Chez Carey! Healthy Pad Thai recipe

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I believe I have come up with a TOTAL winner. I LOVE Pad Thai, but the calories and fat in a normal serving make it very hard for me to justify- especially with an upcoming wedding and a commitment to stay on track with Weight Watchers allowances.

I’m a BIG fan of PB2 by Bell Plantations http://www.bellplantation.com/. It’s basically powdered peanut butter than you can reconstitute with water. It removes all of the oils and fats and you’re left with very peanut buttery tasting yumminess for very few calories. I have used it in as regular peanut butter, but haven’t really done a lot of cooking or experimenting with it yet, except for mixing it in with frozen bananas to make pb/banana ice cream, or making awesome smoothies with it. I had been looking at recipes on their website for inspiration and after reading a few of their Thai Noodles recipes, decided to take that idea and run with it….and my experiment was a major success. It will definitely be repeated soon. As always, my recipes are just loose guidelines since I don’t really measure anything out…Interpret and adjust it however you’d like.

Here’s the concept!

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

PB2 (about 6 Tablespoons)

Sesame Oil

Sriracha sauce

Hot water

Brown rice vinegar

Ginger

Garlic

Cilantro

Bragg’s Amino Acids (or light soy sauce if you don’t have Bragg’s)

Honey

Mix all of that up in a bowl or measuring cup and keep adding hot water in tiny bits until you get to the consistency you want. It should be semi-thick so it will coat the noodles.

Meanwhile, stir fry the following in a wok with a little coconut oil. (I julienned all of the veggies, but you don’t really have to. It just looks prettier that way.)

Carrots

Baby Corn

Scallions

red peppers

Shiitake mushrooms

Shrimp

And then throw in a bag of WELL- RINSED and lightly boiled (for 1 minute) kelp noodles like these: http://www.kelpnoodles.com/

or miracle noodles like these: http://www.miraclenoodle.com/

I can’t stress enough how important it is to rinse either of those noodles before cooking them.

Toss everything together and then pour the sauce over the top and mix well.

Thinly slice some cucumbers and chop some peanuts to top each dish with and VIOLA! Low fat, low cal, AMAZING tasting Pad Thai. Enjoy! You’re welcome!

I should really open a cafe one of these days 🙂

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Chez Carey! Carrot/coconut/dill soup

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I cannot believe I forgot to take a picture of this soup but it was SO good that I thought I’d add my recipe…well, it’s really just a ‘concept’.  As many of you know, I really don’t write recipes. I don’t like to measure. I don’t like to do things the same way twice. I like to do things by taste, feel, mood and sense.

 

The carrot/coconut/dill soup:
Saute some garlic, shallots and onions in a little olive oil in the bottom of a stock pot.
Add a pound or so of carrots (I used baby carrots, but you can use chopped, peeled regular ones instead)
Add about 5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
simmer for an hour or so.
add a handful of fresh dill and some salt and fresh pepper.
Use an immersion blender to blend it all up.
Add a cup or so of coconut milk
add some more chopped dill if you’re like me and can’t get enough of it. (but don’t blend too much of it in with the immersion blender or it will turn the soup into an ugly color)
Serve each bowl with a spoonful of plain greek yogurt, chopped chives and a sprig of dill.

Enjoy!

Chez Carey! Thanksgiving contribution. Dumpling squash stuffed with veggies!

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I was in charge of bringing the vegetable to our Thanksgiving dinner this year and as luck would have it, Gabriel and I happened to stumble upon an amazing hydroponic farm a few days ago where we picked fresh produce to our hearts content. I was so inspired by all of the gorgeous vegetables there that I decided to combine a bunch of them into my contribution to our T-day feast.

I started by halving and roasting sweet dumpling squash with a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper at 350 for about 35 minutes. I also sliced carrots, parsnips, beets, zucchini and summer squash and roasted them on a separate cookie sheet. Meanwhile, I sauteed the beet greens with some crimini mushrooms, garlic, red onions, olive oil, salt and pepper.

