This past Sunday for Company Dinner, I was really having a tough time coming up with something to make. My brain just didn't want to function, and I really didn't want to think about cooking for 14- five of which are children. Then I was online chatting with a few people about catering, and I was sternly reminded that I had successfully catered a wedding for 100- surely I could pull together a Sunday Dinner for 14. Once I was in that mindset, dinner ideas came freely, and began with Teriyaki Chicken. After finding some ultra ripe pineapple and strawberries, fruit skewers were also easy to come up with, but I needed a side dish. I went back and forth on many different ideas- the only thing they all had in common was noodles.
Then I remembered a baked noodle dish from Cooking Light that I'd only ever made once, but I remembered we enjoyed it and wanted to try it again. That one won, and I picked up the necessary veggies. It begins with shiitake mushrooms and red bell pepper sauteed in sesame oil. That right there fills the house with an incredible aroma! To this, garlic and ginger are added as well as chicken broth, corn starch, and soy sauce. After it thickens nicely, thinly sliced bok choy, scallions, and sesame seeds are mixed in (hot pepper flakes too for some heat!) and then some cooked spaghetti is thrown in. This whole mixture is dumped into a baking dish and topped with a panko crumb topping before baking. The result is a wonderfully easy noodle dish, brimming with flavor. This is something that you can make it, bake it, and eat it right away, OR you can assemble and then refrigerate until you are ready to bake. I love dishes like that- especially when company is calling.
Baked Sesame Chicken Noodles were the perfect accompaniment to teriyaki chicken, and they are also excellent as leftovers, warmed in a microwave. You can make them with or without the chicken, and I suspect you could use tofu or pork as an alternative if you wanted a protein in the noodles, but they really don't need it. Oh, and as an aside, I think we discovered what our B vegetable is going to be- Bok Choy. We hardly ever use it, and I think we should more often.