Pad Kee Mao (Drunken Noodles with Ground Chicken and Vegetables)

For those of you who enjoy Thai food, you must have ordered Pad Kee Mao or Pad See Eew (a.k.a. ‘Drunken Noodles’) at some point. Hopefully you enjoyed them as much as my husband and I do!

Pad Kee Mao literally translates to ‘Drunken Stir Fry’ in English, and there are numerous variations on these ‘drunken’ dishes that are very often sold by street vendors in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand.

Rumor has it that the ‘drunken’ description comes from the fact that it originated in late-night revelers’ kitchens after stumbling home from the nightclubs in the wee hours of the morning. 😉 I suppose after a night of partying, nothing soothes the stomach like some starch and meat! 😉

Pad Kee Mao typically has sliced pork in it, however this is my rendition of it with ground chicken and vegetables! However, feel free to omit the chicken and replace with 1/2 cup of thinly sliced pork (of any cut), or use both meats and have a flavor party! I wanted to re-create what I had at the Thai restaurant (but without the MSG and loads of oil that made my noodles super shiny), so I hope you enjoy my healthier version of Pad Kee Mao.

This dish seemingly has a lot of ingredients, but if you have what’s needed on hand, this can morph into a wonderful weeknight meal and your go-to recipe for a weekend get together. Just pair it with one of my curries Panang Curry ;-), steamed white or brown rice, and you have a gourmet meal waiting for you and your loved ones! And if you feel like going the whole nine yards, serve this menu along with Nobu’s Miso Black Cod, and your meal will be talked about for many weeks after! 😉

Menu Idea: Chiang Mai Panang Curry, Pad Kee Mao Noodles, Miso Black Cod, steamed white/brown rice.

Enjoy! 🙂


Ingredients
1 (14-ounce) package wide rice noodles (you can use thinner pad-thai noodles too!)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup of finely diced or sliced white onion or shallots
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chicken
2 medium red or green bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 cups of broccoli florets (the broccoli head, no stem), washed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/8 cup oyster sauce
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1 medium jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (remove the pepper seeds if you don’t like spice!)
1 cup loosely packed Thai basil leaves (or regular basil if you don’t have access to Thai basil)
Optional: red chili powder, to taste (if you want it more spicy!)

Directions
Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about 15-20 minutes until loose and almost completely to your liking. Drain and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large wok over medium-high heat, and add chopped onion and garlic stirring with a wooden spoon or tongs for about 2 minutes until softened (careful to only soften them – do not brown or burn!)

Add ground chicken and break into small pieces. Continue to cook until chicken is white and almost cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Add bell peppers and broccoli florets, stir-frying until the vegetables are softened.

Push chicken mixture to one side of the pan and add eggs to the center. Scramble with a your wooden spoon until eggs are set and don’t run, about 1 minute.

Push scrambled eggs to the side and add in: oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar. [Note: If you feel like there is not enough liquid in the pan and the noodles are too dry, feel free to add a little chicken broth].

Once the sauce and vegetable mixture is boiling, add the drained noodles and toss to coat. Remove from heat, add jalapeños and basil, and toss to combine; serve immediately. Top with roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted), chopped green onion, and enjoy! 🙂

Mac ‘n Cheese Grilled Cheese!

For the .00001% of you that have never had macaroni cheese and/or grilled cheese, perhaps this recipe may not be of interest to you 😉 But for the rest of you who have grown up on these traditional American dishes and enjoy them even today as adults, this recipe is for you! This recipe will knock your socks off (and impress and wow your kids too!)

I eat copious amounts of cheese in my life, and my goodness this dish hits the spot for me. When served fresh off the skillet, the hot, fresh, and cheesy mac and cheese coupled with perfectly double-crisped buttermilk bread (I brown BOTH sides of each slice so that it is extra crunchy) transports me to my childhood in one, heavenly bite.

Feel free to use leftover mac and cheese from another night, just be sure to heat it up in the microwave before you load it between your sliced bread! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this with your loved ones – and if you do share it with your adult loved ones that might want more than just pasta, cheese, and bread, feel free to get creative by adding sliced onions, tomatos, cooked crab, cooked lobster, or more into the middle of the sandwich along with the mac and cheese! 🙂

And lastly, if you don’t like the idea of the mac and cheese sandwich, please just make the mac and cheese in my recipe with the cheese and bechamel and serve it like a pasta – I promise you will love it! 🙂



Ingredients

2 cups elbow macaroni pasta
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I like to use a mix of sharp cheddar and gruyere)
2 cups white bechamel sauce
Kosher salt, as desired
freshly cracked pepper, as desired
sliced buttermilk bread
1/2 tablespoon butter

Directions

Cover a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Add uncooked elbow macaroni and cook according to directions until cooked the way you like to eat them (do not under cook!). Drain well in a colander.

While the pasta is hot, mix it with the cheese and bechamel sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

Assembling the Grilled Sandwich

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, melt butter and put both slices of bread on skillet. Allow the side that is down to brown to the way you like it.

Now flip the bread slices and add a little more butter, if desired. Load one of the browned sides with your hot macaroni and cheese and top with the other slice, browned side on the INSIDE of the sandwich.

