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Shawn got a new job earlier this year. Its great, but his schedule kind of stinks and I’m on my own for dinner a few nights each week. At first it was kind of nice. Those nights give me the chance to make all of my favorites that he doesn’t really like. But it can also get kind of old. Cooking just isn’t as much fun when there’s no one to share the completed meal with, and a lot of nights I end up eating something fast and simple like pasta or eggs.

In an effort to motivate myself to cook real meals even on nights where I’m alone, I’m going to try something new: a “Cooking for One” series here on Healthy. Delicious. featuring the meals that I cook for myself. These pared-down recipes will be super simple, quick to make, and full of the bold flavors that you expect to find in my recipes. Some of the recipes might make enough for leftovers, but none will be more than a single person can eat in a 24 hour period. (Of course, you can always double or triple these recipes if you want to feed a larger group with minimal effort!) For now, I’m planning on dedicating the first Sunday of each month to this series. We’ll see how it goes!

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One of the things that I actually do like about having a few nights to myself is that I can try out new products and techniques to see if they’re any good before subjecting Shawn to them. My shaved asparagus salad with bacon and havarti started out as something I made just for myself, but it ended up being one of our favorite meals this spring. When I saw these “noodles” as I was browsing in the grocery store the other day, I knew I would have to try them on a night I was alone. As it says on the bag, they have no calories, no fat, no carbs, no soy, and no gluten. They’re also precooked: just rinse, heat, and serve! Since even a stick of gum has 5 calories and a warning that “this is not a low calorie food” my hopes for these noodles weren’t very high, but I was pleasantly surprised!

It turns out that these noodles, made from yam flour, water, and lime, aren’t anything fancy or new. I found them again a few days later (and for half the price) at the Asian market, where they are called shirataki noodles. They have a nice, chewy texture that reminds me of udon and, straight out of the bag, they have absolutely no flavor. Stir-fried with a flavorful peanut sauce and some fresh vegetables, they make a fast and delicious meal.

(Be careful not to confuse shirataki noodles made with yam flour with “shiraki-style” noodles that are made out of tofu. Also, make sure you rinse them well before you eat them – they smell a little funky straight from the bag.)

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Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes, Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: 2 Servings

  • 1/3 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tbs Peanut Butter
  • 1 tsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tbs Thai Red Curry Paste (Optional)
  • 1 Zucchini, cut lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons
  • 2 cups Broccoli Slaw
  • 8 ounces Shirataki Noodles, rinsed and drained, or cooked spaghetti
  • 1 Tbs chopped Peanuts

Combine the first 9 ingredients (through the curry paste, if using) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until peanut butter has melted and the sauce is heated through — about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Spray a 9.5-inch saute pan with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook for 3 minutes, or until softened and slightly golden around the edges. Add the broccoli slaw and cook another 5 minutes. Add the drained shirataki noodles (or spaghetti) and the peanut sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until the noodles are heated through — about 2 minutes.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and fresh lime wedges.

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