Sesame Ginger Soba Noodles

Last week, I went down to Marshfield to hang out with my sister, and babysit my niece Maggie, and nephew James. We played outside on the swing set, ran around the yard,  played hokey pokey in the sprinkler, laid on the hammock, and talked about our favorite things. Favorite colors, favorite animals, favorite songs, favorite movies, and of course – favorite food. If you were to ask Maggie any day, anytime “what would you like to eat”, chances are it will be met with a very enthusiastic “NOODLES!”. I don’t know why, but it makes me laugh every time. If she could eat noodles for every meal, she would be the happiest girl in the world.

As I mentioned in the Spaghetti squash post, I too have a love for noodles. Perhaps not as strong as Maggie’s, but it’s still there.  So this week, I decided to make one of my favorite noodle dishes, Sesame Ginger Soba Noodle Salad. You can really put anything on this, but I kept it pretty simple with just veggies.

In my opinion, it’s the perfect summer salad.  Not only is it packed with healthy veggies and ingredients, but it is so easy to make, there is essentially NO way to mess this one up.  My favorite recipes are brainless ones.  My one goal when cooking is: DO NOT BURN DOWN THE HOUSE.  If I have a home at the end of the night, I have succeeded in my cooking goals. Also, I don’t want to use 30 bowls and utensils, and pots and pans, MAKE the clean-up easy.  Especially as we head into the hotter temps – nobody wants to be sweating over the sink cleaning pots and pans.

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SESAME SOBA NOODLE SALAD
*makes plenty for leftovers

INGREDIENTS:
2 bunches Soba Noodles (I use KAME brand – it comes with two packages inside.  I use both so I have leftovers!)
2c. thinly sliced Shiitake mushrooms
3 Baby bok choy
½ c. edamame
1c. Snow Peas (give or take)
1c. Shredded carrots
3 scallions finely chopped
2 medium Garlic cloves
¼ c. Sesame Seeds
Olive Oil

Sauce:
¼ c. Reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2T Toasted sesame oil
3T Rice Vinegar
1T Honey
2t Freshly grated ginger
1t Chili garlic sauce or Sriracha

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the dressing, whisk to combine all ingredients, and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to package directions, and set aside until veggies are done.
  3. Add 1-2T Olive oil to pan, and sautée garlic until aromatic, then add mushrooms, peas, carrots, base of scallions (leave the darker greens for garnish), and bok choy. Stir occasionally, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften, and bok choy leaves begin to wilt just slightly.
  4. Add the noodles to the pan of veggies, and add 3/4 of dressing to the pan. Stir to combine ingredients, and let simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until the sauce has cooked into the rest of the dish.  Add the edamame and cook for one additional minute.
  5.  Transfer to large bowl, add the remaining dressing and sesame seeds, stir to combine.

This dish can be served, hot, room temp or cold…so really there is no BAD way to eat these noodles.

Shaved Brussels & Kale Salad

It’s around this time of the year, when Spring weather is JUUUUST around the corner, but it is the longest corner ever…when I crave a big salad (and warm weather, maybe a beach, and some kind of drink with a little umbrella in it).  My current salad obsession is adding shaved brussels sprouts mixed in with the greens for my salad.  Today’s salad combines these with chopped kale, and keeps it super simple for the rest.  I had this plain, but adding grilled chicken, some shrimp, fish, crumbled bacon (for one particular person who squinched her face at the idea of a salad of Brussels sprouts and kale….you know who you are).  I found this recipe on Lasting Ingredient, but made a couple simple adjustments and changed up the dressing.  Another bonus of this recipe?? It’s another one of those “you-might-have-all-the-ingredients-already” kind of recipes! IMG_3647

INGREDIENTS:
1c. Kale – chopped
2lbs Brussels sprouts – shaved thinly with mandolin, food processor (with slicing disc) or just finely slice with knife (which is what I did since I don’t have either of the other options 😉
1/2 Small red onion – thinly sliced
1/4c. Walnuts – roughly chopped
1/3c. Pecorino Cheese – I used shaved, but grated would probably work best!

DRESSING:
1/2t. finely grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1t. Dijon Mustard
1/4t. Salt
1/4c. Olive Oil
1/2t. Dried Oregano
Black Pepper to taste
1 Medium Garlic clove – minced (I lightly sautéed mine to soften the flavor a bit – just until aromatic) **Garlic is optional

DIRECTIONS:

  • For the dressing – lightly sautée the garlic in a little of the olive oil until just aromatic. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, dijon mustard, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and oregano,  stir in the garlic, then slowly whisk in the rest of the olive oil.
  • In the same pan, VERY quickly (only about 1 minute, sautée the kale and red onion – this is optional, but I like to soften it up JUST a bit, but this is just personal preference.
  • In a large bowl, add the shaved brussels sprouts, kale, red onion, pecorino, walnuts, and toss with the dressing.

Simple, delicious, and quick!

What would you add to your salad??  Or would you keep it as is?

Crunchy Veggie Quinoa Salad

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This week, I found myself in an interesting situation.  I prepped for a completely different meal to post about (and it WILL be posted someday), cooked it, and something seemed a bit off with the oven.  So…after my friendly Eversource guy came through, I am currently not able to use my stove, and will hopefully be back to cooking soon once I have a new oven!!

