Good French Fries From The Oven

French fries friesare one of America’s favorite foods. But these deep fried strips of goodness are loaded with fat and salt. So, the search is on for a healthier french fry.

One method tried a few years ago was to find a better cooking medium. Combining the oil with other substances reduced the amount of fat absorbed by the potatoes. The result was not good. Any more than a few fries resulted in what we might call intestinal distress and lots of messed underwear.

If you don’t want to fry the potatoes, the only obvious alternative is to use the oven. But many of you know that while those might taste good, they won’t be very crispy. We can fix that.

Begin with about 6 potatoes. Yukon Golds work well for this method. You will also need a large baking sheet or cookie sheet and some cooking spray. Olive oil, sugar and spices like garlic powder, salt and pepper are also going to be used. You can replace the garlic with something else, like paprika or cayenne, if you like.

olive oil French fries, yes, oven-bakedCut the potatoes into thick planks, like steak fries. You can peel them first if you want. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle with sugar. Toss them a little to make sure the sugar touches all the fries. Don’t worry, they won’t be sweet. The sugar will draw out the moisture in the potatoes. Just let them sit in the colander and drain for about a half hour.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF and thoroughly coat the baking sheet with cooking spray. When the liquid stops dripping out of the potato slices, empty them onto clean towels or paper towels and dry them well. Transfer the potatoes to a large mixing bowl or a resealable plastic bag. Add a 1/4 cup of olive oil, a teaspoon of garlic powder,  and a teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Adjust the amounts for your taste. Mix well.

Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on the baking sheet, leaving as much space as you can around each slice. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the potato slices over and bake for another 20 minutes until crisp and brown.ovenfries

Are these fat-free? No. But we have reduced the amount of fat enormously. Are they same as what comes out of the frier at your favorite fat fast food joint? No. But they’re pretty good and a lot healthier.

Quest: Build A Better Burger

Build a better burger and the world will beat a path to your door. 

No, really! 

Look at all the gourmet burger joints popping up all across the country, even the world. These places go beyond the fast food drive-through. They offer special spices, high quality beef, bakery buns and toppings, toppings, toppings. These burgers offer higher quality than you might normally make at home. That’s the whole point: a burger so good you’ll leave your house for them. 

It’s easy to make a hamburger, fry it or grill it, slap a piece of cheese on it, put it on a bun, add a few condiments and that’s it. Right? 

Well, certainly that would work. But you can make it even better. You can make YOUR burger. The amount of added effort is minimal, but that extra effort will be rewarded when you sit down to eat. 

First, here’s the equipment you need. 

  1. A skillet that can take high heat. We recommend a cast-iron one if you have it. Do not use a non-stick skillet if you can avoid it. Those are great for eggs, but this is meat. 
  2. Mixing bowl, into which you will put your ground beef and then add a few things. 
  3. A smaller bowl with a whisk. 
  4. A spatula
  5. A food scale.
  6. An egg ring, large round cookie-cutter or wide-mouth jar or glass.

That last item might raise an eyebrow. This will be used to help shape the burger so you don’t get those ragged, broken edges. Also, you can replace the skillet with a grill if you like. Also, this is an easy recipe to scale for larger crowds. If just for one or two, freeze the extra patties.

As for ingredients, you will need:

  1. 1 pound ground beef. We recommend an 80/20 mix of lean and fat. Do not use very lean beef, it will dry out and maybe even burn.
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 cup finely ground bread crumbs. We don’t like the sawdust-like stuff in the store and use Panko instead. It still works.
  6. Low sodium Worcestershire sauce.

You will also need some hamburger buns and your favorite cheese in slices. The amounts above will make about 4 to 6 patties, depending on size. 

