Zesty Asian Noodle Salad

I love quick Asian noodle dishes. They come together in a snap and are packed full of refreshing flavors. Today I had a craving for a dinner that had bright flavors – like lime and vinegar. I came across this post by Recipe Tin Eats. It’s quick, easy, healthy and amazing!

Based on what I had in the fridge I made a few edits which did alter its Vietnamese flair, but not its flavor. I used tofu, but you could use shrimp (like the original), chicken, or pork. I hope you enjoy this quick refreshing meal and go check out more recipes from Recipe Tin Eats!

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Zesty Asian Noodle Salad : (Adapted slightly from Vietnamese Shrimp Noodle Salad)

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time : 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Serves 3-4 (2 with leftovers)

Ingredients:

Tofu

  • 1 package extra firm tofu, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil
Dressing
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sriracha
Salad
  • 2 rolls dried egg noodles
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 1/4 mushrooms sliced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic

Directions:

  1. Slice the tofu into 1/4 inch slices, then press with a paper towel to remove excess water.
  2. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat. Place the tofu in a single layer in the pan. Cook until outsides become crispy but not hard, 10 – 15 minutes depending on heat. Turn often.
  3. Meanwhile chop your veggies and set aside.
  4. When the tofu is done remove and drain on a paper towel. To the same pan add the mushrooms and garlic, sauté until cooked, about 3 mins.
  5. While the mushrooms are cooking put a pot of water on to boil for the noodles.
  6. Mix together the dressing in a bowl and set aside. Add your noodles to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.
  7. When the mushrooms are done, turn off the heat, and add in the carrots and cabbage. Chop the tofu into bite-size pieces and mix with the veggies. Pour half of the dressing on the veggie/tofu mix and stir until combined.
  8. When the noodles are done, drain them and add directly to the veggie mix. Add the remaining dressing, stir to combine.
  9. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Easy White Bean & Mushroom Cassoulet

I’m a fan of easy meals. I particularly like it when it doesn’t require me preparing meat! Don’t get me wrong, I love meat (steak in particular) but sometimes I tired of the prep. I can’t get away with a meatless, or almost meatless, meal when my husband is at home, so I take full advantage of his occasional absences to indulge in my almost-meat-free meals. Here’s one I threw together last night, and enjoyed for lunch today!

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White Bean & Mushroom Cassoulet

  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Serves: 2 (1 with leftovers)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can white beans, rinsed
  • 12 cremini mushrooms (any kind can be used), sliced
  • 1 handful baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cooked bacon strips, chopped (I used leftovers)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp bacon grease
  • ¼ c. red onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ – ½ c. reduced sodium chicken broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ¼ c. parsley, chopped (optional)
  • ¼ c. parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a pan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When warm add the diced onion, garlic, and dried thyme to the pan. Sautee until tender. Meanwhile, chop the bacon and mushrooms.
  2. Add the sliced mushrooms and let cook until they have released their water. Add the chicken broth, and tomatoes and simmer until liquid has almost all been absorbed. It should look soupy at first, and then absorb.
  3. Meanwhile drain the can of white beans and run under water until the foam disappears. Leave in the colander to let the excess water runoff. Chop the spinach and parsley, and grate the parmesan.
  4. Add in the spinach, stir until welted. When the water is gone, add in the white beans, half of the bacon, and the bacon grease – stir to combine.
  5. Spread contents of the pan evenly and turn the heat on high. Occasionally scoop the beans with your spatula and flip as you would a pancake. Do this all around the pan every few minutes until you see a brown crust beginning to form. When it reaches the brownness of your liking (3-5 mins), remove from the heat. Sprinkle with remaining bacon, parsley, and parmesan cheese,. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

 

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15 Minute Pan Seared Snapper with Spicy Broccolini

Cooking for yourself can be a drag. For those days I like to opt for meals that have little to no prep, and come together in a snap. Tonight I pulled together a quick meal that was ready in about 15 minutes. My kind of meal!