When everything was done cooking, I lined the squash halves with the colorful discs and filled the centers with the greens. I topped the greens with more roasted discs and placed them on a serving dish surrounded by the beet green stems and extra mushrooms. Beautiful AND delicious, if I do say so myself! I plan to finish them with a little fresh dill, cilantro and parsley just before serving them.

Hope you and your loved ones all enjoy a happy holiday feast tonight!

Chez Carey: baby shrimp wontons, wonton soup and squid with mixed veggies

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I am on the email list for http://www.hungry-girl.com/ and recently got one that highlighted wonton wrappers as a great low calorie food to work with.  Inspired, I decided to look for them on my next supermarket shopping trip. My boyfriend and I got excited about something new to get creative with and started thinking about the rest of the meal. We picked up a package of frozen, whole, baby squid, some assorted veggies and a few bottled sauces and we were on our way.

This was officially the first meal that we prepared as a team and it was a great success! What better activity than hand-filling and wrapping wontons and prepping tons of veggies? Well, I suppose the ‘eating it’ part was pretty awesome too.

Anyway, here’s the basic idea for the 3 dishes we came up with:

1. Spicy wonton soup

Ingredient list:

wonton wrappers

chicken broth (allow about a cup per person)

red cabbage (about 1/2 cup)

carrot (about 2 carrots)

garlic (a few cloves)

ginger (about a tablespoon)

sriracha sauce (be CAREFUL, don’t use too much- I used about 1 tablespoon)

soy sauce (about a teaspoon)

oyster sauce (about a teaspoon)

honey (half a teaspoon)

celery (1 stalk)

egg white (about 1 egg worth)

mushrooms (about 6 large)

scallions (about 4)

cilantro (a bunch)

a can of baby shrimp, rinsed (or fresh shrimp, cooked and diced would be great too)

Cut up all of the veggies into tiny pieces. If you have a food processor, this would be  great time to get it out. If you don’t, like us, be prepared to chop for a pretty good chunk of time. Put it all into a bowl. Add all of the liquids (except the chicken broth!) to taste. Mix everything really well. Put about a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of a wonton. Wet the edges of the wrapper with water using your finger and seal it up as best you can (we found there were a few different effective ways to do this). Fill as many wontons as you can, leaving about a 1/4 cup of the mixture in the bowl. In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Carefully drop in a dozen or so wontons (3-4 per person) and bring back to a boil for a few minutes. Add the rest of the mixture from the bowl into the pot, stir carefully and continue boiling for another minute or 2.

Meanwhile, with all of the those wonderful leftover wontons, spray a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil with Pam. Put the wontons on it. Spray the top of the wontons with a little more Pam and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until brown and crispy. Let them rest on paper towels for a few minutes before serving. These are also great floating in the soup when you eat the rest of the ones that were in there already and end up with a bowl of broth.

2. Baby squid and veggie dish

Ingredient list:

Baby whole squid, cleaned. (you can find these frozen in asian supermarkets if you can’t find them fresh)

red cabbage (about 1/4 cup, sliced)

bok choy (a whole head, sliced into 1 inch pieces)

garlic (a few cloves, sliced)

ginger ( 1 tablespoon, shredded)

baby corn (1 can)

mushrooms (about 10, sliced)

bamboo shoots (a small can)

coconut oil spray

soy sauce (a few teaspoons)

duck sauce (a few teaspoons)

oyster sauce (a few teaspoons)

apple cider vinegar (a few teaspoons)

honey (a teaspoon)

chinese mustard (a teaspoon)

lemon juice (a few teaspoons)

cilantro (a bunch)

Whisk all of the liquids and the cilantro together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside. Spray a little coconut oil in a wok and get it up to a high heat. Add in the veggies in small enough batches to stir fry them and transfer to a bowl as needed. Re-spray the wok in between batches and continue until all of the veggies are in the bowl. Saute the squid for just a few minutes and then add some of the sauce on top for a few more minutes. Add the rest of the sauce over the bowl of veggies and stir everything together.

