Pork & chicken back in stock!

Noodle Bowls - a weeknight win

written by

Aliceson Bales

posted on

May 22, 2024

This post may contain affiliate links.

Happy MayCember everybody! The time of the year where everyone is running around like crazy with all the end-of-school festivities, proms, graduations, weddings, landscaping, yard work and ALLERGIES. We’re just as busy as December but we don’t have the fun cookie decorating parties or Christmas trees. Other than that it’s pretty much the same (at least schedule-wise).

I don’t know about you but every time I go to the grocery store or Walgreens or gas station I’m SHOCKED at the price of everything. Literally everything seems to be increasing and my bank account is just not keeping up, honestly. I feel like my dollar doesn’t go as far as it did several years ago - do you feel the same?

And if you’re like me you are trying to stretch every dollar and make every dollar count. In our house each dollar has a name - like grocery or gas or education or food or fun. (Yes, we do budget for fun even on the farm!) And the amount we budgeted for those even in 2023 doesn’t come close to covering the actual cost in 2024. So in my quest for stretching dollars I am preparing food in a slightly more determined way. Determined to use everything I have in my larder and freezer. Use every scrap.

I’ve talked a LOT everywhere (not just here) about the virtues and benefits of using a whole chicken. We have bone broth in the fridge right now from a chicken I roasted last week. We’ve been enjoying the broth with our lunch this week and therefore getting all the benefits we can from the chicken. Then after the bones are soft and pliable we can allow Doc to enjoy those. I truly try to throw out as little as possible on the farm.

And then last month when we were so blessed to travel to Italy I was reminded of a little-used cut of pork here in the states. The pork cheek. Most consumers in America turn up their noses at pork cheek AND a lot of chefs use pork cheek for bacon. Yep! Pork cheek (and/or pork jowls) make amazing bacon! The cheek is not as fatty at the belly (true for our pigs and me) and makes really great bacon.

But I digress. . . . When we were in smaller towns in Italy if we did have pork it was the cheek. They talk a lot of being good stewards of the animals and using every cut to make the most of what they have. So each time we had carbonara it was with pork cheek. When we had breakfast it included pork cheek. 

So last night when I made our noodle bowls I used pork cheek as the protein. And it was DELICIOUS. Scrumptious. And ready in less than 20 minutes. Here’s how I did it:

Aliceson’s Noodle Bowls

Serves 4

1/2 pound pork cheek, diced

1/2 onion, sliced

1 carrot, sliced 

1/2 red bell pepper sliced

1 cup of sliced cabbage

1 cup of broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 mushrooms sliced (don’t tell Marshall)

1/2 cup spinach leaves

1 garlic clove sliced paper thin

Ramen noodles (I use 2 bricks), cooked and set aside

Sauce:

1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/8 cup sesame oil

Pinch of dried ginger (or fresh if you have it but I just didn’t)

Sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Chili-garlic paste (https://amzn.to/44WWooK )

Fresh cilantro leaves

Heat a wok on high heat. I did this on our Camp Chef wood pellet grill (https://amzn.to/3yGrYuw and https://amzn.to/4bLzJxI). This works amazingly well for noodle bowls and it is SUPER FAST. When the wok is hot put the diced pork cheek in and sauté until crisp. (This will be only a few minutes - watch it and don’t leave it - toss the pork with tongs). Once the cheek is crispy, throw all the veggies in and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked Ramen noodles (Ramen noodles are ready in 3 minutes so I always boil those as I’m cutting my veggies). Once the noodles are in the wok pour your sauce and toss to combine. Ladle into serving bowls and top with crispy garlic (https://amzn.to/3wIijDp ), toasted sesame seeds and cilantro leaves for garnish.

That’s IT! You’re DONE! This recipe will literally take way less than 20 minutes from prep to table. It’s so easy and you really can’t beat it. It’s full of veggies and lean protein. As a matter of fact you can use this recipe and serve it as a delicious meal without the noodles and it’s still amazing (and low carb). You can use any protein you have on hand - I’ve used left over chicken, steak, pork belly - or do a vegetarian version (which actually makes this a vegan-friendly meal without meat).

I do hope you try this. I believe you’ll love it just like we do!

Happy MayCember!

Aliceson


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