Birthday Cake Protein Bars

I'm going to Shenzhen and Hong Kong for 3 weeks in April to shoot my new movie, Go Back to China! Since I can't eat anything with soy sauce, which feels somewhat impossible in Asia, I'm bringing an entire suitcase of gluten-free food...

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One Pan Peanut Butter Pasta Noodles

We all know pasta is just about the easiest thing ever to make, but I've been curious about this one-pan method by Martha Stewart.  Apparently, if you make it in a shallow bit of water, you cut down on cooking time and have one less thing to clean.  There are all sorts of recipes on the internet since that post went viral a few years ago.  Since I probably make peanut butter noodles once a week, I decided to try my version of that.

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The first time I did this, I used soba noodles (my go-to for peanut butter pasta).  However, cooked this way, it gets waaaay to gummy and clumpy.  You're going to want to use a spaghetti or linguini, since they require the longer cooking time needed to absorb the water.  Plus, the pan ingredients are constantly being tossed around, so you need a tough pasta.

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Look alive and make sure you're constantly moving that pan around!  You can also use a pot to cook it, but I think it looks nicer served straight from the skillet.  It tastes great hot, but will still be delicious served cold the next day.  Add some rotisserie chicken or tofu, some wilted greens, and you've got a really quick and easy dinner.


One Pan Peanut Butter Pasta Noodles

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. Linguini or Spaghetti

  • 3 1/2 cups water

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic (or rice) vinegar

  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter

  • 4 scallions, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients except the scallions and sesame seeds in your pan. If the pasta doesn't fit your pan, break it in half. I used a 10.5 inch stainless steel skillet.

  2. Turn the heat to medium high. When the water comes to a boil, set the timer for 9 minutes. 

  3. Every 30 seconds or so, use tongs or a pair of chopsticks to break up the peanut butter and stir the noodles around. Make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

  4. When most of the water is absorbed and the noodles are peanut buttery, turn the heat off, and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. 

Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts

When people talk about their life goals, I know they list off things like sky diving or running the New York Marathon.  Mine are a little simpler - attend a Quincinera and get a food processor. If you watch the Food Network as much as I do, you'll feel like your life is incomplete without one of these machines!  I have a fear that, like other kitchen appliances, it will take up too much counter space and I will never use it.  But unlike my waffle maker and blender, I have actually been using this Elemental 8-cup Processor (a gift from Cuisinart) regularly.

It makes all the things I like to have on hand - salsa, guacamole, hummus, pizza dough, homemade Larabars, and caramelized onions.  More recipes to come, but first, the Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts I made for Finn's birthday.

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I cannot believe how quickly these babies get sliced.  I use the thin slicer to make confetti out of 3 pounds of brussels sprouts in less than 5 minutes.  Once they're prepped, I leave them covered in the fridge until it's time to put it all together.  This dish is inspired by The Barefoot Contessa's recipe, but I go a little crazy and start adding a lot of yummy things like candied pecans (from Trader Joe's, where I also get the balsamic glaze), avocado, raisins, and cheese.  It turns out tasting a lot like a warm salad.

The dish is a huge hit - even after sitting at room temperature for an hour.  Finn says it comes in second place to our friend Lance's pizza - honestly, who can expect a vegetable to win that competition?  Warning, the recipe below makes a LOT of brussels sprouts - even too much for our group of 12!  I would cut it in half unless you're planning on serving this at a party.  It's actually the perfect Thanksgiving potluck dish.

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Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. Brussels Sprouts, washed, trimmed, and shredded

  • 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 6 Tablespoons Butter

  • 6 cloves Garlic

  • 6 Tablespoons Balsamic Glaze

  • 1 cup Golden Raisins

  • 1 cup Candied Pecans

  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano

  • 1 Avocado, diced

  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions

  1. In a 14-inch skillet melt the olive oil and butter over medium heat. 

  2. Add the garlic and cook for two minutes, careful not to burn it. 

  3. Add the brussels sprouts to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes until tender (if they all don't fit in the pan, cook them in two separate batches).

  4. Put the cooked brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Toss with the Balsamic, Raisins, Pecans, Cheese, and Avocado. Finish with a sprinkling of the cheese and balsamic glaze.


Full disclosure: This food processor was sent for free to review by Cuisinart, but this is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links – thank you for supporting this blog!