Saturday, July 27, 2013

Asian Noodle Salad

I have made this for a couple of years and it is hands-down my all-time favorite salad. I got the recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I really love all of the recipes I've tried of hers, but this is one is my favorite. I believe she was inspired by a recipe from the Naked Chef.

I always forgot how much time it takes to cut all the vegetables up and what an incredible mess it makes. It also makes enough salad to feed an huge army, so if you are not feeding an army, be careful! I usually make it and only dress what I need, putting the leftover veggies and noodles in ziplock bags with a little dressing in a side bag, and then toss a small version for lunches the next few days.

I've used Asian rice noodles instead of linguini before, but I didn't like it nearly as much.

Asian Noodle Salad

1 pkg. linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed & cooled
1/2 head sliced napa cabbage
1/2 head sliced purple cabbage
1/2 bag baby spinach
1 of each red, yellow & orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 bag mung bean sprouts
1 bunch chopped cilantro
3 whole scallions, sliced
3 whole cucumbers, peeled & sliced
1 10-oz. can cashews

Mix the noodles and vegetables in a very large bowl, toss with the dressing and top with cashews. 

For the dressing:

1 whole lime, juiced
8 T. olive oil
8 T. soy sauce
2 T. sesame oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeƱo, seeded & chopped

I like to put the dressing in my Blendtec blender to insure that everything is chopped super fine, but you can also do it all by hand. 

Key Lime Pie Pops

My dessert club has been a really fun excuse to try new recipes that I would normally never try. I tend to stick with my favorite recipes for desserts and don't usually branch out at all. June's theme was "FROZEN" and I knew I wanted to do some kind of popsicle. I thought it would be fun to do a key lime pie pop and as luck would have it, there was a lot of information on the internet. I found a couple of recipes, played with them, and this is what I came up with.

When cutting the key limes, I was dying at how cute they were. The picture below really doesn't do them justice, as you can't tell how tiny and miniature they are. I wanted to incorporate the lime slice somehow, so I cut a thin slice to put at the top. Not only was it cute, but it also gave the straw something to hold it up. However, when eating the popsicle, once you got to the lime at the bottom, it was really sour. I don't think I would add it when I make them again. 

I used small, clear "shot glasses" from a party store, and cut party straws. For our dessert club, we have to taste so many desserts, that we serve such small portions. These would be fabulous in a normal size popsicle mold.

Key Lime Pie Pops

1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1 c. half and half
3/4 c. fresh key lime juice (about 2 lbs. of limes)
2 t. key lime zest
1/8 t. salt
2 c. graham cracker crumbs

Combine all ingredients, except for graham cracker crumbs. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for about 5 hours. If you are not using conventional popsicle molds, you can add your sticks after about 2 hours. Right before serving the popsicles, take them out of the molds (run hot water over the mold, if needed) and roll the popsicle in cookie crumbs. 

My Favorite GREEN Smoothie

My friend, Bonnie McMillan visited last summer. She had taught me how to make her favorite green smoothie and I fell in love with it. She had a bag of this peanut butter/cocoa powder mix and I used it for a few months until it was suddenly gone. I looked everywhere for it and just kept forgetting to ask her where she buys hers. Finally, I contacted her and she told me it was at Whole Foods. I looked there, even asking all the staff about it, but we couldn't find it anywhere. A few weeks ago, I was in my local Giant grocery store and in the peanut butter isle, I saw a container of PB2 powder and realized that it was the same thing. It was different packaging that Bonnie had used, but it was the same powder. So, if you are looking for it at your local grocery store, check in the peanut butter section.

You really have to try this smoothie before judging it. My boys won't touch it because of the color, but it really tastes like a yummy milkshake. It's cool and refreshing and perfect for a hot summer morning.

Green Smoothie

1 c. coconut milk (any milk can be used)
1 c. ice
2 T. PB2 powder
1 T. agave syrup (more or less to taste)
2 c. loosely packed spinach leaves

Blend until smooth and enjoy!