For the love of steak

I have a confession. I have never eaten an Asian noodle dish before. They always looked gross to me as a child, and I have never gotten around to trying them because I love rice so much I figured one addictive oriental carb is enough.

But I was doing some recipe browsing this weekend and came across this recipe, Beef Noodle Salad Bowls. It was not lo mein but sorta similar. And because of my love for salads and medium rare beef, I just have to give it a try.

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I loved this recipe for two reasons:

#1 It’s a flavor party in my mouth. It just screamed (in a nice way) cool fresh spring nourishment.

#2 In preparation for tonight’s dinner, I made the entire dish in 20 minutes last night before I went to bed . After tasting it, I did a little dance in my semi-ghetto apartment kitchen. It was that good. I will add some spicy broccoli as a side, and dinner will be complete!

 Common sense note: Some of these sauce ingredients may seem strange and/or expensive but believe it or not I had all of them in my frig already. The reason being is that I stir fry and prepare other Asian dishes from scratch frequently. It’s much cheaper than buying mixes or takeout and DEFINITELY lower in sodium! You would be shocked at the amount of sodium in the prepackaged stuff. YIKES! I have found that bottles of spicy oils, soy sauce, etc. last a LONG time because you need so little for each recipe. And I have discovered other ways to use them too, especially the chili and sesame oils. And the great thing about this recipe is that any pasta or noodles will work. I just used plain ol’ whole wheat spaghetti for this recipe. Worked like a charm. Because I had the sauces already, this whole impressive looking “gourmet” meal cost me less than $10 and it serves 4 people!

photo by Ree Drummond

Baking Utensil Utopia

I love practical kitchen gadgets. My only concern is making sure that what I buy will fit in my kitchen, and that I will actually use them on a regular basis.

Some of my favorites are my All Clad measuring cups. Love how heavy duty they are!

Common sense note: never buy cheap measuring cups with the measurements printed on them. The print will eventually wash off in dish washer. I also don’t recommend plastic measuring cups because I have broken so many (or they melted because they got too close to the stove).

I don’t own these Primary Confection measuring spoons from Anthropologie but they just make me crave cupcakes for some reason.

I just can’t stand how cute they are!! Feel free to buy me these for my un-birthday (I watched Alice in Wonderland this weekend…sorry).

One of my favorite, favorite, favorite kitchen items is my prized antique Pyrex Primary Mixing Bowl set I found at the Picken’s Flea market several summers ago for $55 (actually my sister-in-law Holly spotted them for me. Holly, I am forever grateful).

The bowls are such workhorses and yet look so cheery. I love to think of all the yummy things that have been made in them over the years by other bakers.

What I love about them the most is that they are oven proof too. I make big bowls of pasta and homemade tomato or cream sauce in them a day in advance. Then 30 minutes before dinner I heat up the pasta in the oven and toss. Viola, dinner! Works great with this recipe if you use chicken instead of shrimp. I have also used the big yellow one for pot roast, holding bread dough while it rises, and making cookie dough.

See what I mean about workhorses? Not to be confused with War Horses. Apparently I have been watching too many movies.

photo from gizmodo.com

 

Whole wheat pasta with a side of superfood

I spent Saturday morning watching a few Food Network shows. As I was folding laundry, Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals came on. I like Rachel, and her talk show is okay. Most of her 30 minute recipes are a prank in my opinion: unless you are super woman who can fly around to find all her crazy ingredients from 18 different grocery stores, and you love ground beef, and you can cook like a speed demon. Sorry Rachel. That’s just my opinion.

But Rachel impressed me with this vegetarian meal. Loaded with fiber, protein, and nutrients. I did skip the tomato crostini because it seemed like too many carbs. I just added the roasted tomatoes to the whole wheat pasta as a garnish with the kale. Of course, I could not find the Tuscan kale she mentioned. I just used the curly leaf kind from Publix. Overall, it was a great meal.

Curly kale

**And her tip about quick roasting the tomatoes under the broiler is genius. Roasting tomatoes brings out the sugars which improves the flavor, especially since tomatoes are not in season right now.  Here is the recipe: Tuscan Pesto-Dressed Penne with Crispy Kale