No Muss No Fuss: Simple Sesame Noodles

I’m beginning to think that my favorite food is Peanut Noodles. I love them. I could probably eat them every day. Cold, warm, room temperature. I’ll eat them as leftovers for breakfast, scarf them down before I have my coffee. They are perfect for lunch, or as a quick snack between appointments on a busy afternoon. We often make them for dinner, in large batches and try our best not to eat them all in one sitting so that we can continue to enjoy them throughout the week. Peanut noodles are the best. The only problem is that they require a few too many ingredients–as least the recipe I use and love–and I often find that we are missing an ingredient or two, and far too often the ingredient we’re missing is the one we need most: peanut butter.

These Simple Sesame Noodles from Pioneer Woman are my backup whenever I’m craving some asian-style noodles but don’t have everything I need to pull together my peanut recipe. They are so quick and so simple and really, really tasty. And like my favorite peanut noodles, you can make them in really large batches and eat them throughout the week. They keep really well, store easily and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can add some chopped veggies, tofu or chicken for something a little more substantial.

Whether you’re super busy with kids, super busy with work, or just super busy feeling too lazy for anything complicated, I highly recommend adding these noodles to your regular rotation.

~C.

Rainy Day

It’s a dreary, rainy morning and I want nothing more than to stay home all day.

We moved last weekend and are slowly getting settled in our new place. It’s an old stone house with a great, big tree right outside the living room window. I feel so cozy sitting here, drinking coffee and listening to the rain fall. I don’t want to go into work today. I don’t want to deal with slick roads. Don’t want to dodge puddles and still end up with the cuff of my pants soaked through.

I want to sit on my couch all day with a hot mug of one of these teas and a good book.

Or drape a warm, cozy blanket across my lap and watch a classic black and white movie.

Speaking of movies, today seems like a good day to binge watch some trailers and decide what’s on my must-see list for this fall.

Or maybe I would just spend all day sleeping, curled up alongside this guy:

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What are your favorite things to do on a rainy fall day?

 

~C.

 

 

Slow Cooker Potato Soup

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We are less than a week from moving day. Our culinary focus has turned entirely towards using up whatever food we have and making quick, simple meals that don’t take up too much time that could be better spent packing and cleaning. We did one last small grocery run over the weekend for a few staples, and we’ll get one more CSA share this evening, but that’s it. With a limited pantry and limited free time, last night I turned to my best friend the crockpot for a little help.

I still had a few weeks of CSA potatoes on hand that I’ve been wanting to use up, and given the cool weather yesterday (and again this morning!), it seemed like a good time for soup.

I love potato soup. It’s so basic, but so hearty and, frankly, uplifting. It’s one of those foods that I feel is kind of taking care of me as I eat it. For this particular soup, I followed this recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Soup. I didn’t include the bacon or the sprinkled cheese at the end. I also didn’t have any chives, so I substituted parsley for some added flavor and a bit of green (just sprinkled on at the end, not cooked in the soup). I couldn’t find our pepper grinder, because I can’t find anything in this house anymore, but it was still plenty flavorful. I served it over a little bit of wild rice to add a bit more thickness (I like really thick soups), with a dollop of plain greek yogurt on top in place of the sour cream.

If you’d like a variation on the potato soup theme, I have done a Potato Leek Soup in the past that was similarly fantastic. It has a few more steps, but is still quite easy to throw together.

If 85% of my kitchen wasn’t already packed in boxes, I definitely would have made and Irish Soda Bread to go along with the soup.

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but with only 6 days to go, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with how well D and I have been managing this transition. Moving is hard, and so far there have been very few stress-related breakdowns. We’ve got a clear, concise list of what tasks remain and each day we’re crossing a few off and getting closer and closer to being all packed up and ready to start fresh in a new house. I’m getting excited.

 

~C.

