Tag Archives: asian

Peanut Butter Quinoa

Shortly after my husband and I got married, we put together a picnic dinner. I was so excited to make a delicious quinoa salad. We started eating, and I noticed my husband wasn’t eating any of my salad. I asked him, and he said he doesn’t care for salads like that. I had just bought a big package of quinoa, and I needed a new way to fix it. I found lots of recipes for casseroles or soups, but not many regular side dishes.

So, I finally took a salad recipe to make this side dish. And it turned out great. This is great with fish or chicken. Or stir in some chicken and make a meal out of it. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Quinoa (Serves 6-8)

Peanut Butter Quinoa

1 cup uncooked quinoa or 2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 rib celery, sliced thin
2 carrots, sliced thin
½ medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
¼ cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
dash sriracha
½ teaspoon ground ginger

1. If not already cooked, cook quinoa according to package directions.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saute pan. Add celery, carrots, onion, and bell pepper. Saute 5-7 minutes, until vegetables begin to be tender.

3. Mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. It is not essential that they combine perfectly. You can heat it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds and they will combine better.

4. Add quinoa and peanut butter mixture to vegetables. Stir and cook until well combined and all is heated through. Serve.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 172
Protein: 6 gm
Fat: 8 gm
Saturated Fat: 1 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 21 gm
Fiber: 3 gm
Sodium: 253 mg

Recipe notes: You could substitute any vegetables you like. The “sauce” is pretty thick. You could add in some water or more soy sauce to thin it out more, if you like a saucier side. I liked mine fairly thick, almost like a fried rice.

Source: adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

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Sesame-Peanut Zoodles

We are almost halfway through January. Have you given up on your New Year’s resolutions already? I hope not. I’m still in the trenches with you. While not my resolution, I know many people choose to cut back on carbs. I am too attached to my carbs to make that leap, especially since we try to not eat a ton of meat. But I understand the logic behind the decision and many people find success with carb restricted diets.

One of my many carb hang-ups is pasta. I’d seen all the recipes for “zoodles” out there, and I was skeptical. Could zucchini really taste like pasta? I finally tried it. The answer: sort of. It definitely doesn’t taste like pasta, but you don’t miss the pasta either. And it definitely doesn’t taste like you are eating a giant pile of zucchini. I liked these with a side of salmon (and rice, even I’m being honest). Enjoy!

Sesame-Peanut Zoodles (serves about 2)

Sesame-Peanut Zoodles

3 small zucchini
½ red bell pepper, shredded or julienned
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter peanut butter
½ tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)
½ teaspoon ginger powder or 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1. Spiralize zucchini, or make into “noodles” with a vegetable peeler. Toss with bell pepper and red onion.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well combined. Microwave about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then stir again to incorporate better and it reaches a “sauce” consistency. Let cool for 3-5 minutes.

3. Toss vegetables with sauce. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 246
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 684 mg

Recipe Notes: I know the nutrition looks a little crazy on the fat. But that is from the peanut butter, and the saturated fat is low.

Source: adapted from online

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Lo Mein

Panda Express’s lo mein is one of my favorite fast foods. A few weeks ago, I needed a quick dinner for my family on a night where I hadn’t planned ahead well. I realized quickly that I had most of the ingredients for lo mein already on hand. It was a great night, and much cheaper than running to my local restaurant. Enjoy!

Lo Mein (Serves 4)

Lo Mein

½ package whole wheat thin spaghetti
1 chicken breast, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated or minced small
½ large onion, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
¾ cup julienne carrot
½ cabbage, shredded
1 zucchini, sliced
⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
dash sriracha

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, minus salt or oil. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken. Cook until done about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate.

3. Add garlic, ginger, onion, celery, and carrot to pan. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are mostly softened. Stir frequently to prevent any burning. Add cabbage and zucchini. Cook 3-5 minutes more.

4. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and sriracha.

5. Add chicken and noodles to vegetables in skillet. Add soy sauce mixture. Stir and cook over heat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 318
Protein: 27 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 50 mg
Carbohydrates: 50 g
Fiber: 9 g
Sodium: 853 mg

Source: adapted from several sources online

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Grilled Salmon

I am always looking for new salmon marinades. I have tried and enjoyed several in the last few months. Unfortunately, I often forget to write down what I did. Marinades are tricky like that for me. I just start throwing things into the bag with the fish. I don’t measure carefully or anything.

I finally made myself write one down, and I really enjoyed it. It is Asian inspired, but is different from my previous Asian Glazed Salmon. Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon (Serves 4)

Grilled Salmon

4 salmon fillets
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Dash sriracha
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Combine salmon with the remaining ingredients in a resealable bag or container. Refrigerate. Let marinate for at least an hour, up to overnight.

2. Remove fish from marinade and scared remaining marinade.

3. Preheat grill to medium to medium-high heat. Grill fish about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked to a minimum of 145 degrees.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 472
Protein: 66 g
Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 146 mg
Carbohydrates: 9 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sodium: 503 mg

Source: adapted from several sources online

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Tangy Braised Cabbage and Asian Cabbage

Every year, cabbage goes on sale for a week or so in March, and most of us eat a little out of obligation on St. Patrick’s Day. Cabbage is a strong flavor, so it doesn’t usually come up as a favorite veggie for many. But it really can be delicious.

Like all cruciferous vegetables, cabbage needs to be handled carefully. You can’t overcook them or you will enhance the natural bitterness in these veggies. I’ve mentioned before how roasting helps to bring out their sweetness, with roasted cabbage and roasted brussel sprouts. But with spring in the air, you may be avoiding the oven like I am.

