Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Another hot day in Yucatan and time for a cold dinner of salads. Previously I shared 10 Minute Canned Salmon Salad (May 31,2020) and also Chilled Asparagus Salad (last week). Here I am adding an easy Vietnamese Noodle Salad with garnishes of jicama, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and black olives. The “noodles” are actually rice vermicelli which is readily available in most grocery stores where pasta or Asian foods are displayed. It made a great looking salad bowl! (I took this photo before I added the tomatoes) LOL.

The “salads” can easily be made ahead and assembled as shown when lunch or dinner calls.

Vietnamese Noodle Salad

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces thin Asian vermicelli noodles
  • 2 carrots shredded
  • 2 cucumbers seeded and shredded
  • 4 green onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts OPTIONAL
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro OPTIONAL
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic pressed or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Lime

1. Soften the vermicelli noodles in a large bowl by covering with boiling water and soaking for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Rinse under cold water, drain, and add to a large bowl. Add the shredded carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts and chopped cilantro to the noodles.

2. In a glass jar fitted with a lid or a bowl, mix together the fish sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic and crushed red pepper. Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the noodles and toss to coat. Add more dressing if desired. Sprinkle with more cilantro and green onion and a squeeze of lime if desired. Salad can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, however if making ahead, add the cilantro just before serving.

Zoodle Pad Thai

After spiralizing my zucchini, I was ready to prepare the sauce and ready my garnishes. It is a fairly simple cooking process, for which I use my trusty wok. Use less zucchini for two people,but otherwise follow the instructions. A spoonful of real peanut butter isn’t a bad option to the sauce? I am addicted…

Zoodle Pad Thai

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchinis (about 10-ounces each), made into zoodles with spiralizer ( I used one larger one for two people)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 green onions, sliced in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Sauce

  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce

Garnish

  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Bean sprouts
  • Peanuts
  • Lime wedge

Instructions

For the sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside until needed.

Heat a wok, or large skillet (preferably with high sides) over medium-heat. Add the oil and garlic, and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add the 2 eggs to the pan and lightly scramble for about 30-40 seconds. Add half of the green onions, and peanuts to the skillet, toss for about 30 seconds.

Add the zoodles and the set aside sauce to the skillet. Use tongs to gently toss the zoodles into the sauce to evenly coat all of the zoodles.

Garnish with the remaining uncooked green onions, peanuts, bean sprouts, cilantro and a lime wedge.

Hot and Sour Soup

Recently bought 2 fresh leeks for potato and leek soup, but had too many leftover from the recipe. They were just sitting in the fridge ready to use up. Coincidentally, I had leftover cooked pork loin. “Alexa, what can I do with leeks and pork?” NOT REALLY…you know by now I am a big fan of Pinterest in these situations. She/he never fails me. This recipe looks long, but only because of the seasonings. It called for sweet corn (unusual for hot and sour soup); I substituted a small can of corn, but I would omit next time…As you can see in the photo, I omitted the Ramen noodles to cut carbs.

P.S. If you have never used fresh leeks they MUST be sliced down the middle first and thoroughly washed as they contain sand or dirt from where they were grown.

Hot and Sour Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 leek roughly sliced (after thorough washing)
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (OPTIONAL)
  • 2 mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cups chicken Stock
  • 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg grated
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped pork loin cooked
  • 2.65 ounces Ramen noodles (OPTIONAL)*
  •  Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro garnish

1. Heat up a shallow pan, add the oil.

2. Throw in the sliced leeks and fry soft for 2 minutes.

3. Add the sweet corn and mushroom. Stir and mix well.

4. Pour in the broth mixed with water.

5. Season with nutmeg, black pepper, chili flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar. Add in the chopped cooked pork loin.

6. Mix the whole content well and let it cook covered until the sweet corn is getting soft. This might take 10 minutes.

7. At the end add the noodles and cook those soft for another 5 minutes uncovered.*

8. Remove from heat and pour in the lime juice. Mix the soup well and serve hot.

Quick and Easy Mexican Red Pozole

In January 2017, I posted a similar recipe for this popular Mexican dish made with hominy – essentially a specially dried corn. While we thoroughly enjoyed that recipe, I did find it time consuming. If you are fortunate to have a grocery store which carries Mexican products you can find this on the shelves in a can, as I was fortunate to locate.

