Chicken Vegetable Ramen Noodle

When I was in college I used to make ramen noodles a few times a week in my trusty electric hot pot. It was one of the few things that was fool proof to make in there, besides heating up a can of soup. Once I graduated though the hot pot was thrown out and I stopped eating ramen noodles. Then last year not long after my Dad passed away I had a sudden craving for ramen noodles. There was such a feeling of comfort and safety in that bowl of noodles. A reminder of when life was easier and the safety of youth made you feel like nothing could ever go wrong or nothing bad could happen. Grief is a funny thing. It can make you remember things you completely forgot and question whether or not they happened and can make you find comfort in the oddest of things, hence the ramen noodles. To this day I still enjoy the occasional bowl of ramen noodle and have a case of it in my cabinet at all times. It got me thinking, why not try to make a traditional ramen bowl as opposed to the instant one I have been enjoying.

I began by prepping my various vegetables to have them ready to add to the pot as I was going…

And once I started it came together pretty quick, the most time consuming part of making this ramen bowl was prepping all of the vegetables. Oh yeah, and finding the miso. I ended up going to a local Oriental grocery market that I’ve known about for years. I did find miso at my local supermarket, but, the recipe called for white miso and the one they had was red and I didn’t want to take any chances with subbing ingredients.

And while it was delicious, I did have a minor mishap. I left the pot covered a little too long with the noodles so I ended up with something more like Lo Mein than ramen soup. I did have enough broth for one bowl, but, not for two.

Oh well… My noodles and veggies were just as delicious.

I’ll definitely make this again, but, I think next time I will omit the eggs and the chicken. It was definitely enough with just the vegetables.

 

Chicken Vegetable Ramen Bowl

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder, plus more for seasoning chicken

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

2 eggs

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1-inch piece ginger, finely chopped

3 tablespoons soy sauce

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons white miso

8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced

1 cup baby spinach

4 to 5 mini sweet peppers plus more for garnish, sliced

3 to 4 green onions plus more for garnish, sliced

1 large carrot, thinly sliced into ribbons

6 ounces ramen noodles

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once hot, add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Brown chicken for 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through.

In a small saucepan, place the eggs and cover with water and cover the pan. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. Keep lid on saucepan for 5 minutes. Drain the hot water and fill with cold water, once cool drain the water and peel the eggs.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the remaining oil. Once hot, add onion and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add garlic powder, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Whisk in soy sauce, broth and miso. Add mushrooms and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Add the peppers, green onions, spinach and carrots. Continue to simmer covered for 5 minutes. Taste the broth and add salt if necessary.

Finally, add ramen noodles and turn off heat (the heat from the soup will soften the noodles).

Slice chicken breasts and eggs. Divide soup into bowls and serve with chicken and a halved egg.

Recipe from Simply Organic

Slow Cooker Sunday: Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew

So, I personally think that one of the best things to make in a slow cooker is soup / stew. I consider them to be more or less one in the same. And this week I am bringing you a Spicy Mexican Chicken Stew that is the ideal Slow Cooker Meal. The only prep is some dicing, chopping and cutting. No sautéing veggies or heating the aromatics to develop the flavors. You control the level of spice with a jar of salsa. I got this recipe in the cookbook I mentioned last week… Slow Cooker Family Favorites. I’m 2 for 2 with the recipes in this book… Yay!

I began by stirring together salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in the bowl in my slow cooker.

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I then added in diced potatoes, frozen corn, cut celery & carrots, a diced onion and minced garlic.

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I gave everything a few good stirs to make sure the vegetables were coated by the salsa mixture.

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And finally, I placed 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs on top of the vegetables and poured in a can of chicken broth.

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So, according to the directions the stew was to be cooked on high for 4 hours, or until the chicken was cooked through and the vegetable were tender. After 4 hours the chicken was cooked through, so I removed it from the slow cooker and shredded it using two forks. But, my vegetables were still a bit undercooked, so I returned the chicken to the slow cooker and cooked everything for about another 2 hours.

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Which I think was the best thing. The end result were vegetables that were perfectly tender, but, better yet, the chicken was really able to absorb the flavors of the stew. YUM!

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I packed a bowl for lunch the following day and I must say it was even better then and each subsequent day!

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Spicy Chicken Mexican Stew

Ingredients:

1 16-oz jar spicy salsa*

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes**

1 16 ounce package frozen corn***

2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs****

1 14.5-oz chicken broth (approximately 2 cups)

 

*I used Chi-Chi’s Medium Thick & Chunky Salsa

**I used 2 medium sized potatoes and 1 small one

**The package I used was 12 oz.

****About 1 3/4 pounds of chicken

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a slow cooker stir together the salsa, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.

