Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles


If you have been following my blog, you know how often I've made sesame noodles or peanut noodles or a combination of both.  This time I made it spicy!  I adapted this Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles recipe from Nigella Lawson's Sesame Peanut Noodles recipe.  I'm actually not a big fan of overly spicy foods but these Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles are the perfect amount of spice.  I was just also thinking of friends I know who have nut allergies and I might try using tahini in place of nut butters next time.  Enjoy this new spicy version of sesame peanut noodles!


Spicy Sesame Peanut Noodles

Ingredients
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoon lemon juice (or lime)
½ pound cooked pasta (I used linguine.)
bell pepper, sliced
sesame seeds, roasted


Directions

In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, vegetable oil, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce and lemon juice until well blended.


Add spicy sesame peanut sauce to cooked pasta and toss to coat everything well.  Add in bell pepper.


Top with sesame seeds.


Serve immediately warmed or serve chilled. 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pesto Clam Tortellini


This dish doesn’t even need a recipe since it literally has 3 ingredients!  You can make this in under 20 minutes since you mostly need time to get the water boiling.  I was feeling really lazy and pasta is my lazy go-to-dish.  Enjoy this pesto clam tortellini!  Also I would definitely top this with some grated parmesan cheese, if you want a "4th" ingredient.

 
Pesto Clam Tortellini
 
Ingredients
frozen tortellini
pesto sauce (store bought)
1 can chopped clams


Directions

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Add in pesto sauce and toss to coat tortellini.  Stir in clams.  


Done!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Easy Rocky Road Brownies


I made these Easy Rocky Road Brownies last month for my coworker's birthday because brownies are one of her favorite desserts.  I used my favorite brownie mix (Ghiradelli) since I was in a hurry to make the brownies the night before.  The marshmallows are the "rocky road" minus the nuts.  I usually don't add nuts to desserts when they are being shared since I'm always worried about other people having food allergies.  My coworker shared these Easy Rocky Road Brownies with other coworker friends and they were a hit!  

 
Easy Rocky Road Brownies

Ingredients
1 box of brownie mix (I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix.)
1 egg
1/3  cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
½ to ¾ cup mini marshmallows


Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare a baking pan (I used a 9x9 inch pan)  by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, mix together brownie mix, egg, oil and water.  Stir in marshmallows.


Spread brownie batter into baking pan. 


Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.


Allow to cool before cutting.  Note:  It is best to use a plastic knife to cut the brownies.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bacon Pepper Omelet


I was just talking to a friend today about how she loves breakfast foods for any meal.  I was actually considering making waffles for dinner tonight but then I thought of this bacon pepper omelet (mostly because making an omelet is faster than  making waffles).  I love a brinner!  You know brinner right?  Breakfast for dinner!  This bacon pepper omelet is delicious and is filling enough for dinner.   Omelets are really great for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I always have eggs in my fridge, its a kitchen staple for me.  You can't really go wrong with having enough eggs because they are a good source of protein.  I originally came up with this bacon pepper omelet by cleaning out my fridge since I already had everything.  I compare making omelets with how I make fried rice sometimes, just throw in whatever you've got!  Look at how nice and gooey the swiss cheese melted in the omelet... nom nom nom!

 
Bacon Pepper Omelet
 
Ingredients
3 eggs
3 slices of bacon, cooked
¼ cup bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons milk
¼ cup swiss cheese, shredded
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste


Directions

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt and pepper until light and fluffy.


Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat, melt butter to coat bottom of pan. 


Add egg mixture to pan and allow to cook for 1 minute.  


Lift edges of omelet with a spatula to allow uncooked egg mixture to flow underneath.  Allow to cook additional 2 to 3 minutes, until almost set.

Flip omelet over and top with bacon, peppers and cheese.  Allow to cook for 1 minute.


Carefully using spatula, roll omelet into thirds (French style) or fold omelet in half.


Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Roasted Indian Brussels Sprouts


Brussels sprouts is my favorite adult vegetable because it wasn't something I ever had as a kid.  These Roasted Indian Brussels Sprouts are inspired by the Indian spices I already had.  For a simple meatless Monday recipe, I served the Roasted Indian Brussels Spouts over quinoa and brown rice.  I love these packets of organic quinoa and brown rice by Seeds of Change that I got at Costco.  They are great for a quick meal and you can microwave the quinoa and brown rice in its own packet, so they are perfect to keep at work too.  

Roasted Indian Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
1 pound brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and halved
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil


Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, combine brussels sprouts with garam maslas, tandoori masla, ginger and olive oil.  Toss to coat.
Place coated brussels sprouts on a baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Turn brussels sprouts halfway through baking time.


Serves 4.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

PBJ Greek Yogurt


This Peanut Butter and Jelly (PBJ) Greek Yogurt is my new favorite breakfast.   It is healthy and less than 350 calories too.  You can also try non-fat yogurt to lower your calories, but I had the Fage 2% already which I like.  This PBJ Greek Yogurt is not only delicious, but can be made quickly.  I have been packing the PBJ Greek Yogurt in a container to bring to work.  I use the Ziploc Twist 'N Lock containers which I have found work great and won't spill.  FYI - I am not getting paid to endorse any products but I wish!  Enjoy!


PBJ Greek Yogurt

Ingredients
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon jam or jelly (I used a blueberry jam.)
1 tablespoon peanut butter (I used Trader Joe’s.)
1 tablespoon dried cranberries


Directions

In a small bowl, add yogurt.  Top with jam (or jelly), peanut butter and cranberries.  

Serve as is or stir.

