Chicken Zoodle Lo Mein

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My mother-in-law gave me a veggie spiralizer for my birthday in June and up until now, it’s been sitting it the cabinet unused. Why? I knew spiralized veggies in place of spaghetti would be a hard sell at our dinner table. My husband grew up in a very Italian family and the man likes his pasta. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about zucchini instead of spaghetti in a big, Italian meal either. But in a stir fry? That was something I could get on board with.

I’m not a complete zoodle convert. You’re not going to mistake them for noodles in this dish but they’re good in their own right. I thought this was a great, lighter meal – and my husband downed several bites before asking me where the noodles were, always a good sign! It’s probably a gateway dish for us – after this, I’ll definitely be trying more zoodle meals.

ZoodleLoMeinChicken

Chicken Zoodle Lo Mein
(slightly adapted from Skinnytaste)
Serves 2

1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 Tbsp. rice wine
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1 large boneless chicken breast, cut into thin, short strips
Salt, to taste
2 tsp. canola oil, divided
3/4 cup sliced bok choy
1/2 cup shredded carrots
3 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
1/2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped

In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.

Spiralize the zucchini and cut into spaghetti-length strips.

Heat a skillet or wok on high heat. Add 1 tsp. oil. Season chicken with salt, add to the wok and stir-fry until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add remaining oil to the wok, followed by the bok choy, carrots, scallions, ginger and garlic Cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from wok and set aside with the chicken.

Pour the sauce mixture into the wok and cook for about a minute, until bubbling.  Add the zucchini and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken and vegetables to the wok and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce

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You know how you have crutch dinners you make in a pinch? Like, oh no! I forgot to defrost the chicken! What am I going to do?! nights. This is one of our new crutch dinners. It uses things we usually have in the house and comes together in less than 15 minutes.

They are, undoubtedly, not the prettiest tacos ever but what they lack in looks they make up for in flavor and ease. And since you can make them in about the time it takes to get a pizza delivered, they’re a perfect option for busy Lenten Fridays.

BlackBeanTacos

Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Cilantro-Lime Sauce
(from The Garden Grazer)
Serves 4

1 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 tsp. cumin
Tortillas, for serving
Corn and Pico de Gallo, for serving, optional

1/2 ripe avocado
3/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
Juice from 1 lime
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. salt

In a skillet, combine the black beans, salsa and cumin over medium heat. Warm, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Mash about half the beans and stir to combine.

While the beans are warming up. combine the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, honey and salt in a food processor. Process until well-blended and mostly smooth.

Serve black beans on tortillas, topped with avocado cilantro-lime sauce and corn and Pico de Gallo, if desired.


Kung Pao Chickpeas

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Part of Lenten obligation is to abstain from meat on Fridays – so for the Fridays during Lent, I’ll be sharing some delicious meatless meals. Whether you’re abstaining from meat for Lent or just looking to add some new meatless meal ideas, I hope these posts give you some inspiration. I’m so excited to kick off this year’s Lenten dinner series with this recipe because it’s a real winner!

Chinese takeout is one of my favorite Friday night meals – but unlike pizza, it’s harder to do during Lent. Chickpeas aren’t on the menu at our local place but it turns out they make a pretty fantastic substitute for chicken. This meal was one of those times you don’t miss the meat – it was flavorful and filling. Even the often-skeptical husband was a fan!

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Kung Pao Chickpeas
(adapted slightly from She Knows)
Serves 2-3

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 14oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup kung pao sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Steamed rice and steamed broccoli, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Stir in chickpeas, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let marinate.

When ready to cook, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large pan. Drain and discard the marinade and add the chickpeas to the pan, along with the kung pao sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute for 6-8 minutes, until the chickpeas begin to brown slightly. Serve with rice and broccoli.


Pork and Apple Hotpot

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Every once and a while I make something that cooks all day and makes the house smell awesome and think, why don’t I do this more often? This is one of those dishes. Pork chops and onions and bacon and apples simmering for hours before dinner? Yes. Please.

