One Family Meal


Cooking dinner has been tough lately.  My 22-month-old loves to pull things apart, so by the time I’ve chopped and sautéed an onion, the toy shelf in the den is devoid of the toys I had just neatly stacked, the floor is full of said toys, and there may even be an image in chalk on the wall.  I’ve tried everything from brand-new pick-up trucks to Elmo on TV and nothing holds his attention for more than a few minutes.

This is usually when my mom frowns and says “In my day, they weren’t afraid to contain children in playpens.”  I don’t know who “they” are, but “they” mustn’t have had a climber. His feet don’t even feel the flimsy cardboard floor of the pack ‘n play before he clambers back over and breaks free again.

I can’t continue to run back and forth from stove to impending disaster area every night for forty-five minutes.  I need a plan to make the dinner routine faster and smoother.  Enter:  Two-for-one meals.  I make part of a meal carry over into the next meal so I don’t have to spend as much time prepping the second night.

This week, for example, I made a double batch of a flavorful Asian marinade.  The first night, I cloaked country-style pork ribs with half the marinade, and served them topped with nectarine and cilantro salsa.  The next night, I soaked some salmon in the remaining marinade, grilled it, and served the fish with sautéed spinach and soba noodles.

Asian Citrus Ginger Marinade
Print Recipe

Makes 1 1/3 cups, enough to marinate 1 ½ pounds of food

Kitchen Tip: I doubled the recipe so I could use it twice. Reserve half of the marinade for another meal and store in a tightly-lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Kitchen Tip: Karmel adds 1 tablespoon Sriracha (2 T if you’re doubling the recipe) to the marinade, which I omitted to appease the younger set. I highly recommend adding this back in if your kids will tolerate spice or if you’re cooking for adults.

Ingredients:
  1. 2 oranges, zested to yield 1 teaspoon zest, and squeezed for 1 cup juice
  2. 4 limes, zested to yield 2 teaspoons zest, and squeezed for ½ cup juice (read this for advice on how to juice a lime)
  3. 4 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
  4. 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  5. 4 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
  6. 4 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 4 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from a 4-inch piece)
Instructions:
  1. Combine the orange juice, lime juice, and soy sauce a medium bowl. Add the sugar and allow five minutes for it to dissolve. Add the zest, sesame oil, canola oil, and ginger and stir to combine.
Adapted from the article Soak It! By Elizabeth Karmel in the Aug/Sept 2012 issue of Fine Cooking
One Family Meal http://www.1familymeal.com/

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