Tip Tuesday: Peruse the Cooking Magazines for Inspiration

Tip Tuesday

We now interrupt the Kitchen Essentials miniseries to bring you a much-needed update and confession.  I am MASSIVELY obsessed with the seasonal cooking magazines (or the specialty ones) that Land O’Lakes, Betty Crocker, Taste of Home, and Better Homes and Gardens publish.

Recently, at our new Kroger (which is going to have a post of its own soon, I promise), I spied these two gems:

appetizers

soup

The soup idea intrigued me.  I’ve seen the same approach with layering salads in containers, but the soup idea was just making me NEED to see it (and share with you).

It’s the concept of Cuppa Noodles.  You know, the disgusting things that attempt to upscale ramen and make you only miss the straight-up ramen-ny goodness boiled on the stove?

The execution seems simple and makes three pint-sized microwaveable jars.  I’m hoping to make up some of these for Josh (as he seems to be in cold season’s nasty clutches) for his cookstove in his work van.

The basic formula is as follows:

3 tsp. bouillon (that will be 3 bouillon cubes crushed) (see below for more details)

flavorings (see below for more details)

9 ounces protein (see below for more details)

1 1/2 cups cooked grains (see below for more details)

1 1/2 cups vegetables (see below for more details)

Divide stock base and flavor boost evenly among the containers.  Layer with protein, noodles, and vegetables.  Place lids on jars.  Store in the fridge 3-5 days.  Before heating, let stand at room temp for 10 minutes.  Fill the jar nearly to the top with water (1 1/4 cups).  Microwave (or heat in a cook stove), uncovered, 2 minutes.  Let stand five minutes.  Stir to combine.

Bouillon:  beef, chicken, or vegetable

Flavorings:  (one or more)

1 1/2 tsp. citrus zest

1/4 tsp. chili powder

3/4 tsp. Tony’s

3/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 T soy sauce

2 T rice vinegar

3 T teriyaki sauce

2 T white miso paste

2 T grated fresh ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

1 T snipped fresh herbs or 2 tsp. dried herbs

Protein:  (only one)

cooked sausage (smoked, artisan links, breakfast, Italian)

cooked shredded (or diced) chicken

cooked shredded leftover roast (beef or pork) (or finely diced)

leftover hamburger meat

cooked peeled shrimp (even tails removed) (maybe finely diced or smaller shrimp)

diced ham

cooked meatballs

3/4 cup canned beans or thawed (from frozen) beans (They recommend edamame)

2 ounces smoked salmon (or a cooked whitefish…make almost a bouillabaisse if you add in some shrimp)

3 diced (or smushed) hard-cooked eggs (I think this would be best to add as a topping, though)

Cooked Grains:

They recommend any type of cooked noodle (cooked one minute less than package directions, drained, shocked in cold water to stop cooking, drained, and tossed in cooking oil to coat), snipped into shorter lengths if a long noodle.  I think rice and funky pasta shapes (tiny stars, etc) would work, as well as orzo.  I also think mostly-cooked barley would be a bulk-adding ingredient to it.

Vegetables:  (choose two or three)

They don’t recommend par-cooking, but I would par cook some of the more crisp veggies here.

thinly sliced carrots (if you par-cook, you could do diced here)

sliced snow or sugar snap pea pods

frozen peas

frozen corn

sliced green onion (or diced regular onion)

grated broccoli or broccoli slaw

fresh baby spinach, baby kale, or chopped bok choy

sliced mushrooms

finely chopped squash (zukes, summer squash, maybe even butternut)

finely chopped and drained peeled tomato (or sun-dried tomato)

They make a few flavor suggestions:

  1.  Edamame-Mushroom:  chicken bouillon, soy sauce, rice vinegar, miso paste, ginger, garlic, edamame, rise noodles, snow peas, and mushrooms
  2. Teriyaki Chicken:  beef bouillon, teriyaki sauce, ginger, garlic, chicken, ramen, carrots, bok choy
  3. Cajun Sausage:  chicken, Tony’s, smoked sausage (or andouille), farfalle, corn, green onions, and broccoli slaw (I would probably use onion, bell pepper, and celery to include the trinity)
  4. Lemon Chicken:  chicken bouillon, lemon zest, dill weed, chicken, linguine, spinach, and zucchini
  5. Shrimp Bowl:  vegetable bouillon, Old Bay, shrimp, angel hair pasta, broccoli slaw, and mushrooms
  6. Meatball Mac:  beef bouillon, chili powder, meatballs, shell pasta, frozen peas

One that I’m looking forward to trying is a take-off on Chicken Tortilla Soup:  chicken bouillon, chicken, lime zest, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, corinander, rice, corn, bell peppers, and tomato.  I would serve it with tortilla chips.

What ideas do you have?

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