Shrimp and Veggie Mei Fun

Since choosing to try out the “gluten free” fad in order to stay healthy and fit… it has really limited my choices when we eat at a chinese food restaurant. Luckily I am not gluten “intolerant”, and I do not have celiacs disease. I cannot imagine how hard that would be!! It’s mainly a choice and I do have a bit of cheats here and there. One thing I learned is that there is wheat in some soy sauce! I also learned that some chinese restaurants do use flour to thicken some of their sauces! With trying to be “good” on my diet I was pretty choosy about what I would order. I have found a new favorite though!! Mei Fun!! It is similar to chow mein, but it is made with gluten free rice noodles and loaded with yummy vegetables! It’s actually one of the less expensive dishes on the menu as well! WIN! Like anything though, I like to attempt to make it at home to see if I can do it. Always worth trying I say! (By the way… I did attempt egg drop soup for my husband. I’ve been told to stop trying, it’s not good when I make it. HAHAHAHAHA! So… I can NOT make egg drop soup. If anyone has a tried and true recipe without any food dyes, etc. please let me know.)

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Ingredients:

1. 3 TB olive oil
2. 1/2 pound medium/jumbo shrimp
3. 3-4 oz. sliced deli ham chopped
4. 1/2 green bell pepper diced
5. 1 tsp minced garlic
6. 1 small zucchini sliced thin and cut up
7. 5-6 baby carrots julienned (you can also use 1-2 large carrots)
8. 8.2 oz. rice noodles (I used these: Vermicelli Rice Noodles), soaked in warm water for 30 minutes to an hour (use kitchen shears to cut the noodles to about a 10-inch length so they don’t bunch up when stir-frying)
9. 1 tsp garlic powder
10. 1   – 2 TB dry white wine
11. 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
12. 1 teaspoon soy sauce (gluten free options available, or try Aminos!!)
13. 2 tsp sesame oil
14. 1/2 cup frozen peas
15. 1 cup frozen french green beans cut to shorter bite size pieces
16. 1/4 sweet yellow onion diced
17. Salt and pepper to taste

****Be sure to start soaking the noodles about an hour before you’re ready to start preparing the rest of the dish.

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Instructions
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. At the same time, place your noodles in a large bowl of warm water and soak.
  2. Place 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp on lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Bake for 12-15 min from frozen.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in your wok until it just starts to smoke. Add the ham and stir-fry for about 20 seconds. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper,  carrots, green beans and zucchini and stir-fry for another minute. The heat should still be high, and you should be stirring constantly. You want enough sizzle to produce that “wok hay” (literally translated to: ‘breath of the wok’) flavor. (this description taken from : Mei Fun Noodles )
  4. Add the soaked noodles and give everything a good stir. Toss in the shrimp and stir-fry until the noodles are heated through–about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add the dry white wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix well. If your noodles begin to stick, the skillet is probably not hot enough. Just use your spatula and make sure to scrape anything off the bottom of the wok so it doesn’t burn!
  6. Finish with the frozen peas. I toss them in to JUST barely heat them so they will “pop” when you bite into the baby peas. Serve! If you want a bit of spice, you can add sriracha or some pepper flakes to the top.

This will possibly be replacing my take-out! It was SOOO good!!!

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If you find yourself craving some take-out, but want to be a bit careful, give this one  a try! It’s delicious, not greasy, gluten-free and you’ll want it over and over again!

