Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Panera’s Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Chicken - Copy Cat Recipe

I really like Panera mainly because fresh bread is amazing, but their paninis and soups are pretty great as well. They recently came out with these broth bowls, and let me tell you I am in love with them. I knew immediately I had to recreate something similar at home.

You guys, it was the best idea that I ever had.

These broth bowls are AMAZING!!

I have made the same basic thing about 10 or 15 times in the last couple weeks (ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but still I made them a lot).

Also can we just take another minute to talk about the marinade on this chicken? I know I recently wrote a whole post about its wonder, but I just feel like it needs to be said again. It’s amazing!
Ok back to broth bowls here.

I really think there is nothing better for winter than a nice steamy bowl of soup, and I like that this recipe includes so many vegetables. It is hearty filling, and healthy. What more could you ask for?
The recipe looks way more complicated than it is, so don’t let it scare you. Looking at the ingredient list on Panera’s site had my head spinning so I did “dumb” it down a bit to make it way easier and more accessible for the home cook.

I would love it if you guys could try this recipe and let me know how you think it compares to the original. Please, please, please. It would mean the world to me!

Panera’s Soba Noodle Broth Bowl with Chicken- Copy Cat Recipe (Serves 4)
2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp sesame oil
½ a small yellow onion
½ cup sliced mushrooms (shitake, or cremini work nicely)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp sriracha plus more to taste
1 medium carrot, peeled and julienned
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
½ cup yellow miso
16 oz soba noodles
¼ cup red cabbage, sliced thin
½ cup Napa cabbage, chopped
1 cup loosely packed fresh baby spinach
½ tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a sealable container combine the chicken and marinade and toss to coat. Set aside to marinade for about 30 minutes (or overnight). Place the chicken on a preheated grill or sauté pan and cook, basting with leftover marinade for 8-10 minutes a side. When cooked through the chicken will be firm, opaque and when poked with a fork the juices will run clear. Remove from heat and set aside before cutting. Meanwhile heat oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and mushrooms, until they have begun to brown and caramelize, about 6 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar and sriracha until well combined. Add the carrots and cook for another minute before stirring in the broth, water and miso. Cook gently stirring until the miso has fully dissolved. Add in the cabbage and soba noodles and cook until the noodles are just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach and ladle into individual bowls. Slice the chicken and place on top garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro to serve.

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Reduce the Temptation of Take Out

Eating out, picking up take out or having pizza delivered is incredibly convenient and accessible, but it cost money, and can hurt your waistline. I’ve mentioned this a bunch, but Chuck and I are trying to save money right now so we are doing our best to avoid spending extra money on food. The obvious way to do this is to cook at home. I’ve already talked about how I meal plan to help save money, but I’m human and a meal plan doesn’t ensure I won’t want that super greasy takeout pizza on Friday after a long work week. Here is what I’m doing to avoid the pesky temptation troll.
  1. Try to come up with recipes similar to my favorite takeout food. Some great examples are 15 Minute Lo Mein, Wonton Soup, Homemade Pizza, Linguine with Clam Sauce, and One Pan Chicken Broccoli Alfredo.
  2. Keep a list of easy and quickrecipes on hand with all the ingredients. 15 and 20 minute meals are totally more appealing than a 40 minute, multi-dish recipe (hello clean up after?).
  3. Meal plan. I already discussed this above, see here for more info.
  4. Keep ready prepared meals accessible. Precooked chicken breasts, frozen homemade soups, ravioli, frozen meatballs, frozen taco meat and other things that I can prepare in 10 minutes or less is ideal.
  5. Use the crockpot. If I start the crock pot before work I pretty much then have to eat whatever it is when I get home or it goes to waste. Also coming home to a wonderful smelling house does wonders to change your cravings. Check out my list of 100 Slow Cooker Recipesfor Winter.
  6. Keep salad stuff in the house. Those frozen chicken breasts heat up in the microwave and go great on a big salad. The same goes for taco meat (or beans), leftover roast veggies, leftover steak, and a ton of other stuff. Also it doesn’t last long so if I know its going to go bad soon then I am more likely to eat it instead of ordering out.
  7. Set a dining out budget for the month. Once you hit that limit don’t go out until the beginning of the next month.
  8. If it's the social aspects that you are missing try hosting a potluck, or inviting friends over instead of going out.
Do you have anything that you do to help curb the take out monster? I'll take all the tips I can get!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Recipe Redo: Risotto Style Pasta

This is a recipe redo; because the original recipe I posted way back when I first started this blog never had any pictures. This recipe so deserves pictures. Also I realize that it is Friday and I am posting a recipe that is not a cocktail. You will forgive me I hope. This recipe has been on my mind and it’s my blog. So there!

Ok now that that is out of the way let’s just get back on track here and talk about the recipe.
It’s a pretty simple recipe that I saw Rachel Ray make circa 2009 (Sorry I cannot find the recipe now). I adapted my own version of it and it became a signature for me. It in fact is the main reason this blog started, since it was this recipe that my college roommates most often texted me for.

Now you may be asking why this is such an amazing recipe since it has such simple ingredients. Well let me tell you that the final flavor is anything but simple. I have always been a fan of light and complex flavors, and this dish is the perfect culmination of that.

Good wine, and fresh ingredients make all of the difference. Please for the love of everything use good wine. It should be wine you would drink yourself, wine you love to drink, that is full of body and flavor; otherwise the entire thing will be a waste. The same thing goes for the cheese. Good strong Parmesan will take this dish to another world, so don’t skimp on that either. The never-spoil stuff from the pasta isle is not where you want to be, the cheese isle man with all the fancy stuff that’s where the Parmesan for this recipe should come from.

Ok I’ll stop lecturing now and get on with the recipe. Follow my advice when you make this and I promise it will become a favorite in your home too.

Risotto Style Pasta (Serves 4)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½  a yellow onion, peeled & chopped small
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 (16 oz) box uncooked rotini, or gameli pasta
3 cups Chicken or Vegetable broth
1 cup peas (Frozen or fresh)
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup milk
salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté onion for one minute or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the wine and allow reducing to half, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add ½ cup of broth and mix well. Add pasta and toss to coat, add another cup of broth and cover. (You want to keep a thin liquid barrier between the pasta and the bottom of the pan, to allow for steaming, but keep it from sticking to the bottom). Continuously add broth and toss pasta, while still slightly hard (not quite aldante) add frozen peas. Cover and continue to cook.  When al dente, and peas are soft turn off heat. Add milk sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and toss again, until well coated. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

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