Month: April 2013

lunchbox life: a tale in leftovers (also known as slaw dogs and fresh fruit)


I’m sitting in our den, scoping out our newly cleaned house, and thinking–wow–we have some lovely friends here in Macon.  We just gave a fun, laid-back BBQ baby shower for our friends Tim and Leila Regan-Porter, and I am both totally tired from a big day and completely happy with our little life here in middle Georgia.  We are so lucky to have so many young and talented people here!  Here are the lovely parents-to-be with full hearts and plates:


We are so happy to welcome Rosemary June Regan-Porter this summer!

Now, what do you do when you throw a barbecue baby shower?  You make way too much food, of course.  Who wants to attend a barbecue with a slim selection?  We had ribs, wings, pulled pork, hamburgers, hot dogs, and all the fixins, and even after sending people home with to-go plates, we still had way too much to stock in our fridge.

Here’s how I get to my lunch this week.

I’m a HUGE fan of hot dogs.  No, they’re not good for you.  I seldom eat them (mostly because if I did on a regular basis, I’d be as big as a house).  However, by 10 PM on a school night, I’m not going to run to the grocery to create a new lunch idea with a ton of leftovers in the refrigerator.

So, there you have it.  Leftover hot dogs, a smidge of Fresh Air BBQ‘s cole slaw, and some fresh fruit.  Not super nutritious, but I’ll be grinning every lunch break this week with the happy memories of a happy expectant couple and so many great friends here in Macon.  Cheers, and happy beginning of May to everyone!

tasty tuesday 4/23/13- fried curry chicken, $20,000 rice pilaf, crispy roasted brussels sprouts- JAM

ummm, latergram?

ummm, latergram?

The story of this meal goes back to our anniversary trip at the beginning of the month. During our stay in Highlands, I ventured into a few shops including a really great kitchen store/hallmark called The Dry Sink and picked up Bon Appetit, Y’all by Virginia Willis. The first page I saw when thumbing through the book was for a recipe for Country Captain chicken, which is a part fried, part braised chicken dish. In this recipe she explained how curry came to be a big part of southern cooking, which fascinated both of us.

I originally wanted to make this, but the two-hour plus cook time was a little too much to handle. I had to take a step back and figure how to manage the dish simply as a fried chicken. The result was really tasty, though my Macon Improvement Authority (we won our fourth in a row) authored haste cause a little bit of problem in the overall execution.

The right stuff...

The right stuff…

I started last night in carving a whole chicken into eight pieces. I dried the skin and coated it with a mix of mild curry powder, fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, tumeric, and paprika. Covered it with wrap and left it in the fridge overnight.

When I got home from , I pulled the chicken out to get it to room temp and started the Pilaf by melting the butter and sautéing the shallot for a few minutes, added the rice stirred and then added the stock. after the stock began to boil, I popped in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. It turned out fluffy and tasty, and I topped it with some fresh parsley from the Bungalow Garden.

For the chicken, I heated the oils and bay leaves in a cast iron dutch oven for about 7 mins and pulled out the bay leaves. I cooked the chicken two pieces at a time in the pan until the outsides were browned and crispy-ish. If I had more time I would have used an egg bath and second helping of curry breading to help the pieces get good and crispy. Look for this to happen in a later blog. I finished the pieces in the oven at the end to cook them through and keep them solid on the edges.

Now, some of you probably hate Brussels sprouts, and I think Eleta and I could fix that for you. Tonight’s iteration came in the form of a slightly crispy, finely chopped, roasted hash. Slicing the little cabbages make them far less daunting and give you more opportunity the flavor the leaves.

Nothing scary here.

Nothing scary here.

Layer them on a cookie sheet in single layer and cook on 450 for 12ish minutes.

All told, you have a meal that can come together in about an hour and half, with flavors from all over the world, and a taste that really stands out.

Have fun with the chicken and the sprouts, what are some of your favorite ways to tackle these dishes?

Fried Curry Chicken

1 whole chicken cut into pieces, skin attached.