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And now, for the song of the day:

Quick Leftover Rice – Chicken Fried Rice

So, I’m sitting on my back screened-in porch, watching my kids play in the sprinklers, and watching our little “home-made” terrarium filled with tadpoles…. while I food-blog. Honestly? Pretty good day! We collected tadpoles for a home-school science project to document the frog’s life-cycle. It has been so much fun! We’ve only had them almost a week, but they’ve already grown! Watching my kids want to check on them as SOON as they wake up has been really fun. It’s also been pretty cool for me! The funniest was when we went to catch them, and my daughter decided that she wanted to hold a tadpole. I said, if you can catch one, and not squish it, you can hold one. So, she sets out determined to catch one. I give her a couple of tips and she catches one! She holds out her hand SQUEALING at the top of lungs at me “I GOT ONE, I GOT ONE, I GOT ONE”, with her little hand shaking violently over the rocky ground. Out of pure thought for the poor tadpole, I told her to quickly put the tadpole back into the puddle before she drops it out of excitement onto the ground! She, luckily, properly followed instructions and the tadpole lived to see another day… at least, if a bird didn’t find that puddle later that day… 😉 My daughter doesn’t have to know that though. 🙂 I will honestly try my very best to always remember that high-pitched squeal, her excited face, and her shaking hand with that slimy little tadpole in it! Brings a smile to my face just thinking about it! So Much Fun!

So… later that night, after ALL OF THAT EXCITEMENT and trying to haul WAY to much water from the tadpole’s “home” back to our house… I did not have a lot of energy to cook dinner. BUT, I did have leftover rice from the other nights dinner. And you know what is perfect for leftover white rice? (Especially leftover from chinese takeout). Fried Rice!!!!!! This recipe is quick, easy and delicious!!!

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3-4 Servings… depending on how hungry you are!

Ingredients:

3-4 cups of leftover rice (or just cooked…)
1/2 cup of leftover chicken cut into 1/2 to 1″ cubes (rotisserie works GREAT!) or cook up a couple of chicken tenderloins and slice
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (I used the peas, carrots, corn and beans mix)
1/4 of a yellow sweet onion sliced and chopped fine
1 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 eggs
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 TB coconut or soy aminos (or soy sauce) (or more, depending on your preference)
2 green onions

 

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Directions:

  1. If you do not have leftover rice, go ahead and start to prepare it in your rice cooker or stove top pan now.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  3. Add onion, garlic, and frozen vegetables into the heated oil. Stir fry until tender.
  4. Add the rice and chicken and stir until incorporated. Add the sesame oil and stir again.
  5. Bring all of the rice to the side and crack your 2 eggs  into the pan (as you see above) and scramble the eggs. Once cooked, stir and incorporate throughout the rest of the rice dish.
  6. Add soy sauce to pan. Stir in soy sauce and remove from heat.
  7. Garnish with some sliced green onion and ENJOY!

 

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And now, for the quote of the day:

What Kind of Food is Healthy and Why??

My  husband and I had a chat the other day about how different we eat now than when we first got married. When we first got married I didn’t do much thinking about what kind of food we were putting into our bodies. I bought pre-packaged easy to make quick meals. I worked full time and so did my husband. When a recipe had more than 3 ingredients it felt really overwhelming.

Fast forward to having my son… he is allergic to … well.. A LOT. I had to learn to make everything from scratch. I had to learn to read EVERY label. I had to figure out thing like…

Autolyzed Yeast = MSG
Whey Protein = Dairy
Red #40 and Blue Lake dye is NO GOOD
Hydroxytoluene (BHT) = a product also used in jet fuel and embalming fluid
Yellow #5 = derived from coal tar and may contain up tp 10ppm of lead and arsenic
Propylene glycol alginate (E405) = derived from alginic acid esterified and combined with propylene glycol.
Polysorbate 60 = Made of made of corn, palm oil and petroleum, this gooey mix can’t spoil, so it often replaces dairy products in baked goods and other liquid products.
Textured soy protein concentrate, carrageenan, maltodextrin, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, modified cornstarch = All of these are basically different names to hide ingredients that either contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or form MSG during processing

A little scary huh? All of these things are hidden in ALL KINDS of food! Cereal, salad dressing, protein bars… things we THINK are healthy… and these are IN them! And how easy is it to make our own dressing?? EASY! SOO EASY!