I’ve made this several times, and it never disappoints. It’s making it’s first appearance on the blog, though, because it’s one of those meals that’s terrible to photograph. It’s ugly, plain and simple. But it’s delicious and you should make it anyway.

 

Pork and Apple Hotpot
(slightly adapted from Nigella Kitchen)
Serves 4-6

3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, peeled, halved and sliced into half-moons
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. apple pie spice
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 boneless pork chops
4 Granny smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups apple cider

Preheat the oven to 325F degrees. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about ten minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add the bacon pieces and fry until cooked but not crispy. Remove to the bowl with the onions and mix together.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, apple pie spice, salt and pepper. Coat each of the pork chops in the flour mixture. Add 3 at a time to the pan and sear. Remove to a plate when finished. Whisk any remaining flour into the pan. Add in the apple cider and bring to a boil, whisking often.

In a dutch oven, layer as follows: bacon and onion on the bottom, 3 pork chops, apple slices, onion and bacon, 3 pork chops, apple slices, onions and bacon, and then the remaining apple slices. Pour the apple cider mixture evenly over everything.

Cover and bake for 3 hours.


Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups

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I have a tendency to obsess over things. And whatever my current obsession is always seems to keep bubbling up in life. Like, for example, buffalo chicken. I forgot how much I loved it and then have made four different buffalo dishes in the last month because I can’t get enough. But I’m not talking about buffalo chicken right now.

I’m currently obsessing over Macy Beckett’s Make You Remember.  I downed that book in about a day and a half and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. I’m such a sucker for a first-love-reunited story. But as satisfying as the story was, I can’t wait for the next in the series. Can’t. Wait. Alex and Ella-Claire were teased throughout the book and I need to know how things will go with them. NEED. It’s probably a little sad how much time I’ve spent thinking about them.

What does that have to do with this post? Well, when I was getting ready to make this, I realized the recipe was on a blog called Ella Claire. Seriously. This series is now even influencing my recipe choices! Is that funny? Or sad? I haven’t decided.

BuffaloChickenLettuceCups

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups
(from Ella Claire)
Serves 2-3

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 up Frank’s Buffalo wing sauce
1/2 tsp. celery seed
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
Head of bib or iceberg lettuce
Blue cheese crumbles and ranch dressing, for serving

In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the wing sauce and celery seed. Stir in the cooked, shredded chicken and toss to coat. Add pepper, to taste. Heat until sauce is bubbly and remove from heat and stir in celery.

Serve chicken warm in lettuce cups, topped with blue cheese and ranch dressing.


Rattlesnake Pasta

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My Mom and Mother-in-law both got me vintage Pyrex pieces for Christmas. Since then, I’ve become mildly obsessed with casseroles. Because when you’re using dishes from the ’50s, is there anything more appropriate to make than a casserole? I think not.

My new casserole dish is small – perfect for 2-3 servings, so I’ve been using it a lot and freezing extra portions for busy nights.  I can’t wait to break this one out again!

Rattlesnake Pasta
(adapted from The Oland Girls Craft)
Serves 6

12 oz. whole wheat pasta
1 26 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 lb. dice, cooked chicken
1 small can diced green chilies
1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, Alfredo sauce, garlic, Parmesan, bacon, chicken and chilies. Stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared casserole dish. Top with shredded cheddar.

Baked for 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Thai Veggie Burgers

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For some reason, Thursdays are my power day. I always feel the most together and most ambitious on Thursdays. It’s also the day I make my meal plans for the next week – which is both a good and a bad thing. Bad because I’m often more ambitious with the plans than I feel like being when I actually get around to cooking dinner. Good because when I power through the plans, I often get some pleasant surprises.

When I started making these, I had a what-were-you-thinking?! moment. We don’t generally eat a lot of Thai food. Mark isn’t crazy about peanut sauce. Veggie burgers are pretty hit-or-miss around here. Why did I think these would be a good thing to try mid-week?

