Thai Chopped Salad

Outlets.  I’m not talking about shopping ladies (although I do enjoy a lovely outlet adventure).  I am talking about your stress-relieving and creative outlets.  What do you do to let your inner artist escape or to take the edge off?!?!?

Thai Chopped Salad

Exercise.  My stress-relieving outlet.  Probably not that surprising since I’ve posted about hikes and marathon-training.  I learned early in my pharmacy residency that my relationship would not survive if I did not work out.  I am apparently a much friendlier version of myself when I sweat out the frustrations.  Let me be honest, I don’t get much out of running on a treadmill.  I either want a group training class where a trainer is pushing me to limits I didn’t know existed OR I want to be immersed in the outdoors, running/hiking/swimming/paddle-boarding.  My next activity to tackle is road biking, but let’s just say that one might take a bit of practice ahem train wheels ahem.  Andrew filmed me in the parking lot testing out a road bike and could not stop laughing because of how nervous I looked :/  I may have almost crashed into a trash…oops!  FYI marathon training = insatiable appetite.  I apologize to anyone that has suffered the wrath of hangry me.  My life is a Snickers bar commercial.

Thai Chopped Salad

Food.  My creative outlet.  Probably even less surprising.  I really love getting crafty in the kitchen.  I must bore everyone I hang out with.  If I’m not talking about food, I’m talking about groceries, restaurants, food blogs, or Teek (my adorable weimy).  Teek has nothing to do with food, but I am equally as obsessed with food and Teek.  I apologize to all the friends out there that get bombarded with pictures of food (or my dog) I am either creating or eating (I’m not eating the dog…).  My creative foodie is inspired by the farmer’s market, that amazing meal we ate out, Food Network in general (when we had cable, yes canceling cable was a travesty in our household), any my personal favorite…when I challenge myself to make a meal with what I have in my kitchen.  No extra grocery trips allowed!

Thai Chopped Salad

This thai chopped salad came to be from one of those kitchen challenges.  We hosted a fiesta a couple weeks ago and I might have made enough jasmine rice to feed a small country.  I got a little carried away with the fiesta and we had left over rice for days.   I needed a break from Mexican cuisine and decided, why not make a veggie-filled salad with the rice as an added bonus?  I mean, I usually eat veggies with my rice anyway…so why not throw it all together?  Seriously, there are certain combinations that are meant to be in the world: peanut butter and chocolate, milk and cookies, ranch and hot sauce, wine and cheese, hot cocoa and whipped cream…add to the list this salad and the coconut, peanut, sesame, ginger dressing.  Anyone can throw veggies together and even add rice or farro to the mix.  I’m not claiming that this was an ingenious idea of mine.  What ties it all together and brings it to ANOTHER LEVEL???  Well, that would be the dressing.

Creamy. Sweet. Citrusy. Spicy. Nutty. Salty. Savory. Easy.

One bowl. One whisk. Magic.

Thai Chopped Salad

This salad was so delicious.  I decided to make it again.  It’s really not an addiction, until you catch yourself licking the dressing bowl…guilty.  I used farro the second time because I needed a break from rice and wanted to see if the grain in the salad could easily be swapped out.  You can also adjust the veggies to what you have on hand.  The first time I made the salad I left out the carrots, subbed shredded brussels sprouts for the cabbage, and used toasted cashews instead of roasted peanuts.  I love recipes that lend themselves well to adaptation :)

Thai Chopped Salad

I’m curious, what are your outlets: stress-relieving or creative?

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

The Players:

For the salad
8 oz uncooked farro (alternatively 1 C uncooked jasmine rice)
1 C julienned carrots
1 C cooked edamame
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 scallions
2 C broccoli florets
1 C purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 C cilantro, chopped
1 C roasted peanuts

For the dressing
1/4 C coconut milk or cream
1/4 C peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1/4 C light brown sugar
2 T toasted sesame oil
2 T fish sauce (alternatively reduced sodium soy sauce)
1 T chili paste (alternatively Sriracha or hot sauce)
1 lime, juiced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced

The Rules:

  1. Cook the farro according to package instructions. (Note:  I place equal parts water to farro in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.)
  2. While the farro is cooking, prepare your vegetables:  dice the peppers, thinly slice the scallions, chop the broccoli, etc.  Place all the vegetables and the peanuts in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drain any excess water from the farro and transfer the farro to your mixing bowl.
  4. Place all the dressing ingredients in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk to combine.  Pour over the salad and toss until veggies and farro are coated in dressing.  Serve immediately or store refrigerated.

