No Noodle Pad Thai

Published September 26, 2016 by jenmatteson

 

I had the most perfect bachelorette party. Okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, but it was perfect for me! A handful of my best friends went to one of the girls’ family cabin in seek of some lady fun in the sun. Well, it was 50 degrees and rainy all weekend in the end of July. So, you can imagine we had no fun staying inside. Psych! We had a freakin’ blast! There were games, gifts, girl talk, drinks, dancing, a red flannel serial killer, late nights, drinks, lots of drinks, did I mention drinks? Oh, and best of all, fooooooood! Good food! And, food I didn’t have to cook. Somehow that always tastes betterūüôā

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Why am I telling you a 3 year old story of a bunch of drunken girls that can dance and sing super well¬†;)¬†?¬†Because my friend,¬†that was my introduction to a version of this “Pad Thai”. One of the girls, Kim, made this amazing zucchini noodle Pad Thai that was out of this world! I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t missing the actual noodles, and beside that, the dressing was bomb. She¬†used almond butter, which I prefer in this recipe. Sadly, I don’t keep it on hand at all times, so peanut butter is an adequate sub.

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With the crap-ton of zucchinis I had from my garden¬†this summer (check out the huge one at the top of the picture above!), I just had to make this, and what better time than a wine night with two of the five that were at the bachelorette party. I generally squeeze the excess water from the zucchini because I don’t like how well they stick together afterwards. This time, I didn’t thinking I was using them right away, so the moisture may not water it down too much. It did, so I would certainly suggest using a cheese cloth to get the excess water out. The noodles will be a bit stuck together after, but once you dress them, they’ll loosen up just fine. The dressing brings such a rich, indulgent taste to the dish, but you don’t have to feel guilty because you are getting more than your share of vegetables, and who doesn’t love that!

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No Noodle Pad Thai

Source: Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

1/4 daikon radish, peeled
2 medium carrots, peeled
3 medium zucchini
handful bean sprouts
4 green onions
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
1 lime, cut in wedges for serving

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 tbsp. honey
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 tbsp. water

Directions:

  1. Using a sprializer, mandolin or vegetable peeler, create “noodles” out of the radish, carrots and zucchini (you may want to squeeze the water out of the zucchini using a cheese cloth or other thin kitchen towel, clean – of course). Place in bowl and add bean sprouts,¬†onions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Toss to combine¬†and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, lime juice, tamari or soy sauce, honey, ginger and red pepper flakes. Slowly whisk in warm water to achieve desired consistency (you may not need 3 tbsp., you may need more. Make it how you like it!).
  3. Drizzle dressing over vegetable noodles and toss to combine. Serve with a wedge of lime and garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Lightened Shrimp Jambalaya

Published September 19, 2016 by jenmatteson

Looking for a warming fall meal without all the heaviness? This is the perfect recipe for you! This jambalaya is packed with flavor without all the fat and calories of a traditional jambalaya.

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Sausage is omitted from this version and cannellini beans used to add additional depth and richness. The recipe also calls for farro, which I’ve never used before, believe it or not, instead of rice. It outperforms white and even brown rice, with more protein and more fiber and is packed with a number of vitamins and minerals you can’t get from rice. The original recipe called for raw shrimp, but I make a habit of having frozen cooked shrimp in my freezer, so use what works for you. Overall, this was an awesome dish and perfect for those fall, and even upcoming winter, evenings. I have most everything in my kitchen at all times, so this is a fun #Ijustthrewittogether and #ohiwasntexpectingcompany recipe!

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Lightened Shrimp Jambalaya

Source: Adapted from Hello Healthy
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 stalks celery, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup uncooked farro
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp chili powder
13 oz diced tomatoes, drained
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth (chicken broth would work, too)
1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
30 uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used frozen already cooked shrimp – thawed them and threw them in at the end)
salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil, celery, bell pepper, farro, bay leaves, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and tomatoes. Stir until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and stir until ingredients are combined. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until broth is reduced, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently.
  3. Add beans and shrimp and stir until combined. When shrimp is cooked through, about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Published June 20, 2016 by jenmatteson

When I first started cooking, I watched Food Network A LOT. I stuck to fairly simple recipes, which generally came from only a handful of shows. Semi-Homemade was one of them. The concept of this show was to make a dish using some premade ingredients, but jazzing it up by adding fresh ingredients as well. An example would be making a compound butter by adding a seasoning packet to butter (this would be instead of adding your own seasonings). These cupcakes remind me a lot of Aunt Sandy (you’d get it if you ever watched the show) and Semi-Homemade.

