?

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini Soup

3-1/2 cups chicken stock
1 10 oz. package frozen spinach
1 can diced tomatoes
8 oz. tortellini
garlic powder
coarse-ground white pepper

Bring the stock and spinach to a boil. Add tomatoes and reduce to simmer. Add tortellini and spices and cook for 10 more minutes, or until tortellini is tender.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Spinach and Tomato Tortellini Soup

Assorted Thoughts

This is a weekend of dinners with friends. One was here (love the potlucks–even with a small group, it halves the work) and one is out (love eating at someone else’s house–it removes the work). Last night’s meal: steak and fusilli tossed with spinach, olives, and grilled asparagus. Oh, and a cupcake array from Dots in Pasadena. Let me tell you, those are some good cupcakes.

Our dog hates her car carrier. I think we’ll replace it with a dog booster seat that will let her see what’s going on and won’t make her feel confined. Just typing “dog booster seat” feels a little ridiculous, though. I started small, by buying her a harness to keep her safely in the booster seat. She seems to like it; I hope it fits right.

People keep telling me that I don’t look that big. That’s nice, but let me tell you, I feel tremendously pregnant. Changing positions has become a surprisingly difficult undertaking. Thank goodness our couch is so comfortable, since that’s where I’m spending an awful lot of my days lately!

And it has turned out to be a really gorgeous day in the San Fernando Valley.