Weekly Winner: Shiitake and Spinach Shine in Sensational Supper

mushroom udonMy ongoing love of noodles continues, and lately my taste buds have been craving the Asian variety.  My surprise, however, came when I discovered I don’t need meat to be totally satisfied and in love with a dish.  That dish is: Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach from Milk Street Magazine.  Another surprise, these were not the big, fat, chewy udon noodles that I’ve been obsessing over lately but the thinner, dried variety.  These made for a totally luscious bowl of noodles and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach

Serves 4


10 oz dried udon noodles

3 Tbsp grapeseed oil (divided)

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tsp white sugar

1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms (stemmed, caps thinly sliced)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

5 oz baby spinach

1/2 tsp white pepper

Toasted sesame seed oil (for garnish)

Sesame seeds (for garnish)


  • Bring 4 quarts water to a boil, add udon noodles and cook, stirring, until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain.  Rinse with cold water and then drain again.  Toss with 1 tablespoons oil
  • In a small bowl, stir together sherry, soy sauce, sugar and set aside.
  • In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat remaining oil until shimmering.  Add mushrooms and salt, then stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and well-browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add spinach and the sherry-soy sauce mixture, then stir, scraping up any browned bits.  Cook over medium, tossing with tongs, until the spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds.
  • Add the udon, pepper and 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water.  Cook, tossing, until the noodles are heated through, about 1 minute, adding more water if the noodles appear dry.  Serve drizzled with toasted sesame oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds.



Weekly Winner: Bowled Over Big-Time with the Ideal Warm Weather Bowl

It’s summer.  It’s hot. I don’t want anything heavy and some nights, I don’t even want anything hot to eat. Cool, healthy, light and easy…that’s what I’m talking about. However I have to admit that salads do seem to get a bit old.  They work fine for a summer lunch but come dinner I just want something more than another salad. Enter: Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut-Ginger Sauce from Southern Living Magazine.  Ding-ding-ding!!!  We have a winner!  This hits the spot on so many levels for me.  First and most importantly they had me at peanut sauce.  Honestly, I can spread a good peanut sauce on cardboard and be happy.  Then comes noodles — I’ve yet to meet a noodle I didn’t like.  Last but not least, my good old friend and dependable standby, the chicken.  Honestly, there is not a thing to dislike about this dish. It’s incredibly quick, easy to make and very satisfying to dive into.  Also, there is no need to turn on a stove or oven as the noodles are cooked with the microwave.  Yay!

This takes the new “bowl” craze and tweaks it just enough to ensure that it will be in very steady rotation in my household. Another great thing about this type of dish is that it is infinitely changeable and customizable to whatever you have in the fridge.  You can substitute any kind of noodle or pasta and mix and match whatever veggies you have on hand.  The only thing I won’t be messing with is the peanut-ginger sauce.  It is and will remain perfect, regardless of what it is drizzled on.

Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut-Ginger Sauce

Serves 6



1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

4 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


8 cups water

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

6 ounces rice noodles

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

3 cups shredded napa cabbage

1 1/2 cups halved and thinly sliced seedless cucumber

1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red bell pepper

6 tablespoons chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts


1. Prepare the Sauce: Process all 9 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

2. Prepare the Chicken Noodle Bowl: Microwave water in a large bowl on HIGH 10 minutes. Stir vinegar and salt into boiling water. Add noodles and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain noodles.

3. Divide noodles, chicken, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, and bell pepper among 6 bowls. Top each bowl with 1 tablespoon peanuts and 2 tablespoons Peanut-Ginger Sauce. Serve remaining sauce on the side.

Weekly Winner:  My Soba Story Continues 

Apparently I have found myself with a bit of a soba obsession. Last week it was the Pad Thai Salad and this week it’s this tasty Soba-Edamame Noodle Bowl.  I guess it’s a sure sign that spring has sprung and my desire for lighter, healthier lunches has taken hold.

Perhaps another reason I find myself gravitating towards these dishes is because there just seems to be something rebellious and decadent about eating cold noodles.  That’s like sneaking into the fridge and swiping some of last night’s pasta straight out of the Tupperware (not that I’ve ever done that!!!). This, however is a civilized way to have cold noodles. And the addition of all the veggies makes it guilt-free whether it’s eaten out of a bowl at the dining room table, or nabbed from a storage container out of the fridge.

The recipe for Soba-Edamame Noodle Bowl comes from Cooking Light. Besides being super easy to make, incredibly delicious to eat, and stupidly healthy for you – it’s also delightfully beautiful to look at.  I mean seriously, check out all those colors!  How can you see something that vibrant and colorful and not want to eat it?

Soba-Edamame Noodle Bowl


1 cup frozen shelled edamame

6 ounces uncooked soba noodles

1 cup thinly vertically sliced snow peas

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tablespoon yellow miso

1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage

2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 large carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add edamame and soba noodles; cook 2 minutes. Add snow peas; cook 1 minute or until noodles are tender. Drain; rinse noodle mixture well with cold water. Drain.

2. Combine oil and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Add noodle mixture, cabbage, onions, and carrots; toss gently to combine.