14 May 2013

Eats: pork faux mein

If it were up to me, we’d have pasta every night. With some sort of cheese! And wine! Meat and veggies tossed in there if you think of it! And every time I tell Mr. P, “I could eat pasta every night,” he replies, “Well, then, we can have pasta every night!” Because that man. He is agreeable.

But alas, we don’t have cheesy pasta every night, to the grateful relief of our waistbands and cholesterol levels. We do, however, have a fair amount of spaghetti noodles, worked into a variety of styles of dishes. Like today’s recipe, inspired by this one. They call it pork lo mein, but I know better. These are no lo mein noodles, these are spaghetti noodles. And there is no stringy cabbage in the way, either. Hence: faux mein.

I used pork because around here, it’s ridiculously inexpensive. Pork steaks are routinely UNDER $2 per pound!

But feel free to use chicken if you want. Or beef. Or whatever you prefer!

Before anything else, I set the water to boil... this is a quickie dinner, and I didn’t want to wait around for the noodles to cook. Then I sliced the pork steaks into thin strips:

And set those aside, just for a minute. Next, I heated a tablespoon each of olive and sesame oil, then added minced garlic and onion. The garlic is going to flavor the noodles – and I used a whole pound of pasta! – so I wasn’t shy about adding several tablespoons, equivalent to several cloves. If you’re not a garlic lover, go ahead and cut back.

I sautéd those around for a minute or so, then added the pork (keeping the heat on medium):

This pork gets tough easily, so it’s worth cooking it as low and slow as I can. The thin strips help; they’ll cook quickly enough even over medium heat!

While the pork was cooking, I trimmed the ends from the sugar snap peas. Let’s be real here, too: those snap peas were two weeks old. I ran out of hummus before I ran out of snap peas, and, well. There they are.

(Never mind those carrots in the background. I was going to use them but didn’t. If you are a carrot fan, though, I’m sure they’d be delicious in this dish!)

I threw the snap peas in, just as the pork was mostly done, and turned the heat down to low.

Oh! And about this time, the water was boiling, so I tossed the noodles into the boiling water, too.

While all that business was happening on the stove, I mixed together a half-cup of soy sauce, a quarter-cup of rice vinegar, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a tablespoon of cornstarch (dissolved in a tablespoon of water first, to avoid lumps) in a separate bowl. Then poured that in with the pork and the snap peas, sprinkled the whole shebang with black pepper and dried scallions, and turned the heat up to get it simmering:

I turned the heat back down to let it thicken, then turned my attention to the noodles. Once they were done, I drained them and... do not be afraid... added half a stick of butter.

Yes. It’s crucial. Do it.

I tossed the noodles until the butter was melted, and then, finally, added the pork and peas sauce-mixture stuff:

Toss it together and voila! Pork faux mein!

I liked this because of course, it’s essentially Chinese pasta. Mr. P is a fan of rice, but he liked this well enough also. And while it may be better with actual lo mein noodles, I’m happy enough with the dollar box of spaghetti to keep using that.

It may not be much healthier than takeout Chinese, but it’s bound to be less expensive (and that’s crazy, considering how cheap Chinese food can be)! Give this a try the next time you’re torn between cravings of Chinese and pasta.

And finally, your Monday Tuesday meal plan:

Sunday: Not gonna lie, it was takeout from Five Guys burgers and fries. We had a funeral to attend that evening and I didn’t want to cook afterwards. At least I put it on a real plate?

Monday: pan-fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, and steamed artichoke

Tuesday: spaghetti with meat sauce and salad, bumped from last week

Wednesday: tacos with avocado, chips, and salsa

Thursday: Work night for Mr. P! I bought some beans to craft some awesome solo bean burritos with the taco leftovers.

Friday: Another work night for Mr. P! More leftovers for meee!

Saturday: Sausage and pepper pizza and salad

A little boring this week, but that’s how it goes sometimes! More exciting Meal Plan Mondays to come, fingers crossed.