Moo Shu Shrimp and Szechwan Green Beans

by Jennifer

This meal is just plain yummy, and comes together very quickly once the vegetables are prepped and the shrimp are cleaned.  This was a night when we rushed in at 5:50 from after-school activities, but I did have some time earlier in the day to get stuff prepped and ready.  Adding in time to deal with the dog, feed the rabbit and persuade (read: nag) my kids to wash their hands, dinner was on the table at 6:30.  (The green beans are delicious hot or at room temperature, so you can make them first, wipe the wok clean and then make the shrimp.)

Moo Shu Shrimp – adapted from Cooking Light, serves 4

  • 2 tsp neutral high heat-stable oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined (preferably wild and sustainably caught)
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, thinly, vertically sliced
  • 1 medium head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TBS water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Sriracha (hot chile sauce…I used 1/2 tsp to decrease the heat for my kids)
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • 8 whole wheat tortillas (6 – 8”)

Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-hight heat.  Add half the garlic and the shrimp,

stir-frying just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Transfer shrimp to a clean bowl and wipe down the wok with a paper towel.  Heat remaining tsp oil in the wok,

add the remaining garlic and the mushrooms and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are seared and starting to become tender.

Add the carrots and onion, stir-frying for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the Napa cabbage,

stir-frying until wilted.

Whisk together the soy sauce through Sriracha, then add to the vegetables.

Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, then add the shrimp and toss together until heated through.  Serve with tortillas and hoisin sauce.

Szechwan Green Beans – from Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen, serves 4

  • 2 TBS sesame oil
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat until sizzling.

Add green beans and stir-fry until generally seared, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, salt and red pepper, continuing to stir-fry for another 4 – 5 minutes.

Soba Noodle Salad with Vegetables and Tofu

by Jennifer

This adaptation from a Cooking Light recipe is a little spicy, so omit or decrease the chile paste if you don’t like spicy foods.  Serves 4 adults.


  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 TBS orange juice
  • 1 TBS sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tsp chile paste with garlic


  • 8.8 oz package soba noodles
  • 3 cups very thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 7 oz. package baked teriyaki tofu (such as Trader Joe’s brand), diced

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Combine salad ingredients except for soba noodles in a large bowl.  Cook soba noodles according to package directions;  drain.

Toss together soba noodles, the rest of the salad ingredients, and the dressing, and serve.

Rice Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables

by Jennifer

This recipe, adapted from Cooking Light, has a kick, so decrease the red pepper flakes if someone in your family doesn’t like spicy food.

Serves 4.

  • 14 oz. package firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 8 oz. rice noodles, preferably brown rice noodles (found these at Whole Foods)
  • 1 leek, sliced lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 TBS peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 TBS rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Optional:  chopped peanuts or cashews

Drain and press the tofu, between two plates lined with paper towels and something heavy on top, for 30 minutes.  While the tofu is being pressed, soak noodles in a large bowl of hot water for 6 – 8 minutes;  drain.

Slice tofu into 1” cubes.

Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.

Have all stir-fry ingredients ready to go.

Heat peanut oil in a wok over medium-high heat.  Add leeks, stir-fry 1 minute.

Add red pepper, stir-fry 2 minutes.

Add Napa cabbage, stir-fry 1 minute.

Add tofu and garlic, stir-fry 2 minutes.

Add noodles and sauce, and toss with two spatulas or tongs for a few minutes, until well-combined.

Serve sprinkled with scallions and cilantro, and with chopped peanuts or cashews if desired.

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Challah

By Jennifer

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg, Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing, Challah 

If you use regular barley (versus quick-cooking) increase the broth to 6 cups, and the soup cooking time to 40 minutes.  If you make it ahead, wait to add the spinach until you reheat it before serving, and you may need to add a little more broth as the barley will soak it up.  You can enjoy this soup with or without the poached eggs.

Serves 4 adults, or 2 adults and a handful of kids, with leftovers.

Vegetable Barley Soup with Poached Egg – adapted from Gourmet magazine

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus 1 TBS kosher salt for eggs
  • 7 – 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced (if large, cut in half crosswise  and then slice)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 TBS distilled white vinegar
  • 4 eggs

Onions in the pot

Onions are tender and turning brown

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.

Adding mushrooms and thyme

Add the mushrooms and thyme;  cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes.

Adding remaining ingredients except spinach

Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, barley, 1/2 tsp. salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.

Barley is cooked

Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it’s wilted.

Adding spinach

Heat 2 quarts water, 1 TBS salt and 1 TBS vinegar in a wide, medium pot until it’s simmering.

Crack each egg in a separate bowl (you can re-use the bowl)

Crack one egg into a small bowl.

Slip egg into simmering water

Gently slide the egg into the water;  repeat with remaining eggs.  Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.

Serve soup with a poached egg on top.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – from Gourmet magazine

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

This particular week I couldn’t find Napa cabbage at my grocery store, so I used generic “Chinese” cabbage.

  • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 TBS low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 3 TBS finely chopped chives (I use kitchen scissors)
  • 1 lb. Napa cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 6 radishes, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced diagonally

Whisking salad dressing

Whisk together the dressing ingredients, buttermilk through chives.

Radishes, celery, Chinese cabbage

Ready for dressing

Combine cabbage, radishes and celery in a serving bowl;  toss with dressing.

Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing