Pad Thai with Chicken or Shrimp

I’m so glad I made this and that I tried! It seemed like something I should leave to the pros, but DO IT! It was so easy and I’ll totally make it again. Mr. J has recently gotten into pad thai and that’s precisely what inspired me to make it at home. That, and some shrimp in the freezer who gave me a little nudge. Also these noodles cook so quickly – everything I need for a weeknight meal! Who doesn’t looove a meal that gets all. the. toppings.

Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule

Ingredients:

6 shrimp & 2 chicken tenders
1 package (9 oz) Refrigerated Asian-Style Noodles (that’s what they’re actually called – in the produce area – mine were soba but “Chinese Style” were sold out)
1 red pepper, chopped into match sticks
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 cups bean sprouts
chopped cilantro, to taste
chopped peanuts, to taste
wedge of lime

Directions:

Boil salted water for the noodles.
Pan saute the chicken with salt and pepper over medium heat until cooked through in a large pan. Remove from the heat and quickly cook the chicken. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Mix together the sauce: brown sugar; soy sauce; rice vinegar; lime juice; fish sauce; and garlic. Whisk and set aside.
Saute the red pepper and when partway cooked, move to the outside and scramble the egg in the middle.
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
When the egg cooks, add in the bean spouts and cooked noodles – straight from the water once they’re done – save washing a colander!
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
Bring to medium heat and add in the sauce. Cook for about 3 minutes tossing to coat well.
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
Shred the chicken and mix in. Add the shrimp in and toss well (or serve the protein on the top).
Serve with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and lime. Enjoy!
Shrimp Pad Thai - The Three Bite Rule
Omg. So good! My noodles were too thick (think soba, not uber thin). The sauce was sooo delightful. It was perfect. I was afraid it might be drippy or something. It was spot-on.

SPOT-ON!

We’ll totally have this again. Mr. J was pretty pumped! The babe loves slurping long noodles and we love seeing that! I realized while writing this that ‘poon was coming out in my head…toddler talk is real. Anywho, The peanuts, cilantro, and lime maaaaaade this. I love toppings! I don’t pretend to know what authentic pad thai is like, but this beats take-out!

What I Ate: Turkey Kielbasa and Peppers

It is officially time for maternity leave. “I’ll be back”. In the meantime, I have a few goodies to share out here in the blog-o-sphere until I come back. Enjoy!

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

This is seriously so easy it is ridiculous but it was just what I was after for a really quick dinner plan, conducive to leftovers, and only needing a few ingredients. Rice, turkey kielbasa, red onion, green peppers, ready-made sauce, brown sugar. Poof! Dinner!

You could always get your own sauce in there and throw in other veggies. Whatever floats your boat.

The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers

Ingredients: (serves 3)

1 link turkey kielbasa (or regular, or brats, or chicken sausage, or you get the gist)
1 green bell pepper
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
brown rice

Directions:

Start cooking the rice according to that you’re using. (I used instant brown rice that needed 10 minutes once the water boiled)
Slice the kielbasa, pepper, and onion into chunks.
Heat a large pan and start cooking the onion & kielbasa over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
Add in the brown sugar and teriyaki sauce mixing well.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers
Add in the green pepper and cook for 5 minutes to combine well and for the sugar to melt.
Optional: taste and add in a splash of water if it is too strong flavored.
The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers
Reduce heat to low.
Serve over rice and enjoy!

This is so easy but I think the real trick is not to over cook the peppers while not undercooking the onion. The onion needs to soften and the peppers need to still have a crunch…they don’t cook the same amount of time. The kielbasa has good flavor and is fully cooked, so it really is just absorbing flavor and heating through. Mr. J would choose white rice, but with a sticky, tangy, and sweet sauce on it, he’ll accept brown rice.

The Three Bite Rule - Kielbasa & Peppers

Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.

This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.

Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:

(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
edemame: $0.25
packaged oranges: $1.00
cashews: $1.50
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person

You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.

I’ll totally make this again.