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Salted Caramel Cupcakes

The recipe came from my sister-in-law, who is a fantastic baker and dessert maker – hey that rhymed – not to mention a bad ass wife and mother of two¬†pretty wonderful¬†kids! I fell in love with them from first bite, and the rest of¬†my family raved about them. There aren’t words to describe how beautifully moist (yes, I know, some people hate that word, but¬†guess what, it fits here!)¬†these cupcakes are. I usually don’t like overly sweet, so the bit of saltiness in the frosting is perfect. The cupcake as a whole, a little piece of heaven.

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I’ve made these for my co-workers twice now, and they continue to let me know when their birthdays are so I bring them again.¬†Little do they know (until nowūüėČ ) that these are semi-homemade! Also, the pictures are so bad because I had to take them at my desk because I forgot to take some at home. Ugh.

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Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Source: Adapted from Crazy Little Projects
Servings: 24

Ingredients:

For the cupcake:
1 box Devil’s food cake mix
1 5.9 oz box of instant chocolate pudding
1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt (sour cream will work, too)
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup heavy cream (at room temperature)

For the Caramel Frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
4-6 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup caramel sauce

Directions:

  1. Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cake and pudding mixes, Greek yogurt, vegetable oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined; batter will be very thick.
  2. Scoop batter into paper lined cupcake tins, about 1/2 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until they are cooked through. Set aside and let cool completely.
  3. Caramel Sauce: Familiarize yourself with the instructions for the caramel sauce before beginning – the process moves quickly. Pour sugar into a saucepan and cook over medium heat. As the sugar melts into small rocks, begin to whisk. Continue to whisk as the sugar turns to liquid, until the sugar becomes a deep amber color (or 350 degrees if you have a candy thermometer). Stir in butter. Once this is completely incorporated, add heavy cream and continue to whisk until combined and smooth. Set aside for 10 minutes or so to set up.
  4. Caramel Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, combine all frosting ingredients. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it appears to thin, add more sugar. This tends to be more of a feel and taste type of recipe!
  5. Transfer frosting to a piping bag and frost cupcakes. Drizzle cupcakes with additional caramel sauce and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Brussels Sprout and Cashew Fried Rice

Published June 13, 2016 by jenmatteson

As I mentioned in the last post, there was a recent addition to our family, Milou. I’ve been busy running around with her, and not blogging. Shame on me!

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Just look at that sweet face! I bet you forgive me nowūüėČ Okay, on to the food!

Who doesn’t love fried rice? I certainly do, and so does Nate. The hardest part about making fried rice is the rice. The rice has to be completely cool before using, and leftover rice works the best. Unfortunately, the thought to make rice one day and use it the next rarely occurs to me.

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Brussel’s Sprouts and Cashew Fried Rice

Until…my girlfriend snapchatted me her dinner one night. I immediately responded needing to know what delight she made. She promptly emailed it to me the next day with the recipe. What a friend! Now this is originally a vegetarian dish, but I did add shrimp to up the protein a little. Obviously, feel free to follow the recipe as written, or add whatever protein you like. Tofu would be a good option if you want to keep it veg, too!

I was curious to see how the flavors¬†would come¬†together with the maple syrup added in, but it was a great balance of salty and sweet. I would definitely make this again, and it’s so super simple. Nate also demanded it as he came up for air¬†once while consuming!

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Brussels Sprout and Cashew Fried Rice

Source: Adapted from A Virtual Vegan
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients:

2 tsp oil (I used a mixture of sesame and olive oil)
2 heaping cups halved Brussels sprouts
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup (honey or agave can be substituted)
2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled (leftover is best)
1/4 cup cashews

Directions:

  1. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add Brussels sprouts an saute until just tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is just beginning to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add soy and maple syrup and stir to coat vegetables. Add rice and cashews and continue cooking for another few minutes until rice is hot.

Thai Garden Chicken Wonton Broth Bowl

Published April 18, 2016 by jenmatteson

I haven’t been to Panera in a long time. A really long time. Until recently. And I noticed their menu has changed quite a bit. They seem to have a bit more global flavors than I remember, and I really like the change!

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Granted, they aren’t too far out there, as I can understand they want to continue to appeal to the general public, but some new fun items none the less. The Thai Garden Chicken Wonton Broth Bowl (not sure why it just can’t be called¬†soup) really caught my eye. And, I loved it! And of course, I thought how hard could it be to make it at home?