The list could go on and on and on. I read labels of everything I purchase. The less I recognize the ingredients, the more I will put it back on the shelf and figure out how to make it on my own. The cool thing is that I have learned that cooking isn’t overwhelming… it’s FUN! I can make my own BBQ sauce, Teriyaki sauce, bread, chicken nuggets, cookies, cakes, pies, ice cream, smoothies… I can do copycat recipes too! Basically what I see in the store and I don’t like the ingredients used to “preserve” or “keep freshness” (like BHT!!) I go home and try to make it on my own. There have been quite a few FAILS… hahaha, but a lot of WINS!

I have learned alot having a son who has food allergies. What’s in your food? What do you have for breakfast? How are you feeding your body? Did you know that if you work out 2 hours a day EVERY DAY and still eat junk all day long… you are NOT healthy?

Once again, I’m going to mention Dietitian Cassie: http://www.dietitiancassie.com/

I have learned a lot just reading her blog! She talks a lot about REAL food!

From http://www.realfoodchallenge.org/about/realfood

Real Food is food which truly nourishes producers, consumers, communities and the earth.  It is a food system–from seed to plate–that fundamentally respects human dignity and health, animal welfare, social justice and environmental sustainability.

Some people call it “local,” “green,” “slow,” or “fair.”  We use “Real Food” as a holistic term to bring together many of these diverse ideas people have about a values-based food economy (see our Real Food Wheel).

This is about more than supermarket labels. The Real Food Challenge has developed an innovative Real Food Calculator, which provides in-depth definitions of “real food” and a tracking system for institutional purchasing.  With this tool, “real food” is broken down into four core categories: local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane. Click here to learn more about the Real Food Calculator

Also this blog: http://www.foodrenegade.com/the-basics/real-food/

Back in the 1920s, a dentist named Weston A. Price grew dismayed by the rapidly declining health of his patients. Suspecting that the introduction and acceptance of newfangled industrial dietary changes were at the root of this turn for the worse, he traveled the world in search of healthy populations.

He found them.

These people didn’t eat refined sugar or white flour, didn’t cook with vegetable oils, and didn’t eat food canned with modern methods. They also didn’t have heart disease, diabetes, or cancer.

They did eat foods high in vitamins and minerals, animal fats (including butter), and organ meats. And, roughly 60-80% of their diet was enzyme-rich — either fermented or raw. Plus, they prepared their foods according to centuries old traditions.

They ate real food.

We need to be re-educated. We need to think about what’s in our food and what we are putting into our body. They came out with Splenda to get all of us to stop using aspartame… did you know that Splenda is made with chlorine?! I am becoming more and more of the firm believe that the closer my food is to it’s natural form the better. I personally do not want to do the RAW food diet… I like cooked foods… fancier, etc. But I’m not afraid of butter and oil. I’ve stopped counting calories and focused more on REAL and healthy foods.

What happens when I eat too many veggies? If I fill up on a large bowl of fresh vegetables? I am full. I am full of real food and I don’t have guilt.

Now, I am not opposed to grains… and I am going to try and see how I can replace my pastas… cuz those are my favorites! But I am working on using more real foods. I’m going to try to also use the non-refined and white/bleached flours and THINK about what I put into my body. My body is God’s temple, I am going to take care of it the best I can!

Healthy Replacements for White Flour Snacks

It has fortunately become quite easy to replace enriched flour with healthy alternatives, especially with whole wheat flour. But don’t forget that there are other options that can add variety to your meals such as rye, quinoa, millet, and brown rice flour and sprouted grain products.

I like to snack on alkalizing fruits, whether dried or fresh, and sometimes add a few nuts such as almonds or walnuts and some sesame seeds that are naturally high in calcium. Dried fruits mixed with nuts are easy to carry around so you can have a bone-healthy snack anytime of the day.

Check out those blogs! Let me know what you think!

