Peanut Sesame Noodles

You know what sucks? When you make the decision to calorie splurge because you’re craving (fill in the blank) and you open up that delivery to-go container, take your first bite, and then get immediately disappointed. This happens to me a lot. When I’m craving something that’s not too good for me, I want it to be WORTH IT! So in an effort to make sure I enjoy my calorie ridden meals I sometimes make them myself. (See some of my comfort food recipes here). This recipe could be a lot worse in the not so good for you department but using the soba noodles and not frying the chicken in a sugar sauce really makes this meal pretty good for you. And it’s packed with protein!

This particular night I was craving cold sesame noodles. I had been disappointed after ordering them a few times recently. I decided to make a version of them for dinner with chicken breast and eat it warm.  You will need…

Ingredients:

  • Peanut butter- any kind you like
  • Soba noodles (or any type of lomein or noodle you prefer)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1-3 heaping tablespoons of chili paste depending on your tolerance of heat
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tahini (optional)
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • Chicken breast, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2-3 stalks of Celery, diced
  • Fresh ginger, grated (optional)
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Garlic, grated

A photo of most of my ingredients here:

Directions:

  • First start by marinating your chicken in soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil, fresh grated garlic, chili paste (if you like spice) fresh grated ginger and a sprinkle of salt

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for your noodles.

Then make your peanut sesame sauce while the chicken marinates.

IMG_4305Place a heaping spoonful of peanut butter in a food processor. Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. You can choose the amount of chili paste to add but I put about a tablespoon. I also only used a tsp of sugar even though most recipes call for more (I prefer more heat and less sweet).

Add a clove of garlic, sesame seeds, a dash of sesame oil, tahini and a few tablespoons of warm water. I know my measurements aren’t exact but you have to go with your gut and use more of the flavors you like and less that you don’t. Blend and set aside. If it’s too thick add a touch more soy sauce and or water. 

Add sesame oil to a hot wok and add in your onions, stir for a minute and then celery. Let cook on high heat for another minute or two. 

Next goes in your chicken and stir. You want to brown all sides of the chicken. 

Shut the heat off your chicken and let sit. It shouldn’t take long to cook because you cut the chicken up into small pieces. 

When your noodles are done, add a dash of sesame oil to keep them from sticking and let them cool for a moment.

 

Its up to you if you want to combine the chicken with your noodles or keep them separate. I took some photos with and without.  Top your final Bowl with sesame seeds and add scallions. 


 

 

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Shrimp Fried Quinoa

Fried rice is one of my favorite take out items. I can’t imagine it’s that great for you so why not put a healthy quick on it and make it at home. I  made this “fried rice” with quinoa and lots of veggies. Feel free to use any vegetables you like or have on hand. This can also be made with chicken or any other kind of protein. Enjoy!

Shrimp Fried Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • Shrimp, cleaned and deveined, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Peas
  • Fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery or bok choy, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp sesame oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • salt & pepper
  • A few tbsp soy sauce (to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp sriracha sauce (more for a spicier kick)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Seasonings are optional. Fresh cilantro would work well. I have a Chinese dried seasoning blend that I use

Veggies
Chopped veggies
Fresh grated ginger
Fresh grated ginger
Shrmp
Cleaned, deveined, and chopped frozen shrimp

Instructions

  • Add sesame and vegetable oil to a wok and turn to high heat
  • Add onion and scallions to the hot pan and saute for 1-2 minutes
  • Add your egg to the middle of the pan, season with salt and pepper

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  •  Add the garlic and the rest of veggies and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and fresh ginger. Then immediately add the quinoa. (the shrimp will only need 3-5 minutes to cook)

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  • Add sriracha to taste and mix well.  Then serve!

Shrimp Fried Quinoa

Asian-Inspired Scallops with Bok Choy and Soba Noodles

Tonight I was inspired by a dish Kyle ordered while we were on vacation in Newport, RI. I don’t love scallops but Fluke restaurant served the best scallops I ever had. They were simply amazing. So I decided to give them another shot with a very simple preparation. Since they are so simple I wanted to come up with some flavorful and exciting side dishes.