What I Ate: Pork Lettuce Wraps

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

One of my fav crockpot dishes is a Chinese Pork, It has water chestnuts, and peppers, and bean sprouts,  and green onions.

Chinese Pork from the Crockpot - The Three Bite Rule

This most recent time I made it was a few months ago and I froze the leftovers so we wouldn’t get sick of it. While I was meal planning recently I thought of it and wondered how to use it differently. Lettuce wraps came to mind. They’re pretty easy to make with any filling, but this was cooked and sauced up already. Perfect!

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps

I let it defrost all day in the fridge and then heated it through to get ready for dinner. I nixed the peppers, spooning them out leaving it as pork, sauce, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts. It looks like I had more tomato sauce this time, than the first time.
The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps

I whipped up some sesame noodles to go with it.
The Three Bite Rule - Sesame Noodles
And micro’ed some edemame. This was a super quick dinner (10 min of prep) and it used some some random remnants….like the pork from the freezer and a partial box of wheat spaghetti.

The Three Bite Rule - Pork Lettuce Wraps
It wasn’t exactly an award winning dinner, but it was pretty balanced, suuuuuper cheap, and was a bit different than the usual quickie dinner options. It feels less like: leftovers, womp womp when I serve it a long time from the first debut, annnd when I serve it in a different way.  This is why I save everything. Fast dinners like this meant only added Boston bibb lettuce to the shopping list, everything else was on-hand. Plus it reminded me how great edemame in the pods are.

These would have been better with something else, like vinegar-y cabbage or raw bean sprouts on top but they totally fulfilled the what’s for dinner conundrum. Lettuce wraps are a great use for my random extra ground meat. I drop leftover ground chicken and ground pork into the freezer to be used for tacos or something. It’s not the greatest for burgers once it has been frozen but lettuce wraps could be a good use. Hmmm. Maybe I’m onto something there!

How do you recreate leftovers?

Easy Sesame Noodles

I don’t make many Asian inspired dishes but I love using rice wine vinegar + sesame oil + soy sauce. It is such a great combo. It is really great in this noodle dish and I love it as a marinate for chicken wings too. This trifecta is also delicious for a salad dressing base. I saw The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for sesame noodles and thought it just looked too easy…would it have enough flavor? Turns out, it does.

sesame_nood_plated_590_390

Sesame Noodles by Pioneer Woman

Ingredients:

9 oz Chinese style fresh pasta (or linguini fini, or thin spaghetti)
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs garlic, minced
3 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot sauce
3 tbs vegetable oil
4 green onions, chopped
3 tbs sesame seeds

Directions:

Boil water for the pasta
Cook the pasta just under according to the package (9-10 minutes if it says 10-12)
Heat a dry small frying pan over medium heat
Whisk together the teryiaki sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, hot sauce, and oil.
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Toast the sesame seeds in the frying pan for about 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove them from the heat once they start to get tan colored.
Remove pasta and put it in a serving dish.
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Mix in the sauce, half the green onions, and half the sesame seeds.
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Top with the rest of the green onions & sesame seeds to serve!
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I loved how much the noodles soaked up the sauce. They were seriously sesame-y. I thought the flavor was spot on. This dish had great flavors and couldn’t be easier.
sesame_nood_plated_590_390
This dinner is suuuuper cheap too. I love adding some meatless wonders to my plans for the week.

Sesame Noodles Overall Cost Breakdown:
(I’m way over estimating the sesame oil & rice vinegar. Buy them! They’re inexpensive and don’t go bad forever).
Chinese style noodles: $2.99
sesame oil ($6.00 for the whole bottle): $1.00
rice vinegar ($2.50 for the whole bottle): $0.50
green onions (1/2 of bunch): $0.49
garlic could be optional in a pinch & sesame seeds are a nice-to-have, not a have-to-have
total = $5.00 for the whole thing, it serves 3 good portions or $1.66 per person.

Impressive, no? Once you have the sesame oil and rice vinegar you’ll definitely use the rest of them. These egg rolls were so stinky easy and worth it to have them freshly baked. Make this Chinese Pork in the Crockpot, it is ahhhhmazing. Or marinate chicken wings in it like these. Add sesame oil to your own crab rangoons and they’ll taste so much more flavorful.

