Spicy peanut noodlesThe other day I found myself super hungry but lazy. Juliet was napping and if I had a bag of tortilla chips I would have just ate that for lunch. But instead I remembered a spicy peanut noodle recipe that I pinned and I was pretty sure I had most of the needed ingredients.

Turned out I was missing a few, but I improvised and ended up having a really tasty lunch. The photo doesn’t do it justice, the noodles were actually coated in peanut sauce and it was really flavorful. The best part of this meal is you can adjust any of the ingredients to make it exactly to your taste.
Spicy peanut noodlesThis literally took about 15 minutes. By the time the noodles are ton boiling the sauce is ready. And it’s likely a meal you have all the ingredients of in your pantry and fridge.

Spicy peanut noodles (recipe inspired via Table For Two)

Ingredients

1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti noodles (about 1/2 a box of noodles)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (basically a big spoon full)
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (I always use low sodium)
1 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 – 1/3 cup of water

Preparation

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles based on package directions, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile when the noodles are boiling add all the remaining ingredients to bowl and mix well to combine. Add the peanut sauce to the warm noodles and mix to incorporate. The peanut sauce will thicken slightly as it sits.

Here are some ideas to add: scallions, peanuts, cooked shrimp, sesame seeds, crushed red pepper (that’s what I used), etc.

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Chana masalaMy best friend Amy and I got together over the holidays and spent hours in the kitchen making Indian food. I’ve talked about Amy a lot on the blog and in the early years of Eat Drink Pretty she wrote a bunch of Indian-themed posts and recipes. Do you remember Amy’s amazing Indian wedding from a few years ago(part 1 and part 2)?

I absolutely love Indian food and chana masala is my favorite dish. Amy nailed this recipe, the chana masala tasted amazing. I watched her pretty closely so I now I will be able to make this dish time and time again.
Chana masalaBefore embarking on our all-day cooking event, we went shopping at an Indian grocery store about 15 minutes from my house. I stocked up on all the Indian spices needed, which is awesome because I was in serious need. Spices at the Indian grocery store are super affordable and will last a while (you get a huge amount). It’s a much better route to buy individual spices (like garam masala, turmeric, coriander, cumin, etc) then buying curry power.
Chana masalaSuch amazing flavor. YUM.

Chana masala (recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons ghee (or butter or vegetable oil)
2 medium onions, minced
2 Tablespoons garlic ginger paste
2-3 serrano chiles, minced
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
3-4 whole tomatoes, chopped small (or 1 15 ounce can whole tomatoes with their juice, chopped)
2/3 cup water
2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drains and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon tamarind paste (optional)
3 Tablespoons cilantro (optional)

Preparation

Heat ghee/butter/oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic ginger paste and pepper and saute over medium heat until browned (about 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium low and add coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika, and garam masala.

Cook onion mixture with spices for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes, scraping up bits that may have stuck to the pan.

Add the water, chickpeas and tamarind paste (if using). Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Taste and adjust spices according to taste.

Serve with naan or basmati rice (did you know you can microwave rice? I was super wary but the basmati rice turned out great and super fluffy) and top with cilantro.

In addition to this awesome chana masala, we also made chicken tikka masala (which rivaled the best chicken tikka masala I’ve had in restaurants and I plan to blog about it sometime soon) and an Indian tomato soup. It was an awesome day ending with a great dinner shared with friends.

Do you love Indian food? What is your favorite dish? I could probably eat naan every day for every meal for the rest of my life. I also love pakora (a fried vegetable appetizer). Making Indian food at home is great because you can limit the amount of unhealthy ingredients (like heavy cream) that they use in restaurants. The chicken tikka I made did have cream, but not much. It was so, so good. I want some right now. It is pretty Weight Watcher friendly, too. Ok…I gotta end this post because I’m so hungry thinking of all this amazing Indian food.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.

