Creamy Lentil Bolognese Pasta Shells

The snow here sure is making a big appearance just when I thought it stopped another solid foot of that fluffy stuff came floating down. It looks beautiful from afar but talk of a polar vortex and frigid ice storms due this week is enough to make me shudder. So, it is only fitting that I have turned to pasta my trusted comfort food in this freezing weather. To balance it out I will add Lacinato kale, or also know as Dino kale. What a cute name!This dark leafy green has a reputation for being one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Its nutritional profile provides you with an excellent source of vitamin A, C and K. For some protein I will use some brown lentils which hold their shape well.

Ingredients:

Serves 2-3

  • 2 cups of pasta
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 2 small carrots (shredded)
  • Almond & Cashew milk (milk of choice)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • Kale (chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Swiss Cheese (or parmesan)
  • 1 cup Vegetable stock

Directions:

  1. Soak and rinse the lentils.
  2. Boil the lentils in water ( 20-30 minutes until tender).
  3. Drain lentils and set aside.
  4. Boil pasta until al dente and set aside.
  5. In a large pot saute the garlic, onion, shredded carrots and tomatoes.
  6. Add the cooked lentils back in the pot.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste, nut milk and vegetable stock.
  8. Add the pasta to the sauce and crumble the cheese throughout. Once all the pasta is coated with sauce and the cheese begins to melt it is ready to serve.
  9. In a separate pot saute the kale until it begins to wilt.

Simmered Miso Mackerel

The cost of my weekly grocery bill seems to be increasing lately and in efforts to be economical while still eating well. I got some frozen Pacific mackerel by Orizon Foods, a 1lb bag cost $3.99. Mackerel can be often overlooked but this oily fish, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and is low in mercury. Enjoy this healthy fish dish with some fluffy rice.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 4-5 mackerel fillets
  • 2 tbsp dashi miso paste
  • 1 tbsp mirin sweet cooking seasoning
  • ½ cup water

Optional:

  • Green onion
  • Furikake seasoning

Directions:

  1. Defrost mackerel the night before in the refrigerator.
  2. In small bowl mix the miso paste, mirin seasoning and water together.
  3. Simmer the mackerel in the sauce mixture for about 10- 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the fish and drizzle the remaining liquid on top.
  5. Garnish with green onion and furikake for extra bite. Serve with rice.

Dan Dan Noodles

A few years ago, Lao Gan Ma spicy chili crisp came into my life and it has been a dream addition my condiment collection ever since. It elevates any dish and a little goes a long way. My favorite is dipping dumplings into it. This divine umami laden sauce is the perfect concoction of Sichuan chili pepper, crispy caramelized onion, garlic, soybeans and spices. There are a number of variations in the Lao Gan Ma range, but this one is by far the best in my opinion. There are some fresh ramen noodles that needed to be used before the sell by date in my refrigerator. So today I decided to do my take on Dan Dan Noodles with ramen noodles and turkey mince.

Historically the dish was borne from humble beginnings. The name refers to a type of carrying pole (dan dan or tan tan) that was used by walking street vendors who sold the dish. The pole was balanced on the street vendors shoulders, with two baskets on each side. One with the noodles and the other with the sauce. This was a more efficient way to sell the noodles compared to the heavier noodle soup variety.

Ingredients:

Serves – 2

  • 2 portions ramen noodles (or noodle of choice)
  • ½ Lb Turkey mince
  • 2 minced garlic
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine
  • 1/2 tsp Five Spice
  • 2 tbsp La Gao Ma chilli crisp (or to taste)
  • Sesame oil to drizzle
  • Sesame seeds to garnish
  • Green Onion

Directions

  1. Heat some oil in a large pan. Then add in garlic and onion cook halfway translucent.
  2. Mix in the Turkey mince.
  3. Add hoisin sauce, Shaoxing wine, 5 spice and La Ga Ma chili crisp (15 mins or until fully cooked through).
  4. While you are waiting cook and drain your noodles.
  5. Put noodles in a large bowl and add cooked turkey on top.
  6. Garnish with green onions, sprinkle some sesame seeds on top and a small drizzle of sesame oil (optional) 

Seafood Kimchi Fried Rice

A quick rice dish that can be rustled up using any combination of protein and vegetables that you have at hand. After binge watching two entire seasons of Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast on Netflix I really admired their simple living philosophy, meaningful and fun lifestyle. I was feeling inspired to recreate a take on the kimchi fried rice the hosts served to their guests.

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 2 cups of rice Jasmine or Calrose (Day old rice is best or same day rice cooled down and refrigerated a few hours before )
  • 1 cup diced kimchi
  • 2 tbsp kimchi juice
  • 1 tbsp Gochujang ( red pepper paste)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Half Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Mussels and Shrimp
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil

Optional (for garnish):

  • Green Onion
  • Roasted seaweed

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the gochujang, kimchi juice, soy sauce.
  2. Next, heat cooking oil on a medium heat. Then add the onion and garlic stirring until translucent. Add the seafood.
  3. Add cooked rice and stir in the chopped kimchi.
  4. Combine the gochujang sauce mixture. Cook until sauce coats the rice and the rice is fully reheated. Turn off heat and stir in sesame oil.
  5. In a separate pan fry a couple of eggs.
  6. Serve with with green onion and sesame seeds on top.