Spicy Asian Peanut Noodles

Sometimes I have these inexplicable cravings for Chinese take-out chicken lo mein.  

I don't even like lo mein, and the few times I actually eat it I feel awful afterwards because it is so incredibly greasy, like deep fried bacon greasy...

This quick dish is my solution to lo-main cravings.  While it isn't quite as greasy, and there's no chicken- I save the $6 and future stomach ache.  Win-win situation, no?

  •  1 13oz box whole wheat thin spaghetti, or linguine
  • 5 Tbs soy sauce
  • 5 Tbs honey
  • 2 Tbs peanut butter
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • Sesame seeds, peanuts, and cilantro to garnish

  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions, drain, and set aside.  
  2. In the now empty sauce pan, add the soy sauce, honey, peanut butter, sesame oil, and chili paste and whisk until incorporated.  Add the shredded carrot and noodles, then stir. 
  3. Garnish with sesame seeds, crushed peanuts, and/or cilantro.  I toss in a little crushed red pepper at the end because I like it spicier :)

Yields 4-6 servings

Vegan Lentil Taco Filling

I am not a vegan, but sometimes I like to pretend I am and see if I miss meat in things where it seems really necessary... like tacos.  
What is a taco without meat?  A glorified quesadilla?  Basically, only minus the melty, cheesy delicious goodness- so more like a sub par, un-melty, un-glorious quesadilla.  How depressing.  

My mind was changed with this recipe however- I didn't miss the meat.  It has all the flavor you expect in tacos, lends itself very well to keeping a taco together, and is incredibly satisfying.  

You go lentils.  Show that ground beef who's boss.

  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used salsa verde)
  • Optional: Taco seasoning- to taste

  1.  In a large stockpot add lentils, chili powder, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, diced tomatoes, and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
  2. Once lentils are tender, cook uncovered until excess liquid has evaporated. Turn heat to low and stir in salsa, and taco seasoning to taste (I find that with bland salsa more flavor is needed).  With a potato masher, incorporate the salsa into the lentils, and mash until desired consistency.
  3. Serve over taco salad, with tortillas, or alongside Spanish rice. 

Yields 6 servings.


Non-Dairy Clam Chowder

It's been raining the last four days, so I have been seriously craving clam chowder- trouble is dairy has been really upsetting my stomach lately.  Hence this tasty creation!  If I'm gonna go without cream in my clam chowder a little bacon grease is allowed, no?  If that's too much work feel free to sub in margarine, but you'll be missing out on some delicious flavor!

  • 3 Tbs bacon grease
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 6 oz cans minced clams
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • green onion

  1. In a large sauce pot heat bacon grease over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, and cook 3-5 minutes or until soft.  Sift in flour, stirring to incorporate.
  2. Add water, almond milk, thyme, parsley, clams and juice, and potatoes, cover and bring to a boil for 25-30 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender.
  3. Add corn, and cook another 5 minutes uncovered.
  4. Garnish with green onions, and serve.

Yields 4 servings.

Grilled Zucchini Tacos

So, after seeing a beautiful picture of zucchini tacos on another blog I was inspired to use the idea of grilled zucchini as a taco filling for a speedy dinner.

While they aren't the most photogenic creations, I promise the final result is delicious.

  • 1 large zucchini, sliced thin horizontally
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 packet chicken/vegetable concentrate (or a bouillon cube)
  • salt
  • salsa verde
  • cheese (optional- I like cotija for these)
  • Corn tortillas (# depends on the size of your zucchini, around 8-12 typically)
  1. First, lay your zucchini strips out on paper towel, and salt them- this will draw out the moisture and allow them to get grill marks, not just go soggy.  Pat dry, and set aside.  Heat the grill to medium-high.
  2. In a saucepan combine the  un-drained black beans, tomato, cumin, paprika, chili powder, jalapeño, garlic, and vegetable concentrate.  Cook over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, until heated through and the bouillon has broken down- if cooking with bouillon.
  3. Grill your zucchini slices, turning once grill marks have formed.
  4. Assemble your tacos, and enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 This speedy hummus is wonderful with pita chips, piped onto cucumber slices for a quick appetizer, or used as a spread on sandwiches.  Feel free to mix it up, utilizing different ingredients to flavor such as- sun-dried tomatoes and basil, cilantro, or roasted garlic.
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas (15 oz) drained
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 whole roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

  1. In a food processor, add garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice.  Process until smooth, then add roasted red peppers, basil, paprika, and cayenne.  Pulse until desired consistency is achieved.  Transfer to a container and chill until time to serve.  Store in the refrigerator.