2 tbls curry powder

2 tsp cracked pepper

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup canola oil

4 bay leaves

$20,000 Rice Pilaf, by Virginia Willis Bon Appetit, Y’all

2 tbls butter

1 thin sliced shallot

2 cups brown basmati rice

3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

fresh parsley, chopped (topping)

Crispy Sprout Hash

1lb package of sprouts, finely chopped

salt and pepper to taste (I went pretty heavy on both)

Olive oil to coat

We served it all with Angry Orchard Apple-Ginger Cider, furnished by our good friend Meg. Thanks Meg!

meatless monday: portobello pizzas with tomato, basil, and pine nuts


If you’ve never tried a portobello mushroom pizza, DO.  They’re SO easy to make, and as much as I love pizza crust (who doesn’t?), portobello mushroom caps are super guilt-free and superbly tasty.

I had some free time on Sunday and made my own pizza sauce.  Not to be all “mine is delicious,” but seriously, it is.  Feel free to use basic store-bought pizza sauce if you’re in a pinch, but I promise you that my version is worth it if you’ve got some time.  The assembly time for these pizzas is so quick that I know you’ll have time to indulge some homemade sauce!

These pizzas are also great for folks on the low carb lifestyle.  Personally, I embrace the cautious-carb lifestyle as I become a mean person sans-carbs (not to mention someone who can NEVER run or do yoga, two of my favorite new things), so if you’ve overindulged over the weekend, this is the the perfect Meatless Monday for you!

Portobello Pizzas with Tomato, Basil, and Pine Nuts

two portobello mushroom caps

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup pizza sauce (see below for homemade version)

1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 Tbsp. fresh basil, thinly sliced

Preheat broiler (or oven to 475 degrees).  Remove stems and dark brown gill-like tissue from the mushrooms using a spoon to scrape it all out.  Brush mushroom caps on top and bottom with olive oil and place on a broiler pan. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes.  Take out caps and top with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and pine nuts.  Broil for about 8 more minutes or until cheese begins to bubble and brown.  Take out of the broiler and add fresh basil.  Dig in with a knife and fork!  Serve with a big green salad.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

14 oz. tomato sauce (no salt added)

6 cloves fresh garlic

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. red pepper flakes

3 bay leaves

1 tsp. Kosher salt

2 grinds cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Split garlic cloves in half, but leave in the paper.  Place in tin foil, top with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and create a sealed package.  Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, add tomato sauce, bay leaves, and red pepper flakes.  Heat over medium heat.  When garlic is roasted, add to sauce and reduce heat to simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Let sauce rest.  Sauce is best when refrigerated overnight, allowing the flavors to marry and become especially delicious.

lunchbox life: bbq chicken tacos with honey lime jalapeno slaw


Spring is in the air and this teacher can feel summer on the horizon!  Warm weather makes me think about barbecue, so I decided I’d help usher it in by making some barbecue chicken tacos with a bright, piquant slaw and a side of pineapple.

I’m a big fan of tacos, and while I love the traditional go-to Mexican flavors, I also like to jazz them up flavors.  A tortilla is a blank canvas, right?

Note on the sauce: If you haven’t had Mrs. Griffin’s barbecue sauce, you’ve been missing out!  It’s made right here in Macon, GA, and if you like mustardy, vinegary sauce, she’s your lady.

BBQ Chicken Tacos with Honey Lime Jalapeno Slaw

1 lb. shredded chicken breast

1/2 cup Mrs. Griffin’s Barbecue Sauce (or your choice)

10 small Mexican corn tortillas (5” round)

1 pkg. broccoli slaw (can be found in produce section with bagged lettuce)

1/2 small fresh jalapeno, minced

1 tsp. honey

1 lime, zest and juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Mix and heat chicken and barbecue sauce; set aside.

Mix olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, and honey in a small bowl.  Pour over broccoli slaw mixture and stir to combine.

For each lunch, assemble two tacos, each with about 1/4 cup of chicken and 1/3 cup of slaw.

Serve with pineapple on the side!

tasty tuesday: beer-braised short ribs, parsnip puree, and green beans with lemon and garlic


I have to start this blog with a confession: I sorta-kinda-but-really-I-did break a cardinal Tasty Tuesday rule…I’ve made one of these recipes before.  The short ribs were my first attempt from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and boy, were they delicious.  I’ve been thinking about making them lately, and with spring blossoming, I knew that I had to do it soon or else the rising temperatures outside would spoil all of my braising dreams. (Can you tell that I think about food too much?  Yes, I just admitted to dreaming about braised meat…welcome to my brain.)  My other excuse is that I really wanted to try this parsnip puree as an accompaniment, which I solemnly swear I have never made before.

