Peanut Noodle Pasta Salad

I have been so obsessed with the show Young and Hungry lately. It’s on “real TV” but I only discovered it when it came on Netflix. It is the dumbest, cutest show ever, and I just cannot get enough! I will say, it can get annoying to watch all the purposefully orchestrated mishaps and miscommunications, but that’s why we come back and watch each week, right? Well, for me it is more like binge-watching the entire season in a week. 😉 😉

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In any case, while you are binge-watching whatever your favourite show is, you can prep and/or make this Peanut Noodle Pasta Salad by Tasty! I don’t usually make recipes I find on Facebook, but I saw this one and it looked delicious!! It also looked like the perfect make-ahead dish for work lunches. I used to eat Smart Ones on a regular basis, and while they feel way less processed (and are healthier) than the other frozen meal options, I just get tired of frozen meals, but at the same time, I don’t want to spend a ton of money and time making lunches.

Let’s just say – this dish takes a LOT of prep time. There is SO MUCH CHOPPING involved. I made this on a weekend and kept it in a huge bowl and everyday portioned it out into a small tupperware for lunch. It was actually pretty perfect for me, because my husband hates peppers and is also not a fan of Thai food, so I got to have it all to myself. I will admit, it got a little tiring after eating it 5 days in a row, but it was still tasty and a great meal to share with a large group if you don’t want to have it for lunches.

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Peanut Noodle Pasta Salad

serves 5-6

Ingredients:
-1/2cu creamy peanut butter
-1/4cu soy sauce
-1/4cu rice vinegar
-1tbsp sesame oil
-2tbsp Sriracha
-1/4cu water
-1tbsp minced ginger
-3 cloves minced garlic
-2tbsp brown sugar
-1 Box Whole Grain Linguine (or any pasta will do)
-1cu carrots, finely cut into matchsticks
-2 cucumbers, shaved using vegetable peeler
-1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
-1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
-1/2 cup green onion, sliced
-1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
-1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Directions:
-Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, then drain and run cooked pasta under cold water to cool.
-Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, water, minced ginger, minced garlic, and brown sugar.
-Combine pasta with sliced vegetables, then pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and mix well. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving. -Garnish with chopped cilantro and peanuts.

Triple Pork Mazeman with Roasted Garlic and Pea Tips

Recently, my mom tried out Blue Apron for a couple of weeks. It is a meal service that delivers ingredients right to your door. You can choose the frequency and my mom was on a plan for 3 meals per week that serve two people each. That totaled about $60, which actually isn’t *too bad* of a price. The neat thing about Blue Apron is that everything is sent in neat little packaging and contains the precise amount of each needed ingredient.

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My mom ended up canceling her subscription, because the price did add up after awhile, plus she is not quite as adventurous of an eater as I am, and Blue Apron really offers a wide variety of dishes, an she is more of a meat and potatoes type of gal. Though she did like that it helped her prepare even simple vinaigrette from scratch, the type of thing she is not inclined to make on her own (similar to most people!). Similarly, this recipe calls for a pork demi-glace, which is basically a fancy rich, thick type of stock. I don’t think I would ever make it on my own, but you can google recipes for it, but I am not sure where you might find it in a store.

In any case, my mom gave me one of her meals, which was this Triple Pork Mazeman. It was delicious! It turns out that mazeman is a type of ramen, but it is dry, and made with a thin sauce instead of a broth, allowing the toppings to take on center stage, in this Japanese dish, according to the recipe page!

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Triple Pork Mazeman with Roasted Garlic and Pea Tips

serves 2

Ingredients:
-5oz ground pork
-1 slice bacon
-12oz fresh ramen noodles
-2oz pea tips
-1 bunch garlic chives
-1 head of garlic
-2tbsp pork demi-glace
-2tbsp soy sauce
-2tbsp mirin
-1-in. piece of ginger
-1tsp pork mazeman spice blend (black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, kibbled nori and sansho pepper)

Directions:
-Preheat the oven to 475F. Cut off and discard the top of the garlic head (to expose the cloves). Place it on a piece of aluminum foil, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tightly wrap the foil around it, place on a cookie sheet, and roast for 28-30 minutes. Set it aside, to cool.
-While the garlic is roasting, heat a large pot of salted water to boiling (you’ll come back to this later). Dice the bacon into very small pieces, mince the garlic chives, cut the pea tips into one inch pieces, and peel and mince the ginger.
-In a medium pot, heat one teaspoon of oil on medium. Once hot, add the bacon and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until browned and crispy.
-To the bacon pot, add the ginger and all but one pinch of the garlic chives. Cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the ground pork and cook for 4-5 minutes or until heated through, breaking the meat apart with a spoon; season with salt and pepper, then remove it from the heat.
-When the garlic is done and has cooled enough to touch, squeeze the individual cloves out of the head. Add the pork demi-glace, soy sauce, mirin, roasted garlic cloves, and one cup of water to the pot with the pork mixture, and stir to combine. Turn to high to bring to a boil; once boiling, reduce it back to medium and let it simmer, while stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until it reduces in volume.
-While the sauce is simmering, add the noodles to the pot of boiling water and cook and stir for 90 seconds (no longer), then drain well and immediately add it to the sauce pot. Cook and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Stir in pea tips and season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Spoon the finished product into each bowl and then top with the remaining chives and spice blend.