Add the potatoes, corn, celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Toss everything to coat the vegetables.

Place the chicken on top and then pour in the chicken broth.

Set to cook on high for 4-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Once chicken is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker. Season for taste.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Slow Cooker Sunday: Caribbean Beef Stew

With the cold temperatures outside you may be looking for meals that are hearty, comforting and most important of all… easy to make. This beef stew covers all those bases.

I began by adding my vegetables – potatoes and carrots – along with fresh thyme, ginger and garlic in the bottom of my slow cooker.

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Next I topped the vegetables with beef stew meat that dredged in a mixture of flour, allspice, salt and pepper.

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I reserved the excess seasoned flour from the beef and whisked it with water and Worcestershire sauce and then poured it over the meat and potatoes along with a can of Mexican-style tomatoes.

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I covered my slow cooker and cooked the beef stew on low for 7 hours and this is the deliciousness that resulted.

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It was incredibly flavorful, the beef was wonderfully tender and it had just enough kick to it.

 

Slow-Cooker Caribbean Beef Stew

Ingredients:

3 sprigs thyme

1/2 all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into thirds

1 1-inch ginger piece, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 10-ounce can Mexican-style diced tomatoes with green chiles (Rotel)

Directions:

Put the potatoes, carrots, 2 thyme sprigs, the ginger and garlic in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker

Strip the leaves from the remaining thyme sprig and chop; combine with the flour, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat. Add to the slow cooker on top of the vegetables and reserve the excess flour.

Add 1/2 cup water and the Worcestershire sauce to the reserved flour and whisk everything together, then add to the slow cooker. Pour the tomatoes on top.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.

Recipe from Food Network

Carrot Cake For Two…

Or dessert for One for two days! I love carrot cake, but, truth be told it’s a lot of work to make for just me alone to eat. Okay, it’s really not a lot of work; it’s a lot of cake for me alone. But, I recently came across a recipe for carrot cake that resulted in two perfect-sized slices of cake, which would be great as a dessert for two or in my case dessert for one for two days… Yum! Who doesn’t love a delicious dessert two days in a row?

To make the batter I began by whisking together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl. I then created a well in the center of the flour mixture and added in eggs and sugar and mixed the two together. Next I added in oil and vanilla extract and continued mixing it with a fork.

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I then incorporated the flour mixture and egg mixture and folded in shredded carrots and pecans to the batter. Once the batter was well combined I transferred it to a 9-inch round pan that I sprayed with baking spray.

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After baking the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 25 minutes I removed it from the oven and allowed the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes.

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After the 20 minutes, I removed the cake from the pan and allowed it to cool completely on the wire rack. Once it was completely cooled I cut the cake into 4 equal parts and frosted the top of each piece with cream cheese frosting.

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I then stacked the four pieces and frosted the back curve of the cake.

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After refrigerating the cake for half an hour I then sliced it in half and was left with 2 perfect sized slices of cakes.

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Carrot Cake For Two

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 ounces carrots (about 3 small), finely grated (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup pecans

 

For the Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Directions:

For The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 -by- 2 inch round cake pan with baking spray.

Whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg – in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Working within the well, use a fork to mix together the eggs and sugar until well combined. Add the oil and vanilla to egg mixture and continue mixing with a fork until well combined once again. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together with the fork until just combined. Fold in the carrots and pecans.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Turn out the cake and let it cool on the wire rack for about an hour until completely cool.

For The Frosting:

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer on medium, beat together the butter and cream cheese. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Finally add in the vanilla extract.

To Assemble the Cake:

Cue the cake into 4 equal wedges. Frost the top of each wedge with about 3 tablespoons of frosting. Stack the wedges on top of each other and with the remaining frosting frost the back curve of the cake, and leave the 2 sides of the cake open. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, then cut the cake wedge in half and serve.

Recipe from The Food Network

Slow Cooker Sunday: Italian Vegetable and Pasta Soup

This is probably the best soup I have ever made and maybe tasted, well, there was this French Onion Soup that I had years ago at a restaurant that I still compare all French Onion Soup’s I have to this day to. Maybe I should try making that soup one day. But anyhoo, I digress, as usual. Back to the soup at hand, an Italian Vegetable and Pasta Soup that best of all is made in a slow cooker. There’s nothing better than dumping everything into your slow cooker, coming back a few hours later and having a great meal waiting for you.

I began by adding all of my vegetables to my slow cooker: corn, chopped onion, chopped carrots, sliced zucchini and garlic. I wasn’t sure if garlic could be considered a vegetable, but, after a little research it turns out can be.