La Costena Pozole Rojo

Sometimes one just wants to put a hot meal on the table with a minimum of preparation! Since we had a Costco leftover rotisserie chicken available, this was quick! Shred the chicken. Heat the pozole in a large saucepan over medium heat with the chicken added in.

While it is heating, slice up an avocado, set out some sour cream, slice two or three radishes, chop up a bit of cilantro, some shreds of cabbage if you have some?

When the pozole is thoroughly heated, pour into large soup bowls and garnish with the sour cream, radishes, cilantro and avocado. You can add a few tortilla strips if you have them for some added crunch.

Quick and Easy Mexican Red Pozole

Ingredients

  • 1 large can La Costena pozole rojo
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken or pork or turkey
  • 2 or three radishes sliced
  • Cilantro chopped
  • Sour cream
  • 1 avocado diced
  • Tortilla strips
  • Shredded cabbage (optional)

Egg Roll in a Bowl #2

Second version of this recipe… we both liked the finer chopped vegetables.

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Egg Roll in a Bowl

  • 1-pound ground pork or chicken
  • 4 green onions whites/greens separated
  • 2 teaspoons ginger grated
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-pound coleslaw mix (Mrt. Lucky Broccoli, Cauliflower and Carrot )
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil or to taste
  • cilantro & sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Brown pork in a pan until no pink remains. Drain fat
  2. Add the whites of the green onions, ginger, garlic, and coleslaw mix.
  3. Cook until slaw is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil and stir until coated.
  4. Garnish with cilantro, greens of green onions, and sesame seeds and serve.

Optional additions:

  • Chopped mushrooms, water chestnuts or other vegetables
  • Sriracha or hot sauce to taste

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Cauliflower Jalapeno Mac n Cheese

Who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, whether it be Canada’s KD (Kraft Dinner) or any number of restaurant style macaroni and cheese dishes? One of our fav restaurants in Merida, Yucatan – Merci, does a wonderful macaroni and cheese with jumbo shrimp! What’s not to love about that? Of course, when you do KETO, you avoid pasta, But, since we are now only KC (Keto conscious) we have a little leeway. Don’t tell your family it is KETO. They do not need to know. This is undoubtedly a new fav recipe, with a touch of jalapeno (optional).

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KETO Cauliflower Jalapeno Mac n Cheese with Bacon

Ingredients (Vegans, omit bacon)

  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into small bites
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese I use a cheddar blend
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 strips of uncured bacon cooked and crumbled (bacon grease reserved)*
  • 3 teaspoons bacon grease melted
  • 2 jalapeño peppers minced (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the cauliflower florets to a microwave safe bowl with a plate (or paper plate) on top Microwave for 7-8 minutes or until slightly tender (or your desired texture). You can steam it instead, if you don’t have or want to use a microwave, but I wouldn’t boil it, it might be too watery.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, heat a saucepan over medium. Add in the butter and bacon grease, then sauté the jalapeño peppers until tender, should take just about 2-3 minutes. Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted. Add the remaining ingredients and still until well combined and all the cheese has melted.
  3. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of hot water if needed, to reach your desired consistency.
  4. Once the cauliflower is cooked through, you don’t need to drain it or pat it dry. The small amount of moisture will be perfect with this sauce, which as I mentioned, is on the thicker side. Pour cauliflower in the skillet and mix well to coat each piece, then serve.
  5. Optional: Garnish with fresh cilantro and/or crumbled bacon.
  6. Store leftovers in the fridge for a few days. It reheats beautifully in the microwave or stovetop.

Notes

The amount of jalapeño pepper that you use is entirely up to you, and will depend personal preference. I would recommend using 2 jalapeño peppers for a mild to medium level of heat and flavor. If you’re like me and love a spicy kick and a stronger jalapeño flavor, you’ll want to use a bit more.

