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.

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 Peanut Sauce Spaghetti Squash

In the summertime, a lot of times people don’t want to turn on their ovens. I am one of those people. Also in the summertime, a lot of people don’t think to cook with spaghetti squash. However, this Thai Peanut Sauce Spaghetti Squash by Leelicious, which my good friend Alysha turned me on to, is an exception!

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I love basically everything Thai-related, and this dish is no exception! The peanut sauce is so delicious and really pairs well with the noodle-like consistency of spaghetti squash is just perfect. It is not too sweet and it is not too spicy. In the words of the 3 bears, it is just right! 😉

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I ended up not being able to find the coconut sugar, however I has googled how to use regular sugar or brown sugar and it still worked out well, though perhaps would have had a different flavour if I’d found the Asian-esque coconut variety.

I hope you like it, and that it’s worth turning on your oven for, in this summer heat!

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Thai Peanut Sauce Spaghetti Squash

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1 medium spaghetti squash
-olive oil
-salt
-1 garlic clove, minced
-1/4cu chopped parsley or cilantro
-2tbsp crushed peanuts
For the peanut sauce

-1 can (14oz) coconut milk
-2/3cu natural, unsweetened peanut butter
-1/4cu coconut sugar
-1/4cu water
-2tbsp soy sauce
-2tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
-2tsp sesame oil
-2tsp red curry paste

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
-Drizzle the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes.
For the peanut sauce
-Place all sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then turn down to low and simmer for 5 minutes while stirring almost constantly, then take off the heat to let cool.
-When spaghetti squash is done roasting, take it out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Then, using a fork, scrape out the spaghetti squash strands. If your squash is very moist, you might have to place the strands in a colander and pat with paper towel.
-Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, chopped parsley and 1/4 cup of the peanut sauce pan and combine. Add spaghetti squash, rest of the sauce, and crushed peanuts, stir to combine and cook until heated through (about 2 minutes).
Plate and garnish with a little more crushed peanuts and chopped parsley. Serve right away.

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.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

I am prefacing this post to apologize for my sucky pictures. 😉 I just couldn’t get a flattering one. If you want to see yummy looking pictures of this dish, then definitely click on the original blogger’s link!

Thai food is basically one of my favourite things in the entire world. I suppose I should really say that Phad Thai is one of my favourite things in the entire world. I love the other stuff too (showering rama, curry, anything smothered in peanut sauce, etc.), but Phad Thai is really where it’s at. That being said, I think I am testing out a new Thai restaurant on Sunday with a friend – can’t wait!

I had found a Thai chicken soup recipe awhile ago that I was excited to make, but also dreading, as it contained 50 bajillion ingredients, but when the time came that I planned to make it, apparently the site was marked as spam and disappeared. Such is life. In any case, I did find this close replica of Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup by Bev Cooks. This contains a lot (but not as many) ingredients, and can be done with the ease of a slow cooker. Win win!
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The downside of this recipe was that I was making it for my husband as well as a dear friend that adores Thai food like I do, but can’t have any corn products. I read the ingredient labels of everything super carefully and then dumped it all in the slow cooker. Right after doing so, I discovered that cornstarch was on the ingredient list for the chicken broth. After a minor freak out, I decided to still make the soup (obviously I wasn’t going to just dump a perfectly good meal), and then scrambled to make something else for dinner that evening.

The moral of the story is that my husband and I ended up with tons of leftovers of this yummy soup! I didn’t add in the rice noodles until the next day when we planned to actually eat it, because I didn’t want them to get soggy and gross. I also had about 3-4 days of leftovers for lunch. Speaking of rice noodles, mine NEVER, EVER turn out the way they do in Phad Thai dishes at restaurants, even though I follow the package instructions super closely. They don’t turn out badly (aka soggy and mushy), but they’re not as good as they are in restaurants. If anyone knows the secret of perfect rice noodles, pleaaaaaase let me know!

Some notes: I kept the red bell pepper chunks pretty large, so that my husband could pick them out. I also omitted the jalapenos, because my husband doesn’t like those either. The soup was so tasty and flavourful, and I think actually helped that we waited even longer than normal to eat it, to let the flavours come together more. Mine was much thinner and more brothy than the original blogger’s is (based on her pictures, it appears more creamy). I didn’t change any of the broth or coconut milk amounts, so I’m not sure what happened there. I also omitted the bean sprouts, but not on purpose. I went to two grocery stores that informed me that they do not sell bean sprouts (weird, I know), and so I bought canned bean sprouts. Well, I opened the can and then dumped them down the disposal because they looked and tasted nasty. They may have been fine, once added to the crockpot, but I didn’t want to risk turning the whole dish upside down because of it. Oh, and I added tons of sriracha to mine, of course. 😉image

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

serves 4+

Ingredients:
-3 frozen or thawed chicken breast halves
-3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
-2tbsp freshly minced ginger
-2 (13.5oz) cans coconut milk (I used one lite and one regular can)
-4cu chicken stock
-3tbsp soy sauce
-4oz thin rice noodles
-2 red bell peppers, diced (I only used one)
-2cu fresh beans sprouts (I omitted)
-2 jalapenos, finely sliced (I also omitted)
-2 limes
-cilantro for garnish
-coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
-In a slow cooker, add the coconut milk, broth, garlic, ginger, chicken, soy sauce, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook on high for 3 hours.
-Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred it with two forks; return to pot.
Add the rice noodles, bell pepper and sprouts, and cook for 30 more minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve each bowl garnished with sliced jalapeno, a good handful of cilantro and lime juice.

