family meals: week 65

white bean and kale soup
white bean and kale soup
Rosemary White Bean Soup with Kale. Yes! Make this! It’s so good. I didn’t use the chard because we already had kale and I think it was absolutely delicious and nutritious. Don’t mind my pictures. My homemade croutons aren’t golden and my kale is a darker green because this is on day 2 after I boiled the soup again, but it’s really yummy. I made a giant pot for our dinner club and I’m glad we have leftovers!

Week of 3/10 – 3/14
Monday: Crunchy Turkey Burgers
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Udon Stir Fry
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Sushi/pizza night

This is how I typically do my blog pictures of our dinner… I cook the meal, set one plate of food, put it on my white background, snap a quick picture, then it goes straight to the dinner table, and we all eat. Though in the fall and winter it gets challenging to do that because I lose the natural light at dinner time, so I hope that I have leftovers for lunch the next day. If I do, I make myself a plate, take a picture, and then eat it for lunch. If there aren’t any leftovers, then I can’t take a picture the next day to share it with you. This is one of the funny ways of how I fit blogging into my life, so I’m super excited that I’ll get more light for dinnertime to snap a quick picture! #bloggersareweird

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mackerel stew

mackerel stew
Mackerel Stew
about 2 servings

Ingredients:
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 a large onion, thinly sliced
1 – 2 jalapeños (we did 5 serranos)
1 can mackerel
2 green onions, cut about an inch long
1/2 to 1 cup of water
1 tsp garlic minced
1 tsp korean red pepper paste (and extra on the side to add later)
1 – 2 tsp soy sauce (I used 2 tsp)
1 tbsp korean red chili flakes
1 pack of enoki mushrooms
Sprinkle of black pepper
Sesame (perilla) leaves (about 6 – 10 per person depending on leaf size)
Side of brown rice

mackerel
Directions:
In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chili flakes, soy sauce, chili paste, with a half of cup of water, and set aside the chili mixture.

Heat up 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan, give the oil a minute to heat up, then add the carrots and gently sauté. Spread carrots out along the bottom of the pan and proceed to place thinly sliced onions on top, then the jalapeños. Add in the canned mackerel (water from can and all), then pour the chili mixture over the fish, sprinkle some black pepper, and add the green onions on top. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil, then proceed to lower the heat to simmer. It only takes approximately 10 mins to cook. During the last two minutes of cooking, add the enoki mushrooms on top, spoon one of that broth on top, and put the lid back on.

Once done, taste the broth, if it’s too salty, add some more water, or if its too bland, season with the soy sauce. Canned fish is a bit higher in sodium so the extra soy sauce is probably best left out. I wanted more spice, so I sprinkled 1 extra tablespoon of Korean chili pepper flakes on top when I added the mushrooms.

To eat, get your sesame leaf (or can use steamed cabbage leaf), place a little bit brown rice on top, add on a piece of fish and some of that delicious carrots, onions, and jalapeños, add a dollop of chili paste, and devour!

mackerel
mackerel
Thankfully, we have a Korean market near where our church family gathers, so after Sunday we go grocery shopping with the BFF (and her husband) and we stock up on so many yummy things. The BFF’s mama is an amazing cook, and we’re blessed she taught her daughter, who teaches us. We have a lot of the staple ingredients, so we can make a variety of different dishes from them.

If you’re iffy on the whole canned fish thing, we were a little nervous ourselves, it turned out fine (for us) and not fishy at all. Mackerel is a good fish for you, but it also could be quite expensive, so it was an affordable way to eat it. The meal was easy to make, as well as being delicious and nutritious, so for sure we’d make it again and I’d recommend for you to try it! I’m sure you could even make it with just vegetables, leaving the meat out, if you want to go a vegetarian route with it. It’s the chili mixture and broth that makes this really so tasty. My girls really loved it too! I made two batches, one with loads of spice and one omitting the jalapeños and red peppers. I love that my kids are (usually) willing to try new dishes! We tell them they have to try it first before saying no.

mackerel
mackerel
I love Korean dishes, they are so just flavorful! I can’t wait to keep learning more about Korean cooking from the BFF and her mom.

