Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, One Pot Dish, Soup

Beefed Up Pho

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Happy snowy day in Boston! Vietnamese Pho Soup may look intimidating (or strange), but it’s so simple. You make a broth, cook the rice noodles and assemble. I originally made a Vegan Pho with tofu because it’s easy to use and requires no prep, but, like the rest of you carnivores out there, I knew I needed to try a try meat lover’s option… with BEEF. I swapped vegetable for beef broth and did a 1:1 ratio of rice noodles to zoodles. As always, pho is light, refreshing and just what the doctor (or nurse) called for on a cold day. The sriracha and jalapeños add just the right amount of spice, the herbs contribute a freshness and the spices just the right flavor. Dish up a heaping bowl of Beef Pho with Zoodles.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oogling over Spicy, Peanutty Udon

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Peanut noodles are never a bad idea. I really wanted take out on Sunday after a Saturday night of debauchery, but decided it was 1) expensive, 2) too long to wait 60-75 min and 3) unhealthy. Instead, I pulled up my Pinterest, checked what’s in my pantry and settled on making homemade Spicy Peanut & Kale Udon Noodles. This satisfied my gluten and takeout craving, while packed nutrients from the kale and sweet potato. The cucumbers and scallions add a nice, hearty crunch, since I didn’t have any chopped peanuts on hand. Overall, this came together quite well, and I’m so happy  I used up my fridge and pantry arsenal versus ordering take out. Plus, it’s just that much more satisfying when you make it yourself. I think this is when the phrase “better than takeout” comes into play. . .

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Soup, Vegetarian

Coming in Hot with Hot & Sour Soup

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In the wise words of Flo Rida, “Oh, hot damn.” This is AMAZING(ly easy). I saw this recipe recently posted on Gimme Some Oven and was so excited to try this. I’ve always wanted to make this at home, but never quite new where to start. This soup is surprisingly simple and not too unhealthy for you if you overlook the sodium — hence why I try to use low sodium options and add soy sauce accordingly. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms so I chopped them into small pieces vs. keeping them in long slices; I didn’t want to skimp on these to keep the flavor authentic. This recipe lets you play around with how hot, sour or salty you like. I kept mine plenty sour and plenty spicy. Plus, I had a cold when I concocted this and it’s a sure way to clear the sinuses with the extra kick of sriracha. I love this. Can’t wait to add Hot & Sour Soup to my recipe arsenal.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Salad

Tangy & Fresh Thai Salad

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To be totally honest, I never really measure salad dressings. I kind of dump, pour, mix and combine like a mad scientist concocting a new compound. The resulting Spicy Peanut Dressing was tangy and acidic from the vinegar and lime juice, but still savory and spicy, both of which I really enjoyed. The flavors complement the fresh herbs quite well. Sometimes, I think kale is really leafy and green, but when chopped, mixed with fresh herbs and topped with the right dressing, kale is pretty benign and makes for a great base. I also am a firm believer that everything tastes better bite-size and chopped. I used a plain rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods for a quick and easy meal. Plus, it beats firing up the oven or stove during the summer. Just chop and combine for this tasty Chopped Thai Chicken Salad.
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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish

Deconstructed is Still Delicious

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One of my good college friends works near a bar that she and her coworkers frequent on Thursdays and Fridays. The drinks and food aren’t that special, but they’re always in great company. (It’s the place I met my future Southie roomies!) Meeting with Steph and Ali on more than one occasion, we’ll order lettuce wraps to accompany our spirits. Seemingly simple, I decided to try my hand at making them. Instead of wraps, I deconstructed them to make transport and eating easier. The fresh ginger is brightly fresh with a sharp bite, while the edamame and water chestnuts add crunch and texture to Deconstructed Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Salad

Crazy for These Colorful Cabbage Bowls

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Sriracha Beef Cabbage Bowls for the winnnnnn! I’m trying to make bowl salads or salad like dishes since I’ve become bored from the same old same old. Don’t get me wrong. Certain salads become classics and a staple for a reason, but you need some variety every now and then. Plus, this cabbage bowl is so colorful, it’s hard to resist not diving in fork first. I also never seem to buy beef. Not sure why, but maybe it’s a price thing, but I found some 90% lean beef at Roche Brothers and it was a sign. Literally a sign I needed to test out these cabbage bowls. SO GOOD. I tossed in my own fresh herbs, fresh ginger and hoisin sauce for flavor. Somehow these bad boys are both filling and light all at once and I’m definitely adding these ingredients to my grocery list to make them again.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

I Dare You to Not Love This Peanut Soup

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When I was visiting Chicago, my cousins Betsy and Cole were raving about this recipe they shared — African Peanut Soup. Simplistically delicious and fairly hearty considering it’s just veggies (but some thinly sliced beef would be a yummy addition). I added some cherry tomatoes, Tuscan kale and quinoa. Happy Meatless Monday! Hope you enjoy this keeper that definitely something to savor.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Sriracha Green Eggs (Sans Ham)

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In honor of Sunday brunch, I thought I’d share my typical Saturday and Sunday dish when I’m craving some eggs: Spicy Green Eggs. Quick, easy and full of flavor (thanks, sriracha). Pack in some creamy avocado, and you’re good to dare. I dare you not to devour these. [If you have trouble cooking eggs or don’t even know where to begin, BuzzFeed has a great rundown of how to cook the perfect eggs — fried, scrambled, poached and soft/hard boiled. With pictures and everything.]

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Staying “Toasty” in the Snow

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Yesterday was a good day; a very solid assortment of food kind of day. Despite the blizzard pummeling the Northeast, Boston was graced with a couple inches to still have the feel of winter without being overwhelming. (Btw, thank GOD Boston was spared. We had enough snow last year to last a decade.) I went to the gym yesterday morning, but was saving my big meal for brunch to go with my roommate and one of my best friends from college. I needed something satisfying, savory and that would hold me until we commenced for brunch. Cue the Basil Sriracha Avocado Toast. We had a successful meal at The Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill. We sipped on mimosas, Blood Maries (just Perin) & bourbon cocktails (see pictures below). We sampled the Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich, the Smoked Cheddar & Corn Griddle Cakes with Bacon Maple Syrup (they tasted like cornbread pancakes — delish) and the Tip Tap Signature Omelet packed with brie, asparagus and shiitake mushrooms (pictured below). Given it was snowing and we wanted to stay warm, I also concocted some Blizzard Sangria. Think a quick and easy cranberry and citrus sangria. To put the icing on the cake, toss in a slice of Ernesto’s Caprese pizza for dinner in the North End. Sounds like a good Saturday, right?

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving Miso Soup: A “Green” & Spicy Version

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Ever since I got a sore throat, I’ve been craving a bowl of miso soup. Sounds weird, but sometimes chicken noodle just doesn’t cut it for me. Miso soup is Japanese soup known for its tangy, salty and unique, yet powerful flavor. The miso paste comes from fermenting soy beans. The soup is minimal, quick and easy, and quite different. My Akron family has a knack for growing beautiful kale, and my parents swung by yesterday to check in and drop off some kale, which adds a hearty addition to an already minimal soup. Drizzle with some sriracha and you have a deliciously different take on traditional miso:  Spicy “Green” Miso Soup. Happy Meatless Monday!

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