The Instructions 

  1. Get your cooking surface hot. If it’s a grill, you want it hot and oiled. Inside put your skillet on low heat. Raise the heat to medium-high when you are ready to cook. 
  2. Put the ground beef and bread crumbs into the large bowl. Use your clean hands to mix it up until bread crumbs are evenly distributed through the meat. 
  3. In the smaller bowl, whisk the egg, salt, pepper and any other seasonings you like. Go easy on the salt in favor of some herbs. This is where you can get creative. Want Italian burgers, add dried oregano, dried basil, ground rosemary. Herb du Provence will give you a French burger. You can also get creative in the condiments on the table. When well mixed, add to beef mixture in the larger bowl. Do not add the Worcestershire sauce. You’ll use that when you cook them.
  4. Again, use your hands to mix everything together. Make a small ball, like golfball size, and weigh it. You want around a half-pound. Then line the balls up on wax paper on your counter. Repeat until all the meat is used.
  5. This is where the egg ring comes in. Using the wax paper as a base, use the ring as a mold. Make sure the meat is evenly distributed around the edge, and that the edge is not crumbling. They should be thick, at least a half-inch. Then make a depression in the middle of the patty while still in the mold. That keeps the burger from making a dome when it cooks. This should make about 4 to 6 burgers.
  6. Put the patties on the grill or in the pan. Cover them and cook about 6 minutes on each side. After putting the patties on the heat, prepare to toast your buns. We prefer using a griddle pan for this. Heat the griddle to medium-low and then toast the buns on both sides of each piece. 
  7. When the burgers are cooked, put a slice of cheese on top of each and turn off the heat. After the cheese is melted, move each patty to a bun, top with your favorite condiments and you are ready to eat. 

Pair this with fried potatoes, chips or potato salad. 

What’s In Baking Powder?

Have you ever wondered what is in baking powder?baking_powder_16x9  How is it different from baking soda? And what does it do?

There are two ways to get fluffy baked goods. One is to use yeast. Those micro organisms eat sugar and secrete alcohol and carbon dioxide. The gas gets trapped in strands of gluten and, like a balloon, make the dough bigger. The more air, the lighter and fluffier the end product becomes.

The other way is to generate that carbon dioxide using chemicals. That means carbonates. One of the most common carbonates in the kitchen is sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda.bakingsoda Do you remember making a volcano for science class? You probably used baking soda and vinegar to create lava. The acid in the vinegar mixed with the alkaloid of the baking soda creating carbon dioxide. The mixture would then boil over and run down the side of your paper match mountain.

The problem with baking soda is that it reacts with acid, like that in milk, immediately, before you’ve even got your pan in the oven. That means all the gas will escape, leaving you with a baked brick instead of something light and airy.

That’s why baking powder is the more popular ingredient to lift your baked goods from brick to beauty. Baking powder uses baking soda with other compounds to create the same reaction, but once the food is exposed to heat. This allows the batter to partially harden and hold in the gas that’s created.

While some formulas may add other ingredients, the basic components of baking powder are baking soda, cream of tartar and corn starch. Cream of tartar is actually potassium bitartrate, a residue found on the bottom of wine barrels. It is an acid. Corn starch is a stabilizer that delays the reaction of the acid and the alkaloid.

Now you also know why it’s called baking powder.

Making your own means you will always have the freshes baking powder. Most baking powders last only a few months.

It’s Apple Time

I don’t know about where you live, but here in The Bachelor’s Kitchen, autumn has certainly arrived. Mornings are cool and crisp, requiring a sweater or jacket. Afternoons are breezy and just warm enough to be delightful. That can only mean one thing across much of the country:  It’s Apple Time! 

More and more we’re finding out the health benefits of apples. They are rich in lots of good nutrients and fiber. And they taste good. There are hundreds of varieties of apples, of which only about a dozen appear in your store. If you can, go to one of those “pick your own” places and get up close and personal with your apples. Or you can check out the farmers market where some local growers may have some interesting heirloom varieties.

When you get them home, there’s lots of things to do with them. Plus they will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. You can put slices on a salad to add sweetness and crunch. Sauté some slices in butter with cinnamon and maybe just a touch of sugar (depending on the variety) for a great dessert all by itself or as a topping. This is especially good on top of pancakes. You can, with the help of a slow cooker, make your own apple butter. Then there’s apple cake, apple pie and even just eating them all by themselves.

