Saturday, January 28, 2012

| peanut noodles: method |

A few years ago, I found an awesome Weight Watchers recipe for super healthy peanut noodles. Over the years, I've tweaked it and it's probably not as healthy anymore, but it is still AWESOME. I'm calling it a method rather than a recipe because you can just put whatever you want in it. It's great for clearing out the fridge at the end of the week. It's also awesome because you probably already have everything you need on hand. Oh, and it comes together in about 20 minutes - no lie.

Here's how you do it:
1) Boil some water and throw in some noodles. I usually use udon or soba noodles, but have used spaghetti in a pinch. It works fine. I usually do about 3 oz of dry noodles per serving.
2) Chop up whatever veggies you want to use. You can use anything, really. Some of my favorites are onions, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, water chestnuts, and mushrooms. I usually use some shelled edamame for protein, but you could also use chicken or pork.
3) Heat up oil in a skillet and saute the veggies with a couple of tablespoons of minced ginger. This is a key ingredient. I keep the tubes of minced ginger in my fridge because I hate to grate it up. Takes forever.
4) While the veggies and pasta are cooking, make the sauce. Here's what you need for 4 servings (12 oz of dry noodles):

  • 1 1/2 cups of hot veggie broth
  • 1/4 c crunchy peanut butter
  • 1-2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T hot sauce (I use Siracha, but Tabasco is fine)
5) After the veggies are done, add the sauce. It will look really runny. Don't worry. 
6) Drain your noodles and stir everything together. Let it rest for a minute and the sauce will thicken.

So delish. Our toddler loves these. If you want it to be really healthy, cut back a bit on the peanut butter and use nonstick spray for the veggies (or just steam them). Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

| salad dressing...no need to buy it |

Here's the story....you really don't need to buy salad dressing. I've been making my own for a good long while, but always got messed up because I couldn't figure out how to make/store it in larger quantities. But then - THEN! - I read in a book by Ellyn Satter that if you use 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 salad dressing oil (you know, like canola or vegetable oil) that you can keep it in the fridge and the oil won't get all hard and weird. So....make some salad dressing! Here's how...

- You want a ratio of 2:1 on the oil and acids. So I usually use 1/3 c olive oil, 1/3 canola oil, and then 1/3 cup acids.
- Acids can be anything like lemon juice, lime juice, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar (any kind of vinegar, dig it?)
- Add salt and pepper
- Add some spices/flavor if you want...fresh herbs, dried onion, dried garlic, cumin, paprika, basil, whatever you love. Parmesan cheese is also a nice add on. So is mustard powder or whole grain mustard.
- Taste it. If it tastes like it "needs something" it probably needs some sweetness. Try a teaspoon of sugar, or honey, or brown sugar, or some orange juice, or agave...or whatever you like that's sweet. Oh, JAM is also great! You can get a tasty raspberry vinaigrette by just adding raspberry preserves.

Put it in a jar and shake it up. Keeps in the fridge. Makes you happy. Saves money. Doesn't have a lot of weird crap in it.