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Happy New Year internet friends!  The holidays were a blur up here in the mountains, but a happy blur.  I think.  The fancy restaurant where I work is extremely busy for both Christmas and New Years, so the holidays were a whirlwind of overtime and exhaustion, with a peppering of friends and family and not the drunken debauchery you all feared.

As it is a new year, I bet some of you have a resolution or two?  Not me, I’m perfect lazy.  If your resolutions involve saving money or eating better, this chow mein recipe is well worth taking a look at.  It tastes like that wonderful stuff you get for take out from your favorite round-eye Chinese restaurant but it’s made from all healthy, low cost ingredients and is low in fat!

DSCN6029I also love how this recipe is so versatile!  I made a version last week with pork, and this one in the pictures used shredded leftover Thanksgiving turkey that I defrosted.  You could just as easily use tofu or other vegetarian protein source.  Plus, a mountain of vegetables go into this dish!

Another factor that could be changed is the noodles; if you were looking to cut back on carbohydrates (Nerd Reference: we should all be wary of wheat and wheat by-products. Thank you NightVale Community Radio!) there are a plethora of alternative noodle choices available in Asian markets, some made with sweet potatoes or mung beans.  On with the cookery!

Take out-Fake Out Chow Mein

Serves 3-4 – cost approx $1.36 per serving

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz package of Chow Mein wheat noodles ($1.69)

———————————————————————————

  • 2 cups shredded, cooked meat – you could use anything!  I used turkey, but you could use any leftovers you have, chicken, beef or pork. ($.63)
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce

-or-

  • 8 oz thinly sliced meat or vegetarian option – this is what I did with pork last week.
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce

—————————————————————————————————-

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced ($.22)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced ($.35)
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced ($.37)
  • 1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced ($.50)
  • 1/4 head cabbage, thinly sliced ($.50)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced, divided use ($.25)
  • 3 -5 cloves garlic, minced
  • vegetable oil
  • soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 Tbs – 4 Tbs Sambal Oelek – or whatever you favorite Asian hot sauce or chili paste is. Use as much or as little as you like, you dirty, spice-loving, masochist you!
Delicious, delicious heat...

Delicious, delicious heat…

  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 cup stock – match this to your protein source, chicken with chicken, tofu with vegetable stock, you get the idea…
  • sesame oil, to taste

So, to get started, put on a pot of water to boil and cook the noodles.  Drain them and toss with a drizzle of oil to keep them from sticking.

DSCN6025While the noodles are cooking is a great time to chop all your vegetables and get everything ready.

Always do good prep when cooking Chinese food!

Always do good prep when cooking Chinese food!  I wasn’t lying, it’s am veritable mountain of vegetables!

This recipe starts with cooking the protein.  If you’re using leftover shredded meat, toss it with the soy sauce mentioned in the top little set of ingredients.  If you’re starting with uncooked meat of tofu, toss it with the other ingredients in the lower little set for a quick marinade.  Heat up a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil in a wok or large non-stick saute pan and saute up whatever sort of protein you chose for a minute or two.  Remove and set aside.

DSCN6027Add to the wok or saute pan the onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper.  Saute for 5 minutes, adding a pinch of salt for good measure.  Next, add in the cabbage, half of the scallions and the garlic.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add back the reserved meat or tofu and the noodles.  Saute 3-5 minutes and season with the Sambal Olek chili paste and soy sauce, which will help to develop a little color on the noodles.  Mix together the cornstarch and stock and add to the pan, making a quick sauce.  Bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.  Finish with a happy drizzle of sesame oil and garnish with the reserved scallions.  So good, and it tastes like a slippery, greasy indulgence with all the flavor and a lot less of the calories!

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