Chow Mein

This year, I’ve tried a new recipe every week. We began meal planning, and oh man. We save so much $$ and so much time and we eat so much better. Some weeks, I don’t have time to make anything new…others, like this week, we’ll try three new recipes. It all evens out in the end. Some day, I’ll get around to sharing all those recipes. Most of them are good.

But, Oh. Em. Gee.

Every once and while you stumble upon a recipe…well that blows your hair back. Changes your life. Makes you happy. Gives you reason to believe that the world has some good in it. Makes you say obscenely dramatic statements about how good it is…all because you are on a high (nutritionally that’s probably accurate).

This is one of those recipes. Who freaking new that making delicious chow mein (the original recipe calls it a Panda Express knockoff) was so freaking easy and so freaking quick and so freaking easy. And I should mention it’s really freaking easy.

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I just…I can’t…the taste….sigh. Just make it.

Panda Express Chow Mein Copycat

Yields 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • (Homespun Haley addition: 1 Tablespoon of toasted sesame oil – takes a slight edge off of the soy sauce…though totally not necessary.)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling water, add Yaki-Soba until loosened, about 1-2 minutes; drain well.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in Yaki-Soba and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

NOTES

*Yaki-Soba is ramen-style noodles and can be found in the refrigerated aisle of your local grocery store.

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coconut-curry chickpea quinoa pineapple burger

Sometimes you just need to sink your teeth into a nice burger. Being a vegetarian (A lifestyle choice, my diet used to consist of Doritos and pasta…when did I eat fruit? I couldn’t answer that) that doesn’t happen. BUT every once and a while you get a reaaaalllyy good veggie burger. One that can win any meat lovers heart. If you like Indian spices, smooth coconut and bursts of warm pineapple…you’ll being making this burger weekly. IMG_9462IMG_9447 IMG_9452 IMG_9453 IMG_9464This burger pairs perfectly with sweet potato fries, your favorite chips, or cold veggies with dip.

I found this great recipe over at cheekykitchen.com. SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

Chickpea Quinoa Pineapple Burger

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo Seasoning (or onion salt)(Haley: I used 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and a dash of salt)
1/4 cup fresh chives or scallions, chopped (Haley: I used a bit of chopped red onion)
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (Haley: I made my own quickly my toasting bread in the oven and chopping in my food processor)
4 slices fresh pineapple
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise or something similar
lime zest
pepper
4  hamburger buns
4 teaspoons butter
lettuce

(Haley: I also added slices of red onion)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the chickpeas, coconut milk, curry, garam masala, adobo seasoning, and garlic powder in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Stir in the chives, Quinoa, and panko crumbs. Form into 4 patties.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the pan with olive oil and a bit of sesame oil. Pan fry patties until golden brown on each side. Then set aside the patties and grill the pineapple until golden brown grill lines appear on each side of the fruit.

Butter the inside halves of the hamburger buns with Earth Balance butter. Bake, buttered sides up, in an oven preheated to 400 degrees until the butter is melted and the buns are toasty.

In a small bowl, stir together the lime zest, pepper, and mayonnaise.

Serve the Chickpea burgers topped with grilled pineapple, your flavored mayonnaise, and a bit of lettuce on top of your burger buns.

Deep Dish Zucchini Pizza

Every summer I’m pulling my hair out trying to find new and creative ways to use up zucch. My lovely sister-in-law sent over this recipe which uses 4 zucchini. That means one of our huge ones, but non-the-less I was grateful for the opportunity to use it up! Turns out this recipe is a total keeper. If you’re dairy sensitive, eh, I’m sorry? It’s the cheese that makes this dish. We make pizza a few times a month. I’ll be making this from now on.

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Deep Dish Zucchini Pizza

Ingredients

4 shredded unpeeled zucchini – wring out water.

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Garlic Powder (to taste)

Italian Seasoning (to taste) (I make italian seasoning like this: two parts basil, two parts oregano, one part thyme, pinch of sage, pinch of garlic powder)

Directions

  1. Combine zucchini with the eggs, Parmesan, mozzarella,  and cheddar cheeses, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Press into greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
  2. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20-40 minutes until set. Meanwhile, prepare your optional ingredients for the pizza.
    1. If you’d like meat: Ground beef, italian sausage, ground turkey, pepperoni, meatballs (primal style), or ham. (Divide a total of 8 -12 oz of meat)
    2. Onions, green pepper, broccoli florets, mushrooms, spinach, red pepper, or pineapple. (Large slices, enough for each layer)
    3. Shredded mozzarella, shredded cheddar, shredded provolone, and/or shredded italian blend. (1/4 cup per layer)
    4. Roma Tomato Slices
  3. Spread tomato slices over the top of the zucchini (use these instead of sauce).
  4. Layer other ingredients in this order: meat, vegetables, cheese,  and sprinkle of garlic powder & italian seasoning.
  5. Make 2 – 4 layers, depending on how deep you want your pizza.
  6. Bake for another 20 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

You’re welcome.

Skinny Egg Salad Wrap

Thank you all for the great shop ideas!! I’ve got a few more clutches and makeup bags in the shop now, but the next thing I’m going to be working on is over-the-shoulder bags. People freaking love those! I haven’t found the right pattern/inspiration yet and I really feel like creating my own design so it might take a few days. But rest assured…it’s coming.

In the meantime, I feel like mentioning…I’ve lost 15 pounds. Woo hoo! I noticed I’d gained weight pretty steadily this last year…and I blame it on blogging. I mean really. I cook up these great recipes to post and then eat it all. I knew the time had come to shed some poundage when my favorite pair of pants literally split in half. Thank GOD it happened while I was at home. You may or may not have noticed that the recipes I’ve been sharing lately are  a little healthier. If you see a recipe posted that doesn’t seem like a “diet” recipe, that’s because: A. It’s a sign of weakness on my part, or B. I had a mini-portion of it. Anyway I’m still working on the shedding and if anyone is interested I can post some things that have been helpful for me during the process.

