Peanut Butter ‘Lo Mein’ Noodles

The sons go crazy for these easy peanut butter noodles. The first time I made them they looked at the ingredients I was pulling out with total confusion. I think I detected a hint of fear. Sons # 2 kept repeating orange juice & peanut butter? Orange juice & peanut butter?! Like I was some sort of professional recipe butcher-er. Ye sons of little faith…

One bite and his little peanut butter loving eyes lit up with joy! My reaction? A totally juvenille normal , ‘ha ha I told you so!!’ moment. (Everybody has those, right?)

Short on time? Looking for an alternative type of lunch? Trying to appeal to your pickier little foodies? These do the trick.

Peanut Butter ‘Lo Mein’ Noodles

4 Sons 'R' Us: Peanut Butter Lo Mein Noodles

recipe originally from Mom Foodie

½ lb. of dry fettuccine or linguine noodles
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter (natural)
2½ tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. white vinegar
2 tbs. brown sugar (either light or dark is fine)
½ tsp hot chili sauce (more if you want it spicy)
*optional* squeeze a wedge or two of lime juice into sauce
1 tsp oil
¼ cup sweet onions, sliced
1 clove of garlic minced

Directions

1. Put on pot of boiling water for pasta. Cook the fettuccine to al dente.
2. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together orange juice, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chili sauce and lime if you are using it.
3. Heat oil in skillet over med-high, once hot add the onion and garlic. Stir fry, until onion is cooked, but still has a little firmness, not mushy, then add the noodles and stir fry for 2 minutes,
4. Pour the sauce over noodles, and stir to coat, continue folding and mixing the pasta over heat for about a minute.
5. Serve with a splash of soy or Ponzu sauce, or wedges of lime.

Have a larger family? Feeding a crowd? Making for dinner rather than lunch? No worries. The recipe easily doubles to accommodate your needs.

Saucy, Italian “Drunken” Noodles with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

By far, the hubby’s favorite Thai dish is drunken noodle. I can’t stand the stuff. Too peanut-ty for me. When I saw this, a little light bulb lit up in my head. The perfect compromise! The same noodly texture he loves, drowning in a robust sauce. Plus, being Italian, he’s obligated to like anything with the ‘I’ word in it. Right? right.

The recipe ended up being a smashing success! Everybody loved this. Gourmet flavor for a budget price using ingredients I always keep on hand. Family & Mom approved. If you’re feeling risky, spice it up by adding more crushed red peppers, or try using spicy Italian sausage links. Don’t have sausage? Ground beef will work just fine. This meal is totally forgiving, so feel free to just ‘go with it.’ Don’t you just love a liberating recipe?!

Saucy, Italian “Drunken” Noodles with Italian Sausage, Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions and Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

4 Sons 'R' Us: Italian Drunken Noodle

recipe adapted from The Cozy Apron

4 Italian sausage links, casings removed
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
4 tsp minced garlic
½ cup white wine
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, divided use
8 ounces Pappardelle or lasagna noodles (broken up), uncooked

Directions

1. Place a large, heavy-bottom pan or braising pot over medium-high heat; add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and once the oil is hot, crumble the Italian sausage into the pan in small chunks (you want to keep the sausage fairly chunky), allowing it to brown in the oil for a few moments on each side; once the crumbled sausage is browned, remove it from the pan/pot with a slotted spoon and place into a small bowl to hold for a moment; next, add the sliced onion into the pan with the sausage drippings, and allow it to caramelize and become golden for roughly 5 minutes or so, stirring to keep it from burning (add a touch more olive oil, if necessary); once the onion starts to become golden, add the salt, Italian seasoning cracked black pepper and crushed red pepper, and stir to combine, then add in the sliced bell peppers, and allow those to saute with the onion for about 2 minutes until slightly tender and golden; next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the white wine and allow it to reduce for a few moments, until almost completely reduced; next, add in the diced tomatoes with their juice, and return the browned spicy Italian sausage back into the pan, and gently fold the mixture to combine; allow it to gently simmer for about 3-4 minutes to blend the flavors, then turn the heat off; to finish the sauce, drizzle in about 2-3 good tablespoons of the olive oil to create a silky, rich flavor, and add in the chopped parsley and about half of the julienned basil; stir, and keep warm while you prepare the noodles.
2. Prepare the pappardelle noodles according to instructions on package; then, drain the noodles very well, and add them directly into the sauce, using tongs to gently toss and combine the pappardelle noodles with the sauce and all of the ingredients in it; check the seasoning to see if you need to add any additional salt or pepper.
3. To serve, add equal portions of the “Drunken” noodles to bowls, and garnish with a sprinkle of the remaining julienned basil; you can even top with shaved Parmesan, if desired, and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Creamy Garlic Pasta

