Monday, September 17, 2012


Ever heard of a puffin? Neither had I. That is, until this recipe. It's basically a pancake muffin that kids (and kids at heart) will love. It's pretty simple and you can use any number of ingredients to create your own concoction. The following one is filled with chocolate chips - my personal fave. Yum! Enjoy!

Mini Maple Chocolate Chip Pancake Muffins 
(that's the "official" name of this recipe)
Makes 24 mini muffins

1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk.

In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combines.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until well combined.

Stir in chocolate chips. Reserve a few chocolate chips to sprinkle on the tops.

Bake for 8-9 minutes.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Salami Caprese Salad

This salad is clearly an oxymoron. It is hearty, yet light. No matter. The combination of flavors are fresh and dee-lishous! And it's such a pretty salad to bring to a potluck or when guests come over. I would wait to drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette on top of it until right before serving so the mozzarella cheese stays nice and white to contrast the beautiful colors in the salad. And voila! You have the perfect lunch or side dish.

Salami Caprese Salad
Serves 4

For the pasta salad:
1 container fresh mozzarella cheese balls (8 ounces)
1-1/2 cups cut sweet grape, teardrop or cherry tomatoes
16 slices of salami
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/3cup thinly slice basil
1/2 cup cooked small size penne pasta

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
2 tbsp. balsamic vingear
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. brown sugar
2 dashes garlic powder
3 dashes ground black pepper
3 dashes salt

For the pasta salad:
Boil water in a medium size pot and add the pasta. Let cook until al dente (approximately 10 minutes) and then rinse, and set aside.

Drain the liquid out of the container of mozzarella cheese. Add the mozzarella cheese to a large bowl.

Cut the tomatoes in half width-wise, and add to the bowl.

Then cut each piece of salami into 6 triangular pieces (like you would cut a pizza), and add to the bowl.

Next add the pasta, olive oil and salt and pepper to the bowl.

Gently stir all the ingredients together so that the pasta is coated with the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Top with the thinly sliced fresh basil.

For the balsamic vinaigrette:
Add all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Just before serving, drizzle the vinaigrette on top of the salami caprese pasta salad.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nutella Pop Tarts

Every kid I know loves Pop Tarts? Me? I'm little leery of something that has an expiration date of 2013 yet claims to be made with "real fruit." Huh?

Therefore, I decided to make my own Pop Tarts. Healthy they might not be. But I know exactly what ingredients are in there. And besides, they taste great. Easy peasy and filled with hazelnut chocolaty goodness, these make the perfect breakfast.

Nutella Pop Tarts
Makes 6 3-inch Pop Tarts

2 9-inch pie crusts
1/4 cup Nutella (or more as necessary)
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
1 egg lightly beaten for egg wash
Sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll the dough and cut into 12 3-inch by2 -inch rectangles. Place 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the center of 6 of the rectangles. Sprinkle each Nutella-filled rectangle wit a bit of sea salt.

Dab a bit of the egg wash around the edges of each Nutella-filled rectangles and cover with an unfilled rectangle. Use a fork to seal the edges and also to poke holes in the top of the pastry for steam to escape.

Brush the tops of each pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the sugar has caramelized a bit.

While the pop tarts are cooling, heat the remaining Nutella in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it has a liquid consistency. Use a fork or spoon to drizzle the warmed Nutella over the pastries. Serve slightly warm.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crabmeat Salad Stuffed Avocados

It's the end of summer and since I wasn't able to go to Maine and indulge in one of their famous lobster rolls, I had to settle for these crabmeat salad stuffed avocados. Boy, life is rough if I have to settle for this recipe. Ha!

With fresh crabmeat combined with bright, crisp veggies, and a flavorful and zesty dressing, this is one recipe that screams summer. A hint of citrus, combined with creamy  avocado makes this the perfect light and refreshing dinner. Try to contain yourself...

Crabmeat Salad Stuffed Avocados
Serves 4

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
9 ounces fresh, wild caught crabmeat, fully cooked
1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 avocados
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, squeezed from 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dijon and red wine vinegar.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

To the bowl, add the cooked crabmeat, tomato, bell pepper and 1 tablespoon of chives.  Stir to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut each avocado in half and immediately pour lemon juice over each half to keep the avocados from turning brown.  Using a small spoon, scoop out the pit.  Also scoop out about 1/3 of the fruit from the center of each avocado half. Add the scooped-out avocado to the crabmeat salad and stir to combine.  Stuff each avocado with the crabmeat salad.  Sprinkle the remaining chives over each half and serve.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

I've said it time and time again -  I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. But add the hint of hazelnut to any concoction, and the recipe gets infinitely better. Such is the case with this peanut butter and Nutella cookie recipe.

