Thai Beef and Basil Noodles with Shiitake Gravy

Well, hello.  I had no intention of disappearing after Thursday but it happened.  And then yesterday Chris hijacked my computer for work after his had to take an emergency overnight trip to California.  We did, however, take full advantage of him not having his work computer and went on an epic walk and planted our herbs.  I even had to breakout the SPF for the first time of 2017 after my shoulders started showing signs of a little sunburn.  All that to say – I’m here and thriving.  I also have an awesome dinner recipe for you that can replace the takeout noodles you picked up last night.

Thai Beef and Basil Noodles with Shiitake Gravy comes together super fast so like any stir-fry, prep all your ingredients before you ever turn on the stove.  Make sure to cook the ground beef over a medium-high heat so that it gets a little crispy on the outside.  Thankfully rice noodles are hard to overcook – simply pour boiling water over them and allow them to soak until tender.  If they get sticky, simply run more hot water over them. Easy peasy.  Bok choy and shiitake mushrooms fill your bowl to the brim with vegetables and if you’re like me and love ‘shrooms, fill free to go a little heavy.  In fact, we doubled the amount of mushrooms because we love them so much.  The fantastic flavor comes from lots of fresh garlic and ginger along with oyster sauce, soy sauce (or tamari) and crushed red pepper flakes.  Finally before serving and after you’ve taken the pot off the heat, add in lots and lots of fresh torn basil.  I adored the freshness that the herb gave the whole bowl of noodles.

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Chopsticks are totally optionally but they totally made eating much more fun.  Seriously scrumptious and we felt as though we had been “transported to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in Manhattan” (direct quote from Big Guy).

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.

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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.

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.

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

Have a great day!

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Good morning and happy Monday to you!  After a glorious weekend with the flamingos, I’m back and ready to tackle the week.

I’ve been spoiled and have seen someone in my family three out of the last four weekends.  And now I don’t really have a date on the calendar to be reunited and I find myself a little homesick.

So last night I was craving comfort food.  You might not know this but tuna noodle casserole is one of my favorite classics from childhood.

It’s warm, cheesy and totally comforting – like a big hug from Mom or Dad.

This version is lightened up from the recipe I grew up eating.  Instead of cream of mushroom soup – a mushroom sauce is made combining milk, chicken stock, onions, flour and lots of mushrooms.

Cheese is added to the sauce so that each and every bite has a little bit of cheese.  Green peas add great texture with little pops of flavor here and there.

Before baking, the casserole is topped with more cheddar and a breadcrumb mixture with parmesan cheese.  A little more cheesiness and a little bit of nuttiness.

Y’all – this turned out way better than I expected and might even be more delicious than what I remember.

Warm.  Comforting.  Cheesy.  And a little crispy around the edges and on top (my favorite bites!).

I opted to go the gluten-free route and used gluten-free brown rice noodles and rice flour.  I also don’t believe in reduced-fat cheese so I used regular sharp cheddar.

If you are in need of a hug, this casserole is for you.

(And if you’re not a fan of tuna – which I know a lot of folks aren’t – you can totally substitute chicken.)

Spicy Sesame Basil Noodles

Hiiiii!!!!  It’s Friday.  And I love Friday.  And while I’d like to think that I’m super productive at work on Friday, I’m often day dreaming of the weekend to come.  Tell me I’m not the only one.

Tonight we’re going ton a date – outside of the house! – and I couldn’t be more excited.  And Saturday is National Mojito Day, so clearly you can guess what I’m doing.

If you said drinking mojitos and cooking up a Cuban spread of food, you’d be correct.  And on Sunday I think a little lounging by the pool would be glorious.

What are you doing?  If you don’t have plans, have a date night without leaving your house!  Make some noodles, curl up on the couch and watch a movie.

That’s what we did last Friday night and it was perfect.

I used to have a vision of myself in my 20s and 30s and it involved living in a big city, ordering takeout and pouring a glass of wine.

I almost felt like I was living that day dream – minus the big city and I totally had to make this myself.  Buuuut I think it’s better than takeout.

These noodles are ALL about the sauce.  Tahini and tamari (or soy sauce) are whisked together with hot chili oil (which, by the way, I could not find at Whole Foods – I know.  I couldn’t believe it either.  I ended up finding a hot pepper oil and it wasn’t spicy at all – so I added Sriracha on top of my noodles), tangy balsamic vinegar and brown sugar.

In addition to the noodles (I used a brown rice noodle), carrots, green onions and basil and finished off with some crunchy peanuts.

As for the movie, we watched Yours, Mine and Ours.  Yes, the one with Lucille Ball.  Love that movie.

And since it was a date night, a bottle of German Reisling to balance the heat.

Cheers!