Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

I was driving through Silver Spring, Maryland where I was stationed during my training for the new job when I came to a HAULT.  Is this for real?

tumblr_m0d5h5tw9E1r17icbo1_400

Am I driving around with nothing to do and did I really come across a Korean Supermarket in the process?  Yes!!!  Now, I know we have lots of these in Philly and I could easily go to one any day, but after stops at Trader Joes, Superfresh, Giant, Whole Foods, etc… who wants to go to another market?!  This was meant to be.

After walking around aimlessly in awe of all of the new produce, types of kimchi and rices, I stopped and literally just stared at the noodle section.  I was in heaven.  I decided that I had to buy some, and good ol’ Soba was the winner.  While Soba Noodles are available at some markets, they certainly aren’t abundant and certainly aren’t affordable.  I’m talkin’ I got a 2lb package for $2.99.  Awesome.

Now that I’m back home and busy as a bee trying to start my business in my new job… I’ve had little time (and cash flow) to go food shopping for us.  I’ve been making some pretty creative things, but last night I just was craving something warm… and spicy.  The soba noodles popped into my mind and I just could not get them to go away.  So, soba noodles it was!

I modified a recipe I’ve saved from Cooking Light and whipped up some pretty delicious (warm and spicy) Soba Noodles.

Okay, if you’re sitting here and you’re all like… “wtf is Beth talking about, what are Soba noodles?!?!” … take a second and check this out  or just be happy with my explanation:  they are really pretty and delicious buckwheat noodles that take like two seconds to cook and taste extra nutty and work well in most Asian dishes.

Soba Love

Soba Love

Oh, and I do of course have to mention that one cup of cooked Soba is over 100 calories less than one cup of cooked spaghetti.  BAM.

photo from Gourmet Garden

photo from Gourmet Garden

Another star of this quick and easy noodle dish that I absolutely HAVE to tell you about is my new Gourmet Garden herbs!  You’ve probably seen these in the refrigerated section in your produce aisle, but have you used them yet?  They are a lifesaver! These tubes are jam-packed with fresh herbs that are pre-washed, chopped, ready to use and will NOT go bad as fast as regular fresh herbs (my downfall when using herbs).  In this recipe, I used Chunky Garlic, Chili Pepper, and Ginger.  No spicy, garlicky, smelly hands… no peeling, no chopping.  Ah-May-ZING!

these bad boys are the bomb.com!

these bad boys are the bomb.com!

Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles

Ingredients:

2 bundles Soba Noodles

2 Chicken Breasts

Green Beans, Carrots, Broccoli, or other Veggies as desired

1/3 cup Water

1/3 cup Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon peeled, chopped Ginger (Gourmet Garden)

3 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Honey

1-2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper

1 pinch Ground Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chili Pepper

1-2 teaspoons chopped Garlic (or Gourmet Garden)

Green Onions, sliced (I used my Freeze-Dried Chives)

1/4 cup chopped Dry Roasted Peanuts

Directions:

1.  Boil the chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks or strips, whichever you prefer, and set aside.  Cook whatever vegetable you want to use too.  Set aside.

2.  To cook the Soba Noodles, bring salted water to a rolling boil.  Drop the noodles in and lower the heat a little.  Boil for 4-5 minutes.  Drain and rinse under very cold water.  This will help prevent the noodles from clumping up and sticking together.

3.  Meanwhile, stir the water, peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, peppers, and garlic together in a medium-sized bowl with a whisk until well combined.  Taste and re-season according to how hot you prefer.

4.  Combine the noodles, chicken, veggies, and sauce.  Top with crushed peanuts and green onions.  Serve and enjoy.

Recipe inspired by:  Cooking Light

Mix up that sauce

Mix up that sauce

Crush some peanuts

Crush some peanuts

Combine everything together...

Combine everything together…

Voila!

Voila!