Rich and chocolaty with just a hint of hazelnut, you will have a hard time resisting these cookies. Wash them down with a cold glass of milk and you've got yourself the perfect dessert.

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Heaping 1/3 cup Nutella

Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together until smooth.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to butter mixture. Add Nutella in dollops over the top of the dough. Use a butter knife to swirl the Nutella throughout the dough. Do not overmix.

Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes before spooning onto cookie sheet to firm the Nutella.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Bake until slightly brown at edges.

Let cool a few minutes on cookie sheet before transferring.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

This breakfast treat is sticky, sweet and oh-so-delicious! It's almost like making your own Pecanbon at home. Now, you don't have to go all the way to the mall for this special treat.

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits or 2 tubes Pillsbury Grands buttermilk biscuits 

6 Tbsp. butter, melted

1 C. pancake syrup 
2/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 C. chopped pecans, optional

1/2 C. chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Asian-Style Stir Fried Green Beans

I love green beans. They're one of the most versatile vegetables. You can roast, saute, steam or stir fry them and they can take on flavors so easily.

This recipe is perfectly balanced with just enough salt and a little heat. It is the perfect side dish that complements everything from fish to poultry.

Asian-Style Stir Fried Green Beans

1 bag frozen green beans, thawed and drained (Obviously, fresh would be better. But if you’re short on time, the frozen stuff is great.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsp brown sugar
 1/2 tbsp sesame oil

DirectionsIn a large bowl, mix soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp garlic, pepper flakes, and brown sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is uniform.

Add drained/dried green beans, and toss to coat in sauce

Heat sesame oil in a pan/wok on medium-high heat. When tiny bubbles start to form in the oil, add remaining minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

Pour green beans/sauce into the heated, oiled pan. Using a spatula, spread green beans out in a more or less even layer in the pan. Cover, and let cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Stir/toss green beans to avoid burning, then cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until your green beans get soft and you start seeing browned bits at the tips.

Enjoy immediately.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Zucchini Pancakes

What do do with all that zucchini you have in the refrigerator this summer? How 'bout whipping up these zucchini pancakes? They make the perfect side dish or a satisfying main course. Besides, they're perfect for Meatless Mondays.

  • Zucchini Pancakes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Unsalted butter and oil oil

  • Directions
    Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large grating side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the minced garlic and egg. Stir in flour, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, red chili pepper flakes and pepper. 
Heat a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes about 2-4 minutes on each side, until browned. Serve hot.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pesto Chicken Salad on Pretzel Buns

This is probably the easiest recipe on my blog. The best thing about it? No cooking. If you're in hurry like me, you can easily buy the ingredients - from the pesto to the buns. If, however, you have time to spare, you can certainly try your hand at baking your own pretzel buns and making homemade pesto. Either way, this is one delicious sandwich. 

Pesto Chicken Salad on Pretzel Buns

Pretzel Buns
Cooked and cut chicken
Lime juice
Kosher Salt

Toss the chicken in enough pesto to coat. 

Slice the avocados very think and toss in a little lime or lemon juice to prevent browning and sprinkle with salt.

Slice tomatoes thin.

Layer the chicken, avocado and tomato on the bun. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fresh Berry Phyllo Tarts

Fourth of July is coming up and for a festive and celebratory dessert try these fresh berry phyllo tarts. They are mini phyllo shells that are filled with a blend of cream cheese and honey, and topped with fresh berries. 
Simple and delicious, these tarts can be made with any berry you like, and if you buy the phyllo shells in advance, you can easily assemble them for a last-minute event. Bonus – this recipe only involves 5 minutes of baking time, which is ideal on a hot day!
Fresh Berry Phyllo Tarts
Makes 45 tarts
3 packages mini phyllo shells (such as Athens)

4 sheets honey graham crackers

2 Tbsp butter, melted

2 tsp sugar

4 Tbsp honey

8 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened

1 pint fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350°F and place shells on a baking sheet; bake for 5 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until crumbly, then combine with melted butter and sugar in a small bowl. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon crumb mixture into each prepared shell.
Combine honey and cream cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon 1 teaspoon cheese mixture into each shell and top with fresh berries. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over tops of tarts. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 days.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sake-Steamed Clams

Summers in Massachusetts... never been but I think of clam bakes and steamed clams. Doesn't that sound yum? Imagine sitting on the beach and devouring some freshly caught clams, lobsters and oysters. Thank goodness for recipes like this sake-steamed clams. It's like East meets West with a dash of Asian flavor. It doesn't get any better than this. Trust me.

Sake-Steamed Clams
Serves 4

2 pounds Manila clams, New Zealand clams or cockles
1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
1 cup sake
1 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 or 5 pieces
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced


Pick through the clams and discard any that are not tightly closed (or close when tapped gently on the counter) or have chipped shells. Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in the salt. Add the clams and let stand for 1 hour. (This draws out sand from inside the shells.) Drain the clams and rinse them well. If the shells seem gritty, scrub the outsides gently with a clean brush.