Yields ~ 2 cups.


Blackened Chicken with Couscous & Blackbeans

This whole meal comes together in 20 minutes- which is basically why it's blog worthy.  The flavors aren't ground breaking or anything- but 20 minutes folks! And, the chicken isn't really blackened.. obviously, but it has all the same flavors as your typical blackened chicken... hence the name.

  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I like smoked)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  1. In shallow bowl combine everything but the olive oil and chicken.  Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.  Coat the chicken in the flour-spice mixture, and place in the heated pan.  Cook about 6 minutes per side, until the crust is golden and the juices run clear.
  • 2 cups whole wheat couscous
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  1. In a saucepan bring the vegetable stock to a boil, add the couscous, beans, and corn, then turn off the heat.  Cover and let sit for at least five minutes.  Add Worcestershire sauce, fluff with a fork and serve.
Yields 4 servings.


Carrot Lemon Soup with Ginger

This morning I had a strange craving for avgolemono soup, but I was out of eggs.  Further my poor little food processor hadn't seen much love lately. 

So I devised this quick, refreshing soup recipe.
Only the greatest addition to my kitchen, ever.

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 large carrots, shredded (~2 cups)
  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • Zest of ~1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup rice
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • Salt
  • lemon wedges

  1. In a large pot, over medium heat soften the onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, and cook another 2 minutes.  Add ginger, carrots, rice, lemon zest, and vegetable stock.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.
  3. Transfer contents to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and carefully pulse 3-5 times.  
  4. Return to pot, stir in lemon juice, salt according to taste, and serve with lemon wedges.

  • Fresh ginger makes a big difference- what isn't used can be tossed in the freezer in a zip lock bag and used later.

Yields 4 servings


Citrus Buddies

I stumbled upon inspiration for this recipe on Pinterest, only to go buy all of the ingredients and realize that the original idea belongs to Chex... and is on the back of their box.
And I thought I was on to something...  I however, am incompetent at actually following a recipe, so I tweaked it just a little.  And in my humble opinion- I improved it :)

  • 9 cups Chex cereal
  • 1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 4 tsp lemon zest (~3/4 of a large lemon)
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 generous cups powdered sugar

EVERYTHING you need (+1 lemon..)
1. In a microwave safe bowl heat the chips, lemon juice, zest, and butter for 1 minute.  Stir well, and heat in 20 second increments, stirring between, until the mixture can be stirred smooth.

2.  Pour the mixture over the cereal in a large bowl, and stir gently until evenly coated.  Then transfer to a gallon storage bag and add powdered sugar.  Seal the bag and shake gently until pieces appear evenly coated- I always add additional sugar because I like mine to be uniformly white.

  • Rice or corn chex will do- or the off-brand chex cereal.
  • Mix it up with lime, orange juice, or whatever you have on hand! 
  • This makes cute gifts- fill a cellophane bag and tie with cute ribbon- to really jazz it up you could coat some with colored vanilla candy coating instead of white- in happy citrus colors like orange, yellow, and green.
Yields 9 cups.


Apricot-Pomegranate Ginger Spice cake with Yogurt Glaze

Longest title ever, for a really quick, deluxe-seeming cake.  
Shh!  It's not!

I cheated and utilized a box mix, because I was completely out of all purpose flour, and a wheat flour cake didn't sound particularly tasty...