Continue to cook the sandwich over low to medium heat until the outside of the bread slices are browned to your perfection.

Serve hot with sliced red onions, tomatoes, basil tomato sauce, chipotle mayo, relish, tomato soup, or anything else that you think you might like. Enjoy! 🙂


Pasta Alfredo al Limone

I got tired of buying jarred alfredo sauce (and even the fresh kind that is available in the refrigerated section!). What is better-tasting than making your own at home? It doesn’t take longer than 5-7 minutes – who would have thought? I hope that you get to enjoy this Alfredo sauce recipe with whichever pasta you and your loved ones enjoy – it’s incredibly versatile and the sauce itself actually keeps well in the fridge once cooled for 3-5 days

This dish is beautiful, vegetarian (although you can always add grilled or rotisserie chicken to it for added protein), and simply decadent. Kids love it, parents love it, and your guests will be WOW-ed and think you slaved over this home-made sauce (don’t worry, I’ll keep your secret ;-))….

Yields: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

Alfredo Sauce
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 pound butter (check the stick for markings to tell you how much is half a pound!)
1 cup of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano (either one is delicious, or you can do half and half!)
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
The zest of one lemon
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt, if desired

The remaining ingredients
1 lb. fettucini or linguine (or whichever pasta you enjoy!)
the other half of the lemon, juiced
2 large eggs
freshly chopped parsley, as desired
cherry tomatoes, halved, as desired

Directions

Prepare the Alfredo sauce by heating up the cream and butter in a small saucepan on low to medium heat. Use a metal whisk and stir occasionally until the butter is melted and well incorporated. Take off heat and whisk in the cheese, black pepper, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice until well incorporated. (Note: If your sauce is too runny, continue to cook over low heat until it thickens, whisking occasionally). Taste test the sauce and decide if you want to add salt or not (usually the cheese adds enough saltiness, but you can decide!).

Meanwhile, prepare your pasta per package directions and drain.

In a mixing bowl, put in hot pasta, Alfredo sauce (to your liking – some people like less sauce, some people like more!) and crack the eggs on top. Taking a fork, quickly whisk in the egg into the mixture. [Please note if you are not comfortable with consuming raw egg that is only cooked by the heat of the pasta, feel free to omit it!]

Pour sauced pasta into your serving bowl and garnish with halved cherry tomatoes, freshly chopped parsley, and drizzle the reserved lemon juice on top.

Enjoy H-O-T!!! [although, I personally think the pasta tastes the best when it is room temperature when the sauce really seeps into the pasta and the sauce thickens 😉 ]…

Homemade Pasta Dough

Fresh pasta is such a luxury that I know that I seek it out specifically when I crave it and know exactly which Italian restaurants in the area make fresh pasta daily. You can really taste the difference in the taste when you compare dried, packaged pasta to fresh pasta. My husband and I went on our honeymoon to Italy a few years ago, and man oh man was I rapidly spoiled by the beautiful, perfect pasta in both Florence and Rome!

Pasta dough is not easy to make (it takes practice to perfect it), but if you don’t mind the few steps it takes, I promise you it is WELL worth it! The results will astonish you. Believe it or not, fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook in boiling water (as opposed to 8-12 minutes for packaged pasta!). I have made so many different pasta forms from this dough recipe and enjoyed them all: tagliatelle, raviolis with different fillings, spaghetti, macaroni, rigatoni, you name it! However, for today’s recipe, I will keep it simple and provide only the pasta dough recipe. This will become the base for many pasta recipes that I will share in the near future (hint hint 😉 ).

I really do hope many of you try this pasta recipe out. It is only one way out of MANY ways to make pasta dough (e.g. there is a 7-egg pasta dough recipe out there on the internet, and many chefs differ on the flour-to-egg-ratio that they like for their dough). However, this recipe has worked well for me.

I have provided two different methods to produce this dough: 1. using an electric mixer and 2. my favorite, using your hands! 🙂

Enjoy! And please do continue to share your recipes/ideas/feedback to me via the comments section – it really helps me! THANK YOU THANK YOU! 🙂

Ingredients

2.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 eggs
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions

Using an electric mixer:

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time (this allows the dough to incorporate the moisture from the eggs evenly and also avoids making it lumpy). Once all the eggs are well-incorporated, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil (make sure it’s extra-virgin!) and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until smooth.

Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax. Roll/ form as desired.

Using your hands:

Wash your hands! 🙂 Now, mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board (or on a large countertop that you don’t mind getting a bit messy ;-)). Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the well (see pic above).

Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Note: don’t worry if it starts to get a little messy!

Start kneading the dough with both hands. If you feel like the dough is too sticky and too wet, add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, until you have a firm, smooth ball of dough. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes (and remember to dust your board with flour, otherwise your dough will stick!). Remember, practice makes perfect so don’t worry if it’s not perfect your first few times.

Brush your dough with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature to let the glutens rest. Roll/ form as desired.

Here are two pictures of: a) rolling pasta out for ravioli with my pasta roller attachment and b) making fresh bucatini with my pasta attachment!