Dinner for all in 10 minutes with a Noodle bar
Life hacks are essential. As a working parent and wellness performance coach, Jennifer Tarkiainen shares her take on creating a tasty, fast dinner for hangry (hungry + angry) people in 10 minutes flat. As with most of life’s pleasures, the answer is simple - it’s a noodle bar.
Here’s the scoop from Jenn:
“There are two scenarios where I implement operation noodle bar, but of course you can make a noodle bar anytime because it’s a sure hit with even the pickiest of eaters. Scenario 1 - it’s during the week, and I need to make dinner for the family, and I don’t feel like being a short order cook to manufacture the latest food trends in TikTok. The second scenario is that several friends are coming over for dinner and since we live in San Francisco - there’s likely an exponential amount of food allergies, diets, and differing food philosophies, and quite frankly there is no one dish that will satisfy these requirements. Boom - noodle bar to the rescue.
You might wonder … what is a noodle bar? And no, alcoholic drinks are not typically included. It’s where I put out packs of Noodelist noodles and bowls of veggie and protein add-ons (think salad bar but cooler). The deal is that everyone makes their own noodle soup with the additions they like. As the hostess with the mostest, I simply serve up the healthy options. It’s possible that I may have actually thought about this beforehand and stocked up on sprouts and braised tofu, but inevitably I will also pull out the leftovers from the fridge as well (unbeknownst to my guests). The noodle bar spread looks like I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen (move over Martha Stewart), but it literally takes 10 minutes from start to finish.
In addition to Noodelist noodles (make sure you have BOTH flavors because I have observed in the wild that kids tend to prefer the Chicken'ish vs. adults who clamor for Shiitake), here’s some crowd pleasing ingredients that I’ve used in noodle bars:
Proteins: tofu, eggs, chicken
Veggies: edamame, bell peppers, bean sprouts, carrots (thin slices), mushrooms, hot peppers, kale, seaweed, zucchini (thin slices)
Garnishes: basil, cilantro, scallions, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds, sliced lime
Noodelist is the foundation since they are low in sodium, have zero palm oil, and are made from Moroheiya - an Egyptian spinach. And inevitably there will be that one kid who only wants noodles - but that’s fine because Noodelist is a healthy meal in itself. Adding the extras is just adding a boost and a new twist on a classic noodle soup.
I also have sneaky tricks like challenging kids to make a rainbow, a colorful bowl of noodles to ensure they get as many vitamins in as possible. With posh adults, I might mention that the Chicken'ish is actually vegan (sounds hip right?)
It’s all about making eating social and fun while keeping it nutritious. ”