Thai Pork Salad with Cellophane Noodles

I have been wanting to try this Thai pork salad with cellophane noodles by Bev Cooks forever. But it is not a husband-friendly dish by any stretch. Well, it is not a MY husband-friendly dish. This is the man that groans when I suggest going to Thai for dinner. This is the man that really, really branched out at my birthday dinner this year by ordering curry for the first time (which he loved). He has made many strides in the adventurous eating category, but I knew this was not a dish he’d eat willingly.

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I even discussed with a friend, that sometimes to get him to eat new food, I don’t tell him what’s for dinner and just plop a plate in front of him. This has actually worked before. Or I just become really vague…”what’s for dinner?”…”oh, you know, pork…”…”yum!” This has worked too.

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However, on the night I made this, things went awry and I don’t remember how it played out since it was several weeks ago now, but he wasn’t home at the time and came home later and it was in the fridge waiting and he made something else instead, with the promise of trying it later, but that never happened. Dang.

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BUT that meant MORE FOR ME. This was so good, guys. Like, gobbling up for lunches for days, good. Like, I wanted to eat the entire huge bowl the first night. My pictures look quite a bit different from the original blogger’s (and not just because she’s a better photographer), but my noodles broke down a lot and didn’t look as glassy as hers. But it was delicious. It tasted very Thai-esque and it was a very light, thin meal, if that makes any sense. The flavours were just sensational together. If you are feeling less adventurous, you can play around with it, or make it into a fusion-taco, etc. If you don’t like pork, you could also substitute a different meat. I also added tons of sriracha, of course.

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Thai Pork Salad with Cellophane Noodles

serves 4+

Ingredients:
-2cu cellophane noodles
-1lb ground pork
-2-3tbsp Chinese five-spice seasoning
-3 cloves garlic, chopped
-1tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
-2tbsp brown sugar
-1cu peanuts, roughly chopped
-4 scallions, finely sliced
-2cu loosely packed cilantro, chopped
-1cu loosely packed mint, chopped
-1 habanero, minced (I omitted this, since I thought my husband would be eating it)
-1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
-1 jalapeno pepper, minced
-juice of 1 lime
-1tbsp soy sauce
-2tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
-1/2tsp coarse salt

Directions:
-Soak the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes and drain. Reserve the noodles in a large bowl.
-Heat half of the oil in a pan over medium-high and start browning the pork. Once almost done, add the five-spice powder and toss it around for a second. Add the garlic, ginger, minced habanero, jalapeno, brown sugar, peanuts and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and take off the heat.
-To the bowl with the noodles, add the mint, cilantro, scallions and red bell pepper. Add the browned pork mixture and toss to combine. -Squeeze the lime juice over, then drizzle with soy sauce and remaining extra virgin olive oil.

Turkey Burgers

I made these amazing looking turkey burgers several weeks ago, but I have no idea what recipe I used!! /=/

Maybe I didn’t even use a recipe. Maybe I just threw them together, which is entirely possibly. In any case, I still wanted to document them, cuz they were delicious.

Grilling turkey burgers in the summer is an amazing and lightened up way of having burgers and quite honestly, the difference between beef and turkey, when prepared and cooked right, is very miniscule.

As you can see, we also love to grill asparagus. So, so delicious.

What are your favourite items to throw on the grill?

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Grilled Steak & Hummus Mashed Potatoes

Not only have I been blogging every day this week, but today is a two-fer! You can get your grilling on tonight with this Weight Watchers grilled steak and Hummus Mashed Potatoes from Gimme Some Oven.

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I had recently stocked up on some steaks on sale (most of my stories start like that, I’ve realized), because I’m a good wife and I know my husband loves steak…so what do I do? Create a WW recipe out of it. ;) However, this marinade was just delightful! The steak was so tasty and flavourful and great to grill on a spring or summer day (or fall or winter…).

