Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spicy Asian Noodle Salad

Mondays are the one day in my week I make an actual conscious decision to eat healthy. Usually it's because my weekend was an eating spree and we've just gotten groceries.  A fully stocked fridge with delicious goodies always makes my day and gets me motivated to make good home cooked meals!  This sometimes tapers off around fajita Wednesdays at Pappasitos...

Hubby and I both love our vegetables, so we end up buying quite a bit every time we hit up the grocery store. We aren't ones to normally eat a salad as our dinner, and I guess I'm only calling this a salad because it's a bunch of cold vegetables and noodles thrown together with a dressing. We both loved this salad so much.  I used a variety of veggies, coated wheat noodles with a spicy dressing, and then tossed everything together.  We topped it off with a bit of baked tilapia and roasted broccoli. Such a simple weeknight dinner you can feel good about.  I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Budget Bytes.  She has some pretty awesome recipes, along with costs, so you can make great dinners on the cheap!

It's up to you what veggies you want to use and how little or a lot of them you want in your salad, so take away the method of this recipe and cater to your own likes and dislikes when it comes to the salad ingredients.

And yes, we eat with chopsticks.

Spicy Asian Noodle Salad

8 oz. thin wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup shelled edamame, cold
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 cucumber, peeled, diced
3-4 large leaves napa cabbage, sliced thinly
2 carrots, shredded
handful cilantro, chopped roughly
pickled red onions (I already had these, optional)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
Sesame oil, drizzle

Boil noodles until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  The noodles must be completely dry in order for the sauce to stick, so give them a shake every so often as you get your vegetables ready.  I ended up sticking the noodles in the fridge to help along the process, and it worked very well.  You want the noodles to be a little sticky, not wet.

As the noodles are drying, chop, dice, karate chop your veggies and combine them in a bowl.  In a separate small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, Sriracha, and rice wine vinegar.

Once your noodles are ready, throw them in a large bowl, pour in dressing and keep tossing until all the noodles are coated.

Add your veggies and toss to combine. Drizzle with a tiny bit of sesame oil.  Eat with chopsticks for optimal experience.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Ice Cream

I think I may have found something that I love more than Nutella...I can't believe I just said that. But I did.

I discovered COOKIE BUTTER! I've seen it come across food blogs and the occasional food article, and it perked up my ears when someone mentioned it.  Cookie butter is a spread made up of crushed cinnamon and caramel sweet gingerbread cookies with a consistency similar to peanut butter.

I finally made it to Trader Joe's and bought myself a jar. I also bought the cookies. Stop shaking your head! You would have done the same.  All I could think was, I bet these would be great with an evening cup of chai...and they were.

Once I brought the cookie butter home safely, I tasted a small bit from the jar, realized I was in love, and decided I made the right decision that day. First thing to pop into my food-filled mind, was ice cream. So I ran with it. Well actually, I ran towards it. With a spoon.

This is an ice cream without an egg custard base, so as long as you have cookie butter, a few dairy ingredients, and a frozen ice cream bowl (granted, you have an ice cream maker), you can whip this up in no time.  I happen to keep my ice cream bowl in the freezer at all times so it's ready to go when I need it.  I made the base late afternoon and had a bowl of ice cream in time for bed.

To up the awesome-ness, I threw in crushed dark chocolate chips.  I mean, wow. You get the taste of cinnamon and ginger from the cookies, creaminess from the heavy cream, and a slight crunch from the crushed cookies and chocolate chips. I would scream for this ice cream.

 Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Ice Cream

1 cup creamy cookie butter (I used Speculoos from Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup half n' half
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate chips

With a mixer, cream together cookie butter and sugar until combined.  Turn off mixer, scrape down bowl, add vanilla, half n' half, and heavy cream.  Mix on low until combined.

Transfer this into your frozen ice cream bowl for your ice cream mixer and churn according to your mixer's directions.  Once you see it come up to almost a soft serve stage, add in your dark chocolate and churn until you get a soft serve consistency.  At this point, you are welcome to dig in, but I like the consistency of ice cream. So read on if you haven't already gotten brain freeze.

Transfer this into a freezer safe bowl, add a layer of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals before closing with a cap.  Freeze the ice cream 3-4 hours before serving.  You should add a Speculoos cookie to round it off  when serving :)   Enjoy!!