Tag Archives: lunch

Stir fried spicy noodles with pork and mushrooms

Pasta is a great and easy option for weeknight dinners but that doesn’t mean it is always the best option. It’s easy to make a bit too much and it’s also very tempting to put creamy sauces or heaps of cheese on. So if you’re looking for a weeknight meal that’s easy, cheap and healthy it’s great to have some hokkien noodles in the cupboard. They’re super easy when you want a quick dinner- you don’t even have to cook them and they’re pre-packaged so you can keep track of portions and nutrition info. This is one of my favourite stir fry dishes to make with the noodles. It’s pretty versatile and you can use pork or turkey mince- whatever you have on hand. When you’re cooking the meat with the mushrooms and sauce it will seem like there is a bit too much liquid but once you simmer for a couple minutes and add the hokkien noodles they will soak up the sauce. Hokkien noodles are available at most grocery stores and at Costco you can often get a big box for just a couple dollars.

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Adapted from this recipe
Serves 4

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
4 servings of hokkien noodles
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces lean ground pork
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sriracha
4 lime wedges

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat.

Add pork to pan; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add mushrooms and saute 2 more min or until brown. Add the green onions.

Stir in chopped onion, and salt; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in cornstarch. Gradually add stock; bring to a boil. Stir in soy sauce and sriracha; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the hokkien noodles and stir to combine. (Some hokkien noodles will need to be softened in boiling water- check the instructions on the package). Divide the noodles and and pork mixture among four shallow bowls. Serve with lime wedges.

photo (10)

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Pea and haloumi fritters with tomato salsa

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This is a great meal for lunch or dinner. I made it for lunch one day when I was running low on cash to go grocery shopping and decided to just make something with whatever I could find in the fridge. Luckily I had some frozen peas, a bit of haloumi, some red onion, plus eggs and flour. I’ve done variations of these fritters since- one with zucchini, corn and haloumi which has actually turned Ciaran on to eating haloumi. I never thought I’d see that day. All you really need for these fritters is some eggs and flour to make the base and then your choice of veggies. The haloumi is also essential because other cheeses will melt too much and you’ll have a puddly mess of dairy and veg. If you’re using veggies that you have to chop yourself, basically anything other than peas and corn, make sure you cut the pieces very very small or your fritters will be very ugly and fiddily.

Recipe from Vegie Project

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 10 min
  • Servings: makes 12
  • Difficulty: easy

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 red onion finely diced
30g haloumi cheese finely diced
2 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to shallow fry

Tomato salsa:
2 tomatoes finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1/4 red onion finely diced
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of chilli flakes

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To prepare the tomato salsa just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place the frozen peas in a small saucepan with water and boil them for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the fritters simply combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Drop tablespoons of the fritter mixture into the pan (about 2 tablespoons will make one fritter). Flatten the fritters slightly with a spatula. Cook the bottom side for about 3 minutes until a crust forms, then using a spatula flip the fritters over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Serve with the tomato salsa.

-A

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Caprese salad pasta

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Lots of people have a go to dish when they’re not feeling great. Chicken soup, congee with leftovers, scrambled eggs and toast, anything simple and comforting. You’re not supposed to eat anything dairy or acidic while you’re feeling ill. So this dish isn’t exactly ideal but it still seems to make me feel better. It’s one of my favourite dishes while I’m home too. It takes all of half an hour and five ingredients. A perfect weeknight meal or cozy feel-better dish when you’re sick.

Caprese salad pasta
Serves 5

500g pasta (bowtie or penne)
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
250g mozzarella, diced
3/4 cup basil, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking dice the tomatoes, the mozzarella and the basil. Just after the pasta is done cooking and you’ve drained it return it to the pot and add a drizzle of olive oil and then add the tomato and mozzarella. Mix them in and then let the pot sit with the lid on so the cheese melts and heats through. After about five minutes add the basil and stir through. Serve immediately.

Enjoy,

Allie

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Lighter sesame chicken

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There’s only a handful of food items that I really miss from the States.

Crispy bacon, good bagels with cream cheese, Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee and greasy Chinese food.

You can still get Chinese food here, obviously, but it’s not quite the same. Somehow they don’t really overload it with oil and grease and MSG and all other gross things like in America. Which is probably a good thing. No, definitely a good thing.

