Shrimp Rice Bowl

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Mmmmmm… shrimp! I feel like if you polled the world about their favorite seafood, shrimp would win hands down. Shrimp is like the gateway drug of seafood – even people who “hate seafood,” seem to like shrimp. In fact, I’m pretty sure my sister’s introduction to the seafood world was with deep-fried shrimp, doused in ketchup. She now eats shrimp, crabs, scallops, the occasional fish, and lobster.

This recipe incorporates this delicious shellfish with fresh veggies and herbs, brought together with a great Asian umami flavors. It’s easy enough to throw together for a weeknight dinner, full of flavor, and contains more vegetables than average American dinner plate. Enjoy!

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Shrimp Rice Bowl

Ingredients: 
  • 3/4lb of shimp, peel & de-vein
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, divided
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 20 baby carrots, sliced length-wise
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • Rice, prepared as you prefer
Instructions: 
  1. Allow coconut oil to liquefy in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to turn golden.
  3. Now add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of rice wine vinegar, and the carrots. Cover and steam for 4-5 minutes. (If you prefer your cooked carrots on the softer side, extend this time. We prefer our carrots still a bit crisp.)
  4. Lower the heat just slightly. Remove lid and add 2 more tbsp of soy sauce, the other 1 tsp of rice wine vinegar, the bell peppers, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp of brown sugar, and roughly 3/4 of the basil. Stir a few times to combine and return to lid to the pan.
  5. After ~3 minutes, add the shrimp to the pan, along with the remaining 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of brown sugar.
  6. Leave the lid off this time and return the heat back to medium. Cook until the shrimp are all pink and opaque. This will take less time than you think – should be < 5 minutes. Try to avoid overcooking – rubbery shrimp are no fun!
  7. Serve over rice and top with the remaining fresh basil.
Dinner for two!

“Chicken Lo Mein” Zoodles

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Every time the new year rolls around, it seems like everyone makes a resolution involving weight loss, healthy eating, or general fitness. We’ve been eating zoodles for awhile now (see here, here, here, & here), but I think they’re a great way to simultaneously cut calories and add more healthy vegetables to your dinners! This zoodles dish was inspired by a recipe I’ve had saved on Pinterest for awhile now from the blog/website SkinnyTaste. On this site, you can find so many healthy recipe ideas and healthier variations of classics. Given that takeout chicken lo mein can top out anywhere from 1000 to 1500 calories per carton (obviously varying between restaurants and preparations), this homemade version will probably serve your New Year’s resolution AND your waistline well!

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“Chicken Lo Mein” Zoodles

(Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste)
Ingredients: 
  • 12oz chicken breast
  • 2 med-large zucchini
  • Vegetables to stir fry – options:
    • Carrots
    • Bell peppers
    • Onions
    • Mushrooms
    • Green onions
    • Snow peas
    • Broccoli
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 3 tsp sesame oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
Instructions: 
  1. Prepare the zoodles. (Click if you need more instruction.)
  2. Slice the chicken and your choices of vegetables.
  3. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of garlic powder.
  4. Heat the 1 tbsp of neutral oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until no translucent spots are visible.
  5. Remove the chicken to the side and wipe clean if needed.
  6. Add 2 tsp of sesame oil to the pan and increase heat to medium-high. Once oil is quite hot, add the vegetables. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1 tsp of sesame oil, chicken stock, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and flour.
  8. Remove vegetables to the side and lower heat to medium.
  9. Add sauce to the pan. Allow to warm for 2-3 minutes, stirring as needed.
  10. Add zoodles, other vegetables, and chicken to the pan. Cook over medium heat for ~5 additional minutes so everything is coated in sauce and vegetables are cooked to your liking.
Serving sizes depends on how many vegetables you choose to add!

Spicy Korean BBQ Tacos with Tangy Slaw

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Before we moved to South Carolina for school, we were lucky enough to work on a unit (we were ICU nurses) with some amazing people who became great friends. Luckily for us, several of them share our love for food and cooking. Along the way, one recipe sort of became known as “the recipe,” and got passed around and around via email. We got it from Mike, who got it from Christy, who got it from… someone? As best I can tell, the recipe actually originates with the blog, My Kitchen Addiction.