 

Cucumber and Mango Salad

Our Canadian friends who are “snowbirds” recently had us over for lunch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. She served a wonderful cucumber and mango salad, not unlike this recipe. She and her husband love to experiment in the kitchen with whatever ingredients they have on hand. The cucumber and mango salad was wonderful!! We ate it all and this sent me looking through Pinterest for a similar recipe. Hope you will be able to give this one a try…

Cucumber Mango Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 English cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)
  • 2 mangos peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c. diced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/16 tsp. red pepper (more if you like it spicier)
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 c. fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Toss together the cucumber, mango, red onion, and garlic in a medium sized bowl,
  2. In a separate small bowl or jar whisk together the lime juice, honey, cumin, red pepper, coriander, and black pepper. Pour over the cucumber-mango mixture and stir gently.
  3. Fold in the chopped cilantro.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later

Shrimp Stuffed Avocados

This used to be one of our favorite salads at a local restaurant. This recipe beats theirs! Yeah, there are two halves there!

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Shrimp stuffed avocado                        Author: Layla Pujol

Yield: 8-10 stuffed avocado halves

Ingredients

  • 4-5 firm ripe avocados
  • 1 lb medium sized cooked shrimp (OR 2 cans of tiny Shrimp uncut)
  • ½ medium red onion, diced finely
  • 2 radishes, diced finely
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 2 celery stalks, diced finely
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • 5 tbs. mayonnaise
  • Lime juice from 1 lime
  • Salt/pepper to taste (I like cracked peppercorns)
  • Cilantro chopped for garnish

Instructions

  1. Chop the cooked shrimp in half, if desired keep a few whole to garnish OR use whole if small)
  2. Combine diced onions, radishes, bell pepper, celery, eggs, shrimp, ½ of the lime juice and aioli or mayonnaise in a bowl, mix well. Can be kept refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. Taste and salt/pepper if necessary.
  4. Cut avocados in half, remove seed and peel carefully.
  5. Drizzle remaining lime juice over avocados, this help keep them from darkening too quickly.
  6. Use a spoon to stuff avocados with shrimp salad filling.
  7. Add any garnishes and serve immediately.

 

Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa

The salmon recipe was awesome, but I really did not enjoy the salsa. I will search out a different low carb one asap. Try it! You might like it…LOL. I have shown it here with the cauliflower rice. The salmon is buried underneath the salsa…sorry.

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Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Ingredients
2 lbs. salmon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ancho chili powder (used regular)
1 tsp black pepper

Avocado salsa ingredients:
1 avocado, chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
Juice from 2 limes
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
dash of salt

Instructions
1. In a small mixing bowl combine salt, cumin, paprika, onion powder, ancho chili powder and black pepper.
2. Rub the salmon fillets with the olive oil and rub with the spice mix.
3. Grill the salmon on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes or until desired doneness.
4. Mix the avocado, red onion, chopped cilantro, salt and juice from the limes in a small mixing bowl. Top the salmon with the avocado salsa.
Recipe by The Recipe Critic at https://therecipecritic.com/2014/07/grilled-salmon-avocado-salsa/

Chicken Tortilla Soup

What to do when you buy a Costco or grocery store rotisserie chicken and have leftovers? SOUP.

DSC_0003-2  This will easily feed 4 to 6 people as a main course. The ingredients list seems long, but it can be simplified by making the changes noted in red.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Rotisserie chicken (half chicken is enough)
  • 1 15-ounce can Black beans (drained)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Celery stalks
  • 3 tbsp Cilantro, fresh
  • 2 cups Corn, frozen (1 small can or corn or more)
  • 3 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Lime, wedges
  • 1 cups Peas, frozen (1 small can of peas)
  • 1 Poblano peppers (Optional)
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Reserved red onion
  • 28-ounce can Tomatoes
  • 4 cups Chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Taco seasoning (see elsewhere o the blog for homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Crispy tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and minced

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and sauté until the vegetables start to become tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the Poblano peppers and cook until the vegetables are very tender, 6 to 7 minutes more. Add the jalapeño and garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Season the vegetables with the taco seasoning, then stir in the tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until a good flavor develops, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the chicken, black beans, corn and peas. Return the soup to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla strips and just maybe, a touch of sour cream.