Luckily, they were a huge hit. I served leftovers for lunch the next day – bun-less, on a bed of slaw – and they were even better. And we froze a few to break out for lunches during Lent. I already can’t wait.

Thai Veggie Burgers
(slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats)
Makes 6

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
2 tsp. olive oil, divided, plus additional for cooking
1 cup vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can of chickpeas
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cups cole slaw mix
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. water
Chopped peanuts
Burger buns

Rinse and drain the quinoa. Heat 1 tsp. of oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes to lightly toast. Stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand for 5. Remove the lid, fluff and set aside to cool.

In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, oats, cornmeal, salt, paprika, garlic and sesame oil until well blended. Pulse in the egg. Add the mixture to a large bowl and stir in quinoa, red pepper, onion and remaining 1 tsp. olive oil. Stir together until evenly mixed, divide into 6 equal balls and roll into patties.

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, lime juice and water until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering. Add the patties and cook until both sides are browned and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Serve the patties on buns topped with slaw, peanut sauce and chopped peanuts.

 


Pulled Pork Pizza

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So, you know how blogging around here was pretty slow around here towards the end of the year? I’m sure most people figured it was because of the baby but it was actually much more embarrassing – I filled up my hard drive. As in, I couldn’t put another thing on it without deleting something else. I quit taking pictures of things I was making because getting them onto the laptop was such a pain. (Well, I guess you could blame the baby – I’d filled it up with baby pictures…)

This was a pizza I made during that unintended blog break – and remade last week just so I could share it. I whipped it up to use up some leftovers and it turned out awesome – even my Mom, whom swears she hates spicy things, loved it.

And I finally bought a new computer so transferring pictures should be easy-peasy going forward.

Pulled Pork Pizza
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 12″ Pie

1 lb. pizza dough
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. chipotle Tabasco sauce
1 cup pulled pork
2 Tbsp. chopped red onion
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese

Roll out dough into a 12″ circle.

In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce and chipotle tabasco sauce. Spread over the crust. Top with pulled pork, red onion and cheeses.

Bake at 425 until the crust is golden, about 20 minutes.


Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos

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We recently did something we’ve been talking about since we moved into the house – we bought a chest freezer! I’m really more excited about it than I should be. The day it got delivered I plunked the few things I could in there and I’ve slowly been trying to fill it up.

I cooked up these burritos for dinner one night and froze the rest for nights I need something quick. I wrapped them in foil and then stuck them in a freezer bag. To reheat, I baked them, still in the foil, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos
(from Brunch Time Baker)
Makes 6-8

 1 can of black beans
1/2 can of canned corn
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
Juice of half a lime
6-8 medium flour tortillas

In a large skillet, melt the butter then add the onion, bell pepper, black beans, corn, salt, pepper, cumin and lime juice. Cook until onion and pepper are soft.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the black bean mixture into each tortilla. Top with 2 Tbsp. of rice and 2 Tbsp. of cheese and wrap tightly. Brush an electric grill or grill pan with oil and grill the burritos until crisp. Serve with sour cream and salsa.


Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce

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It’s super cliché, but we’re totally on holiday detox around here. I love indulging in all the holiday goodies, but by December 26th I just wanted a big salad. Does that officially make me old?

Either way, I’ve been mixing in some healthier meals during this last week. This has been one of those meals. These pork chops were pretty much everything I want in a dinner lately – quick, easy and super flavorful. Mark walked in the door from work and I handed off the baby for a diaper change. By the time he’d ditched his work clothes, changed the baby and made it back downstairs, I was plating them. Win all around!

Almond Crusted Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce
(from On My Way to Skinny)
Serves 2

2 pork chops, trimmed of fat and pounded to 1/4″ thickness
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup fat free half and half
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp. almond meal
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil to shimmering. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge in almond meal. Fry for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, whisk in the half and half, Dijon mustard, almond meal and oregano. Bring a boil, whisking constantly, and cook for 2 more minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sauce over pork chops.