Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Super Easy Make At Home Lo Mein

We have a lot of quick to fix or easy meals these days, because there are a lot of nights when I'm not feeling up to preparing a full-on 3 or 4 course dinner. As it is in most small cities, the alternatives to preparing something myself, are generally either pizza or some other type of takeout or fast food.

We do have a couple of decent locally owned pizza joints and Chinese places that deliver and we do order from them probably more often than we should, but when it comes to the more popular franchises or chains, well... they're generally not our cup of tea. Now, I truly don't want to offend anyone who enjoys the type of food that you get from the globally popular "drive thru" giants, but with my health being what it is, I've had to really start doing some research and paying closer attention to what I consume. I live with an immune system that's pretty wonky... and I've learned that despite the revamping of many of their menus in recent years, the majority of these chains simply don't offer a whole lot of what I believe are healthy options for me.

That being said, I've found that there are lots of quality pre-cooked or prepared items, in most of the good sized local and national grocery stores these days & that more and more of these healthier options are hitting the shelves every day. I've used two specific prepared products in this recipe, that I believe are well made, nutritionally sound and healthy options for me and for my husband. (or for anyone else that I might have been serving this to)

The ingredients that I used made for a truly delicious dish, however, it's also a totally "customizable" recipe, in that substitutions can be made for several of the ingredients, to make the finished dish more to your own taste and/or dietary needs. Don't usually see sausage in Lo Mein, ya say? Well, I had it in the fridge. There's almost always pork in Lo Mein. I wanted to try it. And I could, so I did. Most importantly... It totally worked.

I've included the ingredient lists and nutritional facts for both the Kayem Artisan Sausage and the Wegmans Brand Sesame Garlic Sauce, at the end of this post.

So... On to the good stuff, eh?

Super Easy Make At Home Lo Mein
(This recipe serves 4 people as a main course)
  • 4 Links of Kayem Precooked Artisan Sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Wegmans Brand Sesame Garlic Sauce
  • 1 Cup Water, Broth or Stock (I used Chicken Stock)
  • 2 Cups Assorted Vegetables, thinly sliced (I used Carrots & Green Peppers)
  • 1 Lb Cooked Noodles (I used leftover regular spaghetti)
  • Your Favorite Hot Sauce or Chili Flakes (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper or Other Seasoning (to taste/optional)

Note #1 I did not use any additional seasonings in my dish, because the bottled sauce and the sausage that I used were already perfectly seasoned. I didn't use hot sauce or chili flakes in the recipe either (I don't "do" spicy), but the Hubbers lovingly anointed his serving with his favorite go-to hot sauce for Asian style dishes - The beloved Sriracha!

Note #2 I think it's safe to assume that not everyone has these specific products available to them, so please feel free to use any pre-cooked meat that you prefer or have on hand, or you can certainly leave out the meat entirely and use an assortment of vegetables (of your choice) for a meatless or vegetarian Lo Mein. You can also substitute any type of Asian style bottled sauce that you have on hand, or you can make your own sauce if you already have a favorite recipe. I would recommend a sauce that had both toasted sesame oil and garlic in it for the best flavor.

1. Saute and lightly brown your sausage in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. These sausages are precooked, so that doesn't take long. You might have to use a little bit of light cooking oil if the meat you are using is very lean.

As you can see in the photo above this one, I sliced the sausage on the diagonal and also kept the slices relatively thin and of equal size. I cut the carrots the same way, for both aesthetic reasons and for even cooking time. The bell peppers are difficult to slice diagonally, but I did try to keep the strips as close in size as I could.

2. Add the carrots and continue to cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes. (If you haven't used cooking oil up to this point, you might want to add a tablespoon to the pan now, to keep the carrots from sticking or burning.)

3. Add in the bell pepper and continue to cook for another minute or two. You want the vegetables to be nice and hot, but still a little bit crisp. Mushy veggies in a stir-fry are not very appetizing. ;)

All of your ingredients should be equally heated through by now, but still nice and firm, so it's a good time to add in your liquids.

