Kung Pao Chicken with Zoodles

BLOG_August 19, 2014-3

I recently stumbled across this recipe on Skinnytaste and had to make it – like right away. Not only did it look amazing, but this was my call to finally make zucchini noodles.¬† I’ve seen “zoodles” a zillion times, but never got around to preparing them. This was the perfect recipe for my first taste; they soak up the delicious sauce perfectly and were light, but filling. The original recipe was for two, so I’ve adjusted to make this a 4-person serving, or for 2 very hungry people! Enjoy.

I used a mandolin with a julienne blade, but you can also use a spiralizer if you have one. I played around with the cut and found I liked the slightly thicker 4.5 mm julienne cut the best. The thickness is totally a personal preference, so use whatever cut you prefer.

Vegetarians could totally swap the chicken for tofu, and in fact, I think next time I make this I will do the same. Tofu or tempeh would go great with this refreshing, light dish.

 

BLOG_August 19, 2014

If you like this, you may also like Kung Pao Chicken Tacos – one of my favorite recipes!

Kung Pao Chicken with Zoodles
Author: Adapted from Skinnytaste.com
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. zucchini (med/lrg zucchini work best), washed & ends trimmed
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb. chicken breast or chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-size pieces
  • S/P
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground ginger (feel free to add more if you really like ginger – I do!)
  • Crushed dry roasted peanuts to top
  • Sliced scallions to top
  • Sauce —
  • 4 tbsp. reduced sodium soy or tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. hoisin sauce
  • 3 and 1/2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. roasted red chili paste
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 3 tsp. cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Using a spiralizer or mandolin with julienne blade, cut the zucchini into long, spaghetti-like strips. If using a spiralizer, cut the strands into pieces that are about 8 inches long so they are easier to eat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
  3. Season chicken with S/P. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. If you prefer, you can cook the chicken whole and then chop after they are cooked. Either way, cook the chicken until browned and cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside on a separate plate. If you haven’t chopped yet, chop or shred into bite-size pieces before adding to final step.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add the sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to the skillet and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the bell pepper and stir in the sauce, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook another minute or so until thickened. Stir in zucchini noodles and cook for about two minutes at most until tender and covered with sauce. The zucchini releases water and should thin the sauce out a bit. Remove from heat and stir in chicken. Top with peanuts and scallions.
Notes
When I cook chicken for recipes like this I prefer to cook tenderloins because they cook faster. I also prefer to chop/shred the chicken after cooking it. Chicken breast or tenderloins will work perfectly here and you can decide to cook the chicken whole and then chop, or chop prior to cooking.

 

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

BLOG_July 29, 2014

Two of my favorite things in one decadent dessert, alright alright alright. These are BIG brownies, so they are meant to be cut into small squares, but if you want to eat the whole pan I won’t judge you.

The peanut butter top is made with cream cheese (I used reduced fat – in case you’re also inclined) so it’s actually not overwhelmingly sweet, but a mild creamy peanut flavor that pairs perfectly with chocolate. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Brownies
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 box Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie mix
  • 2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 and 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used 1/2 of a 4 oz. Ghirardelli baking bar)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Bake the brownies according to the box instructions in an 8×8 pan. Let cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the mixture over the brownies and smooth evenly.
  3. In a heat-proof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Add the whipping cream and stir until smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and let cool. Drizzle the cooled melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer. Place in the refrigerator and let chill until firm. Cut into bars and serve.

 

How to Make Crepes

Crepes are one of those things I just assumed must be difficult to make, so even though I LOVE them, I always ordered them out. But thanks to America’s Test Kitchen great recipe, I finally made them at home and was shocked at just how easy they were to make. Easier (and faster) than regular pancakes in my opinion.

I devoured almost the entire batch (10 crepes!) with fresh squeezed lemon and a dusting of sugar – so delicious! You could, of course, fill these with anything – fresh fruit, jam, chocolate, nutella … the list goes on.

If you follow the instructions carefully these are really so simple. But this is not the type of recipe you can leave for any amount of time, they cook in a matter of seconds so you need to be at the stove at all times.

How to Make Crepes

Author: Slightly adapted, America’s Test Kitchen
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • Any desired toppings/fillings
Instructions
  1. Place oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet set over low heat for at least 10 minutes. Prep your butter by melting over stove top or in the micro (I suggest 10 sec increments so you don’t overdo it); set aside and let cool.
  2. While skillet is heating, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. Add half of the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Whisk in remaining milk mixture until smooth.
  3. Using a paper towel, wipe out skillet, leaving a thin film of oil on bottom and sides. Increase heat to medium and let skillet heat 1 minute. Test the heat by placing 1 tsp of batter in the center and cook for 20 seconds. If the mini crepe is golden brown on bottom, the skillet is properly heated; if it is too light or too dark, adjust heat accordingly and retest.
  4. Pour 1/4 cup batter into one side of the pan and tilt/shake gently until batter covers the bottom of pan evenly. Cook without moving until the top surface is dry and crepe is starting to brown at edges, about 20 seconds. Loosen one side with a rubber spatula and flip, using your fingertips to help if needed. Cook about another 20 seconds unitl the second side is lightly spotted. Transfer crepe to a wire rack to cool and continue cooking until batter is gone, letting the pan reheat for about 10 seconds in between crepes.
  5. To reheat, stack on a plate and invert a second plate over the crepes. Microwave until warm, about 30 seconds. Top crepes with desired fillings and fold into quarters, roll, or stack flat like pancakes. Serve warm.

 

Blueberry-Lemon Banana Bread

BLOG_July 01, 2014

Blueberries are in season, so why not include them in fabulous banana bread? This is a Cooking Light recipe that was quite delicious. The recipe included a glaze, and I include instructions for one below, but next time I will skip it. The bread is definitely sweet enough without a glaze. If you decide to use a glaze, I would only pour it on right before eating. Enjoy!

Blueberry-Lemon Banana Bread
Author: Cooking Light
Cook time: 1 hour 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • Cooking spray
  • For the glaze (optional):
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the banana, egg substitute, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture; beat at low speed until just moist. Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest.
  3. Spoon batter into a loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool bread for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. To make the optional glaze – combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. I had a hard time getting the cream cheese smooth, so I used a mini food processor. You could also substitute sour cream for the cream cheese or make a simple glaze with milk and confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle over the loaf immediately before serving.

 

Quick & Easy Vegetable Frittata

BLOG_July 02, 2014

Frittatas – super easy egg dishes that are a great way to use up that fresh produce sitting in your crisper! Kind of like an omelet, or a crust-less quiche, I love frittatas with a crisp, green salad on the side. In the one pictured, I used broccoli and tomato, but you can really use any variety of produce or add in ham, chicken, or some other protein that has already been cooked.

*You will need an oven-proof or cast-iron skillet for this recipe.

Quick & Easy Vegetable Frittata
Author: Q&DK
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs (you may need more if you add in more vegetables or meat)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • S/P
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine the eggs and milk in a bowl and whisk until blended. Season with S/P and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and the butter in a 12-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. If you decide to use other vegetables that don’t need much cook time (such as snow peas, bell pepper, etc.) – add those now. Add the broccoli (or another larger vegetable) and 3 tbsp. of water and continue to saute until the broccoli is crisp-tender.
  3. Preheat the broiler to high. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet, coating sides with a spatula, and evenly arrange the vegetables at the bottom of the skillet. Add the egg mixture but do not stir. Continue to cook on the stove for about 2 minutes until the bottom has set. While it cooks, arrange the tomato slices on top and garnish with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Place the skillet under the broiler for about 3 minutes until the top has set and the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.