As you might have inferred from my last post, my finances are not in the best shape. I would normally be mildly embarrassed sharing a detail like this, except that I am 99.9% sure that I am not the only person who has ever been in this sort-0f -broke situation in her twenties. In fact, some of you might be there right now in which case you are probably thinking something like “there is no way I am making this recipe because it’s so expensive to stock my kitchen full of ingredients for a recipe that I will only use once.”
Yeah, I hear you, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Despite my unrequited love for Whole Foods, I haven’t set foot there in weeks (except for one particularly traumatic evening when I stopped to buy two slices of pizza for $5 and left, miraculously, with only the pizza). Instead, I have adopted the practice of shopping at Trader Joe’s and going no more than once a week. This has led to more than one instance where I have eaten oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast and lunch and pasta with some version of frozen vegetables for dinner. I say this not to elicit pity or sympathy, because on the bright side, I am losing weight!
In reviewing my bank statements and financials from 2011, I expected to discover that I had spend the lion’s share of my disposable income on 365 brand organic non-perishables. Instead, I was not entirely shocked to find that the money I spent taking cabs over the past twelve months could have probably fed a small country, flown me halfway around the world or purchased an island in the South Pacific. I only bring this up because I know that a lot of people spend this kind of money on take-out and purchased lunches.
Since I clearly can’t provide any solid advice about how to reduce transportation costs when you live in a large city, I can share an alternative to ordering takefout next time the craving for spicy, Asian-inspired noodles strikes. To be fair, I’ve never been especially tempted by take-out and despite my love for the Pad Thai from the noodle joint down the street, it isn’t hard for me to look to the spaghetti in my cabinet every time an Eastern-style craving strikes.
Spicy Noodles with Szechuan Tofu
Inspired by Weight Watchers One Pot Meals
What You Need:
1 14-ounce block of tofu, drained and patted dry
2 tablespoons corn stach
2 teaspoons canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10 ounce) package of broccoli slaw
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, broken in third and cooked according to package
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Mirin (OR rice wine vinegar OR white wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons peanuts, toasted
Combine tofu and corn starch in a large zip-close plastic bag. Squeeze out air and seal bag. Shake until tofu is coated evenly.
Heat a wok or a large, deep, non-stick skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles in pan. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and swirl to coat wok. Add tofu and stir-fry until cooked through, about three minutes. Add garlic and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add scallions and pepper flakes; stir-fry 2 minutes.
Return tofu to wok along with spaghetti, stir-fry until heated through, about two minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar and sugar; stir-fry until mixed well, about 1 minute. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.