This is “the recipe” because everyone loves it. We’ll use my family as Exhibit A. We go to the Outer Banks with my extended family on my dad’s side every summer. Traditionally, each night one pair of adults would cook dinner for the entire family – we’re talking 30+ people. After my grandparents died, there ended up being a free night. As one of the oldest grandchildren, I decided that my generation should probably step up and take over cooking one night… especially when you consider that we’re still getting a free vacation out of our parents for a week each summer! Two summers ago, Selim and I announced that we would take charge of that extra night, and that we’d be making this dish. There was immediate skepticism… my family prefers staples like hamburgers, spaghetti, steak, and tacos. They also think that Selim and I like “fancy, weird food.”

Well guess what? They all loved it! People came back for seconds and thirds. One of my cousins ate so much that he actually vomited. Not kidding. Moral of the story? This dish is delicious and everyone loves it. We’re sure you’ll love it too!

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Spicy Slow Cooker Korean BBQ with Tangy Slaw

Ingredients: 
BBQ
  • 1 large onion, finely dice half and roughly chop the other half
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp of grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder (or other smoky pepper)
  • 2 1/2 – 3lb beef bottom round or shoulder
  • 3 tbsp flour
Slaw
  • 5 cups shredded vegetables (cabbage, carrots, peppers, whatever you want)
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Zest & juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Also
  • Tortillas
  • Extra limes, for garnish
  • Extra basil, for garnish
Instructions: 
  1. Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl. [This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated to save time.]
  2. Place liquid and beef in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.
  3. At some point while your beef is cooking, prepare the slaw. Whisk together all ingredients and pour over the vegetables. Refrigerate until ready to serve. [This can also be done ahead of time.]
  4. After 10 hours, pour the liquid out of the slow cooker into a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Let the meat remain in the slow cooker, with the heat turned off.
  5. Stir the 3 tablespoons of flour into 1/4 cup of water. Whisk together so it is well-combined and forms a what resembles a paste.
  6. Stir the flour/water paste into the saucepan. Stir while adding so it combines thoroughly into the liquid.
  7. Continue simmering until the liquid has thickened to your liking. We reduced ours by maybe a 1/3.
  8. Return thickened liquid to the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred the meat and mix with the liquid.
  9. Make tacos with the meat and slaw on top of warmed tortillas! Garnish with additional basil or a squeeze of lime.
Serves 6.

Post-dinner notes: This also goes great over rice, if for some crazy reason you’re sick of tacos! And, as per usual, I am not making any claims that this is an authentic, traditional dish the way your Korean grandma would make it.

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Ramen Egg

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Winter is coming.

It comes slowly to South Carolina, but it’s been below freezing the past few nights and the high today was only 35. For South Carolina, that’s basically the equivalent of spending a few days north of the wall.

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(And if you don’t get that reference, you should go binge-watch Game of Thrones. I’m sure you have a few days off somewhere over the holidays.)

Anyways. Cold weather = soup weather. Selim wanted to use the stock we made from Thanksgiving bones to make ramen. It was delicious and the perfect dinner for tonight. We’re not 100% confident in the recipe, so we’re going to tinker with it before sharing the whole ramen recipe on here. But we did succeed with the egg that goes in the ramen!

I’m sure the delicious egg that is frequently found in big bowls of ramen has a real name, but we’ve lovingly been referring to it as “ramen egg.” Without further ado…

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Ramen Egg

Ingredients: 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Water
  • Ice
Instructions: 
  1. Heat a pot of water so it’s simmering, but not boiling.
  2. Gently add the eggs to the pot.
  3. Cook for seven minutes. You want the water to be simmering continuously, but do not allow it to come to a boil.
  4. Remove and place immediately into a bowl of ice water.
  5. Leave eggs in the ice bath for three minutes.
  6. Remove from the ice bath. Peel the eggs.
  7. Place eggs in a bowl with the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and 3/4 cups of water.
  8. Marinate overnight (or at least a few hours).
  9. Slice in half just before placing in a bowl of ramen.