There were always certain occasions when I would get Chinese takeout back home. On lazy afternoons at boarding school we used to order delivery and eat our paper cartons of shrimp lo mein while sitting out on the grass. In New York City we used to order delivery when we were too lazy to leave the apartment and really didn’t want to have to brave the four floors of stairs in order to eat food. For $10 I usually got a big container of crispy fried rice accompanied by beef and broccoli. Then we’d also get egg rolls, sometimes they’d throw in some steamed dumplings. And at home with my parents Chinese takeout was usually called in when we were too lazy to cook. It would usually be a Sunday night and we’d all move into the television room and unpack all the savoury goodness onto the table, shrimp fried rice, Szechuan dumplings in spicy peanut sauce, steamed pork dumplings, spring rolls, golden nuggets, shrimp lo mein, sesame chicken, shrimp and chicken Thailand style (whatever that was), chow fun. There wasn’t really anything on that menu that I didn’t like, except the hot and sour soup. I was never fan of that one. I definitely miss those nights and more than anything I miss coming home the next day to see the leftovers still in the fridge ready to be made in to the ultimate afternoon snack.

The only real problem with that food is the awful way you feel as soon as you finish. While you’re eating and mopping up the sauce with your extra rice, dipping the spring rolls in that delicious sweet duck sauce, scraping for the last dumpling, you feel divine. And as soon as you’re done you feel the need to lie down and usually down a gallon of water from the sodium overload. That’s probably why we usually ate on the couch at home. But this isn’t the part I think about when I’m missing this breed of strange Chinese-American food, I miss the flavours, the convenience and the excuses we used to order it. Instead of going all out and trying to put myself in a sodium induced coma, I decided to satisfy my cravings with a healthier version. The chicken is lightly sauteed in oil instead of  being deep fried and the sauce isn’t quite as sweet as usual leaving you with a filling, healthy meal. And I was still very excited to see the leftovers in the fridge the next day.

Lighter sesame chicken
From MarthaStewart.com

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed with a garlic press
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into large florets, stems peeled and thinly sliced
  1. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, and fill with 1 inch water; set aside for broccoli. Cook rice according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, make sauce: In a small bowl, combine honey, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and garlic; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites and cornstarch. Add chicken; season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add half the chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until golden and opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and chicken. Return all the chicken to skillet; add reserved sauce and scallions, and toss to coat.
  4. Meanwhile, place saucepan with steamer basket over high heat; bring water to a boil. Add broccoli, and cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve sesame chicken with broccoli and rice.

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Mix together the sesame sauce in a medium bowl.

IMG_5444Whisk together the egg whites and cornstarch.

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Asian noodles with shrimp and edamame

As a self-professed pasta lover, I’ve found it hard to find a suitable replacement now that I’m toning down my carb intake. Rice is definitely not the same, and if you’re eating a bunch of white rice it’s still not very good for you either. I’ve tried hokkien noodles and udon noodles for stir-fries and they’re okay. Now I’ve been experimenting with soba noodles and they seem to be doing the trick.

In some cultures soba just means noodles but usually soba refers to buckwheat noodles. Buckwheat noodles are naturally gluten-free and usually about 98 per cent fat free. Buckwheat is deceptively named, it is related to the rhubarb and doesn’t contain any wheat. As opposed to udon which is a thick wheat noodle. At many shops that sell Asian noodles you will often get the choice between udon and soba, I’m surprised I never previously knew that one contained wheat and the other didn’t. I’ve experimented with soba noodles in the past, once with a peanut sauce and another time with a lime, soy and honey sauce. However, this dish has proved to be the best so far. It is a bit involved so I recommend making a bit more so it will last you for a few meals.

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Asian noodles with shrimp and edamame
From the Food Network
Takes 25 minutes
Serves 4

  • 10 ounces soba (buckwheat) noodles
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (Asian chile sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, plus more for drizzling (optional)
  • 1/2 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or scallions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, adding the edamame during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the noodles and edamame.

Meanwhile, puree the garlic, ginger, Sriracha, 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons water in a blender. Mix the lime juice, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.

Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the shrimp dry and season with salt; add to the pan and cook, turning, until just pink, 2 minutes. Add the Sriracha mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, noodles and edamame, herbs and the reserved cooking water and toss. Divide among bowls and drizzle with more sesame oil.

