Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

It seems our Lockdown staple of ramen noodles isn’t going anywhere any time soon. DH and I are both still craving comfort, and I’m still on the war path when it comes to wasting ingredients and clearing the pantry – so we are having some mish-mashed meals as of late.

Which is all fine, provided I can continue to find ways to add at least a little nutritional value to dinner. Some sort of vegetable.

This dish elevates some pantry staples admirably, adding two sources of protein (if you add meat), and a veggie that can also serve as a freezer cleaner.

A note on ramen: I used pot noodles (aka cup o’ noodles) for this recipe. We are loving the Korean brand Budok lately – the base flavoring I went with was chicken cheese, but this would be great with pretty much any base flavor. Mushroom, chicken, chili chicken, shrimp, curry – all would be delicious.

vegetarian and vegan if you don’t add meat, gluten-free with substitutions

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

1 pot instant ramen per person (any flavor will do, or sub rice noodles for gluten free – a little chicken or veggie bouillon would add some nice flavor if you are not using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used a low sugar variety)

1/4 c. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. honey (sub agave for vegan)

2 small scallions, sliced thinly

Frozen spinach

Optional: leftover ground chicken or beef, soft boiled egg, fish cakes, leftover fried tofu, or other additional protein source

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil and honey in a small pot over low heat. Simmer, stirring, until well combined and beginning to thicken. If your heat is too high and this mixture dries out too much like mine did, add a Tablespoon or two of water, stir quickly to combine, and move off the heat for a second or so to cool down a bit.

While the sauce is working, add frozen spinach to the noodle pots and fill with boiling water. Let sit 3 minutes and drain.

Add the noodles to the pot with the sauce, along with scallions, any additional protein sources, and the seasoning packet. Stir well to combine and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Roasted Potatoes with Avocado Dill Sauce

This recipe as written, I realize, may not be accessible to anyone who does not share my love of grabbing interesting looking ingredients from the Asian aisle and chucking them in whatever looks good.

If you’re still curious to see what this tastes like and don’t share that predilection, an approximation can most likely be made by combining lemon juice, a hint of pomegranate molasses and a hint of rotel green chilis.

I served this plain for dinner (DH added rotisserie chicken to his), and with chili tuna for lunch the next day. Both plain and with some added tuna were good; if you want a little more nutrition with your dinner, broccoli would be great here. Maybe a bit of sesame seed for a little more fat.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Potatoes with Avocado Dill Sauce

Sauce:

1 stalk celery

1 Tbsp. Japanese Yuzu jalapeño sauce

1 Tbsp. Kewpie Yuzu no-oil dressing

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2-3 Tbsp. tahini

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1-2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp. oil of choice

Neutrally seasoned roasted potatoes (I roasted mine in a combo of garlic oil, salt and pepper until browned in a 220C oven ~35 mins)

Chop celery and garlic and add to a blender along with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Whiz. Taste for salt and acid, adding more if necessary. Add a little more water if it’s too thick for your liking. Mine was fine, but your mileage may vary.

Sauce serves 4 – 5; potatoes can adjust to accommodate that number or more

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

This lower-than-it-could be in carbs dish started life as the baby of a Japanese curry recipe and a ramen recipe and snowballed into a straight-up yummy pasta dish. I’m super bummed I only made enough to serve two; this was fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

About a cup chopped pumpkin or butternut squash

2 tsp. white miso paste

Veggie or chicken stock

1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

Olive oil

1 Tbsp. + sesame oil

Curry powder

1 inch peeled fresh ginger, minced

2 scallions, minced

Sesame seeds

Soft egg (optional)

Togarishi (optional)

Kontjac noodles or sushi rice or ramen or udon or zoodles – all would be awesome, though I’ve only tried wide kontjac and rice

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Peel and chop the pumpkin into smallish pieces. Add to a prepared baking sheet, lash with oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss. Bake about 40 minutes or until browned in spots and soft.

Let cool for a beat, and then add to a blender with the miso, red chili flakes, 2 tsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. curry powder, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and 1/2 a cup of stock. Blitz, adding more stock if needed to get smooth. I used about a cup in this stage.

In a saucepan or tall-ish sided skillet, add the minced ginger and the white + light green parts of the scallions with 2 tsp. garlic oil. Sauté until the onion is beginning to soften.

Add the blitzed pumpkin and another half cup or so of stock. Let simmer down to the consistency of a thick soup.

Add your drained and rinsed kontjac or whatever curry vehicle you’re feeling, toss, and let simmer a few minutes to combine.

