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Monday, November 25, 2013

Apple & Sausage Pasta

Hello from Hilton Head! It's a little cold this year, with a high of 50 yesterday, but we're still spending as much time outside as possible! We discovered TJ's Take & Bake in 2003, and it's become a yearly tradition ever since.  Their motto is simple: "We make it fresh, you make it hot!" TJ's uses fresh ingredients and homemade dough to assemble pizzas, then customers pickup their orders and cook them at home.  Some of the other family Hilton Head traditions include: bike rides on the beach (check), a visit to Sea Pines Harbour Town (check), Thanksgiving dinner at Frankie Bones, and Black Friday at Tanger Outlets.

We stay at timeshares with (limited) kitchens, which we use for dinner a few times because eating out every night gets tiresome.  Preparing a menu to cook without knowing what kitchen supplies will be available, and without the staple ingredients we usually have in the pantry is quite a challenge for KK, but he takes it in stride.  He chose four recipes for this week, the first of which was this meal.  Despite the lack of good knives and a garlic press, the meal came together easily! If you can find it, IGE recommends using sweet-apple chicken sausage; ironically we usually avoid that flavor at home, but we were unable to find it at the HHI Harris Teeter.  To enhance the sweetness of the meal, use a sweet apple such as Honeycrisp or Fuji.  My dad recommended we use two apples instead of one next time, and I agree with him 100% (ingredients already updated)!

Apple & Sausage Pasta
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats
Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients
1 lb gemelli
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
12 oz. chicken sausage, sliced or crumbled
2 sweet apples, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
15 oz. Great Northern Beans can, drained and rinsed
6 oz. spinach
1 cup chicken broth
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining pasta.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute onions and sausage until sausage is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Break up any large pieces of sausage.  Toss in apple, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.  Continue sauteing 5 more minutes; apple pieces will become tender. Add beans, spinach, chicken broth, and Parmesan; stir 2-3 minutes until spinach is wilted.

3. Combine sausage and apple mixture with pasta, and stir until combined.  If desired, add reserved pasta water to reach desired consistency.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Paprika Chicken

Thanksgiving is just over a week away! Most people find it shocking that I'm not a fan of traditional Thanksgiving fare: I don't like cooked turkey, stuffing, gravy, or cranberry sauce.  Nevertheless, I love Thanksgiving because it means I get to spend time with my family.  Every year, we spend a week on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  While the temperature isn't typically warm enough for suntanning, the 60° weather is a much needed break from the 30-40s in the northeast.  We enjoy the break from work, spending time outside riding bikes and walking on the beach.  Our flight leaves early (5AM!) this Saturday, and it cannot come soon enough!

This dish was simply divine.  It met some of our top favorite recipe requirements: pasta, saucy, and spicy! Mirepoix was a new ingredient for me, and KK told me it’s actually in a few of my saved recipes.  Traditionally a French ingredient, mirepoix is a combination of chopped celery, carrots, and onion that is used as a flavor base for soups and sauces.  Thank you Wikipedia! I used even portions of the three ingredients, and have increased the amount from 1 cup to 1 ½ below because I thought the base sauce could use a little more flavor (and vegetables).  I decided to butterfly my chicken breasts to reduce the cook time, and it only took about 15 minutes for the chicken to cook through in step #3.  I have a few different types of paprika in my spice cabinet, so I used 2 parts spicy smoked paprika and 1 part sweet-smoked.  Using the sweet paprika took a bit of spicy edge out of the flavoring.  After adding the chicken, egg noodles, and caramelized onions to the sauce, our preference was to keep the mixture quite saucy, but you can always leave the mixture on the heat for a little while longer if you prefer the sauce level reduced a bit.  I'm normally not excited about leftovers, but I'm already thinking about having this for lunch today because it was just that good!

