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Breakfast Bibimbap with Poached Eggs
Most mornings at work, you’ll find me up in our test kitchen making breakfast before anyone else arrives. While I unload the dishwasher, I bring a pan of water to a boil for poaching my eggs, then rummage through the refrigerator for something green to throw in another pan, along with leftover quinoa or brown rice. After just a few minutes of sizzle, the perfect breakfast is ready! I realized that I’ve been riffing on bibimbap, the classic Korean dish that means “mixed rice.” You can use whatever veggies you have on hand to make this breakfast: spinach, kale, mung bean sprouts, mushrooms... the combinations are endless.
- 4 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-in [6-mm] matchsticks
- 1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-in [6-mm] matchsticks
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- kosher salt
- 2 cups [180g] sliced mushrooms, such as shiitake and cremini
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 cups [300g] cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 1 tbsp chopped basil
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
- 4 poached eggs
- Hot sauce, such as Sriracha, for serving (optional)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tsp of the sesame oil. Add the carrot, zucchini, and green onions, along with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have just browned and are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan.
Place the pan back over medium-high heat, add another 1 tsp sesame oil and allow the pan to get very hot. Add the mushrooms in one layer. Allow them to sit and get a nice crust before stirring, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are well browned, about 2 minutes more. Remove the mushrooms from the pan.
Place the pan back over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tsp sesame oil. Allow the pan to get very hot, then add the brown rice and spread it over the bottom of the pan. Let it crisp before breaking it up and stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir, then spread the rice over the bottom of the pan again and allow to crisp for 2 minutes more.
Divide the rice between four bowls and top each serving with vegetables, fresh herbs, sesame seeds, and a poached egg. Add as much hot sauce as desired. Serve immediately!
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Fish Tacos with Lime Crema and Mango Salsa
If your kids will eat fish, try these great fish tacos. My friend Denise’s mom Janis is one of my favorite home cooks and she came up with this lime crema. It really makes the recipe. With a little store bought mango salsa, you have a great weeknight meal. I love when the kids get to control what goes into their meal, so let them put the crema and salsa on themselves.
- 1 lb mahi mahi
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or plain whole milk yogurt)
- 1/2 avocado
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 3 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 container mango salsa
- red cabbage, shredded
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Place the Mahi-Mahi in a baking dish and coat with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill for direct cooking over high heat (450-500˚F). Or you can bake this fish at 400˚F in an oven.
To warm the tortillas, preheat an oven to 350˚F. Wrap the tortillas in aluminum foil and place in the oven. Heat for 10-15 minutes or until they are warmed through.
To make the crema, put the mayonnaise, avocado, cilantro, and lime juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set aside (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.)
Before grilling the fish, carefully grease the grill rack with oil by using a paper towel that has been folded over 4 times and lightly greased. Cook the fish until it is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes (4-5 minutes per side). Remove the fish and allow it to cool for a minute until it can be shredded into smaller pieces with a fork.
Serve the fish inside the warm tortillas with a dollop of the crema, a spoonful of mango salsa, and some shredded cabbage.
Heat up some brown rice or serve with a salad on the side.
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Sesame Soba with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Buckwheat is the seed of a broadleaf plant that can be cooked whole or ground and used like flour. Soba made with buckwheat is an excellent gluten-free alternative to wheat pastas and rice noodles, which lack nutritional value. Because buckwheat stabilizes blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and fights inflammation, it is classified as a superfood. If you’re looking to live without gluten, make sure your soba noodles have not been produced on the same equipment as wheat-based products and are totally gluten-free.
- One 9.5-oz [269-g] package buckwheat soba noodles
- 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp tamari, plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp lime juice, plus more as needed
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 4 cups [280 g] sliced King Trumpet or shiitake mushrooms
- kosher salt
- 2 cups [220 g] sliced asparagus
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp chopped mint
- 2 tbsp chopped basil
- 2 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Prepare the soba noodles according to the package instructions. While they’re cooking, whisk together 2 Tbsp of the sesame oil, the tamari, lime juice, and honey. When the noodles are done, drain them, rinse with cool water, then place in a medium bowl and toss with the tamari mixture.
Place a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just browned, about 2 minutes. Add to the noodles. Return the pan to medium-high heat. When it is very hot, add 2 tsp of the remaining sesame oil and swirl, then add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Allow the mushrooms to sit without stirring until seared on one side, about 2 minutes, then stir and cook for 2 minutes more. Place the mushrooms in a small bowl to cool.
Add the remaining 1 tsp sesame oil to the pan, followed by the asparagus. Cook for 1 minute, then add the carrot, garlic, and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vegetables to the mushrooms and allow to cool a bit, then place in the bowl with the noodles. Toss with the herbs and green onions. Taste, adding additional lime juice or tamari if needed for balance. Serve immediately.