Something New That’s Really Old

Whole grains are not only more popular, they are great nutrition that helps you lose weight and stay healthy. We are all aware of oatmeal as a whole grain dish. But there is a grain you might not have considered: Bulgar.Bulgar Wheat

Bulgar is a cereal food made from wheat groats, or berries. Groats are hulled grain kernels. Bulgar originated in Turkey and is found around the Middle East, India and Europe. In the grocery store, it comes parboiled (partially cooked) and can be found in the cereal or baking supplies aisle.

Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, bakery goods, or as stuffing. In breads, it adds a whole grain component. Its high nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous. In Indian cuisine, bulgur or dailybulgar-wheat-in-bowl2, is used as a cereal with milk and sugar. In the United States is often used as a side dish, much like pasta or rice. In meals, bulgur is often mistaken for rice because it can be prepared in a similar manner, although it has a texture more like couscous than rice.

Variety in your diet is good. So, try something new and pick up some bulgar at the store.

Satay Chicken Pizza: A Change From Pie

I could have titled this post “When Good Recipes Go Bad.” If you’re an experienced cook, you know it sometimes happens that a recipe leaves something out or makes an error is figuring out how much of an ingredient you need. Time estimates also can be way off, I find. If you’re an inexperienced, take heed. This is why I say you should trust your own judgement and not necessarily follow a recipe exactly. Individual conditions may vary. A recipe can’t always take that into consideration.

Chicken was on sale, so I looked in my recipe box for something I had never made and came up with one for a Chicken Satay Pizza. Sounds good, right? But as I assembled the dish, it was clear this recipe was lacking in several things.

So, I’ve modified the recipe into something of my own. That’s what cooks do all the time. Don’t be afraid to make changes depending on what ingredients you have or what you learn about the dish when you make it.

I had that happen to me with a recipe the first time I made homemade bread. The recipe looked simple enough. Not too many ingredients. Relatively simple instructions. Too simple. The recipe must have assumed I had worked with yeast before. It left out several details about that. But I found answers later and have never looked back. Well, not too much.

Satay refers to grilled meats basted in peanut chili sauce. It’s a dish found all over Southeast Asia but is most associated with Thai cuisine. What makes this dish Satay is the use of peanut sauce as the base of the pizza. Instead of grilling, we’re going to sauté the chicken. This recipe called for sliced Provolone, but you can use whatever pliable cheese you like, such as Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or Munster.

A Note About Sautéing: There are a few tips to make this quick frying method as easy and painless as possible.

  • Allow the pan to heat up completely before adding any oil or anything else. I like to let the pan heat slowly, putting it over low heat while I get together my ingredients. As I do my prep work, I gradually turn the heat up. This helps the pan from getting too hot.
  • A non-stick pan works well. But if you’re going to be browning or adding a sauce, you might want to go with a regular pan.
  • Add just enough oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan and a bit up the sides. If the pan is hot, the oil will be ready for cooking right away. Don’t let it sit too long or the oil will start to smoke and burn. If it smokes immediately when you add it to the pan, your pan is too hot.
  • Make sure the food you’re sautéing is dry. Pat it down with paper towels before adding it to the hot oil.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. It’s okay to do the cooking in batches if you need to. Crowding the pan causes the food to steam rather than brown. That’s usually okay for vegetables, but not so good for meat.
  • After the food has been in the pan for a few seconds, start moving it around. This will help keep it from sticking.

Here’s James’ Satay Chicken Mini-Pizzas

Serves 4

Equipment: Sauté pan, cookie sheet or baking sheet, aluminum foil, plate lined with paper towels, wooden spoon, chef’s knife and two cutting boards or one that can be thoroughly cleaned between uses.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves cut into bite-size pieces about 1/2 inch wide.
  • 1/2 cup prepared Thai Peanut Sauce (you probably won’t need all this)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (one bunch trimmed and using only about one inch of the green part)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 8 slices Provolone cheese
  • 4 whole wheat pitas
  • Salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and dried basil to taste.

