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.

 

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
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

 

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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
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.

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Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach

BLOG_May 02, 2014

Happy Saturday everyone!

It actually feels like spring here and I LOVE it. A cool breeze, sunshine, and blooming flowers make me oh so happy. I usually don’t run with my phone, but I’ve been carrying it with me because I’m obsessed with documenting the spring beauty in my neighborhood! What is your favorite thing about spring?

BLOG_May 02, 2014-2

I am taking a little break from a beautiful day on the porch to get up this post. I made this last night and liked it so much I decided to post it asap. One skillet and a fairly short ingredient list makes a really simply but delicious meal. I served it as is for a low carb entree, but this would also be great over pasta or rice, or with roasted baby potatoes. You could experiment with the Italian seasoning I used on the chicken and use any variety of dried herbs/spices. I really liked Badia’s Garlic & Parsley.

Enjoy your Saturday everyone!

Creamy Tuscan Chicken with Spinach
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Q&DK
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. flour, divided
  • 1-2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend (I like Badia’s Garlic & Parsley)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken cutlets, thin-sliced (about 1.15 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (14.5oz) can Diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano (no salt added variety), undrained
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Progresso’s Tuscany Chicken Broth (or regular chicken broth)
  • 8 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp. cream or half-and-half
Instructions
  1. Mix together 3 tbsp. of the flour, seasoning blend, and S/P on a plate or shallow dish. Coat each chicken cutlet in the flour, shaking excess.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook about 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Add more oil if needed. Remove the chicken from skillet and set aside. Tent with foil or stick in the oven to keep warm.
  3. Heat another tbsp. of olive oil in the same skillet, scraping up browned bits from the chicken. Add the onion; cook a few minutes until tender. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. of flour. Add the tomatoes and stock. (If you use a low-sodium chicken stock you may want to add some salt/seasoning. The Tuscany blend I mentioned in the ingredient list will not need any more seasoning.) Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off and add the spinach leaves in batches. Stir constantly so the spinach wilts and softens. Once the spinach is softened, stir in the cream. Add the chicken and serve immediately.

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Slow Cooker: Smoky Braised Chicken with Fennel

braised smoky chicken

Smoked Paprika. I almost think I could eat it by the spoonful. It is by far my favorite spice, enriching everything it touches with a complex, smoky flavor. This recipe really lets the smoked paprika shine alongside tender, flavorful chicken and sweet fennel.

Recipe notes: If you don’t like fennel, you can substitute those for sweet onions. Also, for deeper flavor I give my chicken a nice brown before adding to a slow cooker. You can skip that step and just add the raw chicken to the slow cooker if you prefer.

Slow Cooker: Smoky Braised Chicken with Fennel
 
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Slightly adapted, Real Simple
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Olive oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 small fennel bulbs, cut into wedges, plus fennel fronds to garnish
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. smoked paprika (sweet, not hot)
  • 1/2 tsp. each S/P
Instructions
  1. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken thighs on both sides, set aside. (You can skip this step, but I think chicken tastes better when browned before adding to a slow cooker – your call.)
  2. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken and fennel are tender, on low for 6-7 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  3. Serve hot and sprinkle with fennel fronds.
 
Notes
If you don’t like fennel, you can substitute those for sweet onions. Also, for deeper flavor I give my chicken a nice brown before adding to a slow cooker. You can skip that step and just add the raw chicken to the slow cooker if you prefer.