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Pan Seared Snapper with Spicy Broccolini

  • Prep: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 2 (1 with leftovers)

Ingredients

  • 1 snapper filet
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 1  yam
  • 2 tbs olive oil (divided)
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1.5 tsp Creole Spice Mix*
  • 1 dash cracked red pepper
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Wash the yam and poke with a fork. Cook in the microwave until done, about 10 minutes. I used the baked potato setting and set for 3 potatoes.
  2. In a pan drizzle 1 tbs olive oil, and a dash of cracked pepper. Heat until sizzling. Meanwhile chop the broccolini into 1 inch segments. When the oil is hot add the broccolini and stir for a minute. Add in 1 minced garlic clove and stir. Turn the heat down and put the lid on. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a second pan, drizzle the remaining 1 tbs olive oil and heat until simmering. Meanwhile pat dry the snapper filet and sprinkle evenly with 1.5 tsp creole seasoning. When the oil is hot, add the snapper skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until done. While the fish is cooking, prep the parsley and remaining garlic.
  4. When the fish is done remove from the pan, and add 1 tbs of butter. Add the chopped parsley and remaining garlic clove and stir for one to two minutes. Remove from the pan and spread evenly across the snapper filet.
  5. Prep your yam with the remaining slat of butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Plate all ingredients, squeeze the lemon over the fish and broccolini, serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Easy Berry Pie

After making my favorite quiches for my high school girls this last weekend, I had some left over pie dough. I hate throwing away perfectly good dough, so I decided to put together a quick berry pie!

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I had blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries on hand. But you could use any combination of your favorites.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 tsp Coconut Sugar (you can used any kind)
  • Pie Crust (I used this recipe)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place pie crust into your pan. I used a 9 inch spring form pan because all my pie plates were in use.
  3. Quickly slice the strawberries into thin circles, put in a bowl, add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. If you have time let the berries sit for about 30 mins. I was running short on time so I skipped this step.
  5. Pour the berry mixture into the pie crust, if you have any dough left over you can cut it into thin strips and lay over the top to make a simple lattice (optional). Bake for 35 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and crust is light brown.

I loved how easy this pie was, how little sugar I could use in it, and how amazingly delicious it was! Leftover pie crust has never looked so good!

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Breakfast Quiche

I adore quiche! It’s one of my favorite breakfast foods and it never lasts very long once it comes out of the oven! This weekend our church youth group has a citywide conference, and I was inspired to make four quiches for our senior girls to enjoy.

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Quiches are easy to make, but the take a little time to prep all the ingredients. For these I combined bacon, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, red onion, and mushrooms. Basically all the veggies in my fridge at the time of inspiration!

Makes two 9 inch quiches

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 large handful baby spinach, sliced
  • 1/2 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked until crumbly crisp
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheese, I used gouda and asiago.

Pie Crust – I use this recipe

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F
  2. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and lay out the 8 pieces of bacon. Put in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until crisp. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile slice the onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Add olive oil to a pan, heat and sautee vegetables until tender. At the end add the spinach and stir until just wilted. Set mixture aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk eggs, paprika, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and a dash of salt. Be VERY careful with the salt as the bacon is salty, so you only need a tiny bit.
  5. Roll out the pie crust and place in two 9 inch pie tins. Cut away excess (save for later to make this), fold edges under, and crimp edges between your fingers.
  6. Crumble the bacon and divide evenly between the two pie crusts, laying it evenly on the bottom of the dough. Do the same with the veggie mixture, then top with the divided cheese.
  7. Carefully pour the egg and milk mixture into the pies until contents reaches 1/4 inch from the top. The quiche will puff up during cooking and then go back down.
  8. Place the quiches on the bottom rack in the oven on a baking sheet in case of spillage. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the center is no longer raw. Will depend on the depth of your pie pan.

You can enjoy this hot, or let it cool and cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge, to reheat for the next morning. You can also freeze it before baking to save for later.

This is the perfect weekend breakfast, and if you make it ahead, it makes Saturday morning extra delightful!

Enjoy!

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Yummy Healthy Snacks – Daniel Plan

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Our church is doing the Daniel Plan which is a call to a healthier more intentional way of eating. The first phase takes you through a detox to help you determine if wheat or dairy causes you any issues. From there no real foods are off limits, but healthy proportions and balance are encouraged. It’s the way of cooking that I am passionate about – using real, whole foods that sustain you, and avoiding processed and packaged foods. I believe all food in moderation can be enjoyed, but it takes time to wean our bodies from the cravings of processed foods, and introduce it to a more beautiful world of fresh flavors.  For more information on what the daily Daniel Plan recommends, check out this site for Recommended Foods & Definitions. Whole wheat, dairy, cheeses etc. are allowed (after the detox period), but must be chosen wisely.

Since many of my friends have already started the plan (I’m behind the curve on this one), I decided I would post a series of healthy snacks that can be made quickly and easily, that will replace the unhealthy chips and cookies our bodies tell us we want – even though we really don’t want them. Stop being a pest addictive sugars!