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saute pan to medium or medium-high heat. Add oil and saute the chicken breast pieces just enough to get browning started. Do not overcook. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, paprika and basil.
  2. As chicken pieces are done, move onto the paper towel lined plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Always cover meat like this to hold in heat, but make sure steam can still escape.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Lay pitas out on cookie sheet or baking sheet as flat as possible. I like to line the sheet with foil to make cleaning easier.
  5. Spoon and spread peanut sauce on each pita, just as you would with pizza sauce.
  6. Add a handful of chicken pieces on top of each pita and sprinkle them with the chopped green onions.
  7. Top each pita with two overlapping slices of cheese so most of the pitas are covered.
  8. Bake on middle rack in oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  9. Remove and allow to sit for two to five minutes before cutting in six wedges each.

This goes great with a nice salad or a mix of rice and steamed vegetables.

If you have a recipe you’ve made your own, share it with us here at The Bachelor’s Kitchen by clicking on the comments link below or going to the Contact Us page. You can also send us an email at bchlrkitchen212@gmail.com.

Skillet Salmon And Vegetables

Salmon is one of America’s favorite fish. It’s easy to cook and it has a meaty flavor that appeals to our meat-heavy tastes.

Sadly, the popularity of salmon means it is being overfished in the wild. Many environmentalists believe some species of salmon could even go extinct. Some foodies complain that farm-raised salmon just doesn’t have the taste that wild salmon has. I tend to agree with that.

There are several popular species of salmon, each with different characteristics and flavors. They are part of the same family as trout. Most are in the Pacific Ocean. One is in the Atlantic, called what else, the Atlantic Salmon. Some of these are also found in some lakes in Northern Europe and North America. Most Atlantic salmon is farm raised and makes up most generic salmon fillets you find in the store.

Of the Pacific species, four are probably best known here in the U.S.: Coho, Pink (also called humpies), Red or Sockeye, and Chinook. Chinook, also called King Salmon, are the largest and prized for their large, lean fillets. Pink and Red varieties are often used for canning. Another canned species is the Chum salmon, which ranges as far South as the Central California Coast.

Scandinavian fish farm
Scandinavian fish farm

One problem with farm-raised salmon, or other fish, is that they are usually fed something other than what they would naturally eat, like corn. Salmon eat other fish, but supplying wild fish for farm salmon is very expensive. Thus, the taste of farm salmon is more mild, almost bland. It also has less of the rich Omega-3 oil that makes salmon so popular for heart health.

Because many people think salmon is less flavorful than it used to be, the key is to cook it in a flavorful way. That’s what makes this Skillet-seared Salmon dish so attractive.

All you need is a nice fillet of salmon, a couple of Roma tomatoes, a pepper of your choice, some olive oil, a little salt and pepper and if you like it, some cilantro.

Wash and dry your salmon fillet. It should be about an inch thick at its biggest point. Like all good fish, it should be nice and pink, moist and not fishy smelling. You can leave the skin on if you like, or take it off when it’s cooked. Also, feel your fish. It’s the best way to tell if there are any little bones in it. When doing anything in a skillet with oil, always try to get your food as dry as you can.

Halve and remove the seeds from your tomatoes. Then chop into large chunks. Do the same with your pepper. You can use a regular green or red pepper, but for a little bite, use a jalapeno. Just be sure to clean out all the seeds and ribs. If using cilantro, wash and dry it thoroughly.

Now heat your skillet on medium high, then add a tablespoon of oil. When it’s hot, carefully lay in the fish. Just let it sit there for about 4 minutes then carefully turn it over. Be gentle. Fish cooks quickly. It should take about 8 minutes total. It’s done when a fork can easily pull it apart and it flakes into small clumps.

Remove the fish from the pan and set aside on a plate. Cover it loosely with foil.

Add the tomatoes and pepper to the pan and saute for a minute or two then add that to the fish. Garnish with cilantro, if you use it, and enjoy. For something a little heartier, add a couple spoonfuls of rice on the side.

One of the wonderful things about cooking salmon is that it can take a little overcooking because of its high oil content.

Pork Chop Night

What would Homer Simpson do without Marge’s weekly Pork Chop Night? Pork chops are an American dinner staple. Pork is usually inexpensive and chops are easy to do in a skillet.

We had some pork chops in the freezer, so I decided to make a pork chop dinner. We also had lots of russet potatoes. Broccoli was on sale, so we had some crowns ready for steaming. Also on sale were button mushrooms. Sounds like the makings of a dinner to me.