Pork and Vegetable Spring Rolls

On vacation to Bermuda, Mr. J became OBSESSED with a pork and vegetable spring roll. I think he ordered it almost every night. I recreated them for Dad & Mr. J’s combo birthday/father’s day meal. Our theme was “best of vacation” foods.

The eggroll wrappers are from the produce section of the grocery store. They feel like fresh pasta and are easy to use. There are about 20 in a package and I made them all. They were easy to make in advance and bake for a few minutes when it was time to eat.
pork_roll_wrapper_590_390

Ingredients:

3/4 pound ground pork
10 oz cole slaw mix (or chopped cabbage)
2 tbs garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tbs cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 package eggroll wrappers
1 tsp cornstarch & 2 tsp water

Directions:

Fry pork in a large pan until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes over medium heat.
Drain excess oil off the pork and add in the cabbage and garlic to the pan.
Add in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce.
Mix well and cook another few minutes. The cabbage quantity will shrink up.
pork_spring_filling_590_390
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lay out wonton wrappers. Add about 3 tbs of the filling onto each one. Brush the edges with the cornstarch/water mix.
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Fold the point in the front over the filling, then fold the side points inward towards the filling. Then roll the whole thing over, continuing to wrap the sides towards the center.
pork_spring_step2
Place the spring rolls on a baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 5 minutes at 375 degrees.
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Then flip and bake another 5 minutes.
pork_roll_done_590_390
I sprayed them and flipped them often. I wanted them crisp all the way around. They also could be pan fried, but I thought baking would keep them from being oily or greasy.

Sesame oil and rice wine vinegar are ingredients I try to keep around. They take any Asian-inspired dishes to the next level and they never go bad. They are good for vinaigrette on salad or a stir fry.  I have another dish to blog for you next week that uses them…stock up now!

I served them with a chipotle orange ginger barbecue sauce. They were a hit!

Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Quick and easy. That’s the mode I’m in right now. My head whirls for the months of April/May. Buckle up, my mind is scattered and dinner is so important right now. Dinner is my stability.
pineapple_teryiaki_plate_590_390

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
3 tbs honey
1 tsp garlic
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup black beans
1/2 cup green onion

Directions:

Marinate the chicken in teriyaki sauce, honey, garlic, salt and pepper for at least 3 hours.
Grill chicken until cooked through.
Mix pineapple, green onions, black beans and salsa together.
pineapple_teryiaki_salsa_590_390
Serve chicken over rice, topped with pineapple salsa.
pineapple_teryiaki_plate_590_390

This is so easy and most can be prepped in advance. The chicken could marinate all day while I’m working and I didn’t make the salsa from scratch…I just added to it. What a quick fix?!

I had a hankering for pineapple, but mango would be fresh too. I chopped a few tomatoes into the salsa too just so the pineapple pieces didn’t seem like the only big chunks. The cool fresh salsa is so good over smoky tangy chicken.

Chinese Pork in a Crockpot

This was just what a snowy day needed. We shoveled a lot last weekend and it was great to have this welcoming us back with a lovely porky scent. It may have driven the pups crazy though. I know I was salivating whenever I stirred it!

This was suuuuper easy, only a few ingredients, and was definitely the best Chinese dish I’ve ever made.
chinese_pork_plate_590_390

Cantonese Pork in a Crockpot
adapted from Happy Tummies

Ingredients:

1 cup flour (I used whole wheat flour)
salt & pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 tbs brown sugar
1 can tomato sauce, 8oz
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, sliced
3 tbs rice wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbs sesame oil (optional)
2 cups bean sprouts
4 scallions, chopped

Directions:

Trim the fat from the pork shoulder and slice thin.
chinese_pork_sliced_590_390
Heat a heavy skillet to medium heat and add vegetable oil.
Add tomato sauce, onion, brown sugar, green pepper, water chestnuts, vinegar, salt, Worcestershire, and sesame oil into a large crockpot.
chinese_pork_ingredients_590_390
Toss pork slices in flour, salt, and pepper until evenly coated. A few at a time.
Pan fry pork, turning for just a minute on each side, in batches. (They don’t need to fully cook, just get a crispy sear on each side).
chinese_pork_fry_590_390
Remove and drain on paper towels.
Add pork into crockpot, stir, and turn to low heat for about 4-5 hours.
chinese_pork_mixed_590_390
Enjoy over rice!