Here are two fast, stove-top ready cabbage dishes that have a nice, mild cabbage flavor enhanced with bold sauces. They are quick to prepare, and they were quick to disappear at my house. If you are looking for a slightly untraditional St. Patrick’s Day feast, these are the cabbages for you. Enjoy!

Tangy Braised Cabbage (Serves about 3)

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½ tablespoon canola oil
½ large onion, sliced
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons horseradish or dijon mustard
½ small-medium green cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Heat oil in a large skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat. Saute onion for about 4 minutes, until beginning to soften.

2. Mix broth and mustard together. Add broth mixture and cabbage to skillet, tossing to combine with onions. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir, and cook for 8 minutes or until cabbage is wilted to your preference, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar. Remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 88
Protein: 4 g
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 13 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 163 mg

Asian Cabbage (Serves about 3)

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2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon sriracha
½ tablespoon sesame oil
½ small-medium green cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, optional

1. Combine lime juice through sriracha in a small bowl. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high what. Add cabbage, and cook 7 minutes or beginning to brown.

2. Stir in juice mixture. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until cabbage is wilted to your preference. Stir in cilantro, if using. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):

Calories: 71
Protein: 2 g
Fat: 2 g
Saturated Fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 83 mg

Recipe Notes: I prefer my cabbage a little more crunchy, so I cooked it the amount specified. If you like a lot of crunch, slice it thicker or cook it less.

Source: slightly adapted from Cooking Light

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Amped up Fried Rice

Are you a plain rice or fried rice person with your Chinese food?  I’m about 50/50.  I prefer plain rice to put under my entrees, but I don’t feel completely satisfied without fried rice somewhere in the mix.  Although lately, I feel like the fried rice I’ve been getting has been pretty lackluster and not even worth ordering.  This is especially sad, when a few ingredients take fried rice from blah to amazing.

Fried rice is great for making at home.  It makes a great side dish or a really simple entree as well.  Your veggies and proteins are entirely up to you.  It’s a great way for using up leftover rice or meat sitting in your fridge, including any from a takeout restaurant.  I love serving this with salmon or pork chops.  When serving it with a protein entree, I usually skip adding any eggs or meat to the rice.  But feel free to customize.

Enjoy!

Fried Rice  (Serves 4-6 as a side dish)

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1 cup uncooked brown rice (or 2 cups cooked)
¾ cup chopped carrots
½ tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (or more, to taste)
1 ½ cups frozen peas
2 large eggs (optional)

1. Cook rice according to package directions in rice cooker or on stovetop. For last 10 minutes of cooking, stir in chopped carrots. Set aside and let cool.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, cook 1 minute more.

3. Add rice and carrots to skillet. Stir in soy sauce and frozen peas. Stir everything to combine.

4. Scoot ingredients to one side of skillet. Crack eggs into open area in skillet. Stir to scramble. Once cooked, stir into rest of rice. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information (Amount per Serving):

Calories: 181
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 62 mg
Carbohydrates: 30 g
Fiber: 3 g
Sodium: 208 mg

Recipe notes: If using leftover rice, you can omit the carrots or use frozen carrots that will heat up quickly like the peas. Try to add as little soy sauce as possible and still get the flavor you want. The sodium will add up quickly. If adding in chopped chicken or pork, you can sauté that with the onions and peppers. Or if using cooked meat, stir it in with the soy sauce and peas.

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

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Sesame Chicken

A recipe for fried food seems out of place on a website for healthy recipes.  But I’m sharing this recipe for several reasons.

1) You can enjoy everything in moderation. We love sesame chicken, but we only make this two or three times a year as a special treat.

2) If you are careful about the temperature of your oil, you can really minimize the oil absorbed in frying. It isn’t health food now, but it doesn’t have to be horrible for you.

3) Making this at home is better than ordering take-out. You can control the ingredients in the sauce. You can control the frying temperature and oil absorbed. You can add a ton of veggies to lighten it up.

This recipe is in my husband’s top five favorites of food I make. It tastes as good or better than a restaurant. Enjoy!

Sesame Chicken (Serves 4-6)

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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Batter:
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon baking powder

Sauce:
½ tablespoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
1 teaspoon sriracha or chili garlic sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch

1 ½ quarts vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
4-6 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup per person)
1-2 (10 ounce) bags frozen stir fry vegetables, steamed on top of rice cooker while rice was cooking
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, optional garnish

1. Cut chicken into small, bite sized pieces.

2. Combine batter ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth. Add chicken pieces, tossing to coat. Set aside while you make sauce and heat oil.

3. For sauce, heat sesame oil in bottom of small-medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook until beginning to become fragrant. Combine remaining sauce ingredients in a bowl, whisking to dissolve cornstarch. Pour into pan, stirring constantly to prevent clumping. Keep warm over low heat and sauce thickens.

4. Heat oil to 375 degrees in a large, heavy bottomed pot.

5. Working in batches, fry chicken, removing excess batter before placing in the oil. Fry until golden and crispy, 3-5 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

6. Serve with sauce over cooked rice and vegetables. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

Nutritional Information (Amount per serving with 6 servings)

Calories: 740
Protein: 37 g
Fat: 26 g
Saturated Fat:13 g
Cholesterol: 83 mg
Carbohydrates: 90 g
Fiber: 8 g
Sodium: 964 mg

Recipe Notes: I often omit the sesame oil in the batter. I often substitute vegetable oil for the sesame oil in the sauce as well. You could probably use only one bag of vegetables if serving four people, but it will be tight.  I included all of the batter in the nutrient analysis, but you likely won’t use all of it. I added ½ cup oil (about 10%) to the nutrient analysis for frying. I know the nutrition doesn’t look great on this, but imagine what your take-out restaurant’s nutrition looks like? And, like I said above, we only eat this a few times a year.

Source: slightly adapted from Tyler Florence

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