Margaret Button | Kitchen comfort: Easy lo mein for busy nights


I've spent the last few nights doing my best to level the mountain of laundry in the basement.

The good part of having a laundry chute is that you shove the dirty clothes down and they're out of sight — no loaded hamper or laundry basket to trip over. The bad part of having a laundry chute is that out of sight is also out of mind — right until you open a dresser drawer and discover you're taking out the last clean pair of underwear.

At this point, you have two options, and I admit to doing the first one more than once. You either stop at a big box store and buy new ones to tide you over or you break down and do laundry.

My laundry pile is especially high — at eye level right beneath the chute — because my son, David, and his girlfriend were home over the Easter weekend. So, there are more towels to wash. And, because our dog loves sleeping on David's bed, his two comforters are covered with dog hair and need to be washed. Then there are the clothes he wore — he usually doesn't bring clothes home, he just wears whatever is still in his closet and dresser, and leaves them for me to wash. Plus, he changes his clothes at least three times a day.

Adding to the mountain, are the sheets and quilt from my bed, which my Lab decided were perfect for upchucking her breakfast Monday while I was at work. Then there are my clothes from the past week all in all, a miniature Mount McKinley of fabric.

Since I was otherwise occupied, I didn't want to cook, but I was craving Chinese food. Not having any cash in my pocketbook (did I mention the kids were home?), I made myself some lo mein. It took me about 20 minutes — the same amount of time for a load of wash — and was pretty good. I added some leftover rotisserie chicken and omitted the spinach, which is not one of my favorites, and replaced it with a can of Chinese vegetables. I also used some fresh grated ginger root in the sauce instead of the ground ginger and, since there were no lo mein noodles hiding in the pantry, I used regular spaghetti.

Easy lo mein


8 ounces lo mein egg noodles

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, julienned

1 carrot, julienned

1/2 cup snow peas

3 cups baby spinach

For the sauce:

2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, or more, to taste

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste


In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and Sriracha; set aside.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions; drain well.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, bell pepper and carrot. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in snow peas and spinach until the spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Stir in egg noodles and soy sauce mixture, and gently toss to combine.

Serve immediately.


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