Bang Bang Shrimp

Wow I cannot believe that I took a little hiatus from my blogging?!?!  It was a busy, BUSY weekend and I was reminded yet again how lucky I am to live in the PNW.  Saturday a large group of us celebrated the Kentucky Derby in style.  We went to a local Seattle Restaurant and enjoyed brunch and some southern-inspired cocktails (thinks gimlets and mint juleps) before heading to the Emerald Downs to bet on some horse races and watch The Derby.  We shuttled back to the restaurant after the main race and danced the afternoon away to a local band.  I never thought I would learn how to tie a bow tie from memory, but I definitely got my practice in on Saturday helping all the men get spiffed up ;)

Derby FinestAndrew hates when I get posty to social media, but look how nice he cleans up for the Derby ;)  (sorry for the grainy image) 

Sunday we traded in our dresses and over-sized hats for some hiking shoes and enjoyed the stunning views surrounding Seattle.  After a 1000 ft-per-mile elevation gain, trek through some snow, and a scramble to the watch tower we summited Granite Mountain.  It is amazing what adventures are waiting in your backyard, especially in this little corner of the U.S.  My itch to hike is officially back in full force and I am now dedicating hours researching the trails I want to explore this year.

Granite Mountain Summit  If you look closely you can see Mt. Rainier in the distance. 

Okay enough about my weekend fun, I’m sure you’re curious about the Bang Bang Shrimp.  Other than having an awesome name, this dish is delicious and simple.  It’s a fun one to make when you have company over for summer cook-outs or if you want to switch up your Taco Tuesday and throw some seafood into those corn tortillas!

Bang Bang Shrimp

This recipe was inspired by Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer.  If you’re from the Midwest and have not been to Bonefish Grill, go there NOW and order that starter.  Your taste buds will thank me, your waist-line not-so-much.  With that being said, I decided to make a healthier version of the dish.  The shrimp are grilled instead of breaded/fried and the sauce subs greek yogurt for mayo.  The flavor is still finger-licking good.  Think creamy, sweet, spicy…aka the perfect combination.  It is SO good that Andrew dipped tortilla chips in the leftovers and was legitimately sad when I washed out the mixing bowl (hehe I am such a meanie).

Bang Bang Shrimp

What’s your favorite restaurant appetizer?  I’d love to try it and improvise a healthier version in my mini test kitchen.

Bang Bang Shrimp

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players: 

40 large shrimp, deveined and peeled
cooking spray (I used coconut oil cooking spray)

For the Bang-Bang sauce
1/3 C non-fat greek yogurt
1 T sweet n sour sauce
1/2 t chili paste
1 t sriracha
1 scallion, ends removed and thinly diced

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat grill to 400 F (high heat) and place shrimp on skewers.   Lightly coat shrimp with coconut oil cooking spray.  (Note: If using wooden skewers soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before adding on the shrimp, this will prevent the skewers from burning)
  2. Place shrimp on grill and cook until pink with slight char marks, ~2 minutes per side.
  3. While the shrimp are cooking, combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl.  Taste and readjust seasoning as desired.
  4. Remove the shrimp from the grill and baste both sides with bang bang sauce.  Serve immediately.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Alright, I have a confession.  Are you guys ready for it?  I splurged…big time.  I purchased my first, official pair of running shoes!  I tried to play it cool and wear my Nike Outlet and Nordstrom Rack Nikes while training for my first marathon.  I tried to convince myself that I did not need to walk into the new Brooks store (conveniently located off the running path…hello marketing genius).  But this Sunday, after a trip to the Fremont Sunday Market and Fremont Brewery (oops) I did the deed.

And I do not regret my decision one bit!  The sales associate was awesome and analyzed my gait and provided me with a few options.  I am so excited to continue my marathon training with my new shoes.  Also, SHOUT OUT to all the Boston Marathon Participants out there.  You are my inspiration.  Don’t worry seasoned vets, I will test drive my new kicks before I run my 17 mile long run on Saturday.  Mentally already exhausted.  But I get such a thrill running, especially with all the PNW beauty, that my running days are my favorite work out days :)

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Another healthy obsession of mine is Thai food.  Seriously, Thai recipes seem overwhelming, but really they require you to have the same key spices/ingredients on hand and then it all comes down to the balance of flavors.  Spring rolls are a great recipe to have in your culinary tool box for entertaining, using up veggies, or quick meals.  Honestly, you can combine a variety of proteins or veggies and if you dip it in peanut sauce…it’s going to taste AMAZING.  Hello happy taste buds and belly.  I decided to use spinach and quinoa in this variation since I had both on hand in the fridge.  But next time who knows what I’ll find in the kitchen and in my spring roll.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Let me know what you love to put in your spring rolls and what your favorite running shoes are?!?!

