Chicken and Vegetable Japchae

The usual quandary of what to cook tonight was worse than normal…I felt really stuck today! I think this was because we came back a week ago from our trip to Japan, which was amazing, but we ate so many gourmet and LARGE Japanese meals, and then on top of that this past weekend we went to Sonoma and ate an incredible 11 course meal at Single Thread, I just feel stuffed and want something light but also teen son friendly. Uninspired, I took my daily trip to the grocery store and bought some boneless, skinless chicken breasts, since I have mostly been eating fish (a lot) and beef.  I really had only a vague idea of what I was going to do with them, maybe some generic asian marinade, leftover brussel sprouts and rice? Not exciting by any means. Then a delicious Korean recipe popped into my inbox from The Woks of Life.  I made a few changes, such as doubling the recipe, exchanging chicken for the beef, using the vegetables in my refrigerator, and using shirataki noodles instead of the traditional dangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles).  We all really liked it and I hope you do too. Enjoy!

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Chicken and Vegetable Japchae

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: pretty easy
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Fairly quick and healthy Korean vegetable, chicken and noodle dish.

Credit: Japchae: Korean Glass Noodle Stir Fry from The Woks of Life

Ingredients

  • 2 – 7 ounce packages of shirataki konjac pasta (I used Miracle Noodle brand that I bought at Whole Foods)
  • About 3/4 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced very thin
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 teaspoons of coconut palm (or whatever kind you prefer) sugar, divided
  • ~1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
  • 7 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil, divided
  • oil of choice for cooking (a neutral oil is best, like safflower oil)
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 medium carrots, julienned
  • 3 stalks of celery, julienned
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced and cut into thin strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • handful of lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced into thin strips
  • 5 scallions, cut into 2-inch long pieces and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Procedure

  1. Rinse the noodles in water and cook according to the package directions. Drain. Mix together 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sugar. Pour onto the noodles and mix well. Set noodles aside.
  2. Mix 2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add the sliced chicken, stir well and set aside.
  3. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the carrot, celery and onion to the skillet and cook until tender but still a bit crunchy. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl.
  4. Add a little more oil and cook the mushrooms until browned. Remove from pan and place in bowl with carrot mixture.
  5. Add a little more oil and cook the bell peppers until tender but crunchy, add the remaining garlic, kale and scallions. Cook until kale is wilted, then remove from pan and add to the carrot mixture in the bowl.
  6. Turn the heat up to high, and add a little more oil if needed. Cook half the thinly sliced chicken until slightly browned, then add to the bowl of vegetables.  Cook the other half of the chicken and add to the bowl.
  7. Add the noodles and sesame seeds to the bowl.
  8.  In a small bowl whisk together 4 teaspoons sugar, 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 4 Tablespoons soy sauce and 1 Tablespoon sesame oil. Pour into the vegetable, noodle and chicken mixture and stir well.
  9. Serve in bowls. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I made this with the vegetables in my refrigerator – carrots, celery, kale, cremini mushrooms and brussel sprouts, and it was delicious. I think the vegetables you use are pretty flexible, good dish to make to clean out the produce drawer.
  • This traditionally is made with dangmyeon – which are sweet potato starch noodles. I made this with Shirataki noodles, feel free to use what you like and experiment.
  • This also is traditionally made with a little thinly sliced beef, I really enjoyed it with chicken though. I think it would also be delicious vegetarian as well (maybe add tofu or egg strips).

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

April 17, 2019

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Vegetable Lo Mein

 

Mid-March and it is like spring here in the SF Bay area! I am really loving the weather since we have had a very rainy winter here, yes, we needed it, but I am really over it by now. Since it is so warm and beautiful I started to plan a salad for dinner, but then I decided a vegetable stir fry dish is similar, lots of fresh vegetables, but more likely to be accepted by my teen.  I made this last week with shrimp, like the original recipe was written, but today I feel like something vegetarian, maybe because we celebrated my son’s birthday yesterday and had a very meat and pasta-centric dinner out? Thank you The Woks of Life for the recipe, it is delicious! I made a few changes, such as doubling the sauce, using shirataki noodles  instead of traditional lo mein noodles, and lastly adding more vegetables, 2 eggs and some tofu. If shirataki noodles are not your thing, and I am still learning about them, then use lo mein noodles or whatever noodles taste good to you. Enjoy!

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Vegetable Lo Mein

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Quick and healthy Chinese vegetable and noodle dish.