But, as I brought up to my nutrition group, these are the kind of situations that can sometimes throw people off their healthy eating/diet/nutrition plans.  What happens when you all of a sudden cannot cook? When the pans you had for your meals this week are now not possible? When the microwave is your only source of heating up food?  Well, you scrap the plans you had, and figure out something else.

So, we are in for another vegetarian meal this week, and I am not complaining at all!! I first found this recipe on a site called AvocadoPesto.com, made just a couple modifications to it, and here we have an amazing quinoa salad (never cooked quinoa in the microwave before…who really needs a stove anyway?)

Can you please for a moment appreciate all gorgeous color???  Okay.  Moving on.  One of the modifications I made to the recipe on AvocadoPesto, is I doubled it…because after just looking at it online I already knew I would want more than a couple servings.

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This can be used as a meat-free dish, but to be honest, I would love some grilled chicken mixed in here!  While this does take a bit more prep time (lots of chopping), I don’t mind, because the end result is fresh and crunchy and absolutely delicious. PLUS…it’s basically a two bowl dish – one for the quinoa, one for the dressing, so my only clean-was the two bowls, a knife and the cutting board.  Doesn’t get easier than that!

INGREDIENTS:
yields about 4-5c. quinoa salad…so a lot.  
1c. Broccoli finely chopped
2c. Quinoa cooked according to package instructions
3/4 small red onion, diced (raw or very lightly sautéed – use your personal preference)
1/2c. Carrots, grated
1.5 Handful Cilantro, chopped
1/2c. Chopped Green Onions
1/4c. Slivered Almonds (original recipe called for peanuts which would be yummy too!)

DRESSING:
1 Lime – juice & zest (+ more juice to taste)
2t Sesame Seeds
2T Guten Free Tamari
2T Sesame Oil
2T Rice Vinegar
3 cloves garlic. minced, and very lightly sautéed
1 inch piece of Ginger, minced – add this bit by bit to taste – a little bit goes a long way.
1T honey (optional: I added this because I only had a little ginger – sweetened it up a bit)

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Directions:
1. In large mixing bowl, combine quinoa, raw broccoli, red onion, carrots, cilantro, green onion, almonds, and gently mix it up until it’s all combined.

2. In small bowl whisk together all ingredients for dressing

3.  Pour dressing over quinoa salad, and serve warm!  (I’m pretty sure it will also be delicious cold!)

4. Store any leftovers in an airtight container, or even better, divide it up into small containers to bring to work with you for lunch!

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Enjoy!

 

 

SUPER SALAD

I was on my way to meet up with my sister for a picnic, and realized I should probably bring some food.  But being a single gal with a single guy’s fridge, and about 15 minutes until her arrival, I ran to the market to hopefully grab some stuff from the pre-made salad section (I know…shudder) for me and my vegetarian (meaning: no hotdogs or burgers allowed) sister.  Scanning their selection, I ordered some greek salad, an interesting bean salad, and a kale salad, which looked the most promising, but since it was from the Star Market deli, I wasn’t getting my hopes up.

I know, I know – I am not one for any pre-made anything from Star Market, but I figured you can’t go wrong with a few salads, and to my complete surprise, the kale salad was actually not bad!  There were a few things I wished were a bit different, the dressing, the toppings, etc…but the general idea?  Hell yeah I liked it!  So while the recipe below isn’t exactly the Star Market exact recipe, I think it may be a bit better, a bit healthier, and definitely fresher.  I usually make enough of this to last a couple days, putting the dressing on the whole salad at once so the flavors all absorb together over a day or so.

This has quickly become one of my favorite salads as it is bright, and full of flavor, and I know that each time I eat it I am refueling my body with everything my body needs to keep these workouts on track!

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INGREDIENTS:

There aren’t really any set measurements for this – it’s a salad – no need to measure here…you can’t really do this wrong.  I like to go a little heavy on the blueberries & almonds, and a little light on the craisins, but that’s just me!

Kale – spines removed and chopped to your preference – I like it in super small bites
Broccoli Slaw – I cheat on this – one time I made it from scratch, but it took way too much time and caused a MESS – then I saw that they sold it in the market in a bag – it’s shaved broccoli, red cabbage and carrots, and it’s ready to go for you. I will sometimes lightly sautee this and let it come back to room temp prior to putting it in the salad as sometimes the broccoli tends to be a bit rough for my liking.
Blueberries
Craisins
Sliced Almonds (if making a large salad to store for later, I leave these off and add them each time I serve the salad so they don’t get soggy from the dressing)

Optional Additions:

Avocado:  as if this is ever REALLY optional…
Chicken, Steak, etc…I tried it once with fish…but it is a little too much to be paired with a light fish in my opinion – needs the heartiness of some meat to be an equal match on the plate.

 

Dressing: Shallot/White Wine Vinaigrette

2T White Wine Vinegar
2t dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste (about ½ t)
1 minced shallot
gradually whisk in ⅓ – ½ c olive oil

As with any dressing – doubling it is super easy.  I like to make mine in a mason jar so I can just shake it up instead of dealing with a whisk (anything to save on some dishes), and that way if you make a ton extra, you can just store it right in the jar for next time!
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