In a deep saucepan, combine the sake and water and bring to a boil. Add the clams, cover with a lid, and steam for about 4 minutes. Uncover and discard any clams that have not opened.

Ladle the clams and broth into a large serving bowl. Scatter the butter pieces over the clams. Top off with the sesame oil, sesame seeds, cayenne, and scallions. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter

I love grilling season. During the summer, my vegetable of choice is grilled corn. My grilled corn usually comes slathered with butter and an ungodly amount of Tabasco. So, when I saw this recipe for grilled broccoli with chipotle-lime butter, I was completely smitten. You'll be amazed how the broccoli gets lightly charred and smokey. And the chipotle-lime butter adds volumes of flavor and just a little heat.

Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter

6 T. butter, softened
1 lime, zested and juiced plus additional wedges for serving
1 canned chipotle, minced plus small spoonfuls of adobo sauce
1 tsp. honey
1 garlic clove, minced
3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
Olive oil, for spraying or drizzling
1 cup queso fresco, crumbled

Heat grill to medium-high.

Stir together all ingredients for the chipotle-lime butter and add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Spread broccoli on a large baking pan and drizzle/spray with olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper and then transer to the heated grill.

Grill for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through (the pieces should have nice3 grill marks but not be too charred).

Transfer to a serving bowl and top with spoonfuls of chipotle-lime butter.

Serve warm, topped with crumble cheese.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mini Cauliflower Pizza Bites

Want kids to eat their vegetables? Try this deceptively healthy recipe. These cauliflower bites taste like a yummy combination of pizza and a breadstick all wrapped into a mini little bite. Plus, they are perfect for dipping! These pizza bites would make a delicious snack, side or lunch. Not to mention they are kid-approved.

Mini Cauliflower Pizza Bites
Makes 14 mini muffins 

2 cups cauliflower (about 1/2 head of cauliflower)
1/4 cup egg whites (or 1 large egg white)
1/8 cup low fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1//2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 mini turkey pepperonis

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 14 mini muffin cups with silicone liners,or foil muffin liners with paper liners removed. Spray liners with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Wash cauliflower, and cut in half (save the rest for later). Break cauliflower into segments, and place in food processor. Pulse until it reaches a rice-like texture.

Place cauliflower in a microwave bowl and microwave for 8 minutes. (do NOT add water or cover).
remove cauliflower from microwave and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Place back in microwave for 2 minutes . Mix again.

Scoop cauliflower mixture into muffin liners, dividing evenly between the 14 mini liners. Fill to the top and press filling down so it's compact in liner.

Place muffin tin in the oven and bake muffins of 30-35 minutes, or when top starts to become golden brown. Remove from the oven, let cool completely before popping the muffins out of the liners. Serve warm with pizza sauce for dipping!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Penne with Tomato Sauce, Arugula and Parmesan

My kids love pasta. Red sauce, green sauce, no sauce - doesn't matter. Linguine, shells, spaghetti, penne or farfalle - you name it, they'll eat it. Thankfully, I have this recipe in my back pocket for those days when I'm running late and need to put together dinner in a snap. It's tasty, kid-approved and doesn't get much simpler than this.

Penne with Tomato Sauce, Arugula and Parmesan
Serves 4

1 lb. penne pasta
Kosher salt

3 tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
Sugar, if needed
1/4-1/3 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)
4 ounces baby arugula
Fresh basil leaves, torn
1 cup freshly grated parmigiana cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pasta: 
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Stir in the pasta, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Cook until just slightly under al dente (it will continue cooking in the sauce about, 8 minutes). Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the pasta well.

To make the sauce:
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large high sided saute pan. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and half of the reserved juice and bring to a simmer, cook for 15 minutes and then gently crush the tomatoes with a potato masher until slightly smooth. Taste for seasoning and add sugar if needed. Add the chili flakes and continue cooking until thicken, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat evenly. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water, if needed and add 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir in the arugula and herbs. Transfer to a platter and serve with the remaining cheese on the side.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Here's a dessert recipe that everyone - and I mean, everyone - will ask for more. How 'bout making this sopapilla cheesecake? These sweeties puff like sopapillas and are great for breakfast or as a change from coffee cake or simply for dessert.

Sopapilla Cheesecake
Serve 12

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 (8-ounce) cans refrigerated crescent rolls
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

Beat the cream cheese, 1 cup white sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.