Paprika Chicken
Adapted from Feeding Andy
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 ½ cup mirepoix (small diced carrot, celery, and onion)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied
1 ½ Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup white cooking wine
1 bay leaf
Pinch of dried thyme
8 oz. egg noodles
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, julienned or thinly sliced
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup evaporated milk
Parsley, for topping

Directions
1. In a large Dutch oven or casserole dish (with a lid), melt butter under medium heat.  Add mirepoix and sauté for about 3-4 minutes.  Push mirepoix to one side and add chicken breasts in an even layer.  Cook for 2 minutes per side; chicken will not be cooked through.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and sprinkle paprika on top of the chicken; cover and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Sprinkle flour on top of the chicken; stir to make a paste of the flour, chicken, paprika, and mirepoix.  Increase heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth, cooking wine, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot.  Bring to a boil at high heat, and then reduce heat to a low simmer.  Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.  Remove chicken from pot, cut into bite-sized pieces, and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, cook egg noodles according to package directions.

5. While noodles cook, add olive oil to a medium sauté pan.  Sauté onions until they caramelize; season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

6. After removing the chicken, bring the sauce to a boil and reduce mixture by half, about 10 minutes.  Stir in evaporated milk and continue to reduce sauce until it is at desired consistency, about 5 minutes.  Stir in cooked egg noodles, onion, and chicken.  Garnish with parsley.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I must admit that I'd been avoiding this recipe for quite some time, but we were running out of recipes to cook before vacation so I had to bite the bullet and give it a try.  Why, you ask, was I avoiding it? I have another recipe for Chicken and Cheese Taquitos, and it just wasn't one of my favorites.  The original recipe was on the dry side, so I assumed this recipe would be the same.  WRONG! Annie's creamy version of taquitos was a home run in Apt. 3D!  The tortilla outside was nice and crispy, and the filling was the right amount of creamy.  It's hard to explain, but the crispy/creamy juxtaposition was just perfect.  I opted to top mine with salsa, and KK chose sour cream - either works.  Feel free to use smaller tortillas, and adjust the quantity of filling for each taquito accordingly.  If you're a busy bee, without much time to cook on a regular weeknight, you can assemble the taquitos on the weekend and freeze them.  When you're ready to eat them, just add a few additional minutes to the original bake time to ensure the filling is warmed through.  If the tops of the taquitos start to burn, cover them with tinfoil, and move the oven rack to its lowest position for the last few minutes of cook time.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

1 lb. chicken, shredded or cut into cubes
1 small onion, chopped
Cooking spray
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup salsa
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp. onion powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
5-6 burrito-sized tortillas
Salsa and sour cream, optional topping

Directions
1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken and onions until chicken is no longer pink.  Plate and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 425; line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray.

3. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, spices, garlic, chicken and onion mixture, and shredded cheese.  Stir together until thoroughly combined.

4. If tortillas are not pliable, heat tortillas in microwave for 20 seconds.  Spoon about ¼ cup of the filling mixture on one edge of the tortilla.  Roll tortilla tightly around the filling, and place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.  Spray tops of taquitos lightly with cooking spray.

5. Bake 15-20 minutes, until crisp and slightly browned.  Serve with sour cream and salsa, if desired.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Apple Crumb Pie

Since this is only the second pie I’ve ever made, I didn't have a favorite pie crust recipe to use.  The timing of Mel’s Kitchen post about pies was perfect – she posted about them the same week I planned to bake a pie.  I recommend reading the pie crust instructions carefully before you get started because it’s important to work quickly once you start combining the ingredients.  The less hands-on time you can manage with the crust, the better crust you’ll end up with! Without a box grater in my kitchen, I used my mandolin for “grating” the frozen butter.  It was an excellent improvisation until I cut my thumb on the last tiny piece I was slicing.  Ouch! I was surprised to see sour cream on the list of ingredients, but apparently that’s quite common.  As instructed, I used regular sour cream instead of following my instinct to use a low fat or fat free version.  I don’t know what the sour cream adds to the crust, but I know it resulted in a crust that was easy to roll out and get into a pie plate, and it was perfectly flaky and delicious.  I think this will now be my go-to pie crust recipe!

