Pork Shogayaki Recipe

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I feel like I’ve been in a bit of slump when it comes to trying new recipes, but recently I’ve been inspired to try out new ones. For the meat roll-ups recipe, I frequently buy thinly sliced pork loin strips that are meant for pork shogayaki. So recently I decided to use them for their original purpose, and we were not disappointed! This is pork fried in ginger, and it goes great with rice and vegetables, though I think shredded cabbage is a pretty common side. This recipe is very simple and easy to make. I think this would go great in bento too.

This recipe is simple, easy to make, and most importantly, delicious! It’s the number one recipe for shogayaki on Cookpad, and it quickly became a staple in my meal planning.

Original recipe on Cookpad

Ingredients: (Makes 2-3 servings)

  • 300 g of pork loin strips
  • 4 cm of ginger from a ginger paste tube
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking sake
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of mirin (sweet cooking sake)

Directions:

  1. Mix the ginger paste, sugar, cooking sake, soy sauce, and mirin together in a bowl.
  2. Lightly cook the meat on medium heat.
  3. Pour in the sauce and continue cooking the meat until most of the sauce has boiled away.
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Simple Mozzarella and Spinach Pasta Recipe

Tax season is upon us in Japan and I’ve been really busy getting my things in order so I can make the March 15th deadline. Unfortunately that leaves me with not much time to write even though there’s plenty I’d like to write about. However, I thought I’d take the time to share this quick, nutritious, and tasty pasta lunch I’ve come up with. Most afternoons I’ve got a hungry baby demanding food when I’m trying to put something together, so I usually have to whip up something quick. Baby J loves when we have this for lunch. I usually serve it with cow’s milk and buttered bread; I also give her some fruit if she’s still hungry.

I was in a hurry to feed her when I took this photo, so next time I make it hopefully I’ll get a better picture.

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Ingredients: (Makes 2 servings)

  • 250 g (about 9 oz) of a type of pasta that’s easy for a baby to pick up (I like penne)
  • 330 g (12 oz) of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 3 cups of baby leaf spinach
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a pot and boil the pasta for however long it says to boil them for on the package (for penne it’s 11 minutes).
  2. Pour the tomato sauce into a frying pan and add in the spinach.
  3. Pour the cooked penne through a colander and then put the penne on plates.
  4. Heat up the tomato sauce and spinach. Stir until the spinach becomes wilted.
  5. Add the sauce to the penne. Sprinkle on the mozzarella cheese and mix it into the sauce so that it melts.

Chicken and Spinach Gratin Recipe

I really need to make this recipe more often! Unfortunately it takes a bit more time to prepare than a lot of my other favorite recipes. This gratin recipe is great on cold days when you want something to warm yourself up with.

I’ve edited the portions of how the original recipe is written on Cookpad a bit to reflect how I usually make it.

Ingredients: (Makes 3-4 servings)

  • 250 g of noodles of your choice
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 bunches of spinach
  • Any other vegetables that you would like to add, such as onions or mushrooms
  • About 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 6 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups and two tablespoons(450 cc + 30 cc) of milk
  • 1 chicken flavored bouillon cube
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • As much shredded cheese as you want (sliced cheese works too)

Directions:

  1. Boil the pasta and put it into a separate bowl for later.
  2. Cut the vegetables and chicken into bite-size sizes. Boil the spinach.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180º C (360º F) if you’re using a regular oven. If you’re in Japan and using the oven function in a microwave like we do, preheat to 190ºC.
  4. Season the chicken with some salt and pepper. Heat up a small bit of oil in a pot and cook the chicken.
  5. After the chicken becomes a cooked color, add two teaspoons of butter and any other vegetables you plan to include aside from the spinach. Cook well and then add another 3 tablespoons of butter.
  6. After the butter has completely melted, turn off the heat and add in the flour.
  7. Once the flour has covered everything, turn the heat back on and mix them all together.
  8. Add two cups (450 cc) of milk and the bouillon cube in. Stir until it gets thick. If you were frying the the previous steps in a pot, then just add all this on top of the fried stuff.
  9. Add another two tablespoons of milk and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta and spinach into the pot, and mix them all together.
  10. Butter a baking pan, and then pour the contents of the pot into the pan. Use as much cheese as you want on top. I like to pile it on!
  11. Bake in the oven until the cheese turns golden. It takes about 20 minutes uncovered for me, but I’m sure it’d be much faster in a real oven.

Curry Flavored Cabbage and Ground Meat Recipe

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This recipe is fast, very cheap, and most importantly: delicious! It’s quickly become a regular meal for our family. Since the curry powder adds some spice, I like having rice as a side dish, though bread works in a pinch.

Original recipe on Cookpad

Ingredients: (Serves 2)
1/4 of a cabbage
250 g of ground meat
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of grated garlic
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of sugar
Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Cut the cabbage into squared chunks.
2. Cook the ground meat in a heated frying pan. Once the color of the meat has changed, add the curry powder and garlic.
3. Mix in the soy sauce and sugar. Once the flavor has soaked into the meat, add the cabbage.
4. After the cabbage has been decently cooked, sprinkle in the pepper. Give it all a quick mix, and then it’s ready to eat!

Spinach and Cheese Meat Roll-Ups Recipe

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Here’s a recipe I think I need to make more often. Unfortunately I was sick when I made it last week so I couldn’t really taste it, but hubby assures me that even when I accidentally use too much vegetable oil it still tastes great. This is a pretty yummy and easy to make recipe though. This can also be a tasty part of a bento, but for dinner I added a side of a moyashi (beansprouts) mixed with cabbage, carrot, etc. as well as rice.

Original recipe on Cookpad

Ingredients: (Serves 2, or 4 for bento)
200 g of pork loin strips
1/2 bag of spinach
As much sliced cheese as you need

Ingredients for flavoring:
1 tablespoon of cooking sake
1 tablespoon of mirin (sweet cooking sake)
1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce
nikumaki-direction

Directions:
1. Boil the spinach and leave it in a strainer or collander.
2. Cut the sliced cheese into appropriate sizes and for as many strips as you have.
3. Lay out each strip of pork on a board and add salt and pepper. Put a slice of cheese and some spinach at the end of each strip (as pictured on the right), and then roll each strip up.
4. Heat up vegetable oil in a frying pan and then add the meat roll-ups end-down into the frying pan.
5. Once the outside of all sides starts changing color, put the lid on and let it cook on low heat for 3 minutes.
6. Mix the flavoring together, and once your timer is up, mix the roll-ups with the flavoring, and then it’s finished!

I recommend cutting each roll-up in half for easy bite-sized eating. Also it’s best to cook it on low heat so that the cheese doesn’t all melt out right away.

Baby Recipe: Vegetable Cream Stew

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I didn’t realize this before since I never ate that many stews, but I was surprised to find out that the concept of a “cream stew” is pretty Japanese. I also added pieces of shredded chicken breast, and I think J liked it. You can also add ingredients such as pumpkin. I used the vegetables I froze when I made the vegetable soup recipe I posted before, which made this recipe very quick and easy to make.

This recipe is intended for babies who can eat stage 2 solids for those following the Japanese baby food stages (stage 3 for US baby food stages).

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