Unroll the crescent rolls and use a rolling pin to shape each piece into a 9x13 rectangle. Press one piece into the 9x13 baking dish. Evenly spread the cream cheese mixture into the baking dish, then cover with the remaining piece of the crescent dough. Stir together 3/4 cup white sugar, cinnamon and butter in a separate bowl. Dot the mixture over the top of the cheesecake.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crescent dough has puffed and turned golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into 12 squares.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Artichoke Dip Wontons

One day I made mini lasagna cupcakes - which basically meant I put all the ingredients to make a lasagna into a wonton wrapper and baked them in a mini muffin pan. And it changed my life. It made such a labor-intensive dish much more manageable, especially on a weeknight or hosting a medium-sized dinner party. 

Seriously, go out and buy wonton wrappers. Round, square - whatever floats your boat and make your favorite dip . Shove the wonton wrappers in a mini muffin pan and fill with your desired dip, in this case - spinach and artichoke dip. You can't beat hot, bubbly and crispy.  Nope. Never.

Artichoke Dip Wontons

1 cup thawed frozen spinach
1 1/2 cups thawed frozen artichoke hearts
8 ounce cream cheese
3/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 1/.2 cups water until tender. Drain, squeeze out excess liquid. 

Heat cream cheese in microwave for one minute or until hot and soft. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. 

Place wontons in mini muffin and fill with dip. Heat oven to 375 degrees and bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cheesecake Brownie Bites

I am not a big cream cheese fan. In fact, I don't even really like it on my bagel. But combine it with brownie batter, and I am a huge fan. This is like combining two of my favorite desserts! Brownies + cheesecake = pure heaven! Don't believe me? Try this recipe for yourself.

Cheesecake Brownie Bites
Makes 30 brownie "bites"

For the Brownie Batter:
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder, mixed with 2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2cups all-purpose flour

For the cheesecake filling:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 T. sugar

1 large egg yolk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, baking cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso mixed with water, and vanilla until well combined.

Stir in the sugar and melted butter until well combined, then stir in the flour. Set brownie batter aside.

In a separate bowl, prepare the cheesecake filling by stirring together the cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or plastic bag.

Grease a non-stick mini-muffin pan with cooking spray or butter and then spoon a tablespoon of brownie batter into the greased cups. Pipe a generous amount of cheesecake filling atop the brownie batter, and then top off each cup with an additional teaspoon of brownie batter.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let the brownie bites cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a cooling rack to continue cooling, or enjoy warm.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pad Thai Noodles

Believe it or not, one of my favorite Pad Thai Noodles can be found in none other than the San Diego Zoo. Yes, you read that right. I did indeed say the San Diego Zoo. By no means was it authentic Thai noodles, but it had just the right amount of peanut-y taste that I knew I could replicate at home without presuming to be a world-class Thai chef. And might I add, it turned out all right. This recipe is simple and flavorful. What more could you ask for?

Pad Thai Noodles
Serves 4

8 ounces dried rice noodles
4 cloves garlic, optional
2 ounces (about 1/4 cup) fish sauce
2 ounces (about 1/4 cup) tamarind concentrate
1/2 – 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, crushed or finely chopped
4 ounces palm sugar
8 ounces meat (shrimp or chicken)
8 ounces firm tofu
8 ounces bean sprouts
2 bunches scallions

Prepare all your ingredients ahead of time. Soak noodles in warm water for 30 mins. Rinse bean sprouts and scallions. Drain and cut 8 oz. of tofu and about 8 stalks of scallions (use green parts) into 1-inch long sticks. Dice garlic and cut lime into quarters. Crush or chop peanuts. Take out 4 eggs.

For the sauce, heat a small pot on medium. Mix tamarind, palm sugar, fish sauce, 1/4 cup of water and chili pepper, to taste depending on spice tolerance. Stir and crush sugar until fully dissolved and turn off heat.

When noodles are soft enough (but still slightly harder than al dente pasta), rinse them in cold water and drain. Make sure all of your ingredients are set up and divided into equal portions. Note: You’re cooking one portion at a time. Add 2 tbsp. oil to a wok or large non-stick pan. Heat on medium-high, until very hot. Add chicken (if using) and cook for 1 min, then add tofu and garlic. Cook for about 45 secs, stirring frequently. Garlic should now be brown. Stir in noodles, then add 3 tbsp. of sauce mixture. Coat noodles and meat well and stir vigorously to keep noodles from sticking. After about 2 mins, taste noodles to check if they’re soft enough. If not, add 2-3 tbsp. of water and continue to cook for a little longer.

Add shrimp (if using) and combine with noodles. Push everything aside creating an empty space in the middle. Crack an egg, wait 15 secs to set, then mix into the noodles. Sprinkle some white pepper, add bean sprouts and up to 1 tbsp. more sauce. Stir everything for 1 min, then add scallions. Turn off heat and toss. To serve, top with crushed peanuts, dried onions and a generous squeeze of lime juice.