My original intent was to make a lattice top pie using my Freezer Apple Pie Filling, but this recipe's crumb streusel looked too tasty and easy to pass up.  The crumb topping not only saved me time (didn’t have to make/roll out another pie crust), but it also added some sweetness to the pie.  After about an hour in the oven, the edges of my crust started to brown, but the apples weren’t cooked through.  If you’ve ever tried cutting aluminum foil strips and covering a pie crust in a hot pie dish – you know it’s a near impossible feat to accomplish without burning yourself or damaging the crimped crust.  A little Googling revealed an ingenious solution for this predicament! Following Real Simple’s instructions, I cut a 12-inch square of aluminum foil, folded it in half twice, and then cut a circle out from the center.  After unfolding the foil, I had a piece that covered the edges of my pie perfectly! This pie can be served warm or at room temperature.  I brought this pie to my brother-in-law’s house over the weekend, and I thought it was delicious at room temperature, but KK opted to heat his slice in the microwave for 20 seconds.  Diner’s choice! Enjoy!

Apple Crumb Pie
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen
Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Serves: 8-10

Pie Filling Ingredients
Freezer Apple Pie Filling

Pie Crust Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, frozen
½ cup + 1 tsp regular sour cream

Crumb Topping Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, refrigerated and cut into small pieces

Directions
1. Thaw Freezer Apple Pie Filling in the refrigerator overnight; drain excess liquid prior to baking.

2. For the crust: Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.  Grate frozen butter into the dry ingredients.

3. Toss the butter-flour mixture with a fork until the pieces of butter are thoroughly coated.  Using the same fork, mix in the sour cream, mashing down any lumps in the mixture.  Do not overwork the dough, but use your hands to combine the dough and bring it into a rough ball.  The dough can either be used immediately, or stored in plastic wrap for 1-2 days in the refrigerator or one month in the freezer.

4. Lightly flour the counter when you’re ready to roll out the pie crust.  Use a rolling pin, and firmly roll the dough from the center outwards, turning 90° every few strokes to prevent sticking.  Roll the dough out as thin as possible, re-flouring the counter if the crust begins to stick.  Roll the dough over the rolling pin and unroll it over the pie plate.  Carefully lift the edges of the crust and push it into the bottom of the pie plate.

5. Using clean kitchen scissors, trim the crust edges, leaving ¼-inch around the sides.  Fold up the overhanging crust and crimp the edges with your fingers, or a fork.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.

6. Make the topping: Combine topping ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a fork or your fingers until coarsely combined.

7. Preheat oven to 375°.  Fill pie crust with prepared/thawed apple slices; top with crumb mixture.  Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.  Check pie after 1 hour; if crust has started to brown, cover edges with aluminum foil, and continue baking until apples are tender; crust should be golden brown, not burned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Freezer Apple Pie Filling

I made this freezer apple pie filling back in September after we went apple picking, and am just getting around to using it! After I peeled and cored the apples, KK cut them into slices.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember how many apples we used, but it felt like a lot.  I split the 6 lbs. of sliced apples into four quart-sized bags, but since you need about 3 lbs. for a pie, next time I’ll just split it into two bags (or make more filling!).  I also made this pie filling last October, but it spoiled when we lost power during Hurricane Sandy, so I never got to make a pie out of it.  The original Cooks.com recipe did not indicate whether or not the apples should thaw before baking, but I ultimately decided to thaw and drain them before baking.  Stay tuned for the crust and pie recipe, but I've decided that thawing the frozen filling was a good decision – the apples maintained their shape, and the pie wasn’t too sweet.  If you prefer a sweeter pie, consider adding some sugar back to the filling once it’s drained.  If you decide not to thaw the apples, you’ll need to increase the baking time.

Freezer Apple Pie Filling
Adapted from Cooks.com
Time: 30 minutes
Filling for 2 pies (9.5-in)

Ingredients
6 lbs. apples
1 Tbsp vinegar
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions
1. Wash, peel, core and slice apples.  Fill a large bowl with water and 1 Tbsp vinegar, and use this as a soaking solution to prevent darkening as you prepare the apples.  After all the apples are sliced, drain and rinse apples; return slices to the bowl.