Thai Peanut Fried Rice

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The other night I was craving the taste of noodles with a spicy peanut sauce, but wasn’t all that excited about the thought of eating noodles. Don’t get me wrong, I love noodles. It just wasn’t a noodle night. But the peanut sauce was non-negotiable. I had to have it. Tap, tap, tap in a google search and voila, I find Thai Peanut Fried Rice. This easy to make and I was very pleased with the result. You can play around with the amount of spice (I made mine pretty darn spicy) and with the types of vegetables you use. The only fresh vegetable I had on hand was carrots (yes, I need to go grocery shopping), but it would definitely be good with snap peas, or broccoli florets. I liked the carrots because they added an extra crunch. I have another fried rice recipe that I will share at some point that has really different flavors. But if you are looking for something quick and easy to satisfy your fried rice or peanut sauce cravings, I highly recommend you give this a shot.

~C.

Recipes From Around The Web

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My favorite thing about the Internet–apart from adorable photos of cats, obviously–is that whenever I have an ingredient that I want to use, but I’m not sure what to do with it, I can type in a totally random recipe idea and voila, dinner at my fingertips.

Take last night, for instance. I knew I wanted to make mashed sweet potatoes and wilted Swiss chard tossed with cinnamon and almonds, but I needed a protein that would go well with those flavors. I had some chicken breasts and a bag of fresh cranberries. A couple taps on the keyboard and: Chicken with Cranberry Sauce. We used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and baked them at 400 instead of 450. The chicken was incredibly flavorful and was really perfectly paired with the sweet potatoes and the chard.

A few weeks back I had a spaghetti squash that I needed to use. I love spaghetti squash. It’s simple and delicious. You can just toss it with a little bit of salt and pepper, a few fresh herbs and call it a meal. But sometimes I want something a little more adventurous than strands of squash seasoned with ground pepper. I thought to myself, “I wonder if Spaghetti Squash Casserole is a thing…” It is! {Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Ricotta and Spinach}

I think my favorite random Internet find came when I had sweet potatoes, bok choy and a can of chickpeas. I typed those three things into a search and discovered BBQ Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes and Bok Choy. It doesn’t really sound like much, but it was surprisingly good and very filling.

Enjoy!

~C.

Pumpkin Black Bean Chili

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Fall is my favorite season for cooking. I love warm, hearty meals with lots of spice and full flavors. So no surprise that this Pumpkin Black Bean Chili is right up my alley. We used a pumpkin ale to meet the “hearty fall or winter beer” requirement. We served it over some leftover polenta (more on that in a future post), and garnished it with sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped green onions and shredded cheese.

This is one of the best chili dishes I’ve ever had. Vegetarian chili is often very bean heavy to add substance in the absence of meat. This Pumpkin Black Bean Chili is nice and thick without being overloaded with beans. If you can’t find the fire-roasted tomatoes the recipe calls for, you can probably use regular diced tomatoes, but I would definitely experiment with adding more spices and maybe even some crushed red pepper. The fire-roasted tomato flavor plays a big part in the overall taste, so you’ll want to try to make up for that in your seasoning.

To make this vegan, just leave out the cheese and sour cream!

~C.

Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce

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D has a rule that the gooier, mushier and, in many cases, more disgusting a dish looks, the better it tastes. I don’t always subscribe to his theory, but in the case of these Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce, I have to agree. This dish was a gooey, creamy plate of deliciousness.

The original recipe calls for 5 large zucchinis, but I only had 2 medium-to-small sized zucchinis on hand from our CSA and that made more than enough noodles for two people. I didn’t cut down on the sauce despite having fewer noodles than the recipe calls for, because I love avocado and wanted to be sure there was enough sauce to coat the tofu that we added to the dish.

The recipe also calls for coconut oil for when you saute the zucchini noodles, but I just used olive oil because that’s what I cook with and I’m not about to go out and buy a whole other kind of oil just to saute 2 medium-to-small sized zucchinis.

Most recipes for zucchini noodles suggest using a mandoline or small julienne blade to make the noodles, but we just tossed them in the food processor with the grating mechanism attached (the piece that attaches to shred vegetables) and that worked fine.

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This dish was really easy to throw together and is a healthy alternative to the Creamy Avocado Pasta I posted a while back. I am a huge pasta fan, so anything that can be turned into noodles gets a thumbs up from me.

Enjoy!

~C.