Panko Crusted Sriracha Cod

I hope everyone had a fun Labour Day weekend last weekend! I enjoyed my 3 days off…spent a lot of time catching up on blogging (hence this week full of blogs), watching CSI Miami, spending time with friends, and going to a neighbourhood and family barbecue hosted by my brother’s family! Oh, and cuddling with my dog. Lots of cuddles. 😉

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I may not have cooked a lot lately, but I have a lot of back-recipes just waiting to be posted. For the past week or so, I’ve been cooking on the cheap, so trying to use up things we already have at home – wild Alaskan salmon burgers from Costco, for one. They’re really good, and inexpensive, if you haven’t tried them!

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In any case, this panko crusted sriracha cod from Foodie with Family may not be for everyone, but my husband and I loved it! I went easy on the sriracha, since my husband doesn’t like things quite as spicy as I do, hehe. If you do like to be a little adventurous, like fish, and spicy food, then I would definitely recommend this dish for you.

This is also another pretty quick dish to throw together! And as you can see, I did indeed add plenty of extra sriracha to my own plate!

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Panko Crusted Sriracha Cod

serves 4

Ingredients:
-4 cod filets, boneless and skinless
-salt and pepper, to taste
-3tbsp mayonnaise
-2tsp sriracha
-1cu panko bread crumbs
-1tbsp butter
-non-stick cooking spray
For Garnish
-additional sriracha
-thinly sliced green onions
-toasted sesame seeds

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 375°F, then line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, spritz lightly with non-stick cooking spray or spray oil. Next, pour the panko crumbs into a pie plate or round cake pan.
-Lay the cod filets on the prepared pan and season both sides with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and sriracha together until well combined. Brush the mixture over the top of each filet, then turn mayo-side down into the panko crumbs and pressy lightly to help the panko adhere to the mayo. Set the filets back onto the pan, crumb side up.
-When all of the pieces have been coated, heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat until it is melted and frothy. Place each filet gently crumb side down and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown and crunchy. Carefully return each piece of cod to the prepared pan, crunchy crumb crust side up. Bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filet, or until opaque throughout and easily flaked with a fork. The internal temperature of cod should reach 145°F to be done. Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for 3-5 minutes before plating or transferring to a serving dish.
-Garnish with additional sriracha, thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with desired accompaniment.

Chicken Fried Rice

Fried rice really is one of those simply delicious dishes, isn’t it? I don’t make it very often, but it is so easy to do and so tasty!! This “better than takeout” chicken fried rice comes from The Recipe Critic and it did not fail me at all.

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It calls for just a few ingredients that aren’t expensive and are easy to find, which is always a bonus. I used minimal peas in this, because my husband is not a fan, but I used tons of fresh green onion from my garden!

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This is a quick meal to throw together, so it is pretty good for any night of the week. It can be even faster if the chicken is already cooked. I have also been told that it is best to use day-old rice for fried rice dishes, so the bulk of this could be made in advance, which definitely saves time as well. Enjoy!

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Chicken Fried Rice

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-1lb chicken, about 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded/cubed
-3cu cooked rice
-2tbsp sesame oil
-1 small white onion, chopped
-1cu frozen peas and carrots, thawed
-2-3tbsp soy sauce (more or less to taste)
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-2tbsp chopped green onions
Directions:
-Cook and shred the chicken (you can cook the chicken in this sauce also by The Recipe Critic, which I did, and it was fabulous!).
-Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat, then pour sesame oil in the bottom. Add white onion and peas and carrots and fry until tender.
-Slide everything to the side of the wok, and pour the beaten eggs onto the open space. Scramble the eggs with a spatula, and one cooked, add everything back together.
-Add the rice and chicken to the veggie and egg mixture, then pour the soy sauce on top. Stir fry everything together, then add the chopped green onion on top.

Thai Larb Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I made these wraps about two months ago and FINALLY posting them…and as usual, my first post in quite a long time. I’ve been hooked lately to watching CSI Miami which leaves little time for much else. In fact, I recently told my husband, during a particularly sad episode in which they lost one of their own, that the CSIs are like my friends and they’re my people. He kinda laughed at me, so I suppose you can feel free to do the same. 😉

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These Thai Larb Chicken Lettuce Wraps come from Cupcakes and Kale, and were so delicious and flavourful! I had never heard of it before, but the blogger includes a note stating that Larb is an Asian salad that is apparently the national dish of Laos. The salad features a spicy and sour stir-fried meat on top of cold, crisp lettuce. The dressing typically consists of fish sauce, spicy chiles, lime juice, and mint leaves. Pretty much anything goes well in a lettuce wrap, and I was definitely loving these!

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Thai Larb Chicken Lettuce Wraps

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
-1.5tbsp cooking oil
-1/2lb ground chicken breast
-2 shallots, diced
-1/4 red onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, very finely minced
-minced fresh chiles, Jalapeño or Fresno (however much you want)
-1tbsp fish sauce
-1/2 lime, juiced
-1tsp low-sodium soy sauce
-1 head iceberg lettuce, for the cups
-1 handful of cilantro and/or mint, cut into chiffonade (long, thin strips)

Directions:
-Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and chicken. Break up the chicken and cook.
-Once cooked through, push the ground chicken to one side of the pan and swirl in the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil. Then add the shallots, red onion, garlic, and fresh chiles, and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, and soy sauce, and mix everything together.
-Spoon the mixture into the lettuce cups and top with herbs. Enjoy!

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.

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.