2.  Combine sugar, flour, spices, and pour over apples; coat with lemon juice and toss to combine.  Let stand until juices thicken, about 15 minutes.  Divide mixture between two freezer containers.  Seal and freeze until ready for use.

3. For baking: Thaw for one day prior to use; drain and place into a pie crust and bake at 375 for 1 hour 20 minutes, until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slow Cooker Pesto Meat Sauce

It's snowing. It started as rain, but then turned to snow! I'm getting into the holiday spirit by burning my favorite wintertime Yankee Candles, Red Apple Wreath and Sparkling Cinnamon, and cooking up some hearty meals like this Pesto Meat Sauce last Friday and some Easy Tomato Florentine Soup tonight.  What are you doing to get into the holiday spirit?

I worked from home on Friday, and was hungry all day because the scent of the Pesto Meat Sauce was permeating through the apartment. I started the slow cooker at 11AM, and the apartment smelled glorious within an hour! The best part about this sauce was that it came together very quickly.  After removing the casings from the chicken sausage, I used a spoon to crumble it as it cooked.  While the sausage cooked, I mixed the rest of the ingredients together in the bowl of the crockpot.  If you have them, feel free to throw in fresh herbs.  Finish cooking the sausage, stir it together with the rest of the ingredients, cover the crockpot and set to cook on low, then walk away! KK stated the rigatoni while I was at the gym, and dinner was ready by the time I got home.  I should warn you that the ingredients listed below make a lot of sauce.  We split the leftovers into two portions - one to refrigerate and eat later this week, and the other to freeze and thaw for dinner another time.  If you aren't feeding an entire army, or if you don't want so many leftovers, consider halving this recipe.  My HelloVino app recommended a Syrah or Merlot, so we paired the meat sauce with a bottle of Doyenne Signature Syrah from DeLille Cellars.

Slow Cooker Pesto Meat Sauce
Adapted from Plain Chicken
Time: 10 minutes + 8 hours
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients
1 ½ lb chicken sausage, casings removed
⅓ cup pesto
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried sage
1 Tbsp sugar
½ cup Parmesan cheese

Directions
1. Cook sausage in large skillet until browned, about 5-8 minutes. Drain fat and transfer to 6-quart slow cooker.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Serve with your favorite pasta.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Oatmeal Cream Pies

KK and I have not properly celebrated Halloween together since 2010.  We were on vacation in 2011 (Spain) and 2012 (Thailand), and this year we were just lame (masks for Dia de Los Muertos don't exactly count as proper costumes).  That being said, I've started gathering supplies for a costume to wear at my friend's annual Ugly Sweater Holiday party.  Instead of wearing the same old, ugly sweater, I'm getting crafty.  Stay tuned for the reveal next month! In other news, KK and I are visiting our twin niece and nephew this weekend and I could not be more excited!!! They're two months old now, and are apparently growing like crazy.  I'm going to use some apples from apple picking to make a pie for our visit (more for my brother and sister-in-law than the twins).  Since I don't have an apple pie post ready for you yet, I'm posting about a different type of pie instead!

Yum, yum, yum! I made these cookies for giant Jenga night a few weeks ago, and there were plenty leftover for us to enjoy while tailgating at the Jets-Pats game.  Having a hands-free electric mixer, such as a Kitchen Aid, really made this recipe easier.  I love being able to toss ingredients into the mixer’s bowl, and then walk away for a few minutes while the mixture combines.  This is the first time I’ve seen a cookie recipe that requires the baking soda to be dissolved in hot water before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.  After some quick Googling, I learned that dissolving baking soda helps get it evenly distributed in the dough and gets it activated before putting the cookies in the oven.   To  be honest, I don’t really understand why you’d want the baking soda activated early, but I do know that the cookies ended up flattening evenly which led to better sandwiches! My gelatin was very old, so the filling mixture took almost an hour to set; I tried filling the cookies before it set but ended up with a runny mess, so it’s worth the wait to get perfect cookies! Use as much or as little filling as you please; I opted to keep mine fairly thin in an effort to emulate Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Crème Pies.  I was a bit worried because the cookies were quite hard after they cooled, but they softened from the moisture of the marshmallow filling and turned out perfectly!