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Next, I stirred broth, tomato paste, salt and basil until the tomato paste had completely blended into the broth. I used tomato paste with basil, garlic and oregano. I advise definitely using this blend of tomato paste since it adds more flavor to the soup.

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I opted to cook it on the high setting – for about 3 1/2 hours – and then added in dried shell macaroni and a bag of frozen green beans and cooked it for an additional 45 minutes.

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Once it was done I served myself some in a bowl and topped it with shredded parmesan. YUM!

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Italian Vegetable and Pasta Soup

Ingredients:

1 10-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1 small zucchini, halved and sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups no-salt vegetable or chicken broth

1 6-ounce can tomato paste with basil, garlic and oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 9-ounce package frozen green beans

1 cup dried tiny shell macaroni

Shredded parmesan cheese, for topping

*I used regular (not the no-salt one) garden vegetable broth

Directions:

In a 3 1/2 to 5 quart slow cooker combine the frozen corn, onion, carrots, zucchini and garlic.

Stir in the broth, salt, basil and tomato paste until the tomato paste is completed blended into the broth.

Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. If cooking on low set the heat to high and add in the macaroni and green beans and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

Sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

 

 

Chicken Pad Thai

Whenever I go to a Thai restaurant my go-to dish is always Chicken Pad Thai. It’s pretty much foolproof and always delicious. A few years ago I attempted to make it myself and was happy with the outcome – it was super simple and tasted awesome. I recently dug out the recipe I used and whipped it up for dinner.

To begin I prepped all of my ingredients; minced garlic and ginger, sliced three thinly sliced chicken breasts into strips and julienned 2 carrots and 1 zucchini.

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Two of my other ingredients were rice noodles and Asian chili paste.

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Next I whisked together soy sauce, water, peanut butter and the chili paste until it was smooth.

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To cook the vegetables and chicken I began by sautéing the garlic and ginger for about a minute and then adding the vegetables and chicken and cooking everything until the chicken was cooked through.

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While I was cooking the vegetables I prepped the rice noodles by soaking them in warm water (I brought a pot of water to boil and then removed it from the heat). Luckily the rice noodles now come in these individual packets (there are four in a box) so I knew exactly how many noodles I needed – 2 packets. The last time I cooked with rice noodles – granted it was some time ago – they didn’t come in these nifty packages so I had to use my best guess as to what was half of the package.

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The noodles soaking…

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Once the noodles were ready (I followed the directions on the package and soaked them for 5 minutes) I added them to the pan with the vegetables and then added in the peanut/soy sauce I made along with light brown sugar and cider vinegar. I tossed all of the ingredients together to distribute the sauce and let everything cook for a few more minutes and then it was time to enjoy my homemade Chicken Pad Thai and it was delicious!

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Chicken Pad Thai – Modified from here

Servings 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons Asian chili paste

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 zucchini, julienned

2 carrots, julienned

8 ounces chicken breast, sliced into strips

1/4 pound rice noodles, follow directions on package to prepare

1 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoons cider vinegar

Optional for garnish:

Lime Wedges

Chopped Peanuts

Bean Sprouts

Directions:

1. In a bowl whisk together the soy sauce, water, peanut butter and chili paste.

2. Heat a large sauté pan (or wok) over medium heat and add the canola oil. Once the oil is hot add the garlic and ginger and cook for about a minute. Add the vegetables and chicken and cook until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Add the noodles and toss to coat them.

3. Add the peanut/soy sauce, brown sugar and cider vinegar and toss to distribute. Cook until heated through.

Chocolate Bunny Topped Easter Cake

Happy Easter! A few weeks ago when I posted about the Springtime Chocolate Chip Cookies I made I mentioned that I picked up some things at my local Target store to create an Easter cake and I am happy to say that the cake turned out just as I pictured it in my head. So, what did I pick up? Edible Easter Grass, Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs and a Chocolate Bunny.

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To begin, I baked my favorite Carrot Cake and frosted it with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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The Edible Easter Grass. If you’re wondering, it’s made of wafer paper candy; it does have a slight green apple flavor and surprisingly doesn’t have any kind of after-taste. And from what I read about it online most of the companies that sell it here in the United States import it from Germany.

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I cut the grass into 1 – 2 inch pieces and spread it onto a cookie sheet. I then misted the grass with a little water and mixed the grass so that it could clump together. I was careful not to use too much water because the grass would then disintegrate.

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I first placed the Chocolate Bunny in the center of the cake and then started spreading the grass around the bunny lightly pressing it into the frosting.

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I decided to only cover the top of the cake with the grass.

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And after placing some Cadbury Milk Eggs in the grass my cake was decorated and ready for Easter!

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