Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

Number one “food blogging” pet peeve– being too tired, too rushed, or too hungry to properly photograph a recipe.  Trust me, I get it, I’m blogging about food, it should look appetizing and appealing, but I have an 8 to 5 job and sometimes a girl just can’t wait… Sometimes it’s fine because “hey ,the recipe wasn’t that great,” no harm, no foul.  But other times {like now} I wish I had tried a little harder to get that cover shot.  Oh well, c’est la vie.

It’s not a secret that I love Asian fusion and Asian inspired food.  I have been wanting to try a soba noodle recipe for awhile now and as soon as I saw this recipe, featuring a spicy peanut sauce, I knew that this would satsify my soba desire and Bill couldn’t help but be on board with the flavors {he’s a peanut butter fiend}…

wpid-20140619_182521_richtonehdr.jpg

ingredients:
For the Salad

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 each red, orange, and yellow bell pepper
12 oz soba noodles
fresh cilantro or basil to taste

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

For the Spicy Peanut Sauce

5 tablespoons peanut butter
5 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
half of a jalapeño pepper
½ cup peanuts

Spicy Peanut Chicken Soba Noodle Salad

directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place the chicken in the water and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink. After chicken has cooled, shred chicken with two forks in a large bowl, then, set aside. Meanwhile, chop the bell peppers into very thin strips.

Puree all the ingredients for the spicy peanut sauce in a food processor. Add the peanuts last to control how smooth the sauce will be.

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with the chicken, veggies, fresh cilantro, and Spicy Peanut Sauce. Can be served hot or cold.  I enjoyed it hot for dinner and cold for lunch the next day– both are equally tasty!

Summer Fruit Tart

Summer Fruit Tart

I don’t know about you, but when I bring a treat to work or a dish over to a potluck, I try to make something with that “wow” factor.  Sure, it’s easy to make a fruit salad and call it a day, but the extra 30 minutes to bake a delicious crisp crust, whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting and arrange the perfect fruit design, brings it up a notch (or ten).

Growing up, my dad always quoted Emeril Lagasse when he spiced up simple boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese by adding oregano to “bring it up a notch.”  Since then, I’ve been inspired to find ways to make even the simplest of recipes more impressive.  What are some ways you try to “bring it up a notch” with your favorite recipes?

Summer Fruit Tart

ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

frosting:
8 oz Neufchatel cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

fruit topping:
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raspberries
4 strawberries
1 peach, pitted and sliced

Summer Fruit Tart

directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch non-stick baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and cinnamon and stir to blend. In an electric mixer, whisk the sugars with the butter, egg whites, applesauce and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two additions until the batter is very well blended. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Spread the batter onto the baking pan using your hands to smooth evenly. If batter sticks, spray cooking spray on your finger tips to reduce stickiness.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until the edges are golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. While the crust cools, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until well-blended.

Spread the frosting in a thin, even layer over the surface of the crust, leaving a small margin around the edges. Layer the fresh fruit over the frosting. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tuna Melt Sandwich

Tuna Melt Sandwich

I learned a lot about myself on my backpacking trip a few weeks ago.  I also learned a lot about my weird misconceptions of canned and pouched meat and seafood.  One night our camp crew made the most delicious Thai curry chicken with canned chicken- it tasted better than some of chicken dishes I make on the regular, how awesome is that?  Moreover, lemon pepper pouch tuna became my best friend– such an easy and flavorful snack packed full of protein for day hikes.  I was skeptical when Bill brought me to the canned seafood isle in our local grocery store, but boy am I glad he broke me of my can ban, because I wouldn’t have been inspired to make these fantastic tuna melts!

Tuna Melt Sandwich

ingredients:
1/3 cup chopped celery
12 oz tuna, drained and flaked
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp mayo
lemon pepper seasoning and black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
2 Tbsp butter
4 slices of Sourdough Bread

Tuna Melt Sandwich

directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the first five ingredients and half of the cheddar cheese in a bowl; set aside.

Spread butter over one side of each slice of bread. Spread tuna mixture on bottom slices of bread; sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese, top with second slice of bread.

Wrap sandwich in foil. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Tuna Melt Sandwich

Easy Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

Running out of time trying to plan an easy potluck entree for a 4th of July party or picnic?  Look no further than this post.  These simple fruit skewers require a little prep time, but the overall presentation and resulting awe is worth it!  I decided to bring these adorable skewers into work for our weekly Wednesday treats.  It was perfect timing for an early 4th of July themed breakfast.

Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

ingredients:
54 Blueberries
18 Strawberries, stem removed and chopped in half
1 Angel Food Cake, chopped into 36 squares
18 Wooden Skewers

Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers

directions:
Assemble 2 strawberry halves and 2 cubes of cake onto each skewer, alternating between strawberries and cake. Top each skewers with 3 blueberries.

Refrigerate skewers on a platter until ready to eat.

Red, White & Blue Fruit Skewers