Serve over rice if you like, or just with a massive bowl of soup with extra wontons on the side. YUM. (This meal is definitely more fun to make and eat if you prepare it with someone you love.)

Enjoy!

The verdict is that we are most *definitely* going to be buying more wonton wrappers to play around with. I feel like the possibilities are endless and I’m thrilled to have a new ingredient under my sleeve to experiment with. I plan to fill them with crab-stuffed mushrooms next…stay tuned!

Chez Carey: Glazed tilapia and asian veggie stir fry over coconut/ginger rice.

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I usually avoid cooking fish in my apartment because I hate the smelly aftermath that lingers for days when it’s too cold to leave windows wide open. I recently found out that for some reason, tilapia isn’t nearly as smelly as other fish, so I decided to play around with it for tonight’s dinner. It’s so easy to get into a poultry cooking rut and this was a nice, refreshing change for me.

I decided to do an Asian spin on the flavoring and began by making a a glaze for the fish. Into the mix went: a TON of fresh, chopped ginger, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, a ton of chopped cilantro, some apple cider vinegar and a little bit of honey. I painted this mixture onto the filets and did a quick, hot, pan saute using spray coconut oil so it wouldn’t stick.

While that was cooking, I stir fried the following in my beloved wok (again using spray coconut oil) chopped bok choy, chopped exotic mixed mushrooms, baby corn, sliced water chestnuts, chopped green beans. When that was done I finished it with a squeeze of lemon juice, chopped cilantro and a little of the leftover fish glaze.

Admittedly, I cheated on the rice. I used a box of ‘A Taste of Thai’ coconut/ginger rice for this one. It’s really quite good, and SO much easier than making it myself.

I love when healthy cooking also equals a great dinner! 

Chez Carey! (Casa de Carey :) Chicken Enchiladas!

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Unfortunately, this photo really does NOT do justice to how amazing these tasted. This is my healthy chicken enchilada creation that fed my boyfriend and I for 3 big dinners. It goes a long way indeed and just tastes better each day. I served them with diced avocado mixed with lemon juice and cilantro and a dallop of salsa on the side. It was a great belly warming meal on chilly winter nights and I’ll definitely be making it again.

As always, my ‘recipes’ are just concepts that can be altered to your likings. I don’t give quantities because I hardly ever measure anything. Just play around with the idea to get it the way you want it.

Here’s the basic idea: Throw the following in the crockpot: cut up boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut up onion, can O’ rinsed/drained black beans, can o’ rinsed/drained corn, bag O’ frozen mixed veggies, half cup chicken broth, some chili powder, fresh chopped cilantro, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, chipotle tabasco sauce, cayanne powder, garlic powder, onion powder. Cook that all on high for 6 hours or so.

Next, preheat oven to 350. Get Smart and Delicious Tortillas (50-100 calories each depending on what size you get). Put a scoop of the chicken mixture into a tortilla and roll it up tightly. Put in baking dish. Continue filling and rolling and putting them in the dish tightly packed together. Seam side down. When they are all lined up, spoon the rest of the chicken chili-thing soup that’s left over the top of the dish. Spread about a cup of salsa over the top of everything. Cover that with about a cup of cut up lowfat cheese of your liking. (I used a combo of a few kinds) Bake the whole thing for about 25 minutes and broil for a few minutes at the end to get it all bubbly.

Viola! YUM! Enjoy!

Chez Carey: Low-guilt chocolate chip meringue cookies!

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Low-guilt chocolate chip meringue cookies: Whip 4 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup of sugar, just a little at a time until well incorporated. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form and it’s glossy. Fold in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto a silpat and bake at 300 for 40 minutes or so. YUM. Like little mini smores minus the graham cracker part. Delicious and much lower carb (and guilt) than regular cookies. AND very easy to make.

