Food Life - Ep. 1: Dan Dan "Noodles"??
My biggest food weakness (pleasure) is: NOODLES.
Particularly, Asian noodles. Ramen, Dan Dan, Lo Mein, Pho, Udon.... I mean, Noodles and Umami are the perfect blend of, well, everything that's right and good in the world.
Noodles, on a regular basis anyway, don't fit into my "calorie deficit, high protein" lifestyle. So it was one of the things I had to become disciplined about. (Disciplined = removing entirely. #sadface)
This is where my GF and I, life-hack food.
Enter: Dan Dan "Noodles"
At 370 calories per serving:
28g Carbs, 18.6g Fat and 27g of Protein - it's a "Cheat Meal" that you can actually eat with a relatively guilt-free conscience.
Granted, they aren't "perfect" macros, especially if you're trying to live a 40/30/30 or 50/25/25 (Protein/Fat/Carb) life. BUT - you can certainly make it work, within the confines of a sustainable dietary plan that lets you have some of the "comfort foods" that would otherwise be lacking from a strict diet. Plus - getting some extra carbs/fats here and there makes you HAPPY, and happy bodies don't store fat for the long, stress-filled, bleak winter of diet-sadness and starvation tactics.
So - on the nitty-gritty (Gritty™ for those Philadelphians out there) of how to make the darned thing:
INGREDIENTS: (For 4 servings - Also I am assuming you own a food scale. If you don't, you should, for real. I am also assuming you own a spiralizer - if you don't, YOU SHOULD. For real x2.)
- 3/4cup (and 1/4cup) Chicken Stock/Broth (or Miso Broth)
- 1.0lb Ground Bison (or chicken, or pork)
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, peeled and diced
- 6 Cloves of Garlic (pressed or minced/diced)
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 4 Teaspoons Tahini
- 1 Teaspoon of Sichuan Peppercorns (or regular ground peppercorns)
- 1.5lbs to 1.75lbs of spiralized butternut squash.
- Green Onions (for garnish)
Use a few tablespoons-to-1/4cup of broth to brown the ground meat over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, breaking up the ground meat with a spoon until roughly halfway cooked. Add fresh ginger & garlic, and cook until the meat is browned/cooked throughout. (This should only take a few minutes, depending on your stove/heat/pan.)
Stir in the remaining 3/4cup of stock/broth, Sesame Oil, Chili Oil, Vinegar, Tahini, & Peppercorns. Cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, and then add in the spiralized butternut squash. Toss the squash with the meat/sauce mixture, cover and cook JUST UNTIL THE SQUASH STARTS TO SOFTEN. (5 minutes tops....) Do not overcook the squash, you will regret that decision super hard. You definitely would rather have slightly "al dente" squashta (see what I did there? squash... pasta.... squashta) then overcooked.
I cooked this dish in my dutch oven on the stove, as it gave me the room to toss the squash-noodles with the meat/sauce without causing a DEFCON 1 Level Post-Meal Kitchen Cleanup. (Which my GF appreciated for sure. We have differences of opinions over how many pots and utensils a person should use whilst cooking, and how much of a mess is acceptable to leave behind for clean-up.)
REMEMBER - This recipe makes FOUR SERVINGS. So while you may want to park your face over the pot, and go to town with industrial-sized chopsticks, I cannot condone this activity, and you're on your own.
Coming Soon: Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes & Pineapple @ under 400 calories per serving and 50% protein..... Yes, it's a real thing. And yes, it's fantastic.