Category Archives: Asian

#noodleporn

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If you’re anything like me, your love-hate relationships with noodles is profound. Noodles are majestic, epic, al dente little niblets of deliciousness. My love for them was always pure and uncomplicated. That is, until I recognized their propensity to make me very, very fat.

I’m not one of those people who can be like, “Noodles are carby y’all, so I’m just going to have a small little half-serving, kthx!” Nope. I don’t want little bird servings, I want man-sized bowls full’o noodley goodness. The masochist within me would rather eat none than enjoy a small amount, so I have learned to exist in a world without noodles—but I’ll tell you what, I’m not happy about it.

Enter the Paderno Spiralizer, aka Return to Noodle Nirvana. It allows you to turn pretty much any fruit or veggie into curls, shoestrings, strips, or slices. In seconds. Like, really.

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I know what you’re thinking—I thought it too. Allow me to dispel your doubts:

  • The end result tastes like noodles, not veggies. Yes, really. I don’t know why zucchini—a vegetable I have loathed since childhood—all of a sudden tastes amazing in noodle form. It just does. I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • They’re also not too crunchy—when properly simmered in the sauce of your choosing, they soften nicely and take a slightly-more-biting-than-al-dente form.
  • The contraption itself is super easy to use. The unit suction-cups to the counter so nothing shifts during use, the slicing plates (comes with three in varying cuts and sizes) pop in and out easily, and everything is dishwasher safe.

As you can see from the photo below, the trial meal was deemed a success. I even finger-wiped my bowl clean of the sauce (a high-level culinary creation of Prego Veggie Smart mixed with fat-free cream cheese). Buy this thing and rediscover your love of Italian feasts. You won’t be sorry.

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Rockin’ baked egg rolls

Rockin' bakes egg rolls
Mmmm, don’t these egg rolls look crispy and satisfying?

They are. They just aren’t fattening. They’re packed with fresh veggies and garlic, low in carbohydrates, and baked–not fried.

Did I mention they’re also super easy? Like, ten-minutes-of-prep easy?

You’re loving me right now, admit it.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded*
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded*
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, fresh or canned/drained
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 egg roll wrappers

*These come pre-shredded in convenient little bags in the produce section. Because the healthy food gods love us and want us to be happy.

Recipe
Heat olive oil in large frying pan on medium and add first five ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season however you like (I used kosher salt, ginger, and salt-free Szechwan seasoning blend). Remove from heat.

Arrange an egg roll wrapper on a flat surface, corner facing up (so it looks like a diamond, not a square). Split your veggie mixture into four even portions and add the first portion to the center of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper’s top down, then fold the bottom up, then fold the left side over, and then roll the rest of the way. Lightly moisten the edges with water to help them stick. Repeat with remaining veggies and wrappers.

Place on baking sheet and spray lightly with Pam Olive Oil cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, flipping halfway.

Serve with dippable of your choice, like peanut, soy, or plum sauce. My recommendation: soy sauce mixed with ginger, wasabi, and sesame seeds. (Mmmm, dinner is SERVED.)

Eat them all. Yes, really–they’re only 2 PointsPlus each. You’re basically eating a big heap of veggies with a few low-carb wrappers. But it tastes like junk food. Go you.

Orange sesame crispy tofu

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If you’re a chicken eater, the options at a Chinese restaurant are nearly endless. But for vegetarians, the menu can be a bleaker affair. At my favorite local place, there are two possible dishes: house mixed vegetables and coconut curry tofu. I’ve had both so many times I could taste them in my sleep. Delicious, yes, but it’s spring—time for a change.

I’ve read many, many Chinese orange chicken recipes, but this is the first time I’ve attempted to create my own—with tofu no less. I was stoked: the end result was incredibly close in taste and appearance to what you’d find in a Chinese restaurant. My dish is very mild because one of my eaters doesn’t do spicy; next time I’ll probably add some heat with chili flakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 package tofu
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, plus zest from one orange
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 green onion
  • Sesame seeds
  • Brown rice

Recipe
Squeeze tofu gently to release water–no need to press or freeze it. Cut into cubes (they will still be moist; it’s fine) and cook in a frying pan on medium-high heat with Pam olive oil cooking spray. This is the BEST method I’ve found for cooking tofu. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning often; tofu will be crispy and “fried” on the outside, meaty on the inside, with no additional fat or calories from oil. (Thanks for the tip, Meggie!)

Chop your veggies into large chunks. Cook in frying pan heated to medium-high with 1/2 tbsp olive oil for several minutes, until lightly browned and softened.

Mix orange juice, zest, soy sauce, honey, and garlic in a small bowl; add to the pan with vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add your corn starch a dusting at a time and stir in. Reduce heat and cook another 5-7 minutes; sauce will become thick.

Add tofu to sauce, stir to coat, serve over brown rice, and garnish with sliced green onions (green portions only) and sesame seeds.

1/3 of the entire pan of this sweet and sticky Chinese yumminess is only 7 PointsPlus. Add 1/2 cup brown rice for 3 more. That’s a lot of food, including filling protein and veg—and I like when I get to eat a lot of food!