Start with a basic recipe, something that can be cooked in the crockpot all day long in large quantities. Something . . . modular. Now portion into 2-4 serving containers and eat all week long. Voila, a modular menu! The Starter Recipe must be cooked first, and Meal #2 should follow Meal #1, but there’s no real set order – it’s modular! It doesn’t even have to all happen in one week. The Starter Recipe freezes well.
The Starter Recipe: Vietnamese Pulled Pork
12 servings, 8.5 hours
4 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1 t. salt
½ t. pepper
2 jalapeno, diced
2 2-inch slice ginger
16 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ c. soy sauce
½ c. white vinegar
1 c. brown sugar
1. Season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper. In the insert of a slow cooker stir together the jalapeno, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar. Nestle the pork shoulder in the liquid.
2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5, until the pork is very tender, rotating once during cooking process if desired.
3. When the pork is ready, shred the meat. Strain and reserve the sauce, skimming any fat if necessary.
4. Portion out meat as follows: 2 c. portions pork, 1 c. portions pork, and 4 c. portions broth. Refrigerate or freeze as needed by your weekly menu.
Meal #1 – Farmer’s Market Stir Fry
for 4 servings, plus leftovers
Put 8 servings of rice (brown would be good) on to cook. Stir fry 8 servings of whatever veggies are in season (green onions, carrot juliennes, celery juliennes, napa cabbage, snow peas, etc.), starting with the harder vegetables and moving to the softer vegetables. Add a 2 cup portion of pork, and 1/2 cup of the broth. Save 4 servings of rice and of veggie mixture for lunch the next day.
Meal #2 – Fried Rice
for 4 servings
Heat some oil in a pan. While it is heating pull rice and veggies from Meal #1 out of fridge, and start separating rice grains. Put the veggies in the pan and quickly heat through. Add rice and stir fry. Once rice is heated through, take fried rice off heat, and add 1 T. soy sauce. This is awesome for lunches that need to be packed before sending kids to school, or to take to work.
Meal #3 – Vietnamese Salad in a Jar
for one serving
Mix up a nice Vietnamese salad dressing or a basic vinaigrette and pour in the bottom of a clean quart sized jar. Then layer in julienned carrot, thinly sliced daikon, sliced cucumber, shredded cabbage, watercress, 1/4 cup of the shredded pork (drained), and then top with lettuce. This should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days (from the time the pork was cooked, not necessarily the time the salad was assembled). To eat, just shake it up until everything is coated in salad dressing and eat out of the jar, or pour into a bowl.
Meal #4 – Summer Rolls
for one serving
Soften a bundle of cellophane noodles in a bowl of warm water. Julienne 1/4 cucumber, 1/4 carrot. Soften a sheet of rice paper in warm water, and lay on a wet plate. On the bottom third of the sheet, place 2 cooked shrimp, 1/8 cup Vietnamese Pulled Pork, half of the cucumber and carrot, 1/8 c. bean sprouts, 1 T. fresh cilantro, and half of the cellophane noodles. Tuck the edges in toward the middle, and roll burrito style. Repeat with a second sheet of rice paper. For peanut sauce, mix together 1 T. peanut butter, 1 T. hoisin sauce, and 2 T. water; then microwave for 30 seconds and continue to mix until smooth. Or serve with Sweet Chili Sauce.
Meal #5 – Banh Mi
Use 2 cups Vietnamese Pulled Pork in this Banh Mi recipe by Andrea Nguyen.
Meal #6 – Faux Pho
Tastes nothing like Pho, but the wordplay was too good to pass up. Use reserved broth, 2 cups Vietnamese Pulled Pork, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 cup sliced celery, 5 oz. rice vermicelli and heat through, simmering about 20 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with bean sprouts, sliced green onions, cilantro, basil, sliced jalapenos as desired by diner.