52 New Foods: Week 8, Cinnamon Beef Noodle Soup February 27 2012, 1 Comment

An easy, weeknight-worthy twist on the winner of the 2011 Taipei International Beef Noodle Soup Festival: Slow Cooker Cinnamon Beef Noodle Soup.  

Chef HouA hungry hush fell over the audience. Slurp. Slurp. Whisper. Whisper. Chef Hou stood sternly planted at the helm of the room, as if guarding the entrance to a treasured room full of gold. Could one of the food aficionados in his midst, including the honorable Narsai David, guess the magic ingredient? Tomato, beef, ginger, red hot chili peppers -- too obvious. Worthy opponents stumbled. No one was able to discern the secret ingredient: spicy fermented bean curd. Two years of diligent work, and 168 contestants trampled on the road to the crown, resulted in a dish worthy of the title Best Beef Noodle Soup in Taiwan. But with his prized recipe in hand, would I ever make this dish at home? My eyes blurred looking at the long list of ingredients.

Feature Recipe: Slow Cooker Cinnamon Beef Noodle Soup

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Beef Noodle SoupInspired by Chef Hou, I ventured to create a homespun version of his award-winning dish. Simplified to bring together the best ingredients on his list for busy parents, this simple soup can be prepared in a slow cooker making it an easy, tasty weeknight dish that will have your whole family eating healthy. It was also a stealth way to add a new ingredient to our menu: Gai Lan (aka Chinese broccoli). 


½ tsp minced garlic
1 TBSP minced ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
8 ½ cups of water
½ cup soy sauce
2 lbs beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 cups Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), trimmed and rinsed
½ pound noodles (fettucine or flat Chinese noodles), cooked and drained


1)   Load the water, soy sauce and spices into the slow cooker. Stir.

2)   Add the beef. If you like, you can lightly sear the beef before adding it to the pot.

3)   Cover and turn the slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours.

4)   15 minutes before serving, boil the noodles until just tender.

5)   Wash and trim the Gai Lan, removing the large stalks.

6)   Five minutes before serving, add the Gai Lan to the slow cooker. Stir.

7)   Divide the cooked noodles among four soup bowls.

8)   Ladle the soup over the noodles. Serve and enjoy!

Crunch a Color Kids Vote: Delish! A weeknight favorite. 

What we liked: The warm aroma of cinnamon and ginger made this tender beef noodle soup a hit at our house. The broth was delicious! Gai Lan, gently warmed in the soup, was easy for my kids to try. We also made a version of this hearty dish with spinach, which is another great green vegetable to try in this recipe.

Do you have a favorite slow cooker recipe? Share your comments and enter to win a copy of Crunch a Color™!

Next up: Quinoa

Rainbow QuinoaQuinoa is popping up in dishes everywhere I seem to look – restaurants, salad bars, even school lunches! These protein power-packed little pearls are healthy, easy to prepare, and a welcome new addition to our weekly menu. Paired with a simple salmon dish, we’ll be racking up the bonus points with our new food next week: Rainbow Quinoa! 


Craving more new recipes to try? Catch up on last week’s recipe: One Pot Asian Chicken.

About the author: Jennifer Tyler Lee is a mom of two children and the creator of Crunch a Color™ -- the award-winning game that makes healthy eating fun. Like most parents, she struggled to get her kids to eat healthy, balanced meals, so she decided to make it into a healthy eating game and she’s giving back to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, FoodCorps, and Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard. Watch her picky eaters tell the story of how they turned into healthy eaters playing the game. Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter to tune into Crunch a Color's healthy eating adventure and Jennifer’s tips and kid-friendly, easy recipes.