Serve with an optional soft egg, the green parts of the scallions, a little drizzle of sesame oil, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and some togarishi if you want another hit of spice.

Serves 2 but can easily be scaled up

Pantry Clear: Chili Tuna Rice

As you can see from my last post (see pantry clearing post #1), my pantry is all over the map – but the bulk of the ingredients center on Southeast Asia, specifically Japan.

Japanese is a cuisine my DH and I both love and both crave when we either need a little comfort (among other cuisines, tbh) but feel like we need to be a little nice to our bodies and digestive systems.

This dinner is quick, easy, and feels like a healthy hug. If raw egg yolk freaks you out, omit.

Gluten-free

Chili Tuna Rice

1 cup premade sushi rice (1/2 cup short grain rice cooked in 2 cups water + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and a few grinds salt)

1/2 can chili spiced tuna, drained

2 Tbsp. dried wakame

1 tsp. powder-style chicken bouillon

1/2 cup hot water

1 egg

1/2 tsp. ginger garlic paste

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos

1 tsp. butter

Generous sprinkle toasted sesame seeds

1 green onion, thinly sliced

Set the sushi rice on to cook however you cook rice. While the rice is cooking, boil the 1/2 cup water.

Add the wakame and chicken bouillon to a small bowl and add the boiling water over top. Stir to combine and let sit until the seaweed is reconstituted. Drain loosely when you’re ready to serve and add back into the bowl.

Add the butter, rice, coconut aminos, ginger garlic paste, tuna, and egg yolk. Stir well to combine.

Top with the sesame seeds and green onions and serve.

Serves 1 for dinner

Crispy Miso Tofu Bowl

This is a great little choose-your-own-adventure dinner that’s perfect for batch cooking – or a party.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Crispy Miso Tofu Bowl

1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tsp. honey or agave
2 tsp. date molasses
2 Tbsp. sriracha
3 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 tsp. white miso
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
3-4 big handfuls baby spinach
2 c. sautéed green beans, chopped
1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, minced
Nori, snipped into small strips
Furikake
Toasted sesame seeds
Togarishi spice or red pepper flakes
Sushi rice (short grain rice cooked with 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and salt)

First, place paper towels or a tea towel over your tofu and press with a plate or something heavy about 30 minutes to remove all the water.

Prepare your oven to 200C/375F. Line a baking sheet with paper or a silicone pad.

Make a sauce by whisking the sweetener, molasses, soy, sriracha and miso.

Slice the tofu into small squares, and fold 2 Tbsp. sauce into the tofu carefully – making sure not to break the squares up. Dust with pepper & cornstarch and toss.

Dump out into the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake 10 mins, flip, and bake an additional 10 to crisp.

Sautée the spinach with the garlic and ginger and add the green beans to warm through. Add the rest of the sauce and toss to coat.

To assemble, place rice in a bowl, add the tofu and veggie mix. Top with furikake, nori, sesame seeds, togarishi, pickled ginger and green onion.

Serves 4

Chicken Katsu Curry

Ooh, this is a good one. Not *quite* like the katsu from my regular takeout spot, but not far off. Add a dash of pumpkin purée and some white pepper, and it’s there. Delicious.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Chicken Katsu

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

40 grinds salt

Generous amount black pepper

1/4 cup flour

2 eggs

2 cups panko

Curry

1/4 cup neutral oil

1 yellow onion

1 medium carrot

1 inch ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

Katsu Sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. oyster sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Add a silicone liner or tinfoil to a baking tray and set aside.

Lay your chicken breasts in a single layer between 2 sheets of baking paper and pound to 1/2 inch thick.

Set up a breading station by placing shallow bowls or plates of flour seasoned with salt & pepper, beaten egg, and panko in a row. Coat the chicken with the flour mix, then dunk in the egg, and dredge in panko. Put on the prepared baking sheet and let stand 10 mins to rest.

Bake 10 mins, flip and bake an additional 10 mins.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the onion and carrot. Add the oil to a large pan and set over medium-high. When the oil comes up to temperature, add the onion and carrot and sautée, stirring frequently, until softened.

While that is working, chop the ginger and garlic. Add to the pan and sautée another few minutes.

Whisk in the flour and curry powder to combine.

Whisk in the chicken stock, soy sauce and honey.

Simmer, stirring frequently, 15 – 20 minutes or until reduced by about half.

Let cool and blend.

For the Katsu sauce, whisk together the ketchup, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbsp. honey.

Serve with a bowl of sushi rice. Makes enough for 4.

