Take-Out Fake-Out Shrimp and Broccoli

So sorry for the static on the blog for the past week. Things have been kind of crazy around here. I’ll get into more details in coming blog posts, but for now I just want to get right back to the FOOD!

This Shrimp and Broccoli is a great take-out fake-out. It comes together quickly and taste delicious. I do want to note that the evening I photographed this meal I completely spaced and forgot to add the onions. We still gobbled up dinner, but I think I prefer it with the onions. Obviously if you don’t like onions you can leave them out and the meal will still work. Also, you can adjust the heat to suit your tastes. If you like things extra spicy you can add extra chili-garlic sauce or red pepper flakes. If you don’t like spicy things you can cut it way back!

One last thing before I get to the recipe! The craziness in my own home was put in perspective after this weeks tragedies in Oklahoma. My heart goes out to the many families affected by the terrible storms, including the family of one of my good blogging friends, Kelsey. She wrote an incredibly touching post yesterday and has pledged her blogging profits from the month to the Salvation Army for their disaster relief efforts. Every visit to her site helps! Please stop by her blog and send her some love! You can also visit the Salvation Army site directly or text STORM to 80888 to make your donation

Here are some other delicious Asian-inspired flavors!

Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Asian Meatballs
Beef with Eggplant
Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork
Asian Style Braised Short Ribs

Spicy, Sticky, Sweet, Asian Meatballs

The first time I made these I just sort of threw them together, I didn’t take great notes and I didn’t get a picture. Of course Jesse loved them (and so did I) and said they had to go on the blog, so I had to do my best to recreate them. The second time they turned out even better than the first and we’ve since had them twice in a month. That’s a sure sign of winner in our house.

I wanted to call these “Hot, sticky, sweet” Asian meatballs. You know, after the song. But Jesse thought it sounded better with all S’s, so Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Asian Meatballs they are. Either way, it’s the best way to describe these. The chili garlic sauce gives the sauce a nice heat, which is also carried through in the meatballs. But the spicy flavor is balanced out with the sweet, sticky sauce and pop of fresh ginger.

In non-food related news, I’m headed to Boston tomorrow! What’s in Boston? The Irish Dancing World Championships, that’s what! I get to see my dance family that I’ve missed so much AND I get to watch my cousin dance in her first solo worlds competition. I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Here are some other cool Meatball recipes, all made with ground turkey instead of beef!

Greek Turkey Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce
Southwest Turkey Meatballs

Honey Sesame Chicken

I am surrounded by delicious, authentic Chinese food and I have lots of local favorites. There is a cabbage dish at a local restaurant that I could literally eat every single day for the rest of my life. I’ve also come to appreciate and love a level of spicy unlike anything I’ve ever had in the US (seriously, not the kind of spicy that makes you sweat, the kind that literally makes your mouth go numb). And there is a green bean dish that I order at every single restaurant that has it. But sometimes….

Well… sometimes I crave American Chinese food. That’s right. I live in China and I crave Chinese food – from America. Food that is sticky and sweet and salty (kind of like the Jack Daniels Glaze). Sad, I know.

I was having one of those cravings a few weeks ago, so I went on the hunt for a recipe. I came across this Honey Sesame Chicken and I knew it would be a winner. This chicken had all of the flavors I was looking for. The recipe originally called for using a crockpot – but I don’t have one here in China, so I just used my dutch oven and cooked it in the oven. It was still very easy and mostly hands off! I’ll include both methods so you can choose!



Spicy Cold Noodles

Last summer when I was just visiting China and no idea I would ever actually live here, I took pictures and made notes of my favorite foods. Some dishes I just had to learn how to make on my own. That’s exactly how I felt about this noodle dish. It’s like a Chinese pasta salad. Cold, refreshing, and spicy all at the same time. It is easily one of my favorite dishes here and Jesse can’t get enough of it either.

Lucky for me I have some pretty great local Chinese friends. Almost exactly a year ago I posted about our friend Mandy teaching us to make dumplings, now she has taught me how to make these cold noodles. My 24×24 party was the first time I made them on my own.  I  have to admit, I was a little nervous making it on my own for a group of Chinese food experts, but this dish was the hit of the party and disappeared in the blink of an eye.

Spicy Cold Noodles 

~12 oz Chinese Noodles*
2 tbsp canola oil
1/3 cup cucumbers, cut into thin matchsticks
1/4 cup green onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, very finely diced
2 Tbsp very finely chopped peanuts
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup dark rice vinegar (white rice vinegar also works)
2-3 tsp chili oil **
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp white sugar

*Noodles can be found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store, may also be labeled Rice Noodles. Thin, spaghetti like, noodles are best, but thicker noodles, like in the photo, also work. My noodles came in a roll and I used 1/2 of the roll, which I guess to be about 12 oz.
**If you can find Lao Gan Ma brand in the Asian aisle or at an Asian grocery store, use that! Or look for a chili oil that has chilies in the oil. 

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally*.  While the noodles are cooking, prepare a cold water bath. When the noodles are cooked to al dente, drain and immediately place in the cold water bath. Let sit for 2 minutes then drain again and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon of oil to prevent from sticking. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and peanuts and cook for just 30 seconds to 1 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant (you’re not trying to cook the garlic, you’re just trying to take a little of the edge off). Immediately remove from heat and add, along with the cucumber and green onion, to the noodles. Set aside.

In a small liquid measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, and sugar. If you like a lot of spice, add more chili sauce or a pinch of dry red pepper flakes. Pour over the noodles and toss to combine and evenly coat noodles. Can be served immediately or chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes.

 *These noodles cook much faster than Italian style noodles. Keep an eye on them so they don’t turn to mush!

As taught to me by my friend, Mandy