Let’s Talk Food: Meals in bowls

  • Courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Teriyaki chicken bowl.

Are you getting tired of being stuck at home and cooking three meals a day for the family? It seems to be a common complaint I hear again and again from parents.

I like bowl meals, where the protein and vegetables are on top of a carbohydrate. It is a good way to assure your family gets at least five fruits and vegetables per day.

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Here are a few bowl meals your family might enjoy.

California Roll Sushi Bowls

Serves: 5

2 cups Calrose short grain rice

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

10 ounces crab or imitation crab, cut into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 cups Japanese cucumber

3/4 cup roughly chopped matchstick carrots

1 nori sheet, chopped or crumbled into small pieces

1 1/2 tablespoon chopped pickled sushi ginger (gari-gari)

1 large avocado, peeled and diced

Black and toasted sesame seeds, for garnish or furikake

Wash rice several times until the water is clear. Transfer to pot of rice cooker, add 2 1/4 cups water and cook.

Make the vinegar/sugar for the rice by adding rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved.

When the rice is cooked, while still hot, drizzle the vinegar/sugar over the rice, mix by gently tossing the rice to evenly coat.

In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and Sriracha. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or sandwich-size resealable bag. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, set aside. In a large bowl, gently toss crab meat, cucumber, carrots, nori, ginger and avocado. Divide prepared rice among 5 bowls. Top evenly with crab mixture, then spoon soy sauce mixture over each bowl. If using a resealable bag, cut a small tip from the corner of the bag and drizzle mayo/Sriracha over top. Sprinkle with furikake.

•••

Taco Bowls

Serves: 10

1 boneless beef chuck roast (2 1/2 pounds), cut in half

1/4 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch salt

2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in puree

1 cup salsa verde

5 cups hot cooked brown rice

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained and warmed

1 cup pico de gallo

Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, lime wedges, warmed corn tortillas

Place beef and broth in a 5-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low for 6-8 hours, or until meat is tender.

Remove beef, discard juices. Return beef to slow cooker, shred with forks. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat; saute onions and jalapeno until softened, 4 minutes. Add garlic and seasonings, cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and salsa, bring to boil. Add to beef, stirring to combine. Cook, covered, on high for 1 hour or until flavors are blended. For each serving, place 1/2 cup rice in a soup bowl. Top with beef, beans and pico de gallo. Serve with sour cream, cheese, avocado, lime wedges and corn tortillas.

You will have leftover beef. Freeze it, and when you want to eat it partially thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.

•••

For a local taste, how about a teriyaki chicken bowl?

Teriyaki Chicken Bowl

Serves: 8

8 cups cooked rice

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, visible fat removed

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup sugar

2 cloves garlic

2 cups corn kernels

2 cups cucumbers, large dice

2 cups shredded cabbage

Shredded nori

Furikake

Whisk together soy sauce, sugar and garlic and marinate chicken thighs for 1 hour. Grill chicken until cooked through.

Slice chicken, set aside.

Place marinade juices in a small pot and cook for about 5 minutes.

Place rice in bowls, divide chicken, corn, diced cucumbers, shredded cabbage on rice. Drizzle marinade over, then sprinkle with furikake and shredded nori.

•••

The starch could be noodles like this Vietnamese noodle bowl.

Vietnamese Noodle Bowl (Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio)

Lemongrass pork:

12 ounces pork chops, thinly sliced

1 stalk lemongrass, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

Nuoc Cham Sauce:

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1 bird’s eye or Thai chili, very thinly sliced

Noodle Bowls:

6 ounces rice vermicelli noodles

4-6 cooked spring rolls, sliced into bite-sized pieces

1 head green leafy lettuce, chopped

1 medium cucumber, thin matchsticks

1 medium carrot, thin matchsticks

1/4 cup chopped peanuts, roasted and unsalted

1 small bunch fresh cilantro

1 small bunch fresh mint

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Marinate pork in marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to one day.

Whisk nuoc cham ingredients together and set ahead.

Cook noodles according to pork to heated directions.

Prepare spring rolls, lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and peanuts. Tear cilantro and mint leaves off their stalks.

Just before serving, heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and, using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to heated oil. Stir-fry pork until it begins to cook on the outside, about 1 minute. Pour remaining marinade over pork and bring to simmer. Simmer pork in marinade until it reduces by at least half. When the pork is cooked through, remove the wok from the heat.

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Assemble bowls with lettuce and noodles. Top with all remaining ingredients and serve with nuoc cham sauce to dip in.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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