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family meals: week 64

family meals
family meals
Spicy Kimchi Soup. I was going to make noodles, but I wasn’t feeling well this day, so I made soup instead. Thankfully, it was just a one day bug and I was back to normal on Tuesday, but then Ben got the one day bug. I used soba noodles instead of udon and it was still yummy, and this time whole wheat. Ben liked it a whole lot more that way.

family meals
family meals
Spaghetti and Herb Filled Meatballs. I think I may some pretty yummy meatballs and the secret is all the herbs I put in them (see here). I made this for our dinner club on Thursday and I always get nervous because I’m never sure if I make enough. It’s also because I never know who’s going to show up! We definitely had enough, with plenty remaining for leftovers.

Week of 3/3 – 3/7
Monday: Bossam (didn’t get to make it last week)
Tuesday: Crunchy Turkey Kimchi Burgers
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Rosemary White Bean Soup
Friday: Sushi/pizza night

What are some of your go-to dishes to make for a group of 10-12 people? I’m kind of stuck on ideas. I want something yummy, healthy, but still affordable to feed a big group! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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family meals: week 63

white bean chili
white bean chili
White Bean Chili. Yeah! Dinner Club is officially back on for the New Year. We started this last summer and typically Thursday evenings we have a group of friends over, usually the same ones, and invite some neighbors and new friends over too. We took a break in December for the holidays and we haven’t been able to resume until this week. It was so good! Most who come are married (a couple aren’t though), so we frequently talk about our marriage woes (we scare off the single folk too) and encourage each other to keep pressing on. Usually there is a lot of laughing going on because when we talk about our marriage woes, and once you’re removed from a particular fight, it’s just funny to retell it and see how ridiculous you’re both being. Anyway, I usually make some big pot of chili or soup because it’s the easiest thing to make for a big group of people.

Week of  2/24 – 2/28
Monday: Spicy Seafood & Soba Noodles
Tuesday: Bossam
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Spaghetti
Friday: Sushi/pizza night

I’m really loving being in the kitchen now. When I first started this family meal series, I was doing it just to help my family get more organized and be efficient with our dinnertime. I really hadn’t done much cooking previously, but after about 63 weeks of this, I’m feeling more comfortable stepping away from a recipe and going with my gut and taste. Ben rarely cooks anymore!

I need to keep working at getting the kids involved, so they can learn and love cooking too. Cooking was another thing I learned late in life (just like laundry), but I’d love my girls to get started early. It’s a life skill they need to know after all, not because they’re are girls, but just because it’s something good for everyone to learn to work towards being independent. I wish it’s something I learned at a young age. Ben started getting interested in cooking when he was a kid and he started making his own pizza from watching Reading Rainbow!

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spicy kimchi & udon soup

kimchi soup
Spicy Kimchi & Udon Soup
about 4 servings

Ingredients:
Pack of seafood mix, thawed
2 packs of udon noodles
1 head of napa cabbage, core cut off and thinly sliced
1 cup of kimchi, chopped
1 cup of kimchi sauce
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
*1 tbsp of Korean chili peppers (cayenne is a suitable substitute)
1 1/2 quart of water
2 tbsp Better Than Boullion
1/2 cup of nori, thinly cut strips (optional)

*If you don’t like it super spicy like we do, I suggest taking it down a notch by using 1 tsp of pepper and adjust to make it spicier, if needed, at the end.

spicy udon and kimchi soup
Directions:
Heat 2 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat for about a minute; add the garlic and onions and stir until fragrant. Continue to add in the kimchi, napa cabbage, and green onions and toss together until cabbage is slightly wilted. Add 1 1/2 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add in 2 tbsp of Better Than Bouillon, kimchi sauce, and chili pepper seasoning, and continue stirring for about a minute. Add in the noodles and seafood and continue boiling until the seafood is cooked through. Simmer for two more minutes and taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Pour into bowls and garnish with thin strips of nori.

spicy udon and kimchi soup
spicy udon and kimchi soup
Ben doesn’t like kimchi, but he likes it in this soup! The ingredients are very similar to the Spicy Seafood & Udon Stir Fry, but a different dish all together. The kimchi really changes up the flavor. Have you ever tried any Korean dishes? Korean food is seriously the best! It’s right up there along with my love for Japanese food.

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