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.

 

Advertisements

Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Steak Stir-Fry

steak stirfry

I’ve heard some really funny jokes about kale – in particular, how horrible kale tastes. (Seriously, click the video link, laugh really hard, and then come back). BUT, I love kale. Really and truly I think kale is great.

Discard the really thick, hard stems and only use baby kale in smoothies and you’ve got a really versatile and healthy vegetable. If you don’t share my love of kale, you can substitute spinach or cabbage in this recipe. Due to pesticide use I always buy organic kale and spinach. I love to steam kale and I L-O-V-E, love kale chips. Search “kale” and you’ll find several other recipes here.

This is my latest kale recipe and you could easily substitute the steak for chicken, pork, or tofu/tempeh if steak isn’t your thing. Stir-fry is such a great meal for busy weeknights and for company because it is quick and easily customizable. Enjoy!

Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Steak Stir-Fry
 
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Heavily adapted, Bon Appetit March 2013
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce, low sodium
  • 2 tbsp. ponzu sauce
  • 2 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 6 scallions, sliced with whites/greens divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 8 oz. flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • S/P
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed/discarded and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • Cooked rice for serving
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes to top, optional
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all ingredients from oyster sauce to the 1/4 cup water and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a wok set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the brussels sprouts and cook, tossing frequently, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cover and cook until crisp-tender about 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp. oil to the wok and add the scallion whites, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Now add the thinly sliced steak. Sprinkle with S/P and toss. Add the brussels sprouts back into the wok and add the kale along with the reserved sauce. Stir all ingredients together and cook until kale is wilted and the steak is browned to your desired temp, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Serve over cooked rice and top with fresh tomatoes.
 

 

How to make Vietnamese Summer Rolls

summer rolls

Well winter is approaching so it’s completely appropriate to be in the mood for something that reminds you of hot summer days. Right?

Perhaps I’m the only nutty one around here but I’ve totally made peace with that 🙂

In any event, no matter the time of year you choose to make these they will be refreshing, unique, and tasty. You can literally fill these suckers with anything. The picture above contains shrimp, mango, and avocado … but the options are endless. Some of my favorites include:

* Mint, cucumber, avocado and sauteed tofu

* Chicken, crushed peanuts, and snow peas

and ground pork, cilantro, lettuce, and lime. Yum. Yum. Yum.

These can be a little daunting at first, if you have never worked with the wrappers before, but once you get the hang of it these become a simple and satisfying dish. When shopping make sure you purchase “spring roll skins” also sometimes called “wrappers” or “banh trang.” You may need to visit an Asian market or go online to find them. If you’ve ever had fried spring rolls, these are the same wrappers, but they are not fried and thus become summer rolls.

These can be a lot of fun with a group – set up an assortment of ingredients and let everyone create their own rolls. Oh, and don’t forget the dipping sauces!

Okay, so you will need the following basics (will vary based on the filling you choose):

  1. Spring roll wrappers/skins
  2. Vermicelli rice noodles (a 4 oz. pkg. makes about 8 rolls)
  3. Thinly or matchstick sliced vegetables
  4. Fresh herbs
  5. Protein (tofu, tempeh, shrimp, chicken, etc.)

STEP ONE

Prepare your fillings – cook (and cool) your protein and prepare your vegetables and herbs.

Cook the vermicelli rice noodles – pour boiling water over each 4 oz. package and soak for 15 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse.

STEP TWO

Prepare a flat surface, such as a cutting board, to work on while filling each roll.

Fill a wide, shallow dish with cool water. Working with one wrapper at a time, soak until pliable, about 20 seconds. Transfer to your flat surface and smooth out the wrapper with your hands (it helps to dip your fingers in water as you work).

Place a layer of ingredients on the bottom third of the wrapper, leaving a border around the wrapper of at least an inch. Top with a bit of the noodles and then another layer of ingredients (so … ingredients, noodles, ingredients).

Fold bottom of wrapper lightly over fillings. Roll over once, tuck in sides (like a burrito) and continue rolling to close. Transfer rolls to a plate and cover with a slightly damp paper towel until ready to serve. They will last a few hours in the refrigerator if you want to make prior to company. Longer than that and I’m not sure how the wrappers hold up.

Serve with dipping sauces such as sweet chile sauce, soy sauce, or Sriacha.

 

How to: Fabulous stir-fry noodle dishes at home, like this Curried Scallop Noodle Stir-Fry

Blog_October 06, 2012-3

Knowing how to make delicious stir-fry dishes is a great way to add a variety of quick, healthy meals to your recipe rotation. With a few simple steps you can make a new, tasty dish each week. If you want to make the scallop noodle dish pictured above, directions are throughout the tutorial.

I personally prefer stir-fry dishes with noodles as a way to add a little “umph” to the meal.  Plus, noodles of any sort are such a fabulously simple and versatile ingredient. If you, however, are not quite as infatuated with noodles, you can simply skip that step and serve plain or over rice. Enjoy 🙂

STEP ONE: Prepare Ingredients

Decide what kind of protein (if any) and what kind of vegetables you would like to use. For this tutorial, I used 1 pound scallops. Prep your protein – this can include trimming meat, slicing, and/or preparing seafood. For scallops, simply wash and rinse them and lay them in a colander to dry. If you use tofu, make sure you press that before frying. For meat, try to cut the meat into uniform sizes so it cooks evenly (bite-size pieces are usually the easiest to cook and eat).

Blog_October 06, 2012-6

Wash and rinse your vegetables. Depending on the season, I usually have at least 2-3 vegetables. Just like the meat, try to slice/chop the vegetables in an uniform size for even cooking.  In this recipe, I’ve used a variety of mushrooms, 1 squash, 1 bunch baby broccoli, 1 cup sugar snap peas, 1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, and sliced scallions to top. 

STEP TWO: Prepare Noodles

Cook your noodles. My favorite types of noodles are rice sticks (clear, thin noodles that don’t need boiling) and Chinese noodles Misua (like ramen noodles). Drain and set aside.

Blog_October 06, 2012-5

STEP THREE: Stir-fry

Heat a tbsp. of oil in a wok or large skillet. At this point, you will cook your protein and vegetables, but you have to decide which to do first. For example, meat will need to cook a bit longer so you would cook that first. Same with tofu. Seafood, on the other hand, I usually add after the vegetables have begun to soften because seafood needs very little time to cook in a stir-fry and over-cooking it ruins the dish.

If you are making this dish, cook your vegetables first and we will add the scallops later.

Stir-fry your vegetables and meat for about 5 minutes until meat is browned and vegetables softened.

Add 1 (13.5 oz) shaken can of lite coconut milk and 2 tbsp. red curry paste to the wok. Stir carefully to combine and mix the curry paste thoroughly. I like my curries hot, so I tend to add a lot of curry paste and sometimes a diced chile or jalapeno. You can experiment with different types of curries, but red is definitely my favorite.

Blog_October 06, 2012-4

If you are using seafood, add this AFTER the curry coconut broth has simmered for a few minutes. Simmer a few minutes more until the seafood is cooked through.

STEP FOUR: Put it together

Finally, add the noodles to the wok and stir to combine. Simmer for a few minutes just to warm the noodles. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Top with sliced scallions and/or cilantro if you like.

There you have it … super easy, flavorful, and healthy meals you can personalize based on your favorite ingredients!

Blog_October 06, 2012-2