 In my little Italian family we love garlic. Before meeting ( & marrying) my husband, I would have been stingy about how much I added to a dish. Now? It calls for 1 clove? It needs at least 3. It calls for olive oil & garlic? I’m also using my garlic-infused olive oil. The cardinal rule he taught me: You can never use too much garlic. No such thing. My husband eats the stuff by the spoonful. While I can’t go quite that far myself, I really love the pungent stuff. I’m also a recovering cheese addict. Garlic & Cheese, together? Now that’s a beautiful thing! This rich and creamy pasta dish is a match made in heaven. You can be enjoying this delectable pasta dish in a snap, it’s that simple to throw together. The taste is out of this world (and it gives us our garlic fix)! Feel free to top this creamy garlic pasta off with as little, or as much, extra Parmesan cheese as your taste buds desire. I won’t judge you. Besides, if anyone ever tells you you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop speaking to them. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

Creamy Garlic Pasta

4 Sibs 'R' Us: Creamy Garlic Pasta

recipe adapted from The Cheese Pusher

2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup half & half
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp chopped fresh basil (optional)

Directions

1. In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil.
2. Once it’s boiling, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce to medium heat and mix in the Parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately.

Mexican Chicken Spaghetti

My kids love spaghetti. Seriously, I have four spaghetti monsters. It’s a great quick, easy meal when we have a busy evening of activities ahead, or when I just don’t feel like spending all day in the kitchen. It’s also perfect for the evenings when my boys have dinner duty. That being said, as I’ve mentioned before, I love finding new ways to re-do our traditional favorites. This spaghetti offered all the ease of a traditional version, but with a nice Mexican feel and a little ‘kick’. Everybody, including my husband (the pickiest of the bunch) came back for seconds. My husband may, or may not, have had three helpings.

Mexican Chicken Spaghetti

4 Sons 'R' Us: Mexican Chicken Spaghetti

  • 8 oz angel hair, or thin spaghetti, pasta
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1, 10 oz, can of diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 1 cup sour cream, or greek yogurt
  • 1 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the chicken, soups, tomatoes, and sour cream, stirring until evenly combined.
  4. Add in the cooked and drained pasta, stirring until evenly combined.
  5. Transfer to a 9×13 baking dish.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven, uncovered, until melted.

Homemade Spaghetti O’s

All of my boys love any combination of pasta and pasta sauce. Like thousands of children before them, and after, they developed an instantaneous love of all things Chef Boyarde or that same canned style. Ravioli, Spaghetti-O’s,  Beefaroni…if it had pasta, sauce, and required a can opener they were all about it. However, things like that are not factored into my budget. Instead, they’re the kind of things Nanni keeps stocked in the pantry just for lunches for the boys when they visit. When I found a recipe for a homemade version from Seeded At The Table, for literally pennies per serving, I knew my kids would never forgive me if they found out I hadn’t tested it out. Just a heads up, this recipe will make a lot. We’re talking 8-10 adult servings, depending on how generous your helpings are. However, I split the finished product in two, and the second meal went in the freezer. It froze and defrosted beautifully, tasting just as delicious after a quick warm-up on the stove.

Homemade Spaghetti O’s

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Spaghettios

  •  1 lb ditalini pasta
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, mince
  • generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2, 15 oz, cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking just until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, sugar, and butter.
  5. Heat while stirring until the butter is melted.
  6. Slowly stir in the milk, and turn down the heat to low, simmering for about ten minutes.
  7. Stir the shredded cheese into the ‘soup’ until melted.
  8. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
  9. Pour the sauce over the pasta, then stir to combine making sure all of the pasta is evenly coated.
  10. Serve, enjoy, and remember to freeze any leftovers to enjoy again for another meal.