Dashi Chicken & Rice

The directive for this week was simple: chicken & rice. DH said he didn’t care what nationality and what fanciness happened on top, just that he was craving chicken & rice.

IMHO, this was a bang-up week for dinners, yielding two that I can’t wait to share with you guys.

This is a quick weeknight dinner, and can be changed up easily by tossing in a handful of green leafies or something orange.

gluten-free

Dashi Chicken & Rice

1 – 1.5 lb. boneless skinless chicken (I used a mix of thighs and breasts)

1 yellow onion

2/3 cups dashi stock (I used instant granules)

2 tsp. rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 – 1 cup cooked short grain rice per person

1 scallion

1 egg per person

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

Salt & pepper

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add to your largest skillet, which has been brought to temperature over medium-high heat with 2 Tbsp. neutral oil added.

Sautée until white. Hit with salt & pepper.

While the chicken is working, halve and thinly slice the onion. Toss in when ready. Continue sauteeing until the onion is softened.

Add the dashi, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar.

Kick the heat down to medium and sautee until the chicken is cooked through.

Portion out, leaving a single serving in the pan. Crack in an egg and whisk lightly with a chopstick.

Let cook until set, and turn out over your bowl of rice. Serve topped with a liberal sprinkle of green onion.

Easy Japanese-Style Chicken Zoodles

This is an easy, FODMAP-friendly, low calorie and carb dinner for nights when you don’t want to be bothered and/or have macros to hit.

Gluten-free (check your labels), FODMAP, keto (especially if you increase the fat), could be Paleo if you use coconut aminos, but that will be higher FODMAPs

Easy Japanese-Style Chicken Zoodles

1 large zucchini, spiraled into zoodles

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari (coconut aminos will be higher in FODMAPs)

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the sesame oil. When it starts to shimmer, add the zoodles and stir-fry until just beginning to soften. Add the soy sauce and continue cooking until the zoodles are to your liking. I like mine still a bit toothsome (or at least not mushy).

While that’s working, whisk together:

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1.5 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

Juice of 1 lime

Pinch of red pepper flakes

When the zoodles are ready, add to the sauce and top with 4 ounces shredded poached chicken and 1 tsp. sesame seeds per serving.

Serves 2 as a light dinner

Macros per serving (assuming your zoodles come out to 1 cup and you use standard soy sauce):

345 Calories

36.6g Protein

6.6g Net carbs

16.9g Fat

Quick Japanese-ish Bowl

This was supposed to be something complicated involving roasted spaghetti squash and dashi broth with mushrooms, but the day and availability of spaghetti squash at the grocery store conspired against that plan.

So, I went quick and easy – still in the vein of the Japanese I’ve been craving (can you tell I’ve been on an Asian kick lately?) and something I could prepare one-handed while I cradled a pup whose belly wasn’t feeling the best (Princess decided to try mulch while in the park yesterday).

Vegetarian option, paleo option, low carb option

Quick Japanese-ish Bowl

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 packet shimeji or other mushrooms
1 small packet shiritaki (aka kontjac) noodles
2-3 tsp. Kenko triple balance onion dressing (https://goo.gl/images/Q3GwQd)
2-3 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos
Optional: leftover ground chicken
Optional: green cabbage noodles, carrot and/or green onions

In a large skillet over medium – high heat, warm the oil.

If you’re adding carrot, add now.

Add the chopped onion and sautée until beginning to brown.

If you’re adding cabbage, add now.

Add the chicken if using and mushrooms – sautée until the mushrooms are beginning to soften.

Drain noodles and add. Cook, stirring, until water has evaporated and everything else is almost where you want it.

Add the sauces and stir; cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Tip with sliced green onions if using.

Serves 1 with a small pack noodles & mushrooms and no additions; stretches to 2 with additions or larger packets

Japanese CYOA Bowls

This is another in my series of Asian-inspired ‘choose your own adventure’ dinners – these seem to be working best for DH’s and my separate nutrition needs and the type of light summer foods we’ve both been craving.

Gluten-free, paleo, Whole30, Keto, vegetarian, vegan

Japanese CYOA Bowls

In the bottom of your bowl, add:

1/2 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 tsp. coconut aminos
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. rice vinegar
Squirt sriracha (optional)

Add your base – like zoodles or rice – and toss.

Top with:

Sliced radish
Sliced nori
Sliced scallions
Shredded rotisserie chicken
Soft boiled egg
Shrimp

Sprinkle on a little furikake or some sesame seeds, serve and enjoy.