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The mashed potatoes were good too, but I added in more hummus than the recipe called for, and neither of us could taste it at all. They were good, just not good as advertised, if that makes sense. I used different potatoes (I can’t remember what kind though), so maybe the hummus just got lost in the potato flavour. In any case, it was still a successful dinner all around, and hopefully will be for you as well!

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Grilled Steak

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2tbsp chili sauce, or ketchup
-1tbsp packed brown sugar, dark-variety
-1 garlic clove, minced (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-2tsp mustard, course-grain recommended
1tsp ginger root, fresh, minced (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
-2 steaks

Directions:
-Preheat grill to high.
-In a small bowl, combine chili sauce (or ketchup), sugar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and ginger, and brush the sauce all over steak. Grill, flipping once, brushing steak with any leftover sauce while steak cooks, about 6 to 7 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness.
-Remove steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Hummus Mashed Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1-ishlbs Yukon gold potatoes
-1-2tbsp butter
-1-2cu favorite hummus, homemade or store-bought
-1/8tsp salt (or more to taste)
-1/8tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
-optional garnish: chopped fresh Italian parsley, lemon wedges, extra drizzle of olive oil

Directions:
-Peel the potatoes if you would like, and cut them into large chunks, roughly the same size. Immediately add to a large stockpot and fill with water until the potatoes are covered, then bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork-tender. Remove from heat and drain the water.
-Return the pot to the burner and use a potato masher to mash the potatoes until smooth. Then turn off heat, and add in butter, hummus, salt and pepper, and stir until combined. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Then top with garnishes if desired.

Slow Cooker Taco Chili

Whenever someone is in need of a meal, I jump to contribute! It gives me a reason to scour through the hundreds of recipes I have saved, allows me to share food with others, and perhaps most importantly, help someone in need! A friend of ours’s mother was ill and our friend and spouse were spending every waking moment caring for her, thus a meal sign up went around and I signed up to bring this slow cooker taco chili from Shugary Sweets. It. was. so. good.

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What can I really say about it? It was yummy like chili. It was yummy like tacos. And it is all dumped in a slow cooker and ready when I get home from work! Pretty much, it doesn’t get much better than that. I loved making and using a homemade seasoning too. It is so easy and includes spices that I already have. One edit that I made was that I used taco sauce instead of salsa. I don’t like chunky tomatoes and while a friend turned me on to the task of blending salsa, I also didn’t feel like going to that energy either. ;)

In any case, I am so glad that I made extra of this! I was able to give our friends about 4 helpings worth, with 2 helpings leftover for my husband and I. YUM!!

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Slow Cooker Taco Chili

serves

Ingredients:
-1lb ground turkey, cooked and drained
-1 can (15.25oz) sweet corn (don’t drain) (I ended up using a little bit of frozen corn, since I didn’t have any canned, and I’m not a huge corn fan anyway, and it worked out well)
-1 can (15oz) black beans (don’t drain)
-1 can (15oz) red kidney beans (don’t drain)
-15oz tomato sauce
-1cu salsa (I used a thick and chunky style)
-3tbsp taco seasoning
1 tsp kosher salt

Directions:
-In a large slow cooker, combine cooked ground turkey, corn, beans, salsa, tomato sauce, salt and taco seasoning. Make sure to add the liquid from all your cans of corn and beans. Stir the ingredients to combine, then cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
-Serve hot with plain greek yogurt or sour cream, cheese, avocado and tortilla strips.

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

I was so excited for this dish. Like…so excited. It looks all comforty and creamy and pasta-y and amazing. It is creamy Italian chicken from Life as a Lofthouse’s blog. That blogger also created a really yummy tater tot casserole in the past. However, this dish fell a little flat, in my opinion. It ended up being overly salty. The likely culprits are the seasoning packet and the cream of chicken soup. Maybe next time, I would see if there was a “low sodium” seasoning packet option…another idea is to do a homemade seasoning mix, and omit any salt ingredients from it, which would likely be easy enough to do.

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Anyway, this dish was edible, but again, just salty. It was even almost too salty for my husband, which is saying a lot. So, I think had I lowered some of the salt ingredients, this dish would have turned out much better. Let me know if you make it and what your thoughts and changes are!