Phew, I feel better with that admission off my chest.  If you’re like me, you might get nervous about over- or under-cooking meat.  If you fall into this category, then welcome, my friend, to the wonderful world of low-and-slow braising.  This recipe is so easy, and you’ll impress all of your friends when these delicious short ribs tenderly fall off the bone with velvety, dripping gravy and goodness.

There’s a catch with the short ribs: they take a while to create.  They braise for three hours, but the prep work only takes about 30 minutes.  I had a hair appointment today (shorter and blonder, thanks for asking), so I seared the short ribs, prepared the sauce, stuck the pot in the oven, and headed over to Signature Salon for my cut and color.  By the time I got back and worked on the two sides, the full-bodied aroma of onion, tomato, and beef deliciousness was all over our house!

A word on parsnips: if you’ve read other entries, you know that Alex and I are kind of into them.  They’re an underrated root vegetable, for sure.  Don’t let its boring white exterior fool you–they are packed with flavor!  The parsnip puree is a one-off of mashed potatoes, but the subtle twist turned out beautifully.

Once you taste fresh green beans, you’ll get super snobby about canned or frozen green beans.  Seriously.  In this recipe, I used my go-to flavors (garlic, lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper) with my go-to temperature: roasting.  Enjoy!

Beer-Braised Short Ribs

(adapted from smitten kitchen)

6 beef short ribs, preferably the same size

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 red onion, halved and sliced

6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1 cup sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella)

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 bottles of dark beer

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Salt and pepper all six sides of the short ribs.  Heat olive oil in an oven-safe Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, brown each side of the short ribs (you may want to do this in batches).  Remove the ribs when seared on all sides and set aside.  Add the sliced onions to the olive oil and cook for about 8 minutes.  Next, add the smashed garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.  Then, add the tomato paste and stir until combined.  Lastly, add the vinegar, beer, and Worcestershire.  Turn the heat off, place aluminum foil over the Dutch oven, then place the lid on the pot.  Place in the oven for three hours.

Parsnip Puree

2 lbs. parsnips, cut into two-inch chunks

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1/3 cup Greek yogurt (you may also use heavy cream, but Greek yogurt is a great substitute here)

2 Tbsp. horseradish

salt and pepper, to taste

Place parsnips in a pot, fill with enough water to cover the vegetables, and boil for about 20 minutes.  Place boiled parsnips and other ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  That’s it!

Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed

1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, zest the lemon and dd the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Lay out green beans on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Dress the green beans with the olive oil evenly and roast for about 15 minutes (you’ll hear them pop and sizzle).  Before serving, squeeze the juice of the lemon onto the green beans.

meatless monday: portabella and fried egg sandwiches with yucas fritas- jam

Savory goodness.

Savory goodness.

I was sitting in the spa at Old Edwards Inn, completely relaxed after a nice shower and steam, lounging in my robe and slippers, and decided to thumb through the magazines. I saw the most excellent looking sandwich on the cover of Bon Appetit and I had to have it. It contained a fried egg with bacon on grilled bread. It looked amazing. I figured I could make something good around the same concept for a dinner sized, meatless sandwich and as luck would have it, I was right. I am not saying this is better than the bacon version, that’s crazy and against the Swanson doctrine, but for a meatless monday, this one was savory enough to make you not crave the bacon or another smokey meat (though smoked salmon would work great with it).

I started by reconfiguring the main and went with a baby portabella, sautéed with caramelized onions and garlic. I got them to where they were nice and sweated and then put them aside.

If you have this in your recipe, you've already won at cooking.

If you have this in your recipe, you’ve already won at cooking.

I had to change up the crunch and acid of the dish as well. The original called for pickled spring onion, but my store was out. I switched it up and went traditional with cucumbers. A mason jar, some salt, half a cuke, and red wine and cider vinegar. Nothing wrong with that.

Brine, baby, brine!!

Brine, baby, brine!!

To replace the mayonnaise that the original recipe called for, I made an impromptu sandwich spread with nonfat Greek yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar and sriracha. I made this ahead and set it aside.

Next, you must have a good fried egg. I used a large, flat-bottomed pan (the same one I used for the shrooms) got it hot before adding 2 tbls butter. Once the butter is melted, you’ll want to give the eggs a like crack and open them very slowly very close to the pan– you want the bottom to start cooking as soon as they hit the pan so the stay confined. You want the yolks to stay intact and stay runny! A runny yolk is a wonderful thing and if you are afraid of it, I’m telling you now, you are missing out on the true rich flavor of an egg if you aren’t eating them this way.

