Thursday, October 17, 2013

Coconut Curry Noodles

Coconut Curry Noodles
Usually when I go to the grocery store I have a very detailed list and a fairly good idea of what I plan to serve for meals for the next few days.  I rarely succumb to impulse buys and besides waiting to see what produce looks the best, I pretty much know exactly what I am going to buy when I walk in the door.  But every once in awhile I see something that I just have to try and then scramble around trying to figure out what else I need to buy in order to turn that ingredient into a meal.  This is what happened when shopping yesterday and I happened to see a box of purple corn and rice noodles.  I have cooked with rice noodles many times before because my son loves all kinds of Asian inspired noodle dishes and I love cooking inventive and adventurous meals that I know he will enjoy.  But what was I going to make with these intriguing purple noodles?

As I stood there in the aisle I tried to think of what I already had at home so that I wouldn't have to add too much more to my list and break my budget. Luckily I keep a fairly well stocked pantry and quickly realized that with the addition of a few fresh veggies I had enough to make a new meal using the purple noodles that was sure to please my family and be quick and easy to whip together on a school night.  You could definitely change up this recipe with your favorite vegetables, and a different protein source.  Fresh cooked shrimp, or even raw ones that you could then cook in the coconut milk (if you have more time), or cooked organic chicken or tofu would be delicious in the recipe, but I used the canned shrimp because I always have it on hand and it is an easy and convenient source of protein.

Now don't get all concerned about the level of fat in this meal because of the use of coconut milk.  Yes, the regular kind can be high in fat, but because it comes from a plant source as opposed to a cut of beef or a block of cheese, it is the kind of saturated fat that your body actually needs. Of course you could use a lighter version of coconut milk, but you will sacrifice the creamy texture and the satisfying richness of the dish.  Just because something is low in fat or lower in calories, doesn't necessarily make it healthier.  Plus when you eat "real" food, the way nature intended it to be, you won't be inclined to overeat afterwards.  This is the type of meal where you will not need a lot to be satisfied and although you could have dessert afterwards, you may not crave it like you would with other entrees.  And yes, my plateful is huge, but I did a heavy work out this morning and have been busy in the kitchen ever since. So now it is time to eat!!!

purple corn and rice noodles

Coconut Curry Noodles
pantry items that I used
1 8 oz. package rice noodles
2 T. olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 C. shredded organic carrot
1 organic zucchini, cut into small pieces
2 jalapenos, finely diced
3 T. red curry paste
1 can (13.5 oz.) can coconut milk
1 – 2 C. cooked shrimp (canned is ok)
2 C. organic baby spinach
Salt & pepper, to taste
Chopped green onion and/or basil for garnish

Set a pot of water to boil for the noodles. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the garlic for about 2 minutes, and then add in the carrots, zucchini, and jalapenos and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the red curry paste and cook for about 1 minute.  Whisk in the coconut milk, and then add the cooked shrimp and the spinach. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions and then add them into the skillet and toss with the sauce.  Add salt and pepper, if desired.  Serve hot with chopped green onion or basil for garnish.

cooked garlic, carrots and zucchini

sauce is ready

my son's plate

my plate

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