Dumplings, Sesame Noodles, Tamale Pie - what's not to like??!

Our theme of the week is Asian food - one of my favorites.  I love Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese - the spicier the better!  I am not, however, a great expert in any of these cuisines, but I have perfected a few really simple, tasty recipes.  As an added bonus, this meal is absolutely packed with veggies and protein to help the whole family ward off those dreaded winter cold germs!

Tuesday, January 25th:
Asian Dumpling Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms & Edamame
Sesame Soba Noodle Salad with Shredded Chicken & Scallions
Roasted Red Pepper and Edamame Dip with Crispy Rice Crackers
Vegetarian Option:  Soup with Veggie Dumplings and Sesame Soba Noodles with Tofu & Scallions
Kids' Option:  Steamed Asian Dumplings with dipping sauce ($5)
Dessert:  Carrot & Raisin Morning Glory Muffins (nut free) ($5)
Get You Through the Week Meal:  Black Bean and Corn Tamale Pie (with organic ground beef - $20, vegetarian - $15)

Asian Dumpling Soup With Shiitakes and Edamame RecipeI think the world can easily be divided into two kinds of people:  those who love soup, and those who do not.  As I believe I have mentioned before, I fall into the latter category, probably as a result of growing up thinking that all soup began in a red and white can and was "made" by adding water and stirring.  I tell you that not for your pity (although of course I appreciate it), but to assure you that I would never put soup on the menu unless it was really, really good soup.  This Asian Dumpling Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms is just such a soup - savory and light, while at the same time filling and satisfying.  The fresh vegetables - carrots, shitake mushrooms, edamame beans & watercress, combined with fresh ginger and nice, plump dumplings filled with tasty goodness will have you going back for a second helping, and you won't even feel guilty about it!  And look at all the pretty colors!

The Sesame Soba Noodles are such a big hit in my house that I can always count on clean plates when I make them.  The sauce is homemade with lots of tahini and seasonings - a little sweet, a little tangy - very tasty!  And, soba noodles are so, so healthy - they have something like 13 grams of protein per serving, so they are great for people trying to eat less meat (or no meat) while still getting enough protein to be healthy.  Picky kids also fall into this category, so it's great to substitute soba for regular noodles whenever you can.

This Red Pepper Dip is really freaking good - my brother brought it to a party over the holidays, and we had a little trouble stepping away.  Made with lots of fresh garlic, feta cheese and edamame beans, it tastes too good to be so healthy!

Our dessert this week, Morning Glory Muffins (no relation to the lame movie), is also a treat that you do not have to feel guilty serving for dessert or even breakfast the next morning.  They are a little bit sweet, but most of the flavor comes from carrots, apples, raisins and spices - just don't mention any of that to your kids when you serve them a "cupcake" for breakfast!

The Get You Through the Week Meal this week - Black Bean and Corn Tamale Pie - is total comfort food and will be a favorite with your kids, your neighbors, your parents, and you!  I made the meat version for my family tonight and then ended up feeding a few extra kids, and it got a 4 out of 5 approval rating from the kids (the thumbs-down was from a child who doesn't like corn - I know, strange).  The grown-ups added salsa, jalapenos and a Negra Modelo and were very happy.  Perfect Thursday night meal with leftovers for the weekend!

That's it - hope you see something you like!  We look forward to seeing you on the porch this week!

Don't forget to order early - we will cut off orders this week if we get over 40, so let us know soon by emailing me at dinnersontheporchorders@gmail.com.


P.S.  Thank you so much for the awesome nomination as Best Momprenuer (still trying to figure out how to pronounce that) at the Triad Moms on Main blog!  That was a huge surprise and honor, so thank you so much!!!  If we win, we may have to get a bigger kitchen ...