We’ve had a few truly beautiful Oregon days this week, and today took the cake. It felt like spring, it was in the upper 50s/mid-60s all day, and it didn’t rain. If you live in the pacific northwest, you know how crazy people get when they start sensing spring. All of a sudden, shorts and skirts are out, everyone is driving with their windows down, all the fair weather runners are out and about, and everyone is in a better mood. It’s awesome. The plus side about living in a rainy state is that, on nice days, you REALLY appreciate them.
Before I tell you about the latest delicious meal I created by accident, I first have to share our spontaneous spring break plans. This is the conversation I had with my husband last week:
Shayne: “What if we went up to Canada for spring break?”
Me: “If I need to renew my passport anyways…we might as well go to Europe.”
Two days later, my passport was in the mail for expedited renewal and we had plane tickets. To Ireland. Which has been one of our bucket list items basically since we first started dating. IF my passport gets back in time, we will be spending five days in Ireland, exploring Dublin and the Ring of Kerry, and we are beyond thrilled. The passport agency can expect multiple phone calls from me next week tracking my renewal. I’m banking on the LA passport agency as my backup strategy, as I have a business trip to California for the four days before we leave. I’m so excited to take pictures and document this trip I’ve wanted to take FOREVER. My parents still hear about how they went to Ireland without me in ’96. They spent 10 days exploring the emerald isle, I stayed with my grandma in Iowa, went to Methodist VBS where I knew no one, and then got the stomach flu. I’m still bitter.
That brings us to this week. As we are hoarding away all the money we can for touring and souvenirs, we are trying to eat on the cheap. Now, we ALWAYS try to stay frugal at the grocery store, but especially so these next few weeks. Lots of boxed rice pilafs mix and matched with various proteins and frozen veggie mixes. I also picked up a package of frozen cod, because it was on sale and I was jonesin’ for some seafood.
Today, after a GORGEOUS 3 mile trek in 6o degree weather with the boys (aka my dog and husband), I picked through my fridge and freezer looking for something to throw together for dinner, and pulled out the cod, a package of udon noodles I had picked up super cheap, 12 oz. of mushrooms, and a bag of frozen mixed veggies.
Here’s everything you’ll need:
-1 large or two small fillets of white fish (cod, tilapia, etc.)
-veggies, your choice
-1 pkg udon noodles (found refrigerated near the mushrooms/peppers in my grocery store)
-1/4 c soy sauce
-1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
-1 Tbs sesame oil
-1-2 Tbs brown sugar
-sesame seeds, toasted
-2 cloves minced garlic
Mix the marinade ingredients together first. Quickly whisk brown sugar into the garlic, soy, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and sesame oil until dissolved. Mix in a teaspoon of sesame seeds. If you want a slightly thicker marinade, whisk in some cornstarch (I couldn’t find mine today…whoops).
In a shallow dish, pour the marinade over the cod fillets. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Since I was using frozen veggies, I started prepping the stir fry while the first marinated. I tossed sliced mushrooms, and the bag of veggies straight from the freezer into a large skillet over medium heat, and drizzled with just enough sesame oil to get a good saute going. A little sesame oil goes a long way, and I just needed to keep things moist while the veggies defrosted. I was patient with this batch, since I burned a saute last week. Some people like their stir-fry with some crunch to it, but we are a no crunch family, so I had it sauteing for a while.
Rinse the udon for a minute or two under hot water to loosen it (mine came vacuumed packed). This better preps it for cooking. Add to your stir-fry, trying to gently break up the noodles. From the picture below, you can see I struggled with this.
After I got the udon in, I got a frying pan going over medium-high heat for the fish. Using tongs or a spatula, gently place the fillets in the skillet. Pour the extra marinade into the stir-fry.
Get ready to multitask. Monitor the fish, which needed about 4 minutes a side when I cooked it. At the same time, bring the liquid in the stir-fry up to a simmer. This will get the noodles nice and soft, and impart a lot of flavor into them. I kept sauteing until all of the liquid had soaked into the noodles like a delicious, noodle-y sponge.
When the fish is cooked all the way through (flaky and opaque inside), and the liquid has been fully incorporated into the stir fry, it’s time to get your grub on!
Shayne LOVED this. I’m always nervous with winging recipes, just because I’ve had some pretty memorable fails over the years that we still laugh about, but I’m starting to get more comfortable. It was immediately requested that this be added to our regular meal deck, so I’m going to go ahead and consider this a success story. It took a little time for prep and cooking, but it was easy, and so worth it. We ate the whole pan. And wished there was more. I will be buying udon a lot more now, that’s for sure.
I have a lot of comfort foods, but for some reason, just about ALL Asian inspired dishes are what I crave when I’m sad/sick/happy/angry/mopey/all the feels. As someone with a perpetually sensitive tummy, a big bowl of noodles or rice with some super flavorful protein always hits the spot without leaving me in pain. This meal left me full without being bloated, and was pretty darn healthy to boot.
What are your comfort foods?