Salty Snacks

Roasted Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

  • These are crunchy and salty and everything a snack’er craves! The beauty is you can add whatever spice combination floats your boat!

Roasted Artichoke Hearts

  • These beauties are delicious on their own. But if you’re a dipper (of sauces) then try this tasty Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, you’ll be glad you did. Just remember, all things in moderation!

Avocado-Tomato Snacks

This is a simple, taste as you go, make as much or as little as you like, concoction.

  • 1/2 small carton of Cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)
  1. Combine 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs balsamic vinegar in a bowl. (I like my balsamic strong, so reduce this to your tastes. Start with 2 tsps. and go up from there)
  2. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, and dice half of a just-ripe avocado and add to bowl with dressing.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, taste and add more seasonings as necessary.
  4. If you have fresh basil, slice thinly and toss in the bowl.
  5. Enjoy with a few triscuits or a sesame crackers, or just eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon, it’s that good.

Baked Carrot Fries

  • Carrots are great for you, and the sweetness that comes from roasting them is hard to beat! I would reduce the salt in this recipe to 1/2 tsp, and add more as needed. If you halve the recipe, try just a 1/4 tsp of salt.

Sweet Snacks

The best sweet-snack go to is fruit. But when you want something with a bit more substance, but still want to avoid refined flour and sugar, here are some options for you.

Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

  • I haven’t tried this one personally but it seems like it would hit the spot! In high school I used to eat cookie dough by the bowl – I’ve since weaned myself from such indulgence, but this might satisfy my next craving!

Skinny Banana Cookies

  • These give the substantial texture of a cookie that you crave when you start to move away from sweets. It’s got the right amount of sweetness IF you use very ripe bananas.

Peach Frozen Yogurt

  • This hits the spot when you need a little ice cream fix. Delicious way to eat fruit!

When you start to introduce fresh, healthy foods into your diet, your body tells you that you’re craving all those salty and sweet snacks. That’s part of the detox process. Once you’ve been off of those for a while, you’ll be surprised at how overly sweet, overly salty, and how chemically those things taste. It’s worth the struggle, and you’ll come to love the foods that love your body back.

Even if you’re not doing the Daniel Plan, and never intend to, give these treats a try and let me know what you think! (I’m hooked on the chickpeas!)

 

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Spice of Life

Spices have been used since the beginning of recorded history. Wars have been fought over nutmeg, and cloves; cures for mortal ailments have been promised; even Manhattan was traded by the Dutch in exchange for the island of Run which was brimming with nutmeg trees. The study of spices as a driving force in history is fascinating, but today we take these spices for granted. How many of us really know how to use them?  Tumeric has been in use since 2500 BCE, but chances are it isn’t in your spice rack.  I say it’s high time that we embrace the bounty and richness of spices in our cooking, and pay a humble homage to the men who waged and won wars to bring us the privilege of our spice cabinet.

But where to start? I am a fan of Cook Smart’s and their innovative, useful, infographics, meal plans, and videos.  They have outdone themselves in the world of spice infographics, and I’d like to share one of their spice profiles with you here.

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Cook Smart’s Infographics

This genius chart shows you which produce and proteins each spice pairs with, as well as other complimentary spices. Notice that spices we often associate with sweet dishes: allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, can be used on savory meat dishes such as beef, lamb and chicken. Turmeric is delicious in rice, and I also add it to chicken and dumplings!

 

With this basis of knowledge you can branch into spice combination that will liven up any dish. I have a few combo’s I like to have on hand to add to chicken or beef for a quick meal prep. One of my favorites is the Creole Spice Blend. I used this for main course chicken dishes, for chicken I’m adding to pizza, or anything else that needs a little pep. I’ve listed my favorite blends below. I keep these in small Tupperware containers in my spice cabinet.

Creole Spice Blend (I halve the recipe, and reduce the salt)

Taco Seasoning

Fajita Seasoning (I omit the sugar)

Pumpkin Spice Seasoning

Making your own spice blends allows you to control exactly what is in each one. No preservatives, added sugars, or overloads of sodium. And if you need gluten free spice blends, this is the way to go. If you already have these spices on hand (which you should), you’ll save a lot of money, and have these blends on hand any time you need them!

As William Cowper so eloquently put it, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour.”

Spice up your life this week and try adding the Creole Spice Blend to your sautéed chicken! You’ll love what happens.

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