Pomegranate Molasses

  • 1 Yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup water*
  • 1/3 cup oil*
  • 3 eggs*
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 /2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl make cake mix according to directions, adding cinnamon, powdered ginger, and fresh ginger.  Split between two 9" pans, and bake approximately 32 minutes, or time directed by package directions.
  2. In a lidded container combine yogurt, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Stir well, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  3. Mix pomegranate molasses and apricot preserves in a small bowl, set aside.
  4. When cake is finished baking, remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack.  Using a long knife, level the top of the cake, by slicing horizontally.  Fill with the fruit mix, and stack the two cakes.  
  5. Starting at the center, pour on and spread out the yogurt glaze, allowing it to drip over the edges.  Drizzle with pomegranate molasses for a final touch :)
  6. Refrigerate, and serve within a few hours- the yogurt quickly penetrates the cake.
  • The **ed ingredients are what was called for on MY cake mix box- use whatever your cake mix calls for.
  • Pomegranate molasses can be found at most international markets, and many supermarkets stock it in the international section.  If you're one of those people that hates buying an ingredient just for ONE recipe, don't fear.  Pomegranate molasses is wonderful on vanilla ice cream, mixed into plain applesauce, or I can personally eat it by the spoonful....
  • Fresh ginger can be stored in the freezer- leave it in root form and simply toss it in a ziplock bag.  When you're ready to use it, peel it with a paring knife and grate away.  (On the contrary if you are using room temperature ginger, peel it with a spoon- just try it!)

Yields 12 servings

Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

 Simple dinner rolls; wonderful with butter and jam, or to go alongside a hearty bowl of soup.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup dry milk powder
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 3 Tbs sugar, honey, or agave
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (~110°F)
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 egg white

  1. Add the flour, dry milk, butter, sugar, yeast, and water in the bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer.  {which usually means: 1) liquids 2) dry ingredients 3) yeast} Select the dough cycle, and start.
  2. Remove the dough from the bread machine pan, and on a floured surface knead the dough a bit and divide into 12 pieces.  Form into rounds, place on a greased cookie sheet and allow to rise covered by a moist cloth for approximately 40 minutes, or until volume has nearly doubled.
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F.  In a small bowl mix the 2 Tbs water and egg white, beating thoroughly.  Brush onto rolls, and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown in the preheated oven.

  • 3 cups all purpose flour can be subbed for whole wheat + cake flour combo.
  • These puppies can be mass produced and frozen- once you have them formed into rolls place them in the freezer on a cookie sheet.  Once fully frozen, put them in a freezer storage bag or tupperware.  When needed, pop them in the about 1 minute (depending on the quantity of rolls) and then allow to rise 40 minutes, brush on egg wash, and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.
Yields 12 rolls

Microwave Potato Chips (Really.)

This is mind blowing.  Really though.  

My entire life I have had this drastically inaccurate preconception that everything comes out of the microwave soggier than when it went in.  FALSE.

These tasty little chips prove that conclusion terribly wrong.  Not to mention they are absolutely delicious, quick, and lower fat than nearly any chip you can pick up at the grocery.  (Popped chips are are close competition... but I still haven't decided if those have a rightful place in the chip family... let alone the potato family for that sake... those things are strange...)

So here goes, you need:
  • Microwave safe plate
  • cooking spray- I prefer olive oil spray
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • Seasoned salt

  1. Slice your potatoes thin, about 1/8" thick, I use a mandolin so they're uniform
  2. Spray the microwave safe plate liberally with cooking spray, and spread the potatoes in a single layer. 
  3. Spray the potatoes lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with seasoned salt, or you choice of seasoning.
  4. Microwave on full power 3 minutes.
  5. Remove cautiously, the plate will be hot, and flip the potatoes.  Microwave another 2-4 minutes, watching to monitor browness (and because it's really cool).
  6. Allow to cool a couple minutes, and enjoy.  Repeat.

  • Red or yukon gold potatoes can also be used.  I haven't tried sweet potatoes yet, but it's on the to-do list  Sweet potatoes work, they are crunchier and lend to a sturdier chip, but still quite tasty! :)
  • Other seasonings that are tasty: Cracked pepper and salt, ranch seasoning, chili powder, garlic powder & Parmesan cheese (add this only after you flip them so it doesn't get weird and rubbery) etc.  Be creative- they're chips, I don't know if they can taste bad :)

Yields 1 serving.


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