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 rolls

The Players: 

For the shrimp: 
24 large shrimp, peeled
1 t brown sugar
1 t chili paste
1 t sesame oil
1/2 t fish sauce

For the spring rolls: 
8 medium-size spring roll wrappers
1 C cooked red quinoa
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 C baby spinach
1/3 C fresh cilantro leaves (alternatively use thai basil)

For the peanut dipping sauce
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1 T coconut cream (alternatively use 2 T light coconut milk in place of coconut cream and water)
2 T water
1 t brown sugar (if desiring sweeter sauce)
1 t fish sauce (alternatively use soy sauce)
2 t chili paste (use less if sensitive to spice)
1/2 t sesame oil

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients for the shrimp marinade in a mixing bowl and coat shrimp.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the veggies, and cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Set veggies aside and allow quinoa to cool.  (Note: I prepare quinoa in a large batch for the week and keep it refrigerated for later use)
  3. In a microwave safe dish, combine ingredients for peanut dipping sauce and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk until well-incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Set aside. (Note: For a thicker dipping sauce, use 1 tbsp water; for a thinner sauce use 2 tbsp water)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, until pink.  Remove from heat.
  5. Pour simmering water into a large pan or bowl.  Place the spring roll wrapper in the water and rotate until moistened.  Lay the wrapper on a damp, clean work surface.
  6. In the center of the spring roll wrapper layer spinach, quinoa, carrots, red bell peppers, shrimp, and cilantro.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking ends in, and set aside.  Repeat step 5 and 6 for remaining 7 spring rolls.  (Note: I used 3 shrimp per spring roll)
  7. Serve spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.  Store extra spring rolls in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Sushi, Indian, and Thai.  These are my favorite cuisines for eating out.  Mainly because I tend to be intimidated by these recipes.  There are so many ingredients, somewhat complicated steps, and patience.  Patience is a virtue…one I constantly work on.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Recently I decided I needed more yoga in my life, to a) clear my mind b) appreciate my body c) teach me breathing exercises  d) improve posture and flexibility e) increase that patience.  I bet we could all use a little yoga in our lives?!?  Since I had this revelation I have only made it to one yoga class, but thankfully Seattle has an abundance of yoga studios and most of them offer free classes for first-timers.  That means I can shop around for a little extra zen ;)

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Moving on to the star of this blog post.  Skinny Thai Meatballs.  I was inspired to create this dish by a recent date night adventure.  Andrew, my rock and number one fan, clearly knows the way to my heart.  For my birthday he surprised me with a gift certificate to Hipcooks in Seattle.  Hipcooks is this awesome twist on cooking classes.  The classes are small group, specific cuisine (from Moroccan to Sushi and everything in between), include an entire dinner menu, cook without measuring cups, and you enjoy the meals family style.  Then you get an email with all the recipes and where to shop for ingredients.  I know, I am one lucky girl :)

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Well my birthday was in errr November and we just went in March (things have been kind of crazy).  But I knew I wanted to go to the Thai Cooking Class from the start.  Spring rolls, coconut shrimp rice balls, pad thai, red and green curry, forbidden rice dessert…are you salivating yet?!?!  This class helped me overcome some of my Thai cooking fears.  The flavors are sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and savory.  Most of the ingredients you have on hand or at your local grocery store.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Good food tastes even better, when you know it’s a bit healthier.  So inspiration from thai cooking class meet amateur food blogger who is always trying to prove that healthy tastes damn good too!  I decided to use ground turkey as the protein source, but you can always substitute ground chicken.  I also minimized the oil in the recipe, threw in some peanut butter (because I have a peanut butter addiction), and subbed light coconut milk for coconut cream or full fate coconut milk.  The trick is to buy light coconut milk and look at the ingredients.  The label should say coconut milk and water.  I buy my light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find the good stuff then use less regular coconut milk and thin it out with water.  You will get the creamy coconut flavor and your waist line will be thankful!

Skinny Thai Meatballs

You can serve these meatballs over quinoa, rice, cauliflower rice, spinach, lettuce, or just eat them plain.  The red coconut curry peanut sauce is AMAZING.  I might have scraped the pan clean with the spatula to make sure a drop of sauce was not wasted.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20-25 meatballs

The Players: 

For the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 C panko break crumbs
1 T fish sauce (alternatively substitute soy sauce)
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped (alternatively substitute thai basil)
1/3 C diced red onion (~1/4 of a large red onion, alternatively substitute scallion)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced, divided
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T peanut oil