Per serving: Calories 485; Fat 14 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 86 mg; Sodium 483 mg; Carbohydrate 64 g; Fiber 8 g; Protein 27 g

Enjoy!

Allie

 

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Chicken wraps

Finding yourself stuck when trying to create simple and healthy lunches? One of the easiest things to have in your fridge for these occasions is a rotisserie chicken. Otherwise known as those already cooked big chicken things that come in a hot bag at your grocery store. They’re often found next to the deli in a small heated section. In Sydney, a whole chicken is about $10 so if you buy one at the beginning of the week, shred it up and store it in your fridge in some tupperware, you should get about 6-8 meals out of it depending on how you use it. To shred it simply peel off the skin, or keep it but if we’re going for healthy I recommend ignoring that part, and pick off the white meat in small pieces with your hands. It may take a little while, probably about fifteen minutes, but it will save you time during the week. And as an fyi, the chicken may start to smell a little different after sitting in the fridge than that beautiful roast chicken you brought home. Like a little similar to if your two brothers just ate a bunch of tacos and then got into the car with you and locked all the windows. But it still tastes good! I promise. It will last you about four days. After that the smell may be indicating its need to exit your fridge via the bin. Despite that slightly unappetizing sidenote, you can use rotisserie chicken in sandwiches, wraps, salads, pastas and more. It’s very versatile.

Chicken wrap
Serves 1

1 Spinach tortilla
1/2 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup baby Cos lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat tasty cheese
2 tablespoons salsa

Combine all ingredients in the wrap. Then wrap it up. And eat it.

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Enjoy!

Allie

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Chorizo, haloumi and zucchini skewers

I’m still not really sure how I got away with making this for dinner last night. Basically it is just a combination of all my favourite foods (that I’m still eating at the moment, due to New Year’s resolutions and all that nonsense…) put onto a stick. But Ciaran still went along with it and enjoyed it.

You know why? Because putting food on a stick always makes it awesomer. The only thing I can currently think of that wouldn’t work is cottage cheese. Not sure why that particular ingredient popped into my head, but it was the first thing that I couldn’t imagine eating on a stick.

Take, for example, the gallery I did for my internship at Yahoo!7 Lifestyle ‘Stuck on Stick Foods‘. Within the digital pages of this masterpiece you shall find foodie treasures such as…..(drumroll)

French toast on a stick

Cinnamon buns on a stick

Chocolate moustaches on a stick

Brie and jam tarts on sticks

Mini grilled cheese on a stick

Even pancakes and sausage on a stick

When you think about it, doesn’t corn get better on a stick, doesn’t cotton candy get less sticky and all over your face on a stick (well for most people) and don’t you just sometimes wish you could have your very own giant meatball on a stick? (Yeah, that’s in the gallery as well).

Some of my least favourites would have to be the fried milk on a stick…or possibly even the cake pops but that’s just because I haven’t mastered making those yet. They now sit among my foodie foes, along with omelettes and custard.

The moral of the stick story however, is that you should take your favourite vegetables and cheeses and meats and combine them in a lovely stick party on your plate. I served this with a side of arugula dressed in just a touch of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a bit of shaved parmesan but that last ingredient was purely for flair.

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Chorizo, haloumi and zucchini skewers
Serves 2
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
1 lemon, for juice and rind
180g haloumi cheese, cubed
1 medium size zucchini, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
To serve: 2 cups arugula, squeeze of lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper and sprinkle of parmesan

This recipe can be done either on the barbecue or in a pan over medium heat. Cook the chorizo for 1 minute on each side, remove and set aside. Cook the zucchini for 2 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Thread the chorizo, haloumi and zucchini onto 6 medium or 4 large skewers. Put them into the pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, the garlic and then hold the lemon over the pan and grate a bit of lemon zest over the top of the skewers.

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Hold the lemon over the pan and gently strip off some of the lemon zest with a small cheese or spice grater.

Cook the skewers until the ingredients are golden.

Cook the skewers until the ingredients are golden.

Cook skewers, turning occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chorizo and haloumi are brown and heated through. Serve with arugula salad.


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And if you have leftovers, like I did, simply add some sauteed mushrooms and orzo for a second weeknight meal.

Enjoy!

-A

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