Serves 1.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Avocado Mousse


I saw an episode of Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network and she made a Chocolate Avocado Mousse.  Here is her original recipe.  It blew my mind to make a mousse with avocados!  This can be a vegan dessert if you use chocolate chips that are vegan - I know Trader Joe's has vegan chocolate chips.  I love TJs!  I did change Giada's recipe a bit since I didn't have any unsweetened almond milk or raspberries to garnish.  I left out the milk and I think it just makes a thicker mousse.  Overall, this was a surprisingly good dessert, chocolatey and creamy.  You can make this for a "healthy" valentine's day dessert or you can make Alton Brown's obviously fattening chocolate mousse haha!


Chocolate Avocado Mousse
 
Ingredients
¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 rive avocados, peeled and pitted
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup agave
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt


Directions

Place chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until melted.  Stir until chocolate is smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Place the cooled melted chocolate, avocados, agave, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a food processor.  Process until smooth and creamy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.


Spoon into glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. 

Serves 2. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year


Happy Chinese New Year!  May your year be filled with good health, prosperity and happiness!  The Chinese Lunar New Year began on February 10th and marks the Year of the Snake for 2013.  My family treats Chinese New Year like its Christmas or Thanksgiving because it is a major Chinese holiday.  There are so many traditions (and superstitions) for celebrating Chinese New Year and every family chooses different things to eat and do during the holiday.  Of course, my family’s biggest traditions are the foods and “lai see” which are red envelopes containing money for luck. 

I went to a Chinese New Year dinner banquet and ate so much food!  There was a lion dance and singing at this banquet, but the best part is spending time with family.  Thank you to my family for allowing me to take pictures before we ate, I know how hard it is to not dig in right away haha!


Here is the 10 course meal we had at New Fortune Restaurant in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  If you are a DMV local, they have decent dim sum too!

1. Cold Appetizer Platter with Cuttlefish, Beef Shank, Cold Sliced Pork and Jellyfish – this is a typical first course and is always a family favorite.


2. Fried Shrimp Balls – these were not the usual crab claws I’m used to be they were good.


3. Mushroom Soup with Bamboo Shoots – I usually add just a dash of vinegar to Chinese soups.


4. Braised Pork - I think this was pig feet and it is NOT my favorite haha.


5. Lobster with Ginger & Scallion – I am pretty sure these were frozen lobsters and fresh are always better in my opinion.


6. Abalone, Mushroom w/Mustard Greens – abalone is a Chinese delicacy in case you didn’t know.


7. Steamed Chicken – I always go for the white meat and top it with the ginger-scallion dipping sauce.


8. Young Chow Fried Rice – with char siu (barbeque pork), shrimp, peas, and eggs.


9. Baked Sea Bass – the fish was really good, light and flaky with a delicious soy sauce.


10. Almond Cookies and Almond Jello – these were the desserts; I haven’t had almond cookies in so long!



-->
P.S.  Here are the condiments on our table from left to right – Chinese hot chili paste, ginger-scallion sauce, and Chinese red rice vinegar.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coconut Chia Pudding

-->
This Coconut Chia Pudding was surprisingly delicious!  The pudding requires no cooking which is awesome.  I also love the coconut flavors and if you like tapioca, then you will like chia seeds.  If you haven't heard already, chia seeds have been gaining popularity for its health benefits.  Chia seeds are in and flax seeds are out!  Haha!  But seriously chia seeds are really great for you.  Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fats, but I have read that you should only eat a small amount a day (max 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons) because chia seeds are very high in fiber, so large amounts can cause stomach upset.

What I love about chia seeds is that you don't have to do anything to them.  Once you put them in a liquid, they become gelatinous and are similar to tapioca.  Remember the chia pets?  The chia seeds are what grows the "hair" on the chia pets!  Crazy huh?  I used to always want a chia pet but I've actually had one, but I always see them in the stores.   They somehow always end up as gag holiday gifts right?  

Anyway if you haven't tried chia seeds, you should go out and buy some now.  I got mine at Trader Joe's, but you can get them at Whole Foods,  online at Amazon or probably any health food store.  Enjoy!


Coconut Chia Pudding

Ingredients
1 cup coconut milk
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup agave or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla


Directions

In a small bowl or container (I used a mason jar), combine all ingredients.  
 
Stir well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours.  


Serve cold, enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Freezer Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken


This Freezer Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken is the last recipe of the 4 freezer slow cooker meals I made for my brother and sister-in-law.  This is also the third slow cooker honey sesame chicken recipe I've made and I love that it is freezer friendly!  Click to check out my first recipe with chicken thighs and my second recipe with chicken breasts.  You could freeze all the ingredients except the flour and roasted sesame seeds. 

Guess what?   My beautiful niece has finally arrived!  My family is so happy and overjoyed to welcome baby Lily.   The look on my mom's face meeting her first grandchild was priceless.  And it was love at first sight for everyone in our family and she is absolutely adorable!  I know my brother and his wife are going to be great parents and I can't wait to be the fun, cool Auntie!



Freezer Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken 

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons onion, diced
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cayenne red pepper
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, roasted


Directions

In a bowl, mix together honey, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, and seasoning.


Add chicken to sauce.

Place in plastic freezer bags.  Label bags.

Defrost in fridge the night before cooking in slow cooker.  Cook on low 6 to 8 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker.

Whisk 1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch into the sauce in the slow cooker to thicken sauce.  Cover and continue to cook for additional 10-15 minutes.

Add chicken back to the sauce and stir to coat chicken with sauce.

Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.