When we think ‘modular’ we think legos, boxcars, and pre-fab construction homes. But what if we take the concept and apply it to the family dinner table?
We know you’re not perfect, no one is, so when it comes to feeding your family you’re bound to come across a meal refused by your picky eaters from time to time…or all the time.
Meet Modular Meals.
By starting with one simple base element, and then adding a variety of “toppers” you can turn your dinner table into a “build your own” party. Today in our Facebook Live video we are going to be applying this strategy in an easy-to-follow recipe for Asian Noodle Bowls. We’ll show you how to prepare a few simple ingredients and then how to lay the dishes out on the table in an eye-catching way that will not only encourage your kids to design their own dinner, but also sneak some education into the weeknight dinner experience.
Think of this meal as a “touch and see” kind of thing, sort of like the aquarium or petting zoo, only with food.
First, prep, flavor and cook your veggies and protein.
Then make your noodles per package instructions.
Finally, arrange everything in separate containers, bowls and plates and let little fingers and eyes touch and see everything that’s available.
They can even take a “polite bite” to see if it tastes good to them. Experiment with cooked and raw ingredients, and use every chance as a teaching moment. For example,
This is red cabbage! Isn’t it a cool color? How amazing that nature makes this beautiful purple! It’s super crunchy when raw and can be eaten like a carrot, but even cooler is that once it’s cooked, it becomes soft and turns everything around it purple, too! –or sometimes even pink!!!–. Get the idea?
Making eating fun and giving the control to your kids in a healthy way is great for everyone involved. This way kids don’t feel pressured to “eat everything on their plate” but instead, something magical happens: when they are in control of how they build their Asian Noodle Bowl, suddenly they want to eat everything on their plate.
It’s pretty cool. Give it a try tonight!
MAIN Asian Noodle Bowl
Yield 4-6 servings
Use this modular meal concept and apply it to pasta for Italian night, Tex-Mex grain bowls, vegetable soups, salads - you name it!
1 pkg udon or soba noodles
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 pkg firm tofu, drained and sliced into 1/3rds and then into stick/fries
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1/4 head red cabbage, sliced thinly
2 whole carrots, cut 1/2 and then into thin sticks
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
5-6 whole garlic cloves
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
dried seaweed sheets
sweet chili sauce
teriyaki sauce (combine 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup honey/agave and 2 Tbsp soy sauce)
sliced bok choy
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and create 5 separate sections (watch our video here to see how to do it!).
- Place tofu sticks in one section, carrots and asparagus spears in another, cabbage slices in another, sliced onions in another, and finally whole garlic cloves in the final section. Drizzle everything well with vegetable oil and onion salt, tossing to coat. Also sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired. Place sheet pan in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- While vegetables and tofu are roasting, cook the noodles according to package directions. When cooked, drain and toss with toasted sesame oil.
- To serve, place each item (vegetables, tofu, and garnishes) in separate bowls and allow each person to create their custom noodle bowl.
Choose from 6 weekly meal plans written for your favorite local stores
Vie Video Tutorial: Modular Meals
Posted by Vie on Tuesday, February 27, 2018