Keep them time, even at the cost of your finger tips.

Keep them tight, even at the cost of your finger tips.

For the bread, I used a fresh sourdough cut into reasonably thick slices and brushed one side each with a mixture of olive oil, garlic, and butter. Using a pastry brush, generous coat one side and place it on a hot grill pan. Keep it that side down about 2 mins and brush the other side and flip. Once the bread has reached a good crispness, take off the grill and start making the sandwich.

Add your yogurt sauce to both slices of the bread and then on one side your shroom mix and then your egg.

Almost there.

Almost there.

You should always have green on the dish, and this sandwich comes with some nice arugula (or as our across the pond friends say, rocket). Someone once said you should never serve and undressed green on a hot sandwich, and I agree. I tossed the arugula in the leftover oil and garlic before adding it on and topping with three of the pickles. Cut it in half of the yolk runs down the sandwich, and you have a winner!

For a side, I wanted something crunchy, but not potato or sweet potato. I remembered a great dish I would get in Athens called Yucas Fritas– deep fried yuca root. It is the thing at the grocery store that looks like this:

You've probably never bought it, but you'll want to for this recipe.

You’ve probably never bought it, but you’ll want to for this recipe.

Yuca is a starchy vegetable, but it has a lighter flavor than a potato. It is sweet, but not plantain sweet. It fries up just like crispy french fries, though.

The recipe is simple, peel it, cut it into two in long strips, and soak it in salt water for at least 20 mins. Heat about 3 inches of canola oil in a pan to medium high heat. Dry a handful of the yuca and fry for about 6 mins or until they float. Let them rest and then, in a separate pan add a little oil or butter with salt, garlic powder and pepper for a quick toss. They will be a great side to many a sandwich or burrito.

This was a great version of what I am sure is a great original. The sandwiches and yucas disappeared from our plates much like our vacation did– all too quickly. Enjoy.

Portbello and Fried Egg Sandwiches:

4 slices sourdough

4oz baby bellas

1/2 large sweet onion

3 clove fresh garlic

2 large eggs, butter for pan

Two handfuls arugula

Olive oil, garlic, 1tsp butter for grilled bread

Yogurt Sauce:

1 small tub of non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp Sriracha

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 tbls olive oil

1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

Pinch of salt


1/2 medium cucumber

1.5 tbls salt

2 tbs red wine vinegar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

Yucas Fritas:

1 yuca

tsp salt, water for bath

Canola for pan

1 tbls olive oils, garlic powder, pepper, salt to taste.

lunchbox life: moroccan turkey burgers & kale and avocado salad


Sometimes cooking goes exactly according to plan.  Your bright idea meets a perfect execution and everything is right in the world.  This week’s lunches are not in this category.

How many times have I made turkey burgers?  Plenty.  How many times have I changed up this recipe?  Several.  Today’s case includes the best consolation prize for a burger gone wrong: the “hey, at least it still tastes good even though it’s not pretty” award!

I’ve omitted the egg I used in the recipe; I think it was the culprit ingredient.  My burger mixture was too moist and gloppy which made for a very messy grilling experience.  Another good idea for homemade burgers is to form the patties, refrigerate for an hour (or more), and then place them on the grill or grill pan.  I also think that while I always like to see grill marks on a burger, these burgers should have been cooked on a flat top grill for even cooking (and less fall-apart-ness).

About kale: just succumb to its delicious and nutritious existence.  The best way to start loving kale is to saute it with plenty of olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes (an old standby for me).  The next level of commitment comes in the form of a raw kale salad, but hey, with lemon and avocado, can anything taste bad?

Moroccan Turkey Burgers

1 lb. ground turkey, lean
1 small red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup Moroccan ketchup
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
dash of Kosher salt
dash of cracked black pepper

Using 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil, saute onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat until softened and onions are translucent (about eight minutes); set aside to cool.  In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, Moroccan ketchup, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Add the onion and pepper mixture and mix to combine.  Using your hands, divide into five evenly divided patties.  I suggest letting the burgers chill in the refrigerator for an hour before you cook them to give them time to solidify before placing them on the grill.  When you’re ready, use the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil on a grill pan and cook the burgers to your desired temperature.

