Shrimp Lo Mein

More noodles coming your way…

Actually I think it’s quite funny that I made noodles two out of three nights last week and I probably haven’t made a noodle dish in months.  It just so happened that after sending a friend three recipes to choose from and sending Big Guy three shrimp recipes to pick from, they both picked the noodle recipe from the bunch.  At least they were very different – from the protein to the flavor profile, I can honestly say they were totally different dinners.

The only change I made to the shrimp lo mein was to use sugar snap peas instead of broccoli.  This Asian dish comes together in about 35 minutes (and most of the time is spent waiting for the water to boil for the noodles) and is totally customizable.  If your family doesn’t like shrimp – try chicken; if you’re not a fan of ginger – use more garlic.  Make this dinner yours.

The only thing I will beg you to do is make sure to prep ALL ingredients before you start cooking.  Because once you start, there’s no time to dice or chop or measure.


Oh, and I added some freshness on top with some basil confetti.  Totally recommend that, too.

Hope you’re having a great week – and I promise, no more noodles for a while.

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Corn Salsa

For some reason I don’t think to cook with black-eyed peas very often.  To be honest, it’s about once a year – New Year’s Day.  But when I was flipping through the most recent issue of Cooking Light I couldn’t help but want to put these black-eyed pea cakes on the dinner menu.  I think my desire to want and make this dinner was the ability to use some of the veggies and herbs from our garden.

Sweet Corn



The cakes honestly come together in no time and the most time consuming part is the cooking of the cakes.

The black-eyed pea cakes are made by combining black-eyed peas (that were pulsed a few times in the food processor), panko (I used gluten-free breadcrumbs), sliced green onions, salt, cayenne pepper and two lightly beaten eggs.  The mixture is then formed into eight cakes and cooked in a little EVOO for about five minutes on each side.  I cooked mine in two batches and kept the cooked cakes warm in the oven set at 250 degrees.

Once all the cakes were cooked, I prepared the salsa by sautéing the corn in the same skillet that I cooked the cakes.  The corn is then tossed with cherry tomatoes, a little vinegar (I used white wine vinegar), parsley, 1/2 cup black-eyed peas, plus a little salt and pepper.


This dinner was light and I thought that the cakes stayed together very well.  Big Guy and I both adored the corn salsa on top.  So fresh!

Black-eyed peas brings prosperity if you eat them on New Year’s Day…I’m hoping that they bring prosperity no matter when you eat them.

Sweet Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

Good morning, friends!  I finally have a recipe for you.  I haven’t been in the kitchen as much as I’d like to be lately but hopefully I’ll be able to cook a dinner or two next week.

Last night I had a walking then dinner date with a girlfriend.  We’ve decided it needs to be a monthly date.  I was in charge of dinner last night and she was in charge of the wine.  This recipe is not only super fast to pull together but a lot of the ingredients can be prepped in advance.  Yesterday afternoon I cut the chicken into bite size pieces, chopped the green onion and whisked together the sauce.  Once I got to her house all I had to do was boil water (this took the longest!), sauté the chicken, cook the pasta and the broccoli and then mix it all together.

The sauce is a mix of  rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce (or tamari), peanut butter (!!!!), sesame seeds, brown sugar, crushed red pepper and garlic.

I used these noodles which are my go-to for any kind of noodle bowl.  They’re gluten free but don’t fall apart.  I love the flavor and texture – a little nutty.


And while the noodles were awesome and the wine was refreshing, it was the company that I enjoyed the most.

Have a great day!

Asian Marinated Chicken with Corn and Basil Faux-Fried Rice

This is one of those recipes that I’ve been holding onto for years (since September of 2012) and I finally got around to adding it to our dinner menu.  I’ve thought about preparing this dinner multiple times but I wanted to use our homegrown corn and basil so it never was the right time.  Until now.

The recipe doesn’t require a ton of ingredients and the only swap I made was using both boneless and skinless chicken thighs and I also used ginger instead of garlic.  I would have totally used garlic but I forgot to pick some up at the store.  The chicken marinates for two hours before it’s cooked and that’s where so much of the flavor comes from.  The Asian flavors come from soy sauce, mirin (you can find it on the international aisle), and ginger.  The green onions in the marinade also give it lots of fresh flavor.

The chicken is seared on the stovetop for 3 minutes before turning over and then continuing to cook in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 more minutes.  The faux-fried rice is made by boiling your rice for 15 minutes and then draining.  The rice is then sautéed in a little olive oil with more green onions, the corn and a little more soy sauce.  The final addition of basil is perfection and adds so much brightness and flavor.


The chicken was perfectly tender and I loved the pops of corn in each bite of the rice paired with the fresh herbs.


Seared Scallops with Snap Peas and Pancetta

Scallops are not something I typically cook at home.  While I adore them, it can be hard to find scallops that live up to my expectations.  Last week I made a run to Raleigh to pick up some lamb as well as wine and I couldn’t help but grab a pound of the biggest, most tender, wild caught scallops at Whole Foods.

The scallops stole the show in the 5-ingredient show stopper dinner.  The key to good scallops at home is to make sure you don’t overcook them – they will become chewy.

The snap peas are sautéed in a cast iron skillet first before cooking the pancetta and shallots.  The snap peas, pancetta and shallots are then combined before searing the scallops.They only need a minute or so on each side so don’t walk away.  The scallops are served on top of the snap pea mixture – along with a glass of wine.


This dinner was so gorgeous that I couldn’t help opening bottle of Iron Horse Chardonnay to sip alongside the scallops.


Pickle-Brined Chicken Tenders

If you’re a fan of Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches, you’re going to flip over these pickle-brined chicken tenders.  Because that is exactly what they tasted like to me.  Now, if you ask for your chicken sandwich without pickles, I’m rolling my eyes.

Big Guy and I go through quite our fair share of dill pickles.  And at any given moment there are at least 5 jars of something pickled in our fridge.  (Current count:  6)  And I always hate pouring the leftover pickle juice down the drain once the last pickle is eaten.  But now you don’t have to throw away your pickle juice.  Instead, use it as a brine for your chicken.

The chicken is brined for 8 hours and then completely dried off.  Dip it into the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumb-panko mixture (I used gluten-free of both).  Spray with cooking spray or EVOO and bake at 425 degrees (10 minutes on the first side, turn and then 6 more minutes).

The end result is everything.  Crispy chicken tenders that have the faintest pickle flavor.  They are out of this world.


I served the chicken tenders with some sautéed okra from our garden as well as some gorgeous watermelon radishes that I roasted.

I felt like a kid eating chicken tenders (cannot remember the last time I ate tenders) and it made me crave a Chick-fil-A sandwich like WHOA.

Pickles – fan or not?

Collard Green-Quinoa Wraps

After the weekend we had (hello, wine), I could not wait for a nutritious and veggie-filled dinner on Monday.  Collards are known for being tough and fibrous, but when soaked in warm water, they become the perfect swap for a flour tortilla or wrap.

The collards are filled with a Mediterranean-inspired mixture of quinoa, garlic hummus, dill, feta cheese, red onion, olives, plus a little salt and pepper.  The wrap is then finished off with a sprinkling of chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.


You could totally play with the flavor profiles by switching out the flavor of hummus (roasted red pepper would be awesome!), changing up the cheese (mmm, goat cheese) or adding some different herbs (cilantro for a Mexican-inspired wrap).

Collards:  Yay or Nay?