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Chickpea greek pitaOne of my favorite meals to cook for an easy, weeknight dinner is this chicken souvlaki. I’ve recommended it to a few friends and it always receives rave reviews. The flavors are bold with the briny kalamata olives balanced nicely with the cool cucumber sauce.

The other day I gave the recipe a try but instead of chicken I substituted chickpeas. Using (organic) canned chickpeas makes this easy recipe even easier (and a little lighter). I really enjoyed it and not only is it a healthy meal, but an affordable one. You can pick up a can of chickpeas for about $1.50. To all my vegetarian friends, make this! You will love it.
Chickpea greek pitaChickpea Greek pita (recipe adapted via Real Simple)

Ingredients

4 pieces flat bread or pitas
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup crumbled Feta
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I use organic)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 small cucumber, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Directions

Heat oven to 200° F. Wrap the bread in foil and place in oven.
In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, Feta, and olives.

In a large bowl, combine the oregano, thyme, pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons of the vinegar, and the lemon juice. Slowly add 4 tablespoons of the oil, whisking constantly until incorporated.

Pour 2 ½ tablespoons of the vinaigrette over the tomato mixture, toss, and set aside.
Add the chickpeas to the remaining vinaigrette, toss and set aside. If you would like to warm the chickpeas place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for one minute. They can also be served at room temperature. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, dill, and the remaining vinegar. Spread the pita with the yogurt sauce and top with chickpeas and tomato salad.

Alternatively, you can heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and heat the chickpeas in a pan for about 5 minutes. They will begin to crisp a bit and heat through. I was lazy and didn’t do this, but may try it the next time I make this dish. 
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Kale, goat cheese and egg toastJuliet was an early bird this weekend. She was up before 6am both Saturday and Sunday and it was rough. If only she would sleep until 7, that would make a huge difference. But alas, she does not so we were up and at ’em bright and early. Needless to say, I made myself a strong cup of coffee.

Juliet eats a scrambled egg every morning for breakfast. Right when she wakes up she says “I eat!” and “I’m hungry!” and I ask her “do you want eggies?” and she always says yes. Usually Erik makes breakfast but he was out of town all weekend so it was just us gals. I thought I’d make myself a nice breakfast and randomly came up with the idea to make toast with kale, goat cheese and an over easy egg.

It was phenomenal. Like my new favorite breakfast, it was that good. I made it on Saturday and Sunday.  

Kale, goat cheese and egg toast

Ingredients

1 egg, preferably organic
1/4 cup baby kale, stems trimmed
1 tablespoon goat cheese (plain of herb flavored)
1 slice of multigrain bread
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Toast the bread. When it is done being toasted, immediately spread on the goat cheese, the heat will melt the cheese a bit and help it spread. Add a layer of kale on top of the goat cheese.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add a small pad of butter, melt and swirl around until the pan is coated. Break the egg into pan. Wait a minute for the whites to set then add 2-3 teaspoons of water to the pan and cover. Wait 1-3 minutes, until the yolk is set (this is the steam method of over easy eggs, you can also do the flip method).

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the egg on top of the bread.
I love egg yolk. Yum.

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Last week was a big week for a lot of families with kids going back to school. Juliet is obviously too young for school but we do have a summer and school year change in routine. Juliet’s main daycare provider isn’t open in the summer so we start a new year, so to speak, with her daycare when she opens again in September.

Evenings are always busy for us, regardless of summer versus school year for our family. Erik and I are both working parents, with very busy and demanding full-time jobs. I barely walk in the door before 6pm and having a home-cooked meal is a top priority for me. That doesn’t mean I cook a meal every night. Our strategy is making 2-3 big meals a week and eating leftovers many evenings. We don’t mind, we love leftovers. Leftovers mean dinner is on the table in about 5 minutes.
Prepping the casserole with pretty zucchini, summer squash and homemade focaccia bread

