Cooking for family makes more than food

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This looks much more fattening than it is and it is DELICIOUS!!!

The other day I was all ready to pan fry a four ounce pork tenderloin steak in my frying pan and chomp away at its juicy goodness as is my wont. Unfortunately, the steak was still rather frozen and wouldn't be ready for awhile. I was in a hurry so instead, I cut the steak into thin 1/4” pieces, dotted them with salt and pepper and quickly seared these thin morsels of pork on my cast iron skillet.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, before putting the sliced pork to heat, I had concocted a sauce made of the following:

  • 2 tbsp of gochujang (Korean red chili paste)

  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce

  • 2 tsp of honey

  • 2 tsp of Dijon mustard

  • Salt (dash)

  • Pepper (to taste)

I then poured this sauce onto these mini-slabs of pork to my heart's content.

In addition to the pork, I oven-roasted some cubed sweet potatos which was seasoned with salt, pepper and garam masala - this is an Indian spice mix that kind of reminds me of a hopped up cinnamon. And I sauteed some kale with olive oil, sesame oil, chopped garlic, salt and pepper.

The resulting meal was memorable and I will make this again real soon. Here's what it looked like:

This dish was not long for this world (at least in this state)

This dish was not long for this world (at least in this state)

For those of you what are calorie conscious, here's the stats:

  • 3 oz pork loin (yes all that is only two ounces): 215 calories

  • 3/4 cup Kale stir fry: 152 calories

  • 3/4 cup oven roasted sweet potatoes: 146 calories

  • Gochujang pork sauce (1 tbsp) : approx 50 calories

  • Total calories: 563

Not bad as compared to the standard meals one gets from Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, etc, which can range from 600 - 900 calories.

So I highly recommend getting a tub of gochujang and buying a 5-7 lb pork loin, cut it into approx 20 steaks and freeze these bad boys so you can assemble a wonderful quick, healthy meal any day of the week.

By the way, even my son who doesn't like pork as a general rule gobbled this up!


Deconstruct and Declare Victory!!!

With three kids ages 19, 16 and 10; one finds that there's a wide variety of appetites and palettes.  It's virtually impossible to come up with meals to make all three happy.  As I continue to explore the possibilities for a solution, I've come upon an approach that works. 

 The basic idea behind this approach is you make a base food, usually a starch like rice, spaghetti, mashed potatoes and then make groups of foods from which your kids choose.  Often I'll make a deconstructed stir fry.  What this entails is making rice.  I then make a sautéed veggie blend of some onions and peppers with chicken broth which is thickened with corn starch in soy sauce which makes an Asian 'gravy'.  Lastly, I prep the protein, usually steak or chicken, sometimes pork.  Then it 'soup's up' time - the kids simply choose which 'topping' they want in their meal and job's done.  A variation on this is with spaghetti.

Also, the way you separate the prepped foods depends on what combinations your kids prefer.  If I were to describe what foods my kids like and don't like and how they intersect, I be tempted to draw a very complex Venn Diagram.  Suffice it to say that through the years, a parent knows darn well what food which kid likes and this system does cut down on the level of effort compared to making three separate meals.
Another approach which is closely related but does require a bit more effort is to make two of the usual components of dinner - a starch and vegetable that all three will agree upon and then prep different proteins.  This usually ends up as rice or linguine with peas, corn or broccoli and the girls getting the more adventurous food (fish, shrimp, etc...) and my picky boy getting some kind of chicken or beef entrée.
Again, this is not as streamlined as preparing just one meal for all three and some folks may suggest that I'm making unreasonable concessions to the demands of my 'spoiled' children.  I think otherwise and say that as long as the growth of their palettes of is on the upswing, and it is, I'm willing to accommodate them from time to time. I don't regard the dinner table as a place to make some kind of stand, rather its a place where we all can be nurtured and reconnected from the day's often fragmenting influences.  So if you're so inclined, deconstruct a meal or two and see if your kids end up enjoying  what would otherwise be a dinner disappointment as a supper surprise.