Tag Archives: meal

Pork kebabs with cold peanut-sesame noodles

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This ‘Asian cookout’ style meal is great for summer. The pork definitely has a kick from the sriracha but it’s also got a great sweet balance from the soy sauce and brown sugar. The noodles are really easy as well- all you have to do is cook the noodles, slice up the carrot and cilantro and the rest is the addition of the sesame-peanut sauce. They keep well and are served cold so they’re perfect for leftovers. Unfortunately I was still recovering from wisdom teeth surgery when I made this meal and it took a whole lot of restraint not to chow down on the pork kebabs. This can be a great weeknight dish if you make the noodles ahead of time- otherwise it’s a great dish to have outside on the weekend with a cold, crisp bottle of white wine.

Spicy pork kebabs
Serves 4
Recipe from: Domesticate-Me 

Ingredients:
1½ lbs pork tenderloin, sliced into ½ inch rounds
Bamboo or metal skewers (if using bamboo soak them in 20 minutes before cooking)
For the marinade:
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
For garnish: (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Preparing your spicy pork skewers:
-Start by mixing all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl. Set the marinade aside while you prepare your skewers.
-Slice your pork tenderloin into ½ inch rounds. Thread the rounds onto the skewers.
-Place the skewers in a large Ziploc bag (or a shallow baking dish) and pour the marinade over them. Refrigerate for at least an hour. The longer you can marinate, the better.
-Remove your skewers from the Ziploc bag and place them on a lightly oiled grill or grill pan. Grill for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Cold peanut-sesame noodles
Serves 6
Recipe from Food Network
Ingredients:
Kosher salt
12 ounces flat Chinese egg noodles
3/4 cup strong brewed green tea
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup roasted peanut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for topping
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 small clove garlic
2 carrots, finely grated
Chopped fresh cilantro and peanuts, for topping
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, then drain.Meanwhile, make the sauce: Combine the green tea, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and peanut oil in a blender. Add the sesame seeds, chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth.

Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce and carrots in a large bowl. Chill about 1 hour. Top with cilantro, peanuts and more sesame seeds.
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Spinach, chicken and pecorino risoni

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Working in a bar/restaurant means nights with late hours, dinner at odd times and much less time to cook. Sometimes I’ll be super organized and cook something for lunch and bring extras to have after my shift, other times I’ll grab one of the $5 special meals on my way to work and eat before I start. And other times there may be a sneaky trip to Maccas or Pie Face.

One of the other challenges with working in hospitality is that when I do get a chance to cook, sometimes I go a little bit overboard. Sunday night dinners at Ciarans parent’s house tend to be one of those times. In the past I’ve made chicken schnitzel with mash and creamy jaeger sauce, meaty lasagna, beer braised chicken, a lot of heavy meals. So this time I was gently instructed, no red meat and no cream. Which actually wasn’t too much of a challenge. Delicious dinners definitely don’t need a bunch of cream or butter to taste great. I remembered this dish from a small dinner party my mum held ages ago and spent a while tracking down the recipe. It’s simple, fresh and keeps well for leftovers. The tomatoes may not keep as well, but they’re a fancy little accompaniment for a nice sit down dinner.

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Chicken, spinach and pecorino risoni

Serves 4

200g cooked warm risoni

400g shredded bbq chicken

1/2 cup finely grated percorino (also known as romano)

50g shredded baby spinach

1/2 cup basil leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of crushed garlic

Cook risoni and set aside in a warm pan. Shred a store bought bbq chicken. Add the chicken, pecorino, spinach and basil to the risoni. In a separate bowl combine the lemon juice, oil and garlic and toss through the pasta. Serve warm.

Recipe from Donna Hay Magazine

Tomatoes roasted with pesto

2 to 2 1/2 pounds large red tomatoes

3 tablespoons good olive oil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup pesto (store bought or home made)

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Core the tomatoes and then slice them across (not through the stem) arrange on a sheet pan.  Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil and sprinkle with the oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper.

Bake the tomatoes for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, spread each slice with the pesto, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.  Return the tomatoes to the oven and continue baking for 7 to 10 minutes, until the parmesan cheese is melted and begins to brown. Using a flat metal spatula, put the tomatoes on a serving platter, sprinkle with extra salt, and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

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Spicy pork and mushroom noodles

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.

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‘Mexican’ quesadillas

Following the excellent advice of comedian Jim Gaffigan, instead of giving these a more descriptive name, I think Mexican quesadillas works well.

“My favorite food is Mexican food, I used to be a waiter in a Mexican restaurant in Indiana. Now that’s where you go for Mexican.

Mexican food’s great, but it’s essentially all the same ingredients, so there’s a way you’d have to deal with all these stupid questions. “What is nachos?” “…Nachos? It’s tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Oh, well then what is a burrito?” “Tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Well then what is a tostada?” “Tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Well then what i-” “Look, it’s all the same shit! Why don’t you say a spanish word and I’ll bring you something.”

Mexican food is great, but it is all the same, it’s almost a conspiracy. It’s almost like they had a meeting 200 years ago in Mexico City and one guy stood up and he was like, “Hey, the reason I got everyone here is pretty simple, I figured we could rename this one entree seven times and sell it to the North Americans. The French said it would be a good idea.” “Who’s in on it?” Then some guy in the back was like, “Wouldn’t that be dishonest?” “Well, if you’re quiet we’ll name one of the entrees after you, what’s your name?” “My name’s Chimichanga.”

-Jim Gaffigan

http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/pymif1/comedy-central-presents-bottled-water

Love that guy.

This is a super simple dish that can be made as a wrap or as a quesadilla. I recommend having it as a wrap if you want to bring it with you to work or uni since it’ll be fresh and if you’re staying at home, toss it in a frying pan and make it into a quesadilla. This recipe is for one but you can easily double, or triple it.

Mexican quesadilla:

Tortillas (I used sun-dried tomato flavour)
1 can Mexe-beans, (though you’ll only use a few tablespoons)
1/4 cup tasty cheese
1/3 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
Cos lettuce, chopped

You can also add ingredients like sour cream, tomatoes or meat but I chose to keep it super simple.

Place all the ingredients in the tortilla, either roll it up like a burrito or fold the tortilla in half, warm up in a frying pan and enjoy as a quesadilla.

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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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Caprese salad pasta

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.

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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.

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