Tiger Noodles

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I have this Pinterest board called, “Ones I’ve Made and Would Make Again.” Because, as I’m sure you all know, just because you’ve saved it on a Pinterest board, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth making even once! [See the entire website PinterestFail.com] But to gain inclusion on this board of mine, I not only had to have made it, but loved it too! One of my absolute favorites on there was this recipe for Thai flavored coconut curry noodles. I say was because the link no longer works! It goes nowhere / I think the original blogger took down his/her blog or that post. I’ve scoured Pinterest, and I can find the original poster’s picture of these noodles, but not the blog itself. (And not to be a tattletale, but I found the original poster’s pictures on a few tumblr accounts without proper credit. Rude.) So, long story short, I tried to recreate the recipe from memory and the Pinterest picture.  I didn’t exactly succeed in mimicking it, at least how I remember it, but I ended up with a spicy noodle dish that we definitely enjoyed.

I decided to call them tiger noodles, because I think tigers are big, bold, and fiery – like these noodles. Plus tigers are an endangered species native to Thailand, and this dish is full of Thai flavors. And I like tigers. That’s the main reason.

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Tiger Noodles

Ingredients: 
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 10 oz chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • 10 baby carrots, sliced
  • Wide rice noodles
  • 1 lime
  • Cilantro
Instructions: 
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the curry paste and stir to combine well with the oil. Cook for another 2-3  minutes.
  4. Add the broth to the pan and stir to combine well. Bring to a simmer.
  5. Now add the chicken to the pan and cook until the chicken has lost its translucence. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  6. Now add the coconut milk, broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and red pepper flakes.
  7. Bring to a fast simmer and cook like this until the liquid has begun to thicken, ~ 15 minutes.
  8. Lower the heat to low-medium. Add carrots, bell peppers, and the chicken to the pan. Cover and cook another 10 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Remove from heat and submerge the noodles in the hot water for 5-10 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
  10. Add the noodles, a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, and a healthy squeeze of lime into the pan and stir briefly. Serve immediately. Top your bowl with more cilantro and/or lime if you’d like.
Makes 4 servings. 

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Sweet Soy Glazed Salmon

SSSalmon2After a weekend filled with carbs & starches (Sat: pasta carbonara & Fri: sweet potato fries & pimento cheese fries at our new favorite restaurant) we decided to go to one of our staples: salmon.  It’s easy to cook; it can be broiled, grilled, baked, pan fried, or steamed, and doesn’t make you want to lay down after eating a bunch of it.  We like Asian flavors and this one packs a double umami punch of soy sauce and hoisin sauce.  The key here is reducing the marinade while the salmon bakes, but not burning the marinade as it reduces.  Also, please please please use low sodium soy sauce as anything with more sodium will be way too salty and surely raise your blood pressure.

A nice cold slaw pairs well with the spice and salt from the salmon.  We used a large beet and a large carrot (both of which were from the farmers market) and we made a refreshing vinaigrette with olive oil, rice wine vinegar, fresh lime juice, and fresh mint.

Sweet Soy Glazed Salmon

Ingredients: 
  • Two 6oz salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you want a little extra heat)
Instructions:
  1. Mix together all of the ingredients except for the salmon in a bowl.
  2. Place the salmon fillets in a zip-lock bag. Pour the sauce over top and close the bag. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the salmon fillets from the bag and place on baking pan. Bake for ~20 minutes.
  4. While salmon is baking, pour the marinade from the bag into a small pan. Bring to a very low simmer on the stove. Reduce until the liquid has thickened. (Do not have the heat too high! The sugar will burn.) This may take 10 minutes or the whole 20 minutes that the salmon is cooking. Just keep a close eye on it.
  5. After the salmon has cooked (should flake easily with a fork), brush with the glaze and serve.
Serves 2.

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