Friday, June 27, 2014

Create a Stir-fry - Thai Pasta Salad

Last night was one of those nights where I knew I had PLENTY of food in my fridge and pantry, but no idea what to make for dinner. 

Nights like this can be especially tough, "what to make... what to make... "  The Creates curriculum at Food $ense was created exactly for this situation. 

Here is how I started, I just opened up my fridge and started taking stuff out.  I had two cooked chicken breasts, I had a little bit each of snap peas and some celery. I had a red pepper and some cilantro.  Looks like I had protein and veggie covered - now for a grain. In my pantry, I had a small box of whole wheat pasta. I hadn't gotten around to using it yet because it was only a small box and not enough to feed the whole family. I decided to use it. 

Now what to make with this strange assortment of ingredients. Lots of time when you think cilantro and peppers you think Mexican food, I know I do, but I was wanting something a little bit different, so I did some research and found this recipe for Thai Pasta Salad - Perfect!!

I had to alter the recipe quite a bit, but that is what Creates is about! I have good fresh ingredients and I have a plan. I can make this dinner just fine! 

2 cups broccoli, cut into mini florets ( I didn't have broccoli, so I used snap peas and some celery. I think the peas turned out even better than the broccoli would have)
1 cup sweet peppers, diced
1 cup onions, diced
1/2 – 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
4-6 oz whole wheat spaghetti

To make the dressing…
2 tbsp olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp hot chili sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta according to package instructions. During the last minute, add in the broccoli.

In the meantime, you can cook the vegetables and prepare the dressing.

Heat olive oil in small non-stick skillet, sauté onions until slightly soften. Add in garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant. add in sweet peppers and cook until slightly softened.

Remove from heat, add in remaining ingredients to finish making the sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the pasta and broccoli is ready, add them to the skillet and stir well. Stir in cilantro leaves.

Served at room temperature or chilled.

Remember that when you are doing a Stir-fry or Skillet dinner to add the things that need the longest to cook to the pan first - like raw meat or onions. Then add the vegetables that take the longest to become tender next and the vegetables that you want to stray crispy at the very end.  That way you won't end up with crunchy raw celery and soft mushy peppers. 

Be sure to add lots of fresh cilantro at the end. I felt that the cilantro made the whole dish come together and the fresh flavor of it is amazing. Happy Eating!