Credit: Shrimp Lo Mein Just Like Chinese Takeout by The Woks of Life

Ingredients

  • 2 – 7ounce packages of shirataki konjac pasta (I used Miracle Noodle brand that I bought at Whole Foods)
  • 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar (or whatever you prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • pinch of white pepper
  • oil of choice for cooking (a neutral oil is best, like safflower oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 small can of water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
  • 3 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 8 ounces extra firm high protein tofu, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 2 scallions, split and cut into 2-inch long pieces

Procedure

  1. Rinse the noodles in water and cook according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce, sesame oil and white pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the two eggs with a dash of soy sauce, sesame oil and a pinch of black pepper in a small bowl.
  4. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the egg and cook. I like to make it a flat omelet and then slice it into long strips. Set the egg aside.
  5. Turn the heat up to high, add a little more safflower oil and cook the garlic for about a minute.
  6. Add the mushrooms, carrots and water chestnuts and cook for 30 seconds.
  7. Pour in the mirin and add the cabbage. Stir-fry for another 30 seconds.
  8. Add the noodles and stir it into the vegetables. Cook for 1 minute.
  9. Add the sauce mixture and stir for 30 seconds.
  10. Add the tofu, egg, snow peas, bean sprouts and scallions. Mix well for about 2 more minutes.
  11. Serve in bowls. Good with a little chile sauce!

Note: You can make a chile sauce with a mixture of 1 Tablespoon each of Chinese chile sauce, hot water, rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

March 18, 2019

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Shirataki noodles
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sauce on the right and the eggs with soy sauce and sesame oil

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Cooking the vegetables

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Soboro Donburi – Gingery Ground Beef and Mushrooms with Fresh English Peas

I am going to Japan soon and have become a bit obsessed with cooking Japanese food lately. My most recent find is this crumbled beef and vegetables over rice dish. Pretty quick and easy to make, and the flavors are really nice how they work together and add quite a bit of depth to this simple dish. It passed the family test, everyone liked it and said I should add it to the cooking rotation, so that is good. This dish is traditionally crumbled chicken or beef or any kind of meat , sometimes with eggs and served over white rice. I made it more healthy by adding mushrooms for some of the beef, and adding kale and fresh english peas. I also used a wild rice and whole grain brown rice blend instead of white rice to boost the nutrition.  I actually came up with the idea for this dish when I was shopping and I came across fresh local english peas, and I thought, what can I make with fresh peas… then I found a Food & Wine recipe that this is based on.

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Soboro Donburi (Gingery Ground Beef and Mushrooms with Fresh English Peas)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Quick and simple Japanese rice bowl with added vegetables to make it lighter and more healthy.

Credit: Soboro Donburi by Food & Wine

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon palm sugar (or whatever you have)
  • 1/4 cup dashi (or beef broth if using beef, chicken broth if using chicken, etc)
  • oil of choice for cooking
  • 3/4 pound lean grass-fed ground beef (or ground chicken)
  • 8 ounces chopped mushrooms (either cremini, shiitake or white button)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh peeled and grated ginger (or jarred)
  • fresh lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 cup fresh english peas shucked from pod (or frozen if that is all that is available)
  • hot cooked wild and whole grain brown rice
  • chile sauce if desired on the side

Procedure

  1. Mix together the sake (if you don’t have any, just use mirin), mirin, soy sauce, dashi or broth and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Add a bit of oil to pan and spread. When oil is hot add the ground meat to the pan and cook through.
  3. Drain grease from cooked meat and then add the chopped mushrooms, ginger and kale to the meat in the pan, cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Add the peas and the sake mixture and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is greatly reduced, but meat is not dry.
  4. Serve in bowls over rice and garnish with chile sauce on the side if desired.

Note: You can make a chile sauce with a mixture of 1 Tablespoon each of Chinese chile sauce, hot water, rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com

February 22, 2019

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Healthy Ramen Soup

This is not Ramen from my college days, thank goodness! I remember a roommate I had in college who seemed to eat nothing but pre-packaged ramen (a serious sodium and fat bomb) and Kraft macaroni and cheese. I don’t know how he lived on this combination, but I guess he was young…but there are long-term health consequences… I won’t preach.