Crispy Coconut Encrusted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

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Above is the end product! YUM huh?!

adapted from this recipe: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2746155

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Ingredients:

3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
6 small chicken tenderloins
4 tbsp. coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk

Soak the chicken tenderloins in the coconut milk (either in a baggie or like I did, in a pie pan) for 45 minutes to an hour. While it’s soaking, mix the flour with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and mix. Heat the oil in the skillet on medium-high. Then, take the panko bread crumbs, scallions and coconut and mix in a second bowl. Take the chicken, dip in flour, dip back into the milk and then coat with the coconut and panko bread crumbs. Make sure well coated. Cook in the skillet on med. high for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through and firm.

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Mashed Potatoes:

(this is for 3-4 small servings)

6 Potatoes
1/4 cup (if not less… maybe 1/8 cup) half&half (or if you prefer, fat free chicken broth)
3 TB butter
1 TB Fat Free PLAIN greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Peel most of the potatoes, and leave just a little bit of the peel. Then cut into 2 inch pieces. Place into pot and cover (just over the top) of the potatoes. Boil for 15 min on medium high. Lower the temp. if it boils over. I place the lid on the pan, but not sealed… it’s slightly “propped”. This helps to keep it from boiling over. Then, when cooked through, a fork should easily go through the pieces of potato, if not immediately cause it to break apart. Drain water, and place back on warm (and turned off) burner. Add the half&half (or chicken broth), butter, and yogurt. Mash with potato masher, or similar. Then, when well mixed, if you want creamy potatoes, take a hand mixer and blend. Then season to taste. 

Veggies in pic: I just took 3/4 cup of frozen veggies, and added to the skillet w/the leftover coconut in the pan after the chicken was removed and sauteed until heated up, but the veggies are still crunchy and cooked through. Thought it might be fun to try! Not bad! 🙂

Homemade Pot-Pie!

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The above pictures shows the progression of Homemade Pot-Pie! (I didn’t make the crust homemade, because I had one leftover in my freezer. You buy a box w/2, use only 1, and you’ve got an extra in your freezer for whatever!! Pot Pie for me!)

Original Recipe: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2012/12/chicken-pot-pies.html

COOK TIME: 25-30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes {give or take}

INGREDIENTS:

5 Boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (sauteed in skillet and cooked through, then diced)

2 TB butter

1.5 cup frozen mixed vegetables

2 Celery Stalks, diced small

1/2 sweet onion diced small

1 cup Chicken Broth

2 TB flour

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, more or less to taste

1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper, more or less to taste

1 teaspoon cumin

1 frozen pie crust, thawed to room temperature

4 ramekins

 

DIRECTIONS:

TO Sautee the chicken: Place all chicken tenderloins into skillet w/1 turn olive oil (1 TB). Season with salt, pepper and a dash of coriander (1/2 tsp). Cook until BARELY cooked through.

TO MAKE THE POT PIES: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease 4 10-ounce ramekins with olive oil cooking spray.

 

Thaw the pie crust out and use a bowl {slightly larger than the ramekin}, trace and cut out 4 circles, using the scraps to make more if needed. Keep the dough circles in the fridge so they stay cold.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.

Add in the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/4 tsp cumin. Cook until the onions are soft.

Now add in 1 TB olive oil, and the 2 TB of flour to form a roux.

Pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth. Let that simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened 3-5 minutes. Then add the 3 TB of grated parmesan cheese.

Next add in the mixed frozen veggies, cooked chicken and season w/salt&pepper to taste. Stir.

Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray w/ fat free olive oil cooking spray. (At this point, if you wanted to, you could add diced potato to the bottom of the ramekins.

Spoon the pot pie filling evenly, filling the ramekins to the brim. Let them cool down a bit before placing the pie dough over top and crimping the edges. With a sharp knife make slits for ventilation.

Slide the tray of pot pies into a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Remove and let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

NOTES:

*For a glossy top crust, try spraying w/cooking spray and sprinkling with sea salt.