For the curry sauce
2 t peanut oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
**Second half of ginger from meatball recipe
2 T red curry paste
14 oz can light coconut milk
2 T creamy natural peanut butter
1 T fish sauce
1-2 t sriracha (alternatively minced thai chiles)
1-2 T brown sugar

optional: lime wedges as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Combine all the ingredients for meatballs, except for peanut and sesame oil, in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix, using your hands, until well incorporated.
  2. Shape into meatballs (~size of golf balls) and set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut and sesame oil ~1 minute.  Slowly add the meatballs to the hot pan.  Cook, rotating the meatballs until all sides are browned.  When all sides are browned, transfer the meatballs to a separate plate.  (Note: I used chopsticks to gently rotate the meatballs, cook time 6-8 minutes total)
  4. To your hot pan, add peanut oil, garlic, ginger and cook for 1 minute.  (Note: Do not burn the garlic, you want to infuse the oil)
  5. Add the remaining curry sauce ingredients, whisking until well-combined.  Taste and adjust to desired sweetness (brown sugar), saltiness (fish sauce), and spiciness (sriracha or thai chiles).
  6. Transfer the meatballs back to the pan containing curry sauce.  Reduce heat to low, cover pan with lid, and allow meatballs to simmer for ~10 minutes. (Note: The sauce will thicken as the meatballs cook)
  7. Serve the meatballs warm, with freshly squeeze lime juice, over rice or desired base.  Store meatballs in an airtight container refrigerated.

 

 

 

Apricot-glazed Pork Stir Fry

I feel so guilty I took almost a week-long hiatus from Bon Appeteek.  My brother, Reggie, flew out from Wisconsin this past weekend to spend the holidays with us.  Since it was just the three of us on Christmas Day we made breakfast at home, opened presents, and decided to go on a little adventure.  Where does one go on Christmas Day, when everything is closed???  Well we went to the cutest Bavarian Village in Leavenworth, WA.  If you are ever in the Seattle area for an extended period of time…YOU MUST visit Leavenworth.  It’s decked out like Christmas –365 days a year.  Nestled amongst The Cascades, locals and tourists come to Leavenworth for a weekend getaway, cabin trips, wine tasting, German brews and brats, Oktoberfest, or just to get a little Christmas spirit.

Apricot-glazed Pork Stir Fry

With all the holiday parties, baked goods, and Seattle restaurant experiences I decided we needed to have a slightly healthier meal at home.  This recipe is dedicated to my best friend Natalia.  Who requested a stir fry recipe about a week ago….a little late on my delivery oops.

Apricot-glazed Pork Stir Fry

I love stir fry recipes.  You can add whatever veggies you have on hand: peppers, snap peas, bok choy, mushrooms, onions, chestnuts, carrots, etc.  I went with a basic broccoli stir fry, but seriously people let those creative recipe juices flow ;)  Same goes for the protein: chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, tofu… now I can get down with a recipe where you can sub whatever is on hand.  If you do use chicken, pork, or beef the key to a great stir fry is slicing the meat thin.  It will allow for a quick cooking time and make for easy bite size pieces.  You should not need a fork and knife to eat the stir fry…think to yourself, “Could I eat this with chopsticks?”  If the answer is ‘yes’ then you are golden.

Apricot-glazed Pork Stir Fry

I like to play around with the sauce each time I make a stir fry.  I do enjoy a sweet, spicy flavor and apricot preserves are a great way to achieve the sweet flavor.  I will let you in on a not-so secret…Natalia does NOT like fruit, but this glaze does not taste fruity.  The soy sauce and ginger cut through the sweetness of the apricots and chili paste adds some nice heat.  Seriously, this glaze would taste yummy on anything.  If you really are opposed to the apricots, honey is a great alternative, but give the apricot preserves a chance before you dismiss…it is Christmas time after all ;)

Apricot-glazed Pork Stir Fry

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4-6

The Players: 

3 T sesame oil
1 lb pork chops, boneless
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 C broccoli, bite-size pieces

For the glaze: 
3/4 C sugar-free apricot preserves
4 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 t ground fresh chili paste (add more based on desired spice)
1 T fresh ginger, minced

The Rules: 

  1. Prepare the pork: trim the fat from the pork chops and slice against the grain into 1/4-inch pieces.  (Note: use a sharp knife)
  2. Preheat a wok over medium-high heat.  When the wok is hot, add 2 tbsp of the sesame oil.  Then add your pork to the wok, cook stirring occasionally until meat is browned ~7-10 minutes.
  3. Remove the pork from the wok.  Add remaining sesame oil, garlic, onion, peppers, and broccoli.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is slightly tender ~7-10 minutes.
  4. While the veggies are cooking, combine ingredients for the glaze in a small mixing bowl and whisk until well incorporated.
  5. Transfer pork back to wok and pour glaze over the veggies and meat.  Stir to coat and cook additional 2-3 minutes. (Note: to thicken the sauce you can add 1 tsp corn starch mixed in 1-2 tbsp cold water to the wok, I like mine a little thinner so I do not do this)
  6. Serve over cooked jasmine rice, yakisoba noodles, quinoa, or as is :)