These are great as a stand-alone or on a fluffy bun.  I’m eating them as an accompaniment to my kale salad this week!

Kale and Avocado Salad

1 bunch kale
1 lemon
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. honey
Remove stems from kale and cut leaves into thinly sliced ribbons.  Place kale in a large bowl and add the halved tomatoes.  In a small bowl, add the zest and juice of the lemon as well as the honey; mash avocado mixture until smooth (guacamole texture).  Add the avocado to the kale and, using tongs, evenly mix the avocado with the kale.  That’s it!

WWinfo: burger–6pp; salad–2 pp.

Tasty Tuesday 4/9/13 Homemade Ravioli, well, kinda-JAM


Trust me, it’s actually ravioli, even if it tasted like a dumpling…

Tasty Tuesday got an early start with total prep on Monday this week since I had my first recreational softball game tonight. The mighty Macon Improvement Authority may have lost, the meal ended up being a real winner, even if it was not exactly what I expected.

I decided after we had a lovely ravioli dish in Highlands that it was time to finally make homemade pasta. Some friends of ours have made it several times with the assistance of a pasta roller, but we have not gotten that mixer attachment yet. I set about finding a good recipe that didn’t use one and stumbled upon She explained things really well and provided a good recipe to follow.


Look, its like a pasta egg!

The recipe for pasta

2 Cups Flour

4 large eggs

1 tbls olive oil

1 tps salt

1 tps garlic powder

sprinkle of paprika (Because that’s how I like my eggs)

The instructions are fairly simple: take your hand (either one, doesn’t matter) and start stirring. Do that until it looks like this:

I don't recommend using it for sports.

I don’t recommend using it for sports.

Next knead it for about five minutes. The link above has a good video showing you how. You can knead with your mixer, but I was having too much fun by hand (at this point I had fired up some Avett Bros and Bourbon and Ginger). Let the bell rest under your upturned mixing bowl for a hearty sit or to chop your veggies for the filling, if you haven’t already.

The most fun comes when it is rolling time. Cut the dough in half, you’re making two layers after all. Flour your surface, I used the island covered with parchment paper, place one half of the dough and grab a rolling pin, wine bottle, glass, or pegleg, whatever works and get to rolling. You want it to be about 1/8 of an inch thin, or as thin as you can go without tearing. Try to make it rectangular.

Roll, Roll, Roll the dough into a tasty disc

Roll, Roll, Roll the dough into a tasty disc

Repeat for the second one and make your filling.

I wanted to go a little off the beaten path with my filling, wanting a light flavor with some bright notes.


1 half small savoy cabbage, finely chopped

1 half medium sweet onion, finely chopped

2 parsnips, small chunked

8 cloves garlic (yeah, that should read “to taste”)

Olive oil to coat pan

1/2 lb ground turkey breast, seasoned with salt, paprika, thyme

1/4 cup parmesan cheese (finely grated)

Heat a pan to medium and add oil. All at once, add the vegetables and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Brown the veggies and lower the heat until the onions have a good sweat (about 10 mins), and remove from heat. Once cooled enough, pulse in food processor until the whole mixture resembles very course breadcrumbs. Brown the turkey and add to the veggie mixture and add cheese. Stir until the mixture is well-combined, like it could become meatballs.

Go back to your pasta discs and do this:

You can already see that this is approximating a Chinese dumpling, can't you?

You can already see that this is approximating a Chinese dumpling, can’t you?

You can make them as big or small as you like, mine are quite big. I used the  size of a cupped hand as my guide. Keep them about an inch apart. Use a pastry brush to dab the area around the meat mixture with water to help seal the little pockets and cover with the other disc. Press each one individually and cut. Voila!

If hot pockets looked this good, I'd actually consider eating them again.

If hot pockets looked this good, I’d actually consider eating them again.

You can cook right away, or you can do what I did and cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. To cook: boil about a quart of water in a pot with salt. Add ravioli a few at a time (a single layer) to the pot and lower the temp. Cook them until they are nice and floaty.

I chose not to do a hearty sauce and instead serve with a nice, colorful mango salsa:

1 whole mango, cubed

1 avocado, cubed

1/2 cup of cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 jalapeno seeded, finely chopped

Juice of one line

1 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp honey

salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients in a bow together, being sure the mango and avocado is well coated. Let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge before serving.