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Spinach Salad with Strawberries
Spinach Salad and kids? You’re not buying it, are you? But you never know until you try! There’s no question adults will love this salad. And your kids just might, too. My kids actually ate a little of the spinach and loved the fruit in it. The dressing softens the spinach and makes it really delicious. You can always substitute mixed greens, Romaine, or even arugula for the spinach if it’s a tough sell. So give it a go! One bite won’t kill them.
- 3 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 8 oz baby spinach leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pt strawberries
- 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes
To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Whisk until combined.
In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach leaves, red onion, strawberries, almonds and half of the cheese. Toss with enough dressing to coat the salad. (If you’ve got any dressing left in the bottom of the bowl, it’s too much. I always start with less than I think I’ll need!) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top with the remaining cheese.
Cook Time: none
Thai Red Curry with Tofu and Green Beans
Curries have become an anti-inflammatory go-to in my home. Loaded with the right spices, ginger, and chiles, they are full of the ingredients on Dr. Jacobs’ recommended-foods list. This version is so flexible. It works great with nearly any protein, whether it’s tofu, chicken, hearty white fish, or mussels and scallops. Blanching the green beans is not required unless you like them to be vibrant green, as I do. If you decide to skip the blanching, just add them along with the tofu.
- 1/2 lb [225 g] green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] pieces
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 Thai bird chile or small serrano chile, very thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp [60 g] Thai red curry paste
- 2 14-oz [400-ml] cans unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 cup [240 ml] chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/3 cup [80 ml] cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup [60 ml] Asian fish sauce
- 1/4 cup [50 g] firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 lbs [910 g] extra-firm tofu, cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] cubes
- 1 1/2 cups [230 g] grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup [10 g] chopeed basil
- 1 lb [455 g] dried brown rice noodles, such as Annie’s Pad Thai brown rice noodles
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare an ice water bath. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until they turn bright green, then transfer to the ice water bath with a slotted spoon to stop the cooking and preserve their color.
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat, warm oil. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chile, and curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, stock, lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, to combine flavors, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high, add the tofu. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and blanched green beans. Continue to simmer until the tofu is warmed through, the green beans are crisp-tender, and sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes more. Stir in the basil. Taste, adding more fish sauce and salt as desired.
Prepare the rice noodles according to the packaging instructions. Place a serving of noodles in the bottom of each bowl. Top with a few ladles of the curry. Serve immediately.
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8
Twisted Fish with Spring Vegetables
Cooking in parchment paper leaves you with food that is flavorful, tender, and totally kid-friendly. All you have to do is fill the pouch with your favorite fish—halibut, salmon, cod, or snapper—and seasonal veggies and twist the ends of the parchment. Presto! Dinner is served, and the kids—and adults—think it looks awesome.
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
- 1 lb asparagus
- 4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 4 tsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 400°.
Cut 4 (18-inch-long) pieces of parchment paper. Spoon corn and zucchini evenly onto center of each piece. Top evenly with asparagus, placing spears lengthwise on paper. Place fillets lengthwise over asparagus; top evenly with lemon slices. Place tomatoes around edges. Drizzle each serving with 1 teaspoon butter; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Bring long sides of paper together; fold down tightly over fish and vegetables. Twist ends to enclose contents. Place packets on a large baking sheet.
Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Place on plates. Let stand 5 minutes; cut open. Serve immediately.
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Veggie Tostadas with Black Beans and Easy Guacamole
I screw up in the kitchen all the time, but as I’m biting into this scrumptious little piece of love that I call a veggie tostada, I know that I’ve picked the right career. These tostadas are perfect weeknight food- they cook up in a few minutes, people can choose their own toppings, and they’re delicious! Make things easy on yourself by purchasing store bought pico de gallo and even guacamole if you can’t find good avocados.
- 2 avocados
- 1 lime
- kosher salt
- 1-2 cans black or pinto beans, drained
- canola oil
- 8-12 small corn tortillas
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- cup pico de gallo
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
To make the guacamole, put the flesh of two avocados in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of kosher salt over them. (This will act as the abrasive when you’re mashing them, helping them break up more easily for you.) Using a fork or a pastry blender, mash the avocados until fairly smooth. Stir in the lime juice from ½ of a lime, taste, and use the other half if you’d like. Cover the guacamole with plastic wrap (pressing it down onto the surface of the guacamole to prevent browning), and set aside.
Heat the drained beans in a small saucepan over low heat. Taste and add a pinch of salt if they’re bland.
While the beans are warming, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 or 2 of the tortillas and cook until crispy on the bottom, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until crispy and the tortilla starts to buckle a bit, about 1 minute longer. Drain the tortillas on a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Also, you can sprinkle a little more salt on the tortillas for extra flavor. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (If you’re making a bunch of these, you might want to use 2 pans to work quickly so they don’t lose their crunch. Keep them warm in a 200˚ oven.)
Now it’s assembly time! On each tortilla, place a large spoonful of the warmed beans, followed by 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, a spoonful of the guacamole, 2 tablespoons of the lettuce (I like romaine), and a spoonful of pico de gallo (or your favorite salsa). Serve immediately.
Cook Time: 5-15 minutes