Oatmeal Cream Pies
Adapted from Beantown Baker
Makes: 20-24 sandwiches

Cookie Ingredients
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp boiling water

Filling Ingredients
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unflavored gelatin (about 1 ½ packets)
⅓ + ¼ cup water (divided)
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. vegetable shortening

Cookie Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease baking sheets and set aside.  Alternatively, line baking sheets with parchment paper or splats.

2. Using an electric mixer or Kitchen Aid, cream the butter, brown sugar, and eggs.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together salt, flour, and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture, along with cinnamon and oats.  Mix well.

4. Using the now empty small bowl, combine baking soda and boiling water, then pour into the rest of the batter. Again, mix well.

5. Drop by the tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake until cookies are firm and begin to turn golden brown around the edges, 5-8 minutes.  Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.

Filling Directions
1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over ⅓ cup cold water. Let stand, stirring once or twice until the gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

2. In a 2-quart saucepan on medium-high heat, combine sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup hot water until blended.  Raise heat to high and bring mixture to a full boil, then stir at full boil for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat, and stir in gelatin mixture until it fully dissolves.

3. Transfer mixture to the Kitchen Aid bowl; stir in vanilla and beat for 20 seconds at medium speed.  Gradually increase speed to high and mix for 5 minutes, until mixture is stiffened, white, and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.  Add shortening and beat until completely smooth.

4. Allow the filling mixture to thicken 10-15 minutes, or until it sets, before assembling the cookie sandwiches.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Stuffed Pepper-oni

I hope everyone's feeling well rested, thanks to the extra hour of daylight savings sleep! I wasn't sure what time it was when I woke up because some of the clocks had changed, and others hadn't.  Does that happen to anyone else? :) I'm spending the day relaxing on the couch, enjoying a homemade blend of Dunkin' Donuts French vanilla and hazelnut coffee, and tracking my brave friends running the ING NYC Marathon.  Speaking of running - KK and I participated in a "race" yesterday in honor of my friend's 30th birthday.  She organized 30 of her friends and family for a 3.0 (like 30!) mile run.  With prizes at stake, KK left me behind, but it paid off because he was the winner! Surprisingly, I was the first female to finish - talk about a power couple! Central Park was packed with people enjoying the unexpectedly warm November weekend, so we picnicked on the Great Lawn after the run, enjoying bagels and Baked by Melissa cupcakes.  After whipping up some Tofu Pad Thai for dinner, we met some friends at Cadillac Cantina for Dia de Los Muertos festivities.  I'm not a fan of face paint, so we copped out and wore some skeleton masks.  Our friends, however, really got into it with spooky skeleton face paint and festive dresses. Yikes!

I've made stuffed peppers before, so I was intrigued with this method of cooking the peppers.  I decided these stuffed peppers needed to be precooked because there was no moisture in the pepper filling.  Without boiling the peppers, they might have taken a lot longer to cook.  KK was in charge of grocery shopping this week, so he picked out one pepper of each color – red, orange, yellow, and green – so we had quite a colorful dinner! I prepared the stuffed peppers when I got home from work, then left for a gym class.  KK put the peppers in the oven a little later so they would be done when I got home from the gym.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect! These could easily be turned into a vegetarian dish by omitting the pepperoni; one could even add additional veggies like mushrooms, olives, or eggplant, but don’t go too overboard, otherwise you’ll run out of room in the peppers!

Stuffed Pepper-oni
Adapted from Noble Pig
Time: 50 minutes
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
4 large bell peppers (any color)
1 cup diced pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 package croutons
3 cups marinara sauce
Parmesan cheese, for topping

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375.  Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds; place peppers in a large pot.  Cover peppers with salted water; cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, place pepperoni in a skillet and fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Combine pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and croutons in a bowl and toss together.

4. Pour marinara sauce into bottom of an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish.  Stuff peppers with pepperoni-crouton mixture and place in the