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Creamy Italian Chicken

serves 6+

Ingredients:
-4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 packet Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
-2 (10oz) cans cream of chicken soup
-1 (8oz) block of cream cheese, cut into cubes
-Egg Noodles or Rice, for serving

Directions:
-Spray the crock pot with non-stick spray, then place the chicken breasts in it, and sprinkle the Italian dressing mix over the tops. Pour the cream of chicken soups over chicken, and then spread the cubes of cream cheese evenly over all.
-Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 3 hours). Remove the lid and stir mixture together. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces (If the sauce seems too thick, you can thin it out with a little milk).
-Serve chicken and sauce over cooked egg noodles or rice.

Turkey Scaloppine

In completely un-food-related news, I am finally on season 5 of Glee! I had watched pretty much all of the other seasons, until now. The first episode in, it just FEELS different. I am sure it is related to the unfortunate passing of actor Cory Montieth, but it just feels…off. I am cringing, too, waiting for them to mention something about Finn’s character, but so far there has been radio silence.

Back to food-related topics, I made this turkey scaloppine parmesan recipe from Food.com and it is a Weight Watchers recipe! I googled what “scaloppine” and basically it’s Italian (duh) and refers to a thin cut of meat, usually veal, dredged and cooked with red or wine sauce. Well…there ya go. It was handy that I had some turkey breasts on hand, since they had been on sale at the grocery store. I have never cooked turkey breasts before but it was quite similar to cooking chicken. They were so thick that I cut them in half. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. It was yummy!

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Turkey Scaloppine Parmesan

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2 turkey cutlets
-1.5cu fat free marinara sauce
-2 slices fat free mozzarella cheese
-1⁄4cu grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
-Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until browned, a few minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.
-Add the marinara sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer, then add the cutlets and turn to coat with the sauce. Top each cutlet with 1 slice of the mozzarella and a spoonful of the sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan.
-Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the cheese melts and the cutlets are cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Orange Chicken

Well…here I am. It’s only been, what, a month? Two months? I’ve been off in jam-land (check out my site here if you are interested in some nail swag!), as well as just dealing with the overwhelmingness of life, that my blog has slid to the back burner (no pun intended).

In any case, I will focus on the fact that I am here, not on how long I’ve been gone! BTW I went to two weddings last weekend and ate some pretty delicious food. The first one included paella, chicken skewers with an amazing red pepper sauce, and a delightful arugula salad, and the second one was catered by the Olive Garden! However, moving right along to this orange chicken from A Year of Slow Cooking…I made this several weeks ago when my good friend Kim came over for dinner. I totally adjusted the recipe though. First of all, I didn’t use my slow cooker. That was my main adjustment. I did it on the stove instead and it worked beautifully! Also – the orange taste was so strong in this dish, much moreso than previous times, when I’ve used actual oranges. I don’t drink orange juice, much less from concentrate, so it didn’t occur to me that the concentrated orange juice would really amp up the flavour here, but it did.

This was also the evening that I decided I needed a rice cooker, stat. Brown rice is pretty much all I buy, and pretty much IMPOSSIBLE for me to cook on the stove. I have followed the directions exactly, I have adapted them every which way…and nothing helps. After making up a batch of pure nastiness, I scoured my cupboards for some orzo.

Note: I’ve adjusted the following recipe due to my changes, but feel free to check out the original blog for the slow cooker version!

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Orange Chicken

serves 3-4

Ingredients
-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
-1/4-1/2cu flour
-olive oil
-6oz (1/2 can) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed (no pulp)
-3tbsp brown sugar
-1tsp balsamic vinegar
-3tbsp ketchup

Directions
-Dredge the chicken pieces with the flour, and shake off the excess.
-Heat olive oil in a large skillet on the stove and brown the chicken on all sides.
-In between checking on the chicken, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and ketchup and taste for flavour.
-Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and let it all heat through.
-Serve with rice…or in my case…orzo.