Pork chops. I combined a couple of different recipes to come up with a pork chop that was incredibly tender and moist. The biggest problem with the usual skillet fried pork chops is that they get too dry and greasy. This method gives you the flavor of fried chops but the gentle heat of baked.

  • 4 pork chops, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or crushed crackers
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Beat egg in a shallow bowl, stirring in milk. In a shallow dish combine crumbs, flour, corn meal, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano and Old Bay.
  3. When pan is hot, add oil. Dip each chop in egg mixture and then dredge in dry mix, making sure all sides are coated. Carefully lay the chops into the hot pan. Brown on each side, about five minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, grease a baking dish. Move each chop once browned to the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 49 minutes or until the chops reach an internal temperature of at least 170.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to stand for about 10 minutes.

Smashed Potatoes. I don’t do a lot of mashing when I make mashed potatoes, it’s too easy to get them all gluey. Besides, I like some lumps of potato in the mix.

  • 6 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Peel, wash and cube potatoes into about 1/2-inch pieces. Put in cold water in large sauce pan. There should be enough water to cover potatoes by about a half inch or more.
  2. Put pot over high heat until the water starts to boil. Then turn down heat to maintain a simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes easily fall apart when squeezed with back of spoon or set of tongs.
  3. Remove from heat and drain most of water out, leaving about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water in the pot.
  4. Add butter, milk, garlic powder, pepper and salt to potatoes and use a hand masher to crush the potatoes and mix all ingredients. Do not over beat!

Carmelized Onions & Mushrooms. This is a great side, adding a nice sweetness to both the chops and the potatoes. You can also use this to make a really good gravy if you like that sort of thing. Just add flour, water and a little milk or cream and you’re good to go.

  • 1 medium onion, halved and cut into slices
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil if needed
  1. Use the same skillet as the browned pork chops and heat over medium-low. Add oil if needed.
  2. Brown and caramelize the onions, stirring frequently and scraping up all the
  3. brown bits in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Next add in the mushrooms and cook until soft and brown, stirring frequently.
  5. If making gravy, turn up the heat and add the flour, water and a little milk. Stir constantly.

Steamed Broccoli. This is an easy green veggie. Just steam the trimmed broccoli until it’s just tender but still has a little bite. Sprinkle with salt and splash some good Balsamic vinegar on it. This should be the last thing done for dinner.

You’ll find the pork chops tender and moist. Who doesn’t like homemade mashed potatoes? It was a good dinner. Leftovers didn’t last long.

Keep Stocking That Chicken

Homemade chicken stock

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You may recall we posted about making your own chicken stock. The best thing is that it’s easy and you know exactly what’s in it.
Along with that, we gave you one simple recipe for making your own chicken stock in case you needed one. There are many recipes and possible combinations out there. You can always come up with your own based on your own tastes and what you have on hand.

Reader Z in Chicago passed along her version in the comments. 
Here’s my recipe. It’s faster and tastes great

  • One family-sized package of chicken thighs.
  • One package of chicken wings.
  • Any chicken necks, wingtips, kidneys, hearts, etc. leftover and frozen (for this purpose) from previous meals–like a roast chicken dinner. Do NOT use chicken liver.
  • 1 or 2 carrots cut into quarters.
  • 1 stalk of leafy celery cut in half
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium-sized onion cut in half or quarters
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a dozen or so peppercorns
  • a dozen or so sprigs of parsley tied together to make it easier to remove.

Put the chicken in a nice big stockpot. Put in the rest of the ingredients. Pour in enough water to cover the ingredients and then an extra inch or so more–about 2-1/2 to 3 quarts. Bring to a boil and instantly turn the heat down really low so that it just goes “blub-1-2-3-4-blub” (keep checking until it’s just right). Simmer for 45 minutes.

Remove chicken thighs and wings and put them in a bowl. They can be used for other meals.

Discard all the vegetables and seasonings. Strain broth through a fine sieve then return to the pot. Boil for 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Let cool and refrigerate.

Next day, after skimming off the hardened fat, you can put it into containers to freeze for soup or sauces, or heat it up, add some cooked chicken and noodles and have some yummy soup.”