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The hardest part of this broth bowl was making the wontons. And really, it wasn’t hard at all, it was just really tedious. The recipe called for a pound of ground chicken, but seeing as though a little goes a long way, I only¬† used 1/2 pound, and it still made about¬†25 wontons. Another great option is to use frozen pre-made wontons. Costco actually has some pretty good chicken wontons. Because I made a large pot¬†for just the two of us, the only thing I would have done differently next time is add only the wontons I intend to eat that day. The wonton wrapper itself started to fall apart by day 3 from sitting in the liquid so long.¬†I would keep the others uncooked and wrapped up to throw in when I heat up the soup. Overall, I really liked it.¬†Nate¬†was kind enough to let me know that I can make that¬†any time I want…meaning he really liked it, too!

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Thai Garden Chicken Wonton Broth Bowl

Source: Adapted from Spark People
Servings: 8

Ingredients

1/2 pound extra lean ground chicken
1 tbsp. dried minced onion (I subbed 1/4 of a fresh onion, diced finely)
4 cloves garlic, minced, separated
1 tbsp. Ponzu sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp plus 2 tbsp. ginger root, grated, separated
1/2 tsp. seasoned rice vinegar
48 wonton or pot sticker wrappers
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cup water
3 medium carrots, julienned
4 oz. Portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 crowns broccoli, cut into medium florets
2 tbsp. Miso
2 tsp. sweet red chili sauce
3 green onions, rough chopped
1 cup Napa cabbage, rough chopped
sesame seeds, toasted

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, Ponzu, sesame oil, 2 tsp ginger, and vinegar. Scoop one tablespoon of chicken mixture on wonton wrapper. Seal edges with water and set aside.

2. In large soup pot or Dutch oven, bring chicken broth and water to a boil. Add carrots and continue to boil for 3-5 minutes.

3. Lightly sauté 2 tbsp. ginger, remaining garlic and add mushrooms, about 5 minutes until mushrooms are soft and fragrant. Add mushrooms, broccoli, miso and sweet chili sauce. After simmering 10 minutes, add green onion, cabbage and wontons. Cook wontons until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Serve and garnish with sesame seeds.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Published April 11, 2016 by jenmatteson

Over the weekend, we went to my parent’s house to visit our new puppy, Milou. Isn’t she precious?

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She’ll be coming to her new home in mid-May, so in the mean time, we’ll keep visiting when we can. The benefit of visiting her is that we get to spend time with my parents. This generally means playing cards and having a few cocktails. Always a great time!

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Since we went over for dinner, I wanted to bring a dessert to share. Thankfully, my freezer holds many treasures, two of them being strawberries and rhubarb. We can never seem to go through one of the big tubs from Costco, but the price is basically the same for the larger container as it is at the regular grocery store, so why wouldn’t I buy it from Costco?Because¬†it’s wasteful?¬†Nope. I just freeze the extras so I can use them for times like these.

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You can also easily make this in on 8″x 8″ pan if you don’t want to use individual ramekins. My mom absolutely loved these. She had two in one night!¬†While it seems like a large rhubarb to strawberry ratio, the strawberries and sugar make the dessert a perfect balance of sweet and tart.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Source: Adapted from Food Network
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3/4 slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 stick butter, cold and cubed

6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup roughly chopped strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

heavy whipping cream
confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse the almonds until finely ground.  Add flour, sugar and salt.  Pulse until incorporated.  Add butter and pulse until butter is dispersed in walnut-sized pieces throughout.  Set aside.

2. Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl.  Evenly divide among 4 4-inch ramekins.  Sprinkle about 2 tbsp. of almond crumble over each and place in oven.  Bake until filling bubbles and the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine heaving whipping cream and confectioners sugar and whisk until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Top each ramekin with a dollop of cream and serve.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Published March 28, 2016 by jenmatteson

I love sweet potatoes. While they seem to be more of a fall/winter vegetable, I can eat them all year long. As a matter of fact, this recipe is wonderful to make in the summertime while you are grilling. Throw everything together and in the oven, and forget about it for about an hour. All you have to do is watch the meat and make sure you have a fresh drink!What more could you ask for?

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The brown sugar adds just a hint of sweetness to these potatoes, while the fennel pulls it all together with a pop of freshness, especially using the green tops. This is great for entertaining, or making it on Sunday for a week-long reheatable side dish.

Pan Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pan-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Fennel

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 10

Ingredients:

4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 fennel bulbs, halfed lengthwise and cut into 3/4-inch wedges, some of the feathery tops finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground mace
salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes and fennel with olive oil, brown sugar, mace, salt and pepper.

2. Spread the vegetables on a foil lined baking pan. Roast for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes and fennel are tender and caramelized. Transfer them to a platter, sprinkle with t he fennel tops and serve.

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