Friday night we had Steve's Chicken Marsala from the freezer, served over whole wheat thin spaghetti, with asparagus and salad on the side. The box of spaghetti said 7 servings. Since we had a guest I cooked the whole package of spaghetti. 5+1=6=~7, so I figured cooking the whole thing made sense. (No risk letting anyone go hungry.) I should have known better. From personal experience I know that half a box is enough for our family of 5, and our young guest doesn't seem to have come into his adolescent appetite yet. (I wonder who actually eats the serving size on the side of the box?) I ended up with a large tub of cooked plain spaghetti. Ugh.
I'm a bit of a tightwad. Which is strange to admit since I'll spend more to get organic and local when I can. I might be pound foolish, but at least I'm penny wise, and I hate to waste food. So here's what I did at 4:30pm yesterday when I had the dreaded experience of hungry children, and just dribs and drabs of leftovers in the fridge.
Stir Fry Pad Thai
(fed family of 5 w/ leftovers for 2 hungry people)
Chopped Veggies - about large dinner plate heaped with mixed veggies
Here's what I had on hand:
1 sliced onion
2 stems of broccoli, pealed and sliced
1 handful of broccoli florets
~1/2 cup sliced eggplant
1/2 cup left over asparagus
1/4 sliced red pepper
1 carrot pealed and cut into thin strips3 cloves of garlic pealed and pressed
~1/2 lb sliced cooked meat - I had 1 left over grilled chicken breast
1 quart cold cooked spaghetti
2 eggs, beaten
cooking oil (I used grapeseed oil)
toasted sesame oil
Thai Kitchen Pad Thai sauce (~4 - 6 Tablespoons)
There's a trick to cooking with a wok, and that's not to overload it. So for our family of 5 I divided and cooked this in two batches. Cooking in batches also has the advantage of allowing you to spice one batch more or less than the other. That can be helpful if some in the family prefer milder food.
Here's the fully loaded wok just after I put in the meat and before I add the sauce and egg. If it gets too full you're steaming the food, not stir frying it.Heat wok on stove on high. Stir fry the raw veggies in the cooking oil in the wok. As they get close to done splash some rice vinegar and about 1 teaspoon of sesame oil in. Toss on top any pre-cooked left over veggies, the cooked pasta, sliced meat, pad thai sauce, and a few shakes of the soy sauce. Stir. Pour the egg onto the side of the wok (so it cooks a bit before it touches the other stuff) and stir again. Taste test and add sauce if it seems like it needs it. Serve it up hot!
Now, do it all over again with the next batch. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the brief quiet while the children eat.
Notes and modifications:
You can use any veggies you like. I highly recommend always having the sliced onions and garlic, either broccoli or cabbage, and something orange or red for color, but add whatever you have. Don't be afraid to mix in left over cooked veggies too.
I've also used soba noodles or rice noodles as designated in official recipes, but it's nice to know that you can use left over pasta too.
If you don't have noodles use a little less sauce and serve over rice.
If I'm out of pad thai sauce I make up a sauce. Try; teriyaki sauce, make your own teriyaki w/ soy sauce and brown sugar or maple syrup, or try peanut butter mixed with soy sauce and a little honey. Get creative with what you have on hand, a little salty, a little sweet, taste as you go and it'll probably be fine.
WRITE DOWN anything that turned out particularly well. My husbandgets pretty frustrated with my inability to repeat some meals. This one's for you sweet heart!
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