This was my first time making soba noodles and I have no idea why I never made them before. The recipe is surprisingly easy to make even though I used a lot of ingredients. Its sweet and a tad spicy but very refreshing on a hot summer night. It also turns out these noodles have less calories than regular white flour pasta! The baby bok choy is prepared in a basic sauté and is a nice crunchy vegetable on the side. Overall, it was a great dinner with a nice balance of flavors. We both gave it two thumbs up. My favorite was the noodles and Kyle voted for the scallops.

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SEARED SCALLOPS:
-Salt & Pepper
-Butter (1-2 tbsp depending on the size of your pan)
-Olive oil
-Sake, rice wine or white wine

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Wash and pat dry the scallops. Add fresh cracked salt and pepper.
Heat your pan on high with butter and oil. Place scallops in pan making sure they don’t touch each other. Add wine.
Sear scallops for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

I had too much oil in my pan and that’s why I didn’t get a nice seared crust so learn from my mistake. Kyle says they were amazing nonetheless.

SWEET & SPICY GINGER AND SCALLION SOBA NOODLES:
-2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
-1 clove grated garlic
-1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped
-2-3 tbsp soy sauce
-2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
-cilantro
-fresh cracked pepper
-1-2 tbsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp hoisin sauce
-1 tbsp honey
-sriracha sauce (depends on how spicy you want it. I used about 1 tbsp but could have done more)
-sesame seeds
-julienned cucumbers (optional) I don’t have a julienne so I just spent a few minutes with a sharp knife and got the same effect.

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(fresh grated ginger)
Add all ingredients to a bowl except for the sesame seeds and cukes. Mix well and let sit for 15 minutes to let favors meld.

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Cook soba noodles as directed and rinse with cold water.
Mix everything together and add sesame seeds and cukes.

BOK CHOY:
-1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
-2 cloves grated garlic
-olive oil
-salt and pepper
-few dashes soy sauce

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Heat garlic and ginger in oil for a minute.
Add bok choy and season with s&p. Add a few dashes of soy sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Don’t forget to pair this dish with a delicious pear sake on the rocks!

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Asian Chicken Lettuce Cups

Chicken lettuce wraps exploded as a popular appetizer/entree mostly because of P.F. Changs. They are delicious and healthy, or at least you would think. Check out the nutritional facts on PF’s version and you’ll be shocked at the sodium content. I made these a few years ago for my cousin’s wedding shower and recreated them again this week for a healthy weeknight meal. They are spicy, crunchy, tasty pockets of flavor. My recipe uses a lot of ingredients but feel free to pick and choose based on your own personal preferences. I also didn’t include peanuts which you will often find in this dish (as I don’t like nuts in my food).

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INGREDIENTS:
-1 lb. Fresh ground chicken (I buy organic cage free chicken)
-1/2 package shiitake or bella mushrooms, chopped fine
-2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
-3 scallions, chopped fine
-1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
-2 celery stalks, diced
– small can watercress (adds a nice crunch but optional)
-Hoison sauce (few tablespoons depending on your taste)
-Sriracha sauce (1-2 tablespoons depending on how hot you like it. I love it spicy!)
-Few dashes sesame oil for frying
-Rice wine (about 1/4 cup)
-Fresh ginger
-Few dashes soy sauce
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 teaspoon paprika
-Fresh cilantro for topping (I didn’t have any)

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DIRECTIONS:

Wash your lettuce well and select the leaves that will be good for cups. Set aside in the fridge with a paper towel on top. This will get your lettuce nice and crisp for when you are ready to eat. Place any pieces too small for cups in a large plastic bag with a paper towel for use at a later time.

Put a wok on medium-high heat with sesame oil. Add your chopped onions, garlic, mushrooms, and scallions.

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Add your ground chicken to the center of the pan. Break it up using your spoon and let brown.

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Add Hoison sauce and mix well. Then add Sriracha, soy sauce and let everything cook for 3-4 minutes. Add cumin, paprika and cayenne. Then add rice wine and let the liquid reduce.

Add fresh grated ginger. This will brighten up all the flavors and it smells incredible. You can’t replace fresh grated ginger.

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When you are almost ready to eat add your celery to the pan and turn the heat to low. I like to add it at the end so it retains a nice crunch in the lettuce wrap.

Add fresh cilantro if you have it (I forgot it at the store) and enjoy a nice cup of sake!

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