Chez Carey! Thai shrimp lemongrass soba soup

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                                                                                                                                                                                                           After a chilly evening run, I decided to experiment with a belly-warming soup for dinner. One of my favorites is the Tom Yum soup that most Thai restaurants serve. Not being someone who likes to follow recipes, I attempted to recreate something similar that could satisfy my craving. I also wanted to feel full, so I decided that adding buckwheat soba noodles to it would make it a more complete meal than the soup which is normally just broth and shrimp and a few veggies. As always, this recipe is really just a concept and can be played with as you see fit. I’ll give you a list of ingredients I used and a basic idea- and you can run with it from there. This turned out wonderful but (note to self) next time I will only add the noodles to the portion I plan to eat because the following day, the remaining noodles had pretty much sucked all of the soup up and I had to add some water to reconstitute it.

Add to 8 cups of chicken stock the following:

grated fresh ginger

sliced garlic

slivered scallions

chopped chiles or jalapenos.

a couple of teaspoons of oyster sauce

long pieces of lemongrass (so that you can easily remove them later)

a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce

a couple of tablespoons of almond butter (whisk this in once the soup has simmered for 10 minutes or so)

Let that all simmer for 20 minutes or so and them drop in a pound of cleaned shrimp. Continue to simmer until the shrimp turn pink and curl up.

Cook your soba (or vermicelli, or udon etc) noodles in a separate pot of boiling water. (this is the part I didn’t do…I made the mistake of adding the noodles to the soup along with the raw shrimp. I won’t do that next time)

Put a cup of raw baby spinach in a big bowl. Add a scoop of noodles on top of that. Fill the rest of the bowl with the soup and finish with a little hot sauce. Voila. Yum. Well, Tom Yum. Sort of.

P.S. I think next time I will also add some baby corn and straw mushrooms to this.

Chez Carey! Summer Shrimp Salad

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Wow. This was SUCH a winning experiment that I wanted to share it with you all. I’d been getting into a bit of a rut with my lunch salads and decided to change things up a bit today based on some cool ingredients that were on sale at Fresh Direct. I started by steaming some rock shrimp and chopping them up. I mixed those up with the following list of ingredients, let it sit for 15 minutes and then stuffed it into the emptied avocado shells and I must say, I have outdone myself with this one. 5 stars Carey, if I do say so myself!

:0)

As always, the amount of each ingredient is up to you. This, like ALL of my recipes, is merely a concept to by toyed with to your liking.

Chop and combine the following:

rock shrimp

english cucumber

radish

jicama

pineapple

grape tomatoes

baby bok choy

avocado

mint

cilantro

fresh ginger

Toss all of the above gently with:

the juice of a lime,

salt & pepper

a little olive oil

Let the salad sit and marinate for 15 minutes or so and then scoop into the emptied avocado shell for a pretty presentation.

YUM! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

>Chez Carey! Crab stuffed mushrooms (and peppers for another day)

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What’s a rainy day good for? An opportunity for a cooking experiment of course! Remember that crab I had in the freezer that I used for this: http://careysculinaryadventures.blogspot.com/2011/03/chez-carey-cheesy-crab-veggie-pasta.html Well, I STILL had 1/3 of it left and have been on a crab kick lately so today’s experiment’s object was to use it up. Using ingredients I already had on hand, I decided to make some stuffed mushrooms- a dish I play around with pretty often, but I must say, this is the best version of it I’ve ever made. I started by removing the stems from white mushrooms and chopping them up with shallots, parsley, (fresh from my city farmer fire escape window box garden!) a little chicken broth, black pepper, chopped garlic, and a few tablespoons of light cream cheese. I filled each mushroom with that mixture and topped each one with a sprinkle of grated parmesan, and a few pine nuts. Since I had some extra stuffing left, I decided to split and fill an orange pepper that I just put in the freezer for another day. Into the oven the mushrooms went, with about 1/2 cup of white wine in the baking dish. 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes and out they came, golden brown and simply delicious. I put some on top of my ‘standard’ salad (with balsamic and olive oil) for lunch and it was FANTASTIC. Give it a try! It’s hard to mess this one up!