Category Archives: “Fake-Out”: Take Out Remakes

Raw Pad Thai-Style Salad

On Monday before spin class (which was much later in the evening – 7:15) I decided to try out a recipe for a Raw Pad Thai salad that I saw on the blog Oh She Glows. The salad is a mix of carrots, lettuce, zucchini, edamame, and red bell pepper with a peanut garlic sauce. Delicious! If you don’t read her blog, check it out as she makes some gorgeous (vegan) food and takes incredible photos! Her photos of this particular salad are much better than mine so definitely check them out! 🙂

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I followed the recipe almost exactly, although I substituted some iceberg for the red cabbage because my grocery store mysteriously didn’t have any cabbage. Oh well. I also substituted soy sauce in for the tamari in the sauce recipe. And let me tell you, the sauce for this salad is delicious! It may be the perfect peanut garlic sauce (although as usual I think it could use more garlic! :-)) that I’ve been looking for.

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For the salad itself, I ended up using a peeler to make zucchini and carrot “noodles” instead of julienning them mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to get the julienne blade on my mandolin and I gave up in frustration. Oh well, next time! 🙂 This salad is delicious, crisp, and has just enough of that “Pad Thai” flavor to satisfy a craving – although it can’t replace true Pad Thai from my favorite take out place!

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Since I followed her recipe exactly, head over to Oh She Glows for her Rad Rainbow Raw Pad Thai Salad recipe. I enjoyed it! 🙂

Questions of the Day
What are some of your favorite recipe blogs?
Do you get most of your recipes online (from blogs or other sources) or from cookbooks and magazines?

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Homemade BBQ Sauce & BBQ Chicken Recipes

After the 5k on Saturday morning, the day turned into the rainy, grey day that it was supposed to be all along. I’m very thankful that we had that brief window of perfect weather to run the race in the morning! 🙂

Saturday night was definitely a “staying in” kind of evening so I planned a dinner and a movie date with two girlfriends at my place. No matter how often we try to get together for a girls’ night – we always end up saying “it feels like it’s been too long!” Does that happen to everyone else, too? 🙂

I’ve been dying to try making my own BBQ sauce, but I don’t eat BBQ very often so it has sort of been on the back burner. But, I thought some BBQ chicken would be the perfect low-key dinner for our girls’ night! And after tasting this sauce, I may be eating BBQ more often. It’s super quick and easy to throw together, and made from ingredients you probably already have in your house.

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Homemade BBQ Sauce
Makes approximately 1 ½ cups sauce

    – 6 ounces tomato paste
    – ¾ cup ketchup
    – ½ cup chicken (or veggie) stock
    – 3 garlic cloves, minced or pasted
    – 2 tbsp brown sugar
    – 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
    – 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    – 1 ½ tbsp cider vinegar
    – 1 tsp smoked paprika (regular paprika will work)
    – 2 tsp cracked black pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium sauce pot and cook over medium-low heat until mixture thickens to desired consistency. I cooked mine for about 10-15 minutes. If the mixture appears too thick, you can thin it out with another splash of stock.

I used the sauce to make some BBQ chicken in my cast iron skillet.

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BBQ Baked Chicken
Serves 4-6.

    – 4 chicken breasts (or thighs, or other meat – it’s up to you!)
    – Homemade BBQ Sauce (recipe above)
    – Coconut oil, olive oil, or other cooking oil
    – Salt and pepper

This is a quick and easy recipe to throw together! 🙂 Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, I cut my chicken breasts in half because they were absolutely huge. Next, put a few tablespoons of your cooking oil into your cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet) and allow it to heat up. I used coconut oil because it has a higher smoke point then olive oil, and I have a particularly sensitive fire alarm. And my cats hate the fire alarm. It makes them make faces like this.

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Salt and pepper the chicken and add to the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You’re just looking to sear the chicken, don’t worry about cooking it all the way through. Once both sides of the chicken are golden brown, coat the chicken in BBQ sauce and transfer to the oven. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through.

Serve with your favorite BBQ sides, and additional sauce on the side for dipping!

“Fake-Out” Taco Bell Quesadilla

I haven’t eaten fast food in quite a while. About 7 months ago I gave into temptation after a late night at work and an even earlier morning back at work and picked up a breakfast sandwich from McDonalds on my way in. Boy did I regret it. That greasy (albeit tasty) breakfast bomb hit me about 30 minutes later and I felt terrible the rest of the day. So while I officially gave up fast food almost a year and a half ago, I definitely gave it up 7 months ago.

In the interest of fairness I have to admit that I was once the queen of greasy fast food. Especially cheeseburgers. My dad likes to remind me when I start on one of my health-rants that once upon a time I had an eating contest with two high school guy friends of mine – where we all sat down to see who could eat the most Monster Thick Burgers at Hardees. And I held my own. And loved it.

But after my transition to a processed-food free diet (which is a continuous work in progress!) I just can’t eat like that anymore. And I think that’s a good thing. I’ve never felt more healthy and energetic than I do now – without the weight of a dozen greasy burgers a month weighing me down. [Sadly, that’s not an exaggeration. It may be understating it] However, from time to time, I still fight fast food temptation. After all, it’s their job to make fast food convenient and look delicious so that they can make money. Most of the time I can stave off temptation by planning ahead, and by remembering how terrible I’ll feel afterwards if I give in, but this doesn’t work in all cases. I am helpless when it comes to the Taco Bell quesadilla.

Damn that quesadilla. It haunts my dreams. I try to tell myself how disgusting the ingredient list is (probably littered with GMOs and trans fats) but my taste buds defiantly yell ‘damn the trans fats!’ and try to prove that, small though they are, they are the ones really in control of my decisions. Fortunately I’ve been able to hold off the little devils in recent months, but this past Sunday on a long, traffic-filled, exhausted road trip home I almost gave in.

When I finally got home Sunday night, I decided something had to be done about this quesadilla’s hold on me. Dissecting the food in my head, I realized that if I could just re-create the creamy, spicy, sauce on the quesadilla – the rest should be easy. A quick Google and Pinterest search later, I had a plan. May I present to you, my “fake-out” Taco Bell quesadilla!

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Get it? “Fake-out” instead of “take-out”? I am too easily amused…

”Fake-Out” Taco Bell Quesadilla
Makes 2-3 quesadillas

    For the sauce:
    – ¼ cup mayonnaise (I used an organic, olive-oil based mayo)
    – 2 teaspoons minced jalapeno slices (pickled, in a jar)
    – 2 teaspoons of the pickled jalapeno juice from the jar
    – ½ teaspoon cumin
    – ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (regular works too)
    – A dash of cayenne pepper
    – A dash of garlic powder
    – A dash of salt
    – A dash of sugar

    For the rest of the quesadilla:
    – 2 or 3 flour tortillas (depending on how many you’re making)
    – 1 cup chopped or sliced cooked chicken
    – 2 cups (approximately) of shredded Monterey jack cheese (I like a jack/cheddar blend)

Place the tortilla into a hot (medium-high heat) pan, or on a hot griddle (I like my cast-iron griddle for this purpose). Place chicken and cheese onto one half of the tortilla. Spread a tablespoon and a half on the sauce on the other side of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and press to seal. Cook on one side for 5 minutes or until brown and the cheese is melty then flip and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.

I have to say, this recipe did not disappoint. It is by no means a health recipe but it sure is healthier than fast food! And I’m in control of the ingredients. And best of all, I may have defeated my fast-food arch nemesis.

What is your strongest unhealthy food craving?
Are you ever tempted by fast food?