In the last few months I’ve done a complete backflip on my thoughts about my slow cooker.
I went from I ‘hardly ever use it’ to definitely once a week.
And as always in life, it was because I changed how I thought about my slow cooker. Instead of thinking of slow cooker meals as lacking in flavour, I decided that I was going to enjoy the challenge of making them delicious AND super easy to put on in the morning.
We’re talking 2-3 minutes. Then set and forget.
I’m so glad I did. Now I love the days we’re having something from the slow cooker. It’s usually Monday night when I’m coaching from 5.30-6.30pm – my usual dinner cooking window.
This unusual take on bolognese was one of my first success stories.
It’s just 3 ingredients to muster in the morning. And then I use the slow cooker to steam some noodles (for the boys) and veg (for me) for literally 5 minutes before we sit down to eat.
Of course if you don’t have a slow cooker – you can easily pull the whole meal together in a frying pan or wok in 15 minutes.
Good to have options! And also good to have something that feels as familiar as bolognese to kids. But different enough for the adults.
Singapore noodles come in shelf stable packs that are an awesome pantry standby because you can just pour boiling water over them to warm and then drain and serve – taking a fraction of the time it takes to cook spaghetti. You can also get them in the chiller section, equally convenient – they just take up space in the fridge.
49 carbs / serve – with noodles
23 carbs / serve with bok choy and no cashews
Chinese Noodle Not-Bolognese
- 450 g ground minced meat
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce OR soy sauce
- 1/2 bag frozen onions 250g / 8oz
- 200 g Singapore noodles optional
- 400 g bok choy or frozen cauliflower 'rice' defrosted
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil optional
- 50 g roast cashews optional
Slow Cooker Instructions
If using the slow cooker, place meat, oyster / soy sauce and onions in the base of the slow cooker. Turn on to low and leave for 10-12 hours. Or high for 4-5 hours.
When you're ready to serve increase the temp to high. Stir the meat, breaking up any large chunks. Place noodles (if using) and veg on top of the meat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes just to warm everything.
Serve in bowls with sesame oil (if using) drizzled over. And cashews (if using) sprinkled on top.
Frying Pan Instructions.
If using the frying pan soften onion in a little oil. Then add meat and cook, stirring and breaking it up over a high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Stir in the sauce. While the meat is cooking, place noodles (if using) in a heat proof bowl.
Cover with boiling water from the kettle and stand for a few minutes.
When the meat is cooked drain the noodles and toss in with the meat. Divide between two bowls.
If using the veg quickly wipe out the frying pan and warm the veg. If using sesame oil, drizzle over before digging in. Add cashews (if using) sprinkled on top.
Variations & Substitutions for Chinese Noodle Not-Bolognese
plan-B (pantry) – use the cauli rice option.
short on time – use the frying pan option.
spicy – add some fresh or dried chilli or sichuan peppercorns to cook with the meat.
Keto / ultra low carb – use the soy sauce and cauliflower rice options.
vegetarian – use cooked chickpeas. lentils or tofu instead of the beef.
different protein – any ground minced meat will work or see the veggie options above.
no noodles – any dried noodles or pasta can be used – just cook as per the packet and serve with the meat / veg.
no frozen onions – just chop and use 2 medium onions.
more substantial (carb lovers) – more noodles.
more substantial (low carb) – more cashews. Good with avocado hunks. Or boiled eggs.
family-friendly – it doesn’t get more family friendly than this.
different vegetables – any frozen veg will work – broccoli, whole cauli, frozen spinach, edamame, green beans.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
ground (minced) meat – freeze it.
oyster sauce – unopened bottles keep in the pantry. Once opened will keep in the fridge for months.
soy sauce / sesame oil / roast cashews – keep them in the pantry.
frozen onions / frozen cauliflower ‘rice’ – will keep for months in the freezer.
noodles – some are shelf stable and will keep in the pantry for months. Others need refrigeration and again will keep for months check the packet.
bok choy – best to use for another meal. Can be frozen.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt! Or add in a flavour bomb.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the noodles and veg separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, follow the recipe.