So, there you have another good recipe for homemade chicken stock. 

Now, what do you do with it? You can freeze it ice cube trays for later use. You can make a really good soup. Use it instead of water to deglaze pans or added to cooked vegetables. You can store it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks if unopened, once opened use within a week. If you enjoy cooking, you will be happy to have this in your pantry. 

Skip The Take-Out, Make Your Own ‘Obvious Noodles’

The Chinese invented pasta and you will find noodles and dumplings all across Asian cuisine. But nothing you will get at most Chinese restaurants in the U. S. is really Chinese; they are adapted to American tastes and ingredients. So, what you are really eating is Chinese American food. 

You do not need to order take-out or delivery, you can easily make your own Chinese-American favorites at home. One popular and easy dish is lo mein. The word lo means simple or obvious. Mein (pronounced “main”) means a type of wheat noodle or pasta. So, the English name for this dish would be “Obvious noodle.” 

Lo mein is an easy, simple and versatile dish. You can use different combinations of meats and vegetables to keep it interesting. Like most stir-fry dishes, most of your time is taken up with chopping. Also, you will need a few ingredients from the Asian food aisle in the grocery store that you may not have in your pantry. And you should make them a part of your pantry because they can be used for so many different foods. You can save a lot of time by using frozen vegetable mixes (without sauce) and leftover meat that just needs cutting into bite-size pieces. Most lo mein uses long noodles, like spaghetti or linguini. But you can experiment with other pasta shapes if you like. Very thin kinds of pasta like angel-hair or thin spaghetti are not recommended as they could get overcooked or break apart.

As with any pasta dish, the first step is always putting a big pot of water on the heat to reach a boil. When it hits the boil, add several heavy pinches of salt. Follow the directions for al dente pasta you’ll find on the package. Eight ounces of pasta will take about 10 to 12 minutes to cook. Drain and place the hot noodles in a bowl. Stir in about a teaspoon of toasted or dark sesame oil. Remember that this strong-flavored oil is more of a condiment than cooking oil. Make sure all the strands are coated. Then put a plate on top of the bowl to keep the noodles warm.

Now comes the time to heat up a wok or large skillet. Medium-high heat should get it to the right temperature without making it too hot to cook with later on. Once the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of oil. Most restaurants use peanut or soybean oil because most Chinese cooking is done over high heat. You can use any neutral-flavored oil. We like soybean oil the best. We don’t like canola oil unless we’re cooking seafood. When the oil is hot, add four cloves of garlic you have minced. We like to buy already minced garlic that comes in a jar as a time saver and something that does not go bad very quickly like fresh garlic. Also, add a tablespoon of fresh, minced ginger. You could replace it with about a teaspoon of powdered ginger but use a light touch. These will cook very, very quickly. Stir frequently for about 30 seconds until you can smell the mixture. Stir in about four-cups of mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen. Cook and stir for about three minutes or until slightly tender.

Beef lo mein

Next, we consider the protein. Our recipe calls for beef flank steak, but you could use almost any meat. We don’t recommend fish because it will fall apart. But this is a great use of leftovers, which cuts back on the cooking time by a few minutes. You need about a quarter-pound per person or serving and we usually make three to four servings. This dish makes good leftovers if you keep the noodles separate from the meat-vegetable sauce. Just make sure the meat is cut into bite-size pieces. If using a tougher cut of meat, like the aforementioned flank steak, slice very thinly against the grain of the meat so it is not too chewy and cooks quickly. 

Stirring the meat and vegetables, cook until everything is cooked through, about five minutes. 

Whisk together a quick sauce of three tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, a tablespoon of oyster sauce (We suppose any fish sauce would work, but you should find this in the Asian food section. It’s worth the fridge space.) and a tablespoon of Asian chili paste (we like Thai style). Pour this mix over the noodles and toss briefly. Pour into the wok with the now cooked vegetables and meat. Cook and stir until the pasta is hot, just a couple minutes.

This is healthy, because of the vegetables, and it is not, because of the sweet sauce. But when you’re craving Chinese-American food, this is as good as any you can buy.