This was so good. I’ve attemped only a few Chinese dishes but they’ve never been great. This was great. I like that this is a bit different and would easily vary the dinner menu.
chinese_pork_done_590_390

The pork was falling apart. It was really good, but I think 4 hours was plenty. I cooked mine for 5 ½ and think it was borderline too long. I think it could use a bit more salt. Unlike take-out Chinese, it wasn’t overly salty. Soy sauce, more Worcestershire, or table salt would do the trick.

There were only a few ingredients and I think this would turn anyone into a pork believer. I forgot bean sprouts and was so early to the grocery store they didn’t have all the produce out! I debated getting a huge bone-in pork shoulder and making half into pulled pork, but those suckers are pricey and I hadn’t ever seen the little ones.

What I Ate: Asian Inspired Meatballs

What I Ate is a Friday series that is so easy (but delicious!) that it doesn’t really require a recipe! Check out the category (to your right) to see other super easy ideas.

Did you cook your tuckus off for Thanksgiving and now it is time to adapt to the winter season? These Asian inspired meatballs are super easy and work with any pre-made meatballs.

asian meatballs_590_390

Ingredients:

12 turkey meatballs (3 meatballs per person)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp honey

Directions:

Defrost meatballs (or make your own!)
Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and honey over medium-low heat.
Stir well, then add meatballs.
Cook for about 10 minutes then turn to low so it can thicken.

asian meatballs_590_390
Serve over rice and top with some green onions.  They have a nice sweet/salty flavor. The brown sugar and honey help thicken it up and poof! You’re done and clean up is pretty minimal.

Crockpot Sesame Chicken

My crock-pot really doesn’t get as much action as I’d like. I really want it to get out more.

Most slowcooker meals need to cook 4-6 hours. There’s an occasional 8 hours but when I’m gone about 11 hours it just seems like if it has to “keep warm” so long after the cook time that it won’t be that great. I decided to do something with chicken on a Sunday since I’d be able to cook it just the required 4 or 5 hours. I’d be home for the wonderful smells in those hours too!
crock_chick_plate_590_390
It wasn’t fantastic. I guess you can judge this one on your own. Mr. J wasn’t crazy about it, but he’s just really crazy about sesame chicken at his hometown restaurant and it couldn’t compete with that. This is a good one to switch things up if you’re eating the same things over and over again.
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Slowcooker Sesame Chicken

(adapted from Keeping Up With the Joneses)

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts
1 bag of baby carrots
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup honey
2 tbs garlic, minced
2 tbs ginger, minced
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sesame oil (optional)
4 tbs cornstarch (with 3 tsp water)
2 tbs sesame seeds

Directions:

Cut chicken into cube chunks and add to the slow cooker with carrots.
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Mix chicken broth, honey, garlic, giner, soy sauce, sesame oil and add to the slow cooker.
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Cook on high for 4-5 hours.
Remove chicken and keep warm while mixing the rest of the sauce in the slow cooker itself or in a pot on the stove.
Mix the cornstarch and water and whisk into the sauce.
Let it cook on medium high for about 5 minutes as it thickens.
Serve it all together and top with sesame seeds.
crock_chick_serving_590_390

We had this over rice (his = white, hers = brown). I liked that it had some different flavors than we’d had recently, but it really couldn’t beat the deep fried version of Mr. J’s favorite Chinese restaurant.

The leftovers were pretty good the next day for lunch too! I just felt like it didn’t add anything for this to cook that long. I think I could have pretty easily made the same thing, if not better, by adapting the recipe and cooking it to serve, rather than in the crock-pot.