Here for you now is a terrific egg salad recipe I stumbled upon the other day. It’s a little healthier for you because it doesn’t have mayonnaise. Also, you can do what I did and use the lettuce as the wrap. Or do what my husband did, take the lettuce wrap and throw a tortilla around it. Either way, seriously delicious.

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Skinny Egg Salad Wraps – Makes 3-4 wraps

  • 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 4 hard boiled egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 hard boiled egg whites, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
  • lettuce
  • tortilla or lettuce for wrap

In a medium bowl, mash the avocado. Add the egg yolks and mash together.

Add the salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and blend together.

Stir in the egg whites and the chives.

Lay a piece of lettuce on the wrap. Spoon the avocado egg salad into the wrap. Roll it up and serve with sliced tomatoes. So good!

If you want to take it a step further, leave the tortilla out and roll up in a lettuce wrap!

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Kale Pesto Pasta (Vegan)

I was “stumbling” the other day and was led to a website called Roots and Seeds. I started poking around and was finding the best looking recipes! It was when I came across this one for kale pesto that I stopped what I was doing and made it that night. I’ve made it several times since. I had been waiting impatiently for our kale to grow large enough for this meal, and with all the sun we’ve had lately that happened sooner than I thought!

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The kale in this recipe is only slightly wilted, leaving a lot of the nutrients in the greens. Kale is so freaking good for you it’s not even funny. This recipe is super easy to whip up and with only 8 ingredients it’s surprisingly delicious. If you are not concerned about the whole vegan thing, feel free to add parmesan at the end.

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Kale Pesto Pasta

  • 1 head kale, cleaned with stems removed
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts (I used walnuts)
  • 3 small shallots, peeled
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 package brown rice pasta (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Fusilli)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Directions

In a small frying pan, toast the nuts over low to medium heat, stirring continuously to avoid burning. Remove from heat when nuts are toasted and set aside.

In a sauce pan, boil water and then add the garlic and shallots, boiling them for 3 minutes.

Add the kale and allow to simmer for 10 seconds.

Remove kale, shallots and garlic with a slotted spoon and add to a food processor. (Don’t worry about draining water off the leaves – the excess water will add a needed liquid)

Add nuts, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to the food processor and pulse until smooth.

In the water that was used for boiling kale, garlic and shallots, add the brown rice pasta and cook according to package directions.

Drain and combine with kale pesto.

EAT!

French Toast w/ Homemade Honey Syrup.

Mmmmhhhh…I love me a good breakfast meal. ANY time of the day. French toast is a rarity in our house. And really, I just usually google, “French Toast Recipe” and make the first on the list. Not bothering to fancy it up or pay attention to the process.

However, this particular morning was special. My 11 year old BFF Lexie was sleeping over, and we wanted something spectacularly special to cap off a great weekend. Hence, the fancy french toast.

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I again googled “French Toast”, but spent a little more time looking for something different. Alton Brown’s recipe caught my eye because though the ingredients were simple, they were a little different, with the addition of honey. I also liked his suggestion of draining the bread beforehand and letting the bread sit in a warm oven afterwards. I thought these steps added a crispness that was oh so good.

Last minute I realized I was out of syrup and powdered sugar. Uuuuhhh….so again I googled, “homemade syrup simple” and eventually I was led to a honey syrup. Basically honey mixed with water and sugar. But MAN is it good!

This french toast is really rich. There is no need to add extra butter and the lightly sweet honey syrup was absolutely perfect. All in all this meal made my freaking day. Lexie’s too.

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French Toast:

1 cup half-and-half

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread

4 tablespoons butter

In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before.

When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

Honey Syrup:

Equal parts sugar, water and honey – heated on the stove. I did 1/3 cups worth of each. Stores well in the fridge for later use.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos

I’ve never met someone who doesn’t like Mexican food. I’m sure these strange creatures exist…maybe they are just avoiding me. Who doesn’t like chips and salsa? Cilantro and lime? Blacks beans and rice?!

Preparing your own Mexican meal at home is usually pretty simple. Everyone has a different way of making burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, etc. Often, unless we’re at a restaurant, we’re hard pressed to change it up. This recipe for crispy black bean tacos, while the most simple recipe ever, is SO good that I’m never going back to my old taco ways. My friend Janna who introduced me to this dish, is to be praised forever for it. While she didn’t actually create the recipe, she might as well have, because there is a special VIP place in my heart for those who send me amazing recipes.

So please, please, please throw out your old method of cooking Mexican food for at least ONE night. I cross my heart and swear to die cook you dinner, that you’ll like it!

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Serves 2-3

1 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1/2 t. ground cumin
dash tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper
(Place above items in small bowl, mash partially).

2 t. olive oil
1 T. fresh lime juice
(Mix in medium bowl).

2 c. coleslaw mix
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
(Add to oil and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper).

Sprouted corn tortillas (about 6) – if you don’t need gluten free, regular corn tortillas work fine.
1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese

Heat 3 t. olive oil (or more) in large skillet on med-high heat. Add tortillas in a single layer. Spoon 1/4 of bean mixture onto tortilla, fold in half, cook 1+ minute per side or  until golden brown. Fill/top with feta and slaw mix. Serve with Mexican rice.

This is the Mexican rice recipe that came with the tacos. I didn’t try it, I used stuff I have around, but give it a go and tell me how it is!

Mexican Rice:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 t. taco seasoning
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 jalapeno, green chile, some tobasco sauce or a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth

Directions
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt and cumin.
Stir in onions and cook until tender. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.