I tasted the sauce on it's own and decided that it was already very concentrated and a wee bit on the salty tasting side. It's not so much that the sauce itself had massive amounts of salt in it, but the Tamari and the vinegar in it, are naturally "salty tasting" ingredients. 

*Just a little tip... both of these ingredients on their own, are a great way to add some salty flavor to all kinds of dishes, without actually adding salt!

I made this recipe to serve only two people, so the measurements obviously look different in these photos. If you are making the full recipe, just go by the original amounts that I listed above in the ingredients section.

4. Pour 1 Cup of the sauce into a glass bowl or measuring cup. Add in 1 Cup of stock, broth or water and stir well to incorporate the two.

*Tip: If you are using water, you might want to add a bit of salt & pepper, maybe some onion and/or garlic powder, or even a bit of bullion if you have it on hand. The choice is yours. But, I would recommend tasting the mixture before deciding if you want to season it further. If you're using the Wegmans Brand, I doubt that you'll need any additional seasoning.

5. Pour in 1/2 of the liquid and stir to coat the eat and vegetables well. Cook this for about 2 minutes, or until you see the sauce just barely begin to thicken up a bit.

The Hubbs had cooked a full pound of spaghetti the night before, to finish up some red sauce with meatballs that we'd had 2 nights before. I'd just had 2 teeth extracted, so I was on soup rations for the night and that left me with just over half a pound of cooked pasta for this recipe.

6. Add your cooked noodles to the pan and using tongs or two large spoons, toss it very well with the rest of the ingredients making sure that all of the noodles are coated in the sauce.

Since my Hubby drizzled just a tiny bit of light olive oil on the spaghetti the night before, I had no trouble with any of it sticking together as it cooled in the fridge overnight. If your noodles are at all clumpy, you can rinse them under cold water to separate them, BUT, make sure to drain them very well before adding them to the pan. I might even blot them slightly with some clean paper towel, just to make sure.

7. Add in the rest of the sauce mixture and toss it all up again, until everything is nicely incorporated.

8. Allow everything to cook for another 2 to 4 minutes, so that the noodles get a chance to heat through all of the way and the sauce mixture thickens slightly and is absorbed into the noodles a bit. You'll want the finished Lo Mein to be a wee bit saucy, but not soupy. ;)

And there you have it! Very easy (and very quick) home made Lo Mein! As long as you have all of your prep work done ahead of time, this dish shouldn't take more than 7 to 10 minutes from the pan to the plate!


Would you like to know our opinion of the Kayem Artisan Sausage?

Right out of the gate, we both give it a major "thumbs up"! We used the Sweet Pepper and Provolone version and it was really quite delicious. It was very lean, but not at all dry. The seasoning was spot on, too. None of the flavors in it overpowered any of the others. The spice blends they use are extremely well balanced. A definite "recommend" from both of us!

Would you like to know our opinions about the Wegmans Brand Sesame Garlic Sauce?

Again, this product received a solid thumbs up from both of us! And that's quite an accomplishment, coming from me as well as the Hubbs. We're often a bit leary when it comes to bottled or prepared sauces because most that we've tried in the past have had a distinctive "processed" taste to them. It's like you can tell from the first taste that it's a mass produced food. But, this was not at all the case with the Wegmans sauce! Although, as I mentioned in the post above, it was highly concentrated straight from the bottle, the taste was fresh, bright and balanced and didn't leave us with that feeling that it might have been bottled in the same plant where they process bleach or some other chemical substance. You can taste each ingredient in it's own right and also appreciate the flavors when they were blended all together. It has a certain harmony, for lack of a better word.

In the spirit of full disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post and I have NOT received any free products or any other compensation for the use of, or for writing about the products in this blog post. All of the opinions and observations stated regarding these products, are solely mine and/or that of my husband.

(I'm sure that neither the Kayem or Wegmans companies know that I, or my little blog even exist. LOL)

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