Steak and Eggplant Salad

Steak and Eggplant Salad, page 194 
or Steak and Rice Noodles, page Chas

Dinner was served promptly at 8 pm when we are usually cleaning our teeth and making our way to settle in for the night. (8:30 bed for kids, 9 or a little after for mom & dad.) It was the first day of school and my house was a disaster. See -->
Soccer began last week, we are wrapping up the triathlon season, Chas has been in school since 1 August, Elliott began middle school yesterday, Jonathan is traveling east, our cabinets are being painted...the list goes on...I've been making easy dinners more often than trying new recipes.

This took longer to prepare than expected, but was worth it. I knew that if I tried to serve a salad for dinner after a long day at the office and soccer practice I'd have unhappy boys, so I tweaked this a bit and added the "salad" to the mix and served it over rice noodles. Oh and I took quite a few pictures. Maybe another reason it took longer to prepare? 
 Very, very thin sliced steak with a brown sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg rub.
 Eggplant sliced. Eggplant always reminds me of Jonathan's ma and Liberian cooking. She's a fab cook and after dinner was finished, Jonathan paid me the most delightful complement, "'bec, you prepared the meat like an African." Having never been able to prepare food for him that tasted like home, this was the highest of complements. Thanks J!
 Oh hi there Francis. You all have not met him. He's one of my favorite kitchen pals. Come over and I'll introduce you. He's swell, especially on a cold afternoon or when you are really sleepy.
 Some nights I'm so thankful for the conveniences the grocery offers, like chopped garlic. I prefer to peel and chop myself, but always keep this on hand. You know, when I'm making dinner at 7:15 and there is school the next day.
 I added the tomatoes, garlic and some of the seasoning to the pan to saute after the eggplant, but before the meat.
 Pushing the tomato mix to the side, I cooked the meat in the center. It was so thin it cooked very quickly.
 Steak, chopped eggplant, tomato mix...
...topped with 4 large handfuls of spinach. I placed a lid on the pan, allowing it to cook down a bit before stirring. I used tongs to toss it, cooking the spinach until it was wilted and mixed in well with the meat and veggies.

I don't have a picture of the noodles, but I used rice noodles, making this dish gluten free. I like the kind used in making Pad Thai. It was DELICIOUS!

Kitchen Action
Lacking in Pantry: Nothing
Additions, Subtractions or Method Changes: (see above)
What I'll try next time: I'd like to make it as a salad, but also I will make it again this way. When made as a dish over noodles, I'll toss the noodles with the meat & veg mix, giving a bit more flavor to the noodles.
How it Scored:
Jonathan: 4.5 (toss the noodles and it will be a 5)
'becca: 5 (I imagined the noodles were tossed)
Elliott: 5 & then asked to have the left overs in his lunch, his middle school lunch. (I'm still not over the fact that my first born is in middle school.)
Chas: 4 But not really for the entire meal. Remember the picture above, he added salt to his plain, mostly flavorless noodles, loved the steak & ate it all.

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