Well Ramen is back and getting quite gourmet from what I have read. There is a new ramen restaurant here in Palo Alto that has daily lines snaking around the corner. So popular, but I have not tried it as (1) I don’t want to wait in line to get in and (2) I am pretty certain that restaurant ramen will be loaded with fat and sodium. But curious, as I can be about a new food trend, I decided I would make this myself and add vegetables. I found this recipe on a site called Damn Delicious (catchy name). I have made this a few times with great success. So easy and so delicious! I have only modified it slightly, mostly adding more broth, miso and sometimes changing out the vegetables. It was really good with bok choy instead of spinach, but today I used what was in my refrigerator and that was mushrooms, a carrot and fresh spinach.

Healthy Ramen Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Finally, a Ramen soup that is healthy and easy.

Credit:  Easy Homemade Ramen by Damn Delicious

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs, soft or hard boiled (to your liking), sliced in half
  • Safflower seed oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (I only had some dried shiitakes so I used mostly cremini mushrooms today- but I think the shiitake are better in this soup)
  • 6 cups unsalted vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Soba noodles or Shirataki noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons light miso
  • 3 cups fresh spinach (or baby bok choy, or whatever green vegetable you have)
  • chopped chives for a garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven on medium heat. Add a little oil to the pot and heat another minute. When oil is hot, add garlic and ginger to the pot and stir for about 1 minute. Add carrot slices and mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Add stock, water and soy sauce, stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. While soup simmers, cook your noodles according to package instructions. (I made vegetable-based, zero calorie shirataki noodles for myself and more traditional soba noodles for my son). Set cooked noodles aside.
  4. Add the spinach to the soup and stir.  Turn off the heat, add the miso and stir with a whisk to blend the miso in.
  5. Place noodles in bowl, ladle soup in and garnish with two egg halves and chives. Enjoy!

Note:  Shirataki noodles are a new find for me. The are a traditional Japanese ingredient made from the yam-like roots of plants in the amorphophallus family. The noodles are mostly made of water and have an interesting chewy texture. They have fiber and are either very low calorie or calorie-free.  This information and more is from:  Decker, Fred. (2017, July 20). Benefits of Shirataki Noodles. Healthy Eating | SF Gate. Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-shirataki-noodles-11780.html

Healthy Seasonal Cooking,  February 15, 2019

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Soup with the soba noodles
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Soup with the shirataki noodles

Miso Soup + Dashi

Tonight my daughter and I made miso soup with homemade dashi. Usually when we make miso soup we cheat and just use some store-bought chicken or vegetable broth and add miso, figuring it was good enough, but wow, this was so much better! There is so much complexity to this soup now that it has the smell of the ocean from the kombu and bonito flakes and the salty/savory flavor from the miso. So Delicious! The added bonus is that we don’t feel like we just ate a salt bomb as we often do after eating miso soup at a restaurant.  I think the sodium levels are pretty moderate in this version. Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures, so will have to add them next time I make this.

Miso Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Savory homemade miso soup

Credit: Bon Appetit and Epicurious

Ingredients

Dashi

  • 8 cups cold water
  • 2 – 6 x 5 inch pieces dried Kombu (a type of seaweed)
  • 1 1/2 ounces bonito flakes (about 3 cups)

Miso Soup

  • 8 cups of Dashi
  • 1/2 cup dried wakame (a type of seaweed)
  • 1/3 cup white miso
  • 1/2 pound tofu (I like firm tofu), drained and cut into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup thinly cut scallions

Procedure

Dashi Instructions:

  1.  Pour water into a large saucepan. Add kombu and let sit until kombu softens, about 30 minutes.
  2. Bring water and kombu mixture to a slight boil and immediately remove from the heat. Discard the kombu.
  3. Add the bonito flakes and carefully stir once to submerge them. The broth will be clearer if you don’t vigorously stir it. Return to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes, skimming off any foam that might form.
  4. Strain the dashi (broth). You can let it cool and store it in the fridge for a couple of days or use it now to make the miso soup.

Miso Soup Instructions:

  1. Pour the dashi into a medium pot and mix in the wakame.
  2. Heat the dashi mixture over moderately high heat until hot. While the dashi is heating up remove about 1/2 cup of it and whisk it in a separate bowl with the miso until well combined.
  3. Add the tofu and scallions to the broth (dashi). Cook one minute. Turn off the heat.
  4. Mix the miso mixture into the soup and serve immediately. Enjoy!

https://healthyseasonalcooking.wordpress.com    March 13, 2018

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miso!
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Dashi and vegetables before adding the miso mixture
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Mixing in the miso.
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Spoonful of umami heaven!