I don’t think there’s any better sauce than one that’s sweet, spicy, and has peanut butter.  I mean, really… how can it get better than that?  The Gourmet Garden herbs were kick-ass in the sauce and saved me so much time.  And needless to say, I am in Soba love!  MMM!

Check out Gourmet Garden on Twitter @FreshMadeEasy

Find Soba Noodles Here

and while you’re at it, look at these other sweet n spicy recipes from yours truly!

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Mango-Sriracha Chicken

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Slow-Cooker Asian Beef

Peanut Butter Soba

Peanut Butter Soba

Sweet n Spicy Citrus Marinade

Sweet n Spicy Citrus Marinade

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry

Dinner on my diet night #3… and what do I decide to make?  You guessed it… Asian!  Before you judge, let me explain.

If you were to order a comparable dish at a Chinese Takeout restaurant, you’re looking at a meal that takes up over half your daily calorie allotment!  Chinese Beef & Broccoli can have over 1,000 calories and up to 65 grams of fat.  For a dish that has a vegetable in its title, that’s pretty disgusting!

This is exactly why I wanted to give up Chinese food for my Challenge.  Dave and I could live off of it, we just love it… and for a while were eating it once a week.  The funny thing about Chinese Food and my past dieting, is that every time I would eat it, my diet would go astray for a few days.  The reason for this is because it is VERY difficult to find nutritional information for Chinese Food.  All of the places we order our takeout are local, neighborhood, Mom & Pop shops.  None of them have websites let alone nutritional information… and I bet you can agree about the restaurants you go to!  So, in the past, I would go a few days keeping track of my food, eat Chinese, and then give up since that day couldn’t be tracked.

I did find a few websites recently that you can use to help you track Chinese Food.  Here is one of them!  And another!

Although I’ve given up Chinese Food for the obvious nutritional value, it’s more important to me that I’m keeping track of my food diary.  If I make my own asian inspired meals, I know exactly what’s going into it and I can still continue to track.

With all of that being said, you HAVE to try out this Beef Stir-Fry!  This is another recipe I tried out from Cooking Light (Nov 2011) – where a lot of my recipes come from.  This recipe in particular claims to be a “20-Minute Dinner”… so I put it to the test!

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry Recipe:

1 tablespoon bottled minced ginger

1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic 

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 pound presliced stir-fry meat (such as flank or boneless sirloin steak)

8 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)

4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves 

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

½ teaspoon hot chili garlic sauce (optional… I added this!)

This recipe is pretty simple.  Mix the first five ingredients (ginger, garlic, soy, sugar, red pepper) into a bowl.  Heat the sesame oil in a wok or sauté pan.  Once the oil is heated, stir in the sliced beef and cook for 3 minutes or until browned.  Mine took about 5 minutes.  Add the green onions and sauté for one minute.  Pour on the sauce waiting for you in the bowl and stir for 30 seconds.  Pile on a bag of spinach.  Let it sit for a minute until it starts to shrink, then stir until it shrinks completely.  Add the sesame seeds, stir, and serve!

Ginger, Garlic, Asian, Deliciousness!!

I love piling the spinach on...

When I was done cooking the stir-fry, I checked the clock and it turns out that it took me about 23 minutes.  Not too bad!  This is only the second time I’ve ever cooked with fresh ginger.  I’m happy with the way it turned out, it tasted fresher and less salty than the normal store-bought sauces we stir-fry with.

Sesame Beef Stir-Fry

Unlike its takeout twin Beef & Broccoli, this recipe only has 230 calories and 11 gramsof fat per serving.  The recipe should make 4 servings, but I only got 2 out of it… I guess I was pretty hungry!  I ended up buying a bigger than normal bag of spinach leaves (not baby spinach) and used the entire thing.  I also didn’t check the weight of the beef I purchased, so there’s a chance it was less than a pound.  However, 460 calories is pretty good for a delicious Asian dinner that was made in 23 minutes!