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
  • 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
  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.
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.



Chicken and Broccolini Mac and Cheese

A simple comfort-food quality dish that features one of my favorite veggies – broccolini! There’s nothing too complicated or fancy about this, just simple, homemade goodness in the form of a casserole.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe that I lightened up substantially with some recipe tweaks, so you can feel good about every bite. Enjoy!

Chicken and Broccolini Mac and Cheese
Author: Adapted, Martha Stewart
Cook time: 55 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half horizontally OR chicken cutlets (you want a thin cut for cooking purposes)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
  • S/P
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 3-quart broiler-proof baking dish with oil or spray with cooking spray. Bring milk to a simmer in a pot. Add chicken; simmer until cooked, 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Remove pot from heat; whisk in mustard and cream cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Shred chicken. Cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Add broccolini; cook until noodles and broccolini are al dente, 2 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain noodles and broccolini; toss with chicken, sauce, pasta water, and cheddar. Transfer to baking dish.
  3. Toss breadcrumbs with oil; sprinkle over casserole. Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes. Uncover casserole; increase heat to broil. Cook until top is golden brown in places and breadcrumbs are crisp, 4 to 5 minutes.



Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry Nectarine Relish


This delicious, decidedly summer meal is oh so simple and healthy. Using just a handful of whole food ingredients, you can create a beautiful dish bursting with summer color and flavor.

I served with a salad and pearl couscous – simple perfection. I recommend an ovenproof skillet (I use my cast iron), but I also give instructions if you don’t have one available. Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin with Strawberry Nectarine Relish
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 1 lb. each) – or a large 2 lb. tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth (or plain water)
  • 2 nectarines, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1-2 tsp. honey or agave
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown each side of the tenderloins in the skillet, about 1 minute per side. Add the broth (or water) into the skillet with the tenderloins. Transfer the ovenproof skillet to the oven. (If your skillet is not ovenproof, you could transfer the pork to a Dutch oven or a rimmed baking sheet. The broth is added before placed in the oven.)
  2. Cook the tenderloins for 45 minutes at 325 degrees – meat should reach 165 degrees. Take out of the oven and let rest 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve with the relish.
  3. To make the relish (I do this while the pork cooks) – Combine the nectarine, strawberries, parsley, orange juice, and honey in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust as needed; some may want it sweeter than others. I also added a dash of salt.


Truly Tasty Turkey Burger


While the idea of a turkey burger – healthy, low-fat, etc. – usually sounds good to me, I rarely like them because they tend to be dry and tasteless. I’ll take beef, thank you.

But this recipe changed that completely. Yogurt and a unique blend of herbs and spices make these burgers moist and super tasty. Garam masala is often used in Indian cuisine and imparts a rich, sweet spice to the turkey. Roasted red chili paste can be found in the Asian section of most grocers; I buy small bottles from the Thai Kitchen brand. I absolutely love the roasted, spicy flavor this gives to all kinds of dishes. Despite the good amount of spices, these are not “hot” spicy burgers – they are very flavorful and slightly sweet with a touch of spice. Let me know what you think!

Now that it’s grilling season we will be seeing a lot more of these. During the winter, I cook them up in a grill pan and yum, yum, yum. I love these on a bed of greens, but they are just as good on a bun or wrapped in a pita.

I will be MIA for the next week as we are heading to Mexico for VACATION!! Yes sir, yes sir. Vacation. Hope you have one of those in your future too; everyone deserves vacation. 🙂


Truly Tasty Turkey Burger
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I use regular, not turkey breast which is drier)
  • 3 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. Garam Masala spice
  • 2 tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. roasted red chili paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Do not overmix – just enough to combine all ingredients well. Form into 4 patties.
  2. Although not necessary, I like to chill my turkey burgers about 1 hour before I cook, especially if I am grilling. I think it helps to deepen flavor and firm up the patty.
  3. Brush each patty with oil (especially if grilling because these are low-fat and will stick). Cook on a skillet/grill pan set over medium heat, turning once, until patties reach 165 degrees internally and is cooked through. Alternatively, place on a grill set to medium-high heat (direct heat) and cook.




French Version of Lemon Chicken (Poulet au Citron)

This is my kind of meal –

throw everything in a pot

stick in the oven

and end up with a stunning meal! And it’s healthy to boot, with plenty of good-for-you whole foods.

I modeled this recipe after a dish I had at a restaurant some years ago and have been working to get it as tasty and simple as possible. We eat this a lot because it is so easy and delicious (and because testing took some time!).

Olives, lemon, sage, and a touch of honey add so much flavor and create a fabulous sauce to pour over the chicken. Great served on its own as a whole meal, or goes well with crusty bread for sopping up the juices and a vibrant green salad for even more vegetable goodness. Enjoy!

French Version of Lemon Chicken (Poulet au Citron)
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 6
  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs and drumsticks, skinless
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 lemons, 1 sliced and 1 juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 (6 oz.) can pitted black olives
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or other oven-proof pot. Add the chicken and cook on all sides until browned. You will probably need to do this in batches. Once all chicken pieces have been browned, add them all back to the pot. Remove from heat.
  2. In a bowl mix together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and sage. Pour over the chicken in the pot. Add the lemon slices, half of the chopped tomatoes, and the black olives to the pot. Return to medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add the remaining tomatoes and the green beans to the pot. Stir gently to combine, cover, and return to oven. Bake about 10-15 minutes until the green beans are crisp-tender and the chicken is cooked through.