//After the meal: This meal was delicious. Was it what I expected, no, but it really worked as a pasta dumpling dish. The pasta was flavorful and tender, the filling was very light and tasted like a parsnip sausage, and the mango salsa really complimented the light flavors of the ravioli. I would highly recommend all facets of this dish and to play around with different sauces. I will surely use it again and will make different ravioli that taste more like traditional ravioli. I would recommend turkey, parsnip and onion, for a cabbage or lettuce wrap filling. I recommend mango at every opportunity. Enjoy.

meatless monday: spicy peanut maifun with bok choy and veggies


Alex and I have been committed to Meatless Monday since the new year, and one of my favorite parts of this adventure is discovering (or rediscovering) new vegetables to put into our dinner rotation.  One of my favorite greens is bok choy, which is a Chinese cabbage that’s wilts similarly to spinach.  You can read more here about the excellent health benefits of bok choy, but anytime you’re talking about a dark leafy green, you’re probably in a happy and healthy place.

Another favorite ingredient highlighted in this dish is PB2.  PB2 is all natural, low-calorie powdered peanut butter, and its peanuts are grown and processed right here in Georgia at Bell Plantation in Tifton.  You can find it in the natural and organic foods section of your grocery store or order from their website!


For Meatless Monday, my comfort zone is spicy food.  This is partly because I just love spicy food in general, but also because Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines are so flavorful on their own that I occasionally prefer them meat-free; sometimes the heaviness of the meat dilutes the sharp flavor of the herbs and spices used in each dish.  The brown rice noodles (maifun) provide some fiber and protein in a plant-based meal that rounds out this one-dish meal!

Spicy Peanut Maifun with Bok Choy and Veggies

Adapted from Naturally Ella (


2 Tbsp. peanut butter (or PB2)

⅓ cup water

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. ginger, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced (note: I notoriously use a lot of garlic, so use less if you’re not a huge fan)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

Other ingredients:

4 oz. brown rice noodles (maifun)

1 Tbsp. olive oil (or sesame oil if you have it)

1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced thinly

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1 carrot, sliced thinly

three bundles of bok choy, stems trimmed and roughly chopped


Bean Sprouts


Lime juice

Crushed peanuts

In a bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce, tasting and adding more of anything you may want. If you like it mild, add less red chiles (1/4 teaspoon) and if you like it hot, add more! Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in onion and cook until onion is fragrant and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and carrots and cook for two more minutes. Next, add in peanut sauce and reduce temperature to low. Cover and let cook until veggies are tender, 6-8 minutes.  Cook brown rice noodles according to package while veggies are cooking.

Add drained rice noodles to the veggie mixture along with the bok choy if using.  Serve with bean sprouts, cilantro, lime juice, and peanuts.

WWinfo: 2 servings in recipe, 10pp for one serving

lunchbox life: curry chicken salad on naan


Ahhh, fragrant massaman yellow curry.  On one hand, curry powder takes me on a journey to my favorite Indian restaurants into a warm, full belly stupor of tikka masala, pakora with chutneys, and palak paneer.  On the other hand, it takes me to kitchens in the South where curried rice and curry chicken salad are in every cook’s repertoire.  While perusing Virginia Willis’ cookbook Bon Appetit, Y’allI learned that curry powder made its way into southern kitchens by way of port cities like Savannah, Charleston, and New Orleans where exotic spices were available.  Pretty nifty, huh?  I loved curry powder long before I had my first tandoori chicken, but I didn’t know why until now!  Here’s what I’m having for lunch this week.

Curry Chicken Salad on Naan

2 large pieces of whole grain naan bread, each piece cut in half

1 lb. shredded chicken breast

1 cup 0% fat free Greek yogurt (I love Fage brand)

2 stalks of celery, minced

about 1/2 cup of red seedless grapes, halved

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. cracked black pepper

4 Boston lettuce leaves (optional)

To assemble to chicken salad: in a large bowl, mix the chicken, grapes, and celery.  In a smaller bowl, mix the yogurt, curry powder, salt, and pepper.  Add the yogurt mixture to the chicken mixture and stir to combine.

To assemble: Lay out each piece of naan.  If using, layer a lettuce leaf on each piece, then scoop out about 1/2 cup of the chicken salad onto each piece of naan.

I’m having my chicken salad naan with sliced English hothouse (seedless) cucumber and red grapes.  Enjoy!

WWinfo: chicken salad–3pp; naan–4pp