Frugal Noodle Salad – for those nights when you enquire of your kids “What are you in the mood for” and the answer comes back “something tasty!”
Yeah!!! Because of course all they ever get served up is corrugated cardboard with a side of overboiled cabbage!!! Grrrrr!
Mind you it’s a pretty quick dinner to pull together and at least has the benefit of being moderately healthy and not served with the ubiquitous tomato sauce.
It also makes a little bit of meat or chicken go a long way – in fact dinner for three used one 6 oz steak from the freezer … but one chicken breast would also do. We don’t eat a lot of meat – but when we do it is more likely to be used as a “flavouring” like in these noodles than the meat in a traditional “meat and two veg” kind of meal.
Don’t get me wrong – now that I am employed and not freelance I could probably take my foot off the brake and splash out a little more but over the frugal years we have got used to sourcing our protein through cheaper sources so a meal with lovely steak in it is still a great treat.
In fact that reminds me that we really need to chat about “lifestyle Inflation” one day really soon.
So you start by cooking up one nest of noodles for each person – even the red-head will eat a big portion like this although he has less veggies to noodles ratio still. When they are cooked, cool quickly under running water and divide up between your bowls.
The wee one has a normal cereal bowl – but the big lad and I have pasta bowls for this to make a really filling portion.
Now you head off to the bottom of your fridge and start shredding what you can find. Today my salad is made with a half the quantity as shredded cabbage, half a leek, 3 inches of cucumber, one carrot and a whole yellow pepper (such luxury!! I can remember all to clearly having to divide up peppers to make them last as we could only buy them one at a time)
Nice fine matchstick pieces is the secret – so bung on the radio and chop away for five minutes.
I dressed my salad in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and a splash of chilli oil for a little bit of background heat. So dress your salad and pile it up high in your bowls.
Now top with your protein of choice .. tonight was a little steak from the freezer – sliced into two thin slices and then simply flash fried … then cut into fine strips and divided out amongst us all.
Not quite a Sunday Roast with all the trimmings – but then today has been quite an “Indian Summer” day when the washing has dried on the line between loads and the cat has moved around the garden with the sun only stirring herself when shade interrupted naps.
Too hot for yorkshire puddings and gravy – too cold for green leafy salads alone .. so this is the perfect halfway house as we edge towards chillier evenings. In fact looking out my window now I can watch the darkness creep in and I begin to think longingly of winter nights, hot water bottles and blankets on the sofa.
Those days will come soon enough – in the meantime let’s relish the last days of summer before we begin our winter preparations in earnest.
So what do you cook when your loved ones response to what they fancy is not very inspiring?