Thai Beef Tacos

I spent 3 days at the Watershed music festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre near George, Washington (yes, that is really what it’s called).  It was my first time at the Gorge and it was truly an epic experience.  There were so many amazing performers, musicians, and entertainers.  And the entertainers weren’t only on stage!  There were definitely the crazy kids walking around trying to shock everyone (guys wearing daisy dukes and sporting bikini tops, guys wearing speedos with dollar bills stuffed in them, girls in teeny thong bikinis, and even a guy that shaved his chest hair into a bikini shape – that one was actually pretty original).
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Before my mini vacation, I made these AMAZING Thai beef tacos from How Sweet It Is‘s blog.  I have been waiting for ages to make this.  It is a bit more costly than the average dish, because I had to buy fresh mango and it has a lot of ingredients, but it was SO, SO, SO, SO, SO worth it.  I had bought some thin steak on sale recently, so just had to stock up on some of the fresh produce to pair with it.
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The “serving” is about 3 tacos (using the little corn tortillas), but I think I ate 4-ish.  I could have eaten about 10, if we had enough meat for it.  These were seriously amazing.
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How Sweet It Is has been the inspiration for many of my favourite meals, and this one was no exception.  I marinated the meat for 24 hours (longer is better, people!).  I also added the jalapeno to my salsa separately, as my husband can’t handle that kind of spice.  Speaking of the mango salsa, I may or may not have just eaten the salsa by the spoonful when there were no more tacos, but still some salsa left over…divine.
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Thai Beef Tacos

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1/2 to 3/4lb thin flank steak
-1tsp salt
-1tsp pepper
For the marinade
-3/4cu light (canned) coconut milk
-1tbsp sesame oil
-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
-2tsp freshly grated ginger
-2tbsp brown sugar
-3tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
-1/3cu sweet chili sauce
For the mango salsa
-1/2 mango, chopped
-1 shallot, diced
-1 jalapeno, diced
-2tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
-sprinkle each of sugar, salt & pepper
For the tacos
-1tsp canola oil
-6-8 corn tortillas
-1/2cu sweet chili sauce
-1/4cu peanuts, chopped
-green leafy lettuce + fresh cilantro for topping

Directions:
-Sprinkle flank steak with salt and pepper. Combine coconut milk, sesame oil, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar and cilantro in a bowl and whisk. Add flank steak to a ziplock bag or a shallow baking dish and pour marinade overtop. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
-When ready to prepare, remove steak from fridge and let sit for 20-30 minutes, to reach room temperature.
-In a bowl, combine mango, shallot, jalapeno, salt, sugar and pepper, mix thoroughly, then set aside.
-Heat a large oven-safe skillet (like cast iron) over high heat. At the same time, preheat the broiler in your oven. (You can also grill the steak if you wish.)
-Using a pastry brush, brush oil onto the skillet so there is only a very thin layer. Remove steak from marinade with kitchen tongs, placing in the skillet. Sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes.
-Remove skillet and place is the oven directly under the broiler. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for 3-4 minutes more (for a 1-in thick steak, this results in medium to medium well, but broil for less if you’d like it less done).
R-emove skillet from over, and place steak on a cutting board to rest for 15-20 minutes. At this time, assemble your tortillas (warm them if desired), salsa, extra chili sauce for drizzling and -cilantro. After the steak has rested, slice it into thin strips. Assemble tacos as desired and eat!
**Side Note: I did not broil my steak at all, because it was SUPER thin stir fry steak, and broiling would have literally charred it – so use your best judgment if you decide to broil/grill, as it totally depends on what kind of steak you have.**

Grilled Cilantro Thai Chicken

Happy Veteran’s Day!! This is the first year, pretty much ever, that I’ve had this holiday off work.  I definitely salute the troops and veterans (I don’t often share my political views, however supporting troops & vets is a PERSON view, not a political view, in my book).  Additionally, I have some friends, relatives, and colleagues that are veterans, which I am very thankful for.

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Whether you’re home, working, saluting yourself or someone else, you should add making this dish to your plans!  Grilled cilantro Thai chicken by My Kitchen Escapades – it is pretty simple and so, so, so yummy!  I ended up pan-searing it in olive oil instead of grilling it, and I think the oil helped hold, and added to, the flavours (though added a few WW points, but who’s counting?).  It was a great way to use up leftover cilantro from the Thai chicken tacos I made a few days prior, and it’s not overpoweringly Thai (in fact, it’s probably not even really legit Thai at all).  I’m still working on re-introducing my husband to my favourite cuisine! 😉

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I paired it with leftover soba noodles and a quick salad.  For the noodles, I just fried them up quickly with a wee bit of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and sesame oil, basically just til they were heated up and not sticking to each other anymore.

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Side note: if you aren’t a huge garlic fan, use less cloves. Six cloves was hugely garlicky, though we all loved it!

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Grilled Cilantro Thai Chicken

serves 4

Ingredients:
-4 chicken breast halves (or 2 full breasts)
-1cu fresh cilantro
-6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
-3tbsp fish sauce
-1tbsp soy sauce
-2tbsp toasted sesame oil
-2tbsp sugar
-3/4tsp red pepper flakes (I used 1/2tsp cayenne instead)

Directions:
-In your food processor, blend together the cilantro, garlic, fish sauce, oil, sugar and pepper flakes, then pour the mixture over the chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag. Mix it together so the chicken is completely covered on all sides with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
-Prepare your grill to medium-hot (or stovetop, in my case). Cook 5-7mins per side, or until juices run clear and no longer pink in the middle (I had to cook for about 10mins per side on the stove, and I cut them into smaller pieces to help them cook faster).