Luckily, this four-cheese zucchini strata casserole made a delicious meal that gave us a few nights worth of leftovers (as well as a couple lunches at work for me). Another nice thing about this recipe is that it’s prepared the day before because it needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours). So I prepped this dish last Sunday evening and had Erik put it in the oven on Monday. By the time I walked in the door from work, dinner was ready. Prepping meals in advance is a great tip for saving time during your busy weekdays.
I love my mandolin big time

Shall we talk about casseroles for a moment? I’ll admit, they don’t always make for the most pretty meals, but they are hearty, comforting and usually pretty easy to whip up. Casseroles are the type of dishes that are designed for the fall. I think I have a soft spot for all types of casseroles because I’m a Minnesota gal (we also like to call them hot dish) and Erik is a North Dakota boy where casseroles are a staple.

And while casseroles are not the epitome of healthy at all, this four-cheese zucchini strata isn’t all that bad for you. I made homemade focaccia bread (I admit, this was pretty ambitious and would NEVER happen on a weeknight) and the other ingredients are cheese, eggs, milk and zucchini. It’s a perfect dish for this time of year to use up all that beautiful zucchini growing in your garden or at your local farmers’ market. It’s meatless which also keeps it on the lighter side (Meatless Mondays anyone??). I also used Country Crock spread to saute the zucchini which has 0g trans fat per serving and doesn’t contain any cholesterol or partially hydrogenated oils.  Getting ready to dig in

Four-cheese zucchini strata (recipe adapted Better Homes and Gardens)

Ingredients


4 medium zucchini and/or yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 5 cups)
2 tablespoons Country Crock 
8 cups garlic-flavor Italian flatbread (focaccia) cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup shredded provolone cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
7 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Snipped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

Lightly grease a 3-quart rectangular or oval baking dish; set aside. In an extra-large skillet cook squash with 2 tablespoons Country Crock over medium-high heat until light brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Place half of the bread pieces in the prepared baking dish. Top with half of the squash and half of each of the cheeses. Repeat layers.

In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour evenly over layers in baking dish. Using the back of a large spoon, gently press down on layers. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 170 degrees F. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with additional parsley if desired.

This dish was a hit with my family. Erik typically prefers his meals (especially dinner) to have meat included but he liked this dish and didn’t say a word about it being meatless. Juliet was a bit fan of the focaccia and cheesiness of the dish, but I will admit she didn’t eat much of the zucchini. 

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest and check out the latest board I added with casserole dishes and other “back to school” meal ideas.  Happy Monday!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Everyone loves this quinoa caprese dish. Even Erik who refuses to eat quinoa. He once refused to eat cous cous until he realized he really liked it. Men.

I love preparing this dish for potluck style events. It an easy recipe to follow and quick to whip up. And best yet, it’s super healthy and perfect for summer. Especially now that tomatoes are in season and basil is abundant.

Boiling the quinoa in vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you don’t have vegetarians in your group) gives it really great flavor. Because who likes bland quinoa? Not me. The freshly squeezed lemon vinaigrette is light yet boldly flavored at the same time. It’s the perfect summer entertaining dish.

The only person I know who doesn’t like this dish is Juliet. I think it’s a texture thing. She put some in her mouth and then spit it out while scraping her tongue of any offending little morsels. LOL. You can’t please everyone. But I think she’ll eventually come around. Quinoa Caprese (adapted from Too Many Chefs, original recipe from Shape, May 2006)

Ingredients


1 cup quinoa
14 oz. vegetable stock
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
1 cup torn basil leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/4 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce heat and simmer about 12-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. The quinoa should be tender. Transfer to a large bowl and toss/stir to help it cool down to room temperature.

Smash your garlic cloves, removing the papery outer peel. Heat the oil in a small skillet over low and add the garlic. Sautee over low heat, stirring occasionally for about five minutes. Strain the garlic out of the oil and let the oil cool.

Stir the cherry tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella into the quinoa. 

With a whisk or fork beat the lemon juice and oil together. Pour over the quinoa and toss well. Season to taste.


Do you love quinoa? Try this quinoa mac and cheese recipe. You’ll love it and so will your toddler. 

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