Kung Pao Chicken

Believe it or not, but sometimes I don’t feel like cooking. On those days I completely overlook my planned meal for that day and either go out to eat or just throw something random that I’m in the mood for together. When I go with the latter, I typically go with a chicken dish since I always have an abundance of chicken breast in my freezer thanks to Costco.

One of the dishes I make on lazy days is Kung Pao chicken with brown rice since I typically have most, if not all, of the ingredients on hand. This particular recipe was pretty good as it had vegetables and peanuts but it didn’t have enough “kung pao” to my liking; next time around I’ll definitely add more heat with chili flakes or I’ll leave more of the seeds from the chili peppers in.

Kung Pao Chicken



I jumped on the spiralizer band wagon and finally ordered myself the small hand held version. I’ve only used it once but I’m pretty impressed and excited to make all sorts of dishes with it! For my very first attempt at a zoodle dish (zucchini noodle), I turned to one of my favorite Asian blogs and made Japchae zucchini noodles.  This dish is packed with great vegetables like zucchini, carrots, greens and carrots and I spiralized not 1, but 2 vegetables.

The recipe suggests that you cook all 4 pieces of the dish separately and then combine everything at the end to keep all of individual flavors, so I did just that; you do have to wash a few extra bowls but oh well.  Since this dish uses zoodles instead of traditional noodles, its so light but filling at the same time – definitely a keeper.

One note is that japchae zucchini noodles came out a bit “wet” so next time around I’ll drain the zucchini to get out all of the extra moisture.



Beet and Green Bean Salad with PistachiosFor once I was in an experimental mood and decided to come up with a salad recipe. Since I’m a copycat at heart, I did look at a few existing recipes to get inspiration and combined the ones I liked into a delicious beet and green bean salad with pistachios. This is a great side dish for just about any meal, but it goes especially well with meats – which means I’ll be adding it to the menu for Rosh Hashanah this year.

I used red beets for this recipe but next time around I’ll add some golden beets for color. Another note is that you need to let the beets completely cool before adding them to the salad because if they’re a bit warm, the salad tastes completely different.

Beet and Green Bean Salad with Pistachios

Beet and Green Bean Salad with Pistachios
Serves: 2
  • 3 medium beets
  • ½ lb green beans (2-3 handfuls)
  • One cinnamon stick, broken into a few pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ shallot, minced
  • White wine vinegar, to taste
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Unsalted roasted pistachios, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange the beets in a roasting pan and add the cinnamon, bay leaves and water. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 min -1 hour, until the beets are tender.
  2. Let the beets cool and then peel and slice them to desired thickness.
  3. In the meantime, combine the the shallots, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Into the same bowl add the the orange zest and parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Trim and wash the green beans and steam for 8 minutes. Once ready drain and rise with cold water to stop them from cooking.
  6. Place the green beans in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the sliced beets and dressing, mix well and top with pistachios.
Adapted from: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-beets-with-pistachios-herbs-and-orange and http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2014/09/green-bean-beet-and-pistachio-salad/



pesto and cheese baked tomatoesI had some vine ripe tomatoes that were calling to be used up so I searched online for some recipe inspirations and came across pesto and cheese baked tomatoes. These tomatoes are so flavorful from being baked, the pesto adds a nice salty flavor and the cheese is the topping on the cake.

I used store bought pesto since I had some in the fridge and needed to use it up, but I would absolutely suggest making your own as the the store bought version is pretty salty. I used Mexican shredded cheese and feta cheese but you can use pretty much any cheese that you like as long as it can melt; feta does not melt but since it was mixed with another type of cheese that does melt it was fine.

Top these pesto and cheese baked tomatoes with a healthy pinch of pepper and a basil leaf for a delicious side dish or appetizer. These would also be good with bits of crispy bacon if you’re into that kind of thing, but since I’m not I can only suggest it.

pesto and cheese baked tomatoes

Pesto and Cheese Baked Tomatoes
Cook time
Total time
  • 4 medium vine ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 4 -6 teaspoons basil pesto
  • Shredded Mexican cheese (or any cheese of your liking)
  • Feta (or any cheese of your liking)
  • Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Scoop out the inside of the tomatoes and discard or save for later use. Fill each tomato half with 1 tsp of pesto and a few pinches of cheese and a sprinkle of pepper. Bake the tomatoes for 18-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tomatoes are soft.
Adapted from: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2015/08/pesto-parmesan-baked-tomatoes.html



broccoli cheese potato puffs I’m always looking for new and exciting side dishes because although baked veggies and salads and great, they can get boring. I was looking to make something a bit more “fancy” and flavorful and hit the jackpot with these broccoli cheese potato puffs.  These little bites are crisp on the outside from being baked in the oven and soft on the inside from the broccoli, cheese and potato goodness.

I won’t lie, these broccoli cheese potato bites are a bit time consuming to make as you need to bake the potato and cook the broccoli, but if you have some extra time it’s well worth it. The recipe calls to bake the bites for 18 minutes at 400 degrees F, but I’d suggest baking them at 425 degrees F for about 20-25 minutes, or until they become golden brown.

These may have been intended to be served as an appetizer, and they would be perfect for that, but I made them as a side for an everyday meal.

broccoli cheese potato puffs broccoli cheese potato puffs broccoli cheese potato puffs


Thai chicken lettuce wrapsLast week I made Thai chicken lettuce wraps and they have to best the easiest dish I’ve made in a long time – and surprisingly since there are very little ingredients they tasted amazing.

The main flavor component to this dish is fish sauce. I haven’t used fish sauce before which is really surprising since I make lots of Asian dishes, but it is officially my new favorite secret ingredient. It adds a fantastic subtle flavor which pairs well with just about any meat. You only need about 1 1/2 Tbsp to achieve great flavor with fish sauce so the little bottle it comes in will last quite some time.

Anyways, this post isn’t about fish sauce but Thai chicken lettuce wraps, so let’s get back on track. The chicken is made with only a handful of ingredients and it honestly tastes great without putting much into it. The sweet Thai chili sauce that’s poured over the lettuce wraps is a perfect combination of sweet and spicy and is a great alternative to hot sauce.

obviously its important to have great tasting chicken, but let me tell you, the lettuce you use also plays a huge role. I bought fresh organic romaine leaves and they were buttery and crispy, which really pulled the entire dish together.

Thai chicken lettuce wraps Thai chicken lettuce wraps


sweet fried plantains If you’ve even been to a Peruvian restaurant, you’ve probably had fried plantains – either in the form of sweet fried plantains or tostones. I used to make sweet fried plantains often but haven’t made them in quite some time so I figured that had to be changed.

The trick to delicious, and sweet, fried plantains is to let the plantain ripen until it’s very yellow and beings to spot; quite similar to a banana. Once it’s fully ripe it’ll be sweet and really soft when you bite into it. I tend to simply fry the plantains and call it a day, but I know there are plenty of recipes out there that add all types of sweet glazes to the dish – in my opinion the sweet fried plantains are sweet as is.

sweet fried plantains sweet fried plantains


Sweet Fried Plantains
  • 2 ripe plantains
  • Canola oil
  1. Pour about ½ in of oil into a pan and bring to medium heat. In the meantime,cut the plantains into 1 in thick slices.
  2. Once the oil heats up add the plantain slices to the pan (the oil should come up half way to the plantain) and cook until golden brown on each side - about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Once the first batch of plantains is cooked place on a layer of paper towel to absorb the extra oil. Continue with the remaining plantains.





Thai chicken rice noodlesMy love for one plate dishes continues with this Thai chicken rice noodle dish. Whenever I don’t need to make an entree and a side I’m all in, especially when it’s Asian cuisine. The great part about this dish is that it doesn’t take very long to make (30 min) and when you have to work pretty late it’s a perfect dish to throw together – granted that you marinate the chicken.

I marinated the chicken in the morning and let it sit for 8 hour before cooking it. About 30 min before dinner, I started to cook the chicken until it was almost done but still a little pink inside (5ish min on each side). Afterwards I made the sauce per the recipe and threw the chicken back in on low heat to allow it to finish cooking. In the meantime I made the rice noodles, which literally took 3 minutes, and chopped up the basil, scallions and peanuts. Once the noodles were done, I threw everything in with the chicken (I added edamame because I can) and let it cook for a few more minute before serving. I sprinkled a little bit of crushed peanuts on the Thai chicken rice noodles and had a fantastic dinner.

Thai chicken rice noodles Thai chicken rice noodles


bulgogi beef My husband and I are huge foodies and love trying every type of ethnic food and one of our favorites is Korean.  A few years ago we were sitting at home on a Saturday night feeling absolutely bored and hungry at around 11:30 pm. Most restaurants stop serving food at 10 pm so we assumed we were out of luck but decided to see what was open just in case. We came across a Korean BBQ restaurant that was open 24/7 and we got really excited. At that point we’ve never tried Korean BBQ so that was a plus but honestly we were just hungry.

Now if you haven’t tried Korean BBQ, finish reading this post, find the nearest restaurant and drive there. They have a variety of meats that are served on a table side grill that are super flavorful. One of our all time favorite dishes is bulgogi beef which is simply marinated and cooked in thin strips. I never imaged making this at home but when I came across this bulgogi beef post from my favorite Korean blog, I was so excited and put it on the menu for the following week.

To my surprise the homemade bulgogi tastes pretty much like the restaurant version, minus the fun experience, but it absolutely hits the spot! I serve it with steamed rice and kimchi for that authentic taste.

bulgogi beef marinate bulgogi beef bulgogi beef


salmon salad with homemade Greek DressingMake your own own salad dressings whenever you can, period. Store bought dressings having so many additives and preservatives that leave you feeling far from “healthy” after eating a salad. Making your own dressing takes minutes and you can make either a large batch to last a few days or a small batch for that particular meal – which is my preference.

I typically just use olive oil and vinegar to dress my salads, but the other day I was feeling fancy and craved a Greek salad – hence the homemade Greek dressing. I topped a bead of leafy greens with kalamata olives, peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta and salmon but you can add any protein that floats you boat.

This homemade Greek salad does not have any real measurements as I just eyeballed the ingredients to my liking, plus cooking isn’t about exact measurements, its about experimentation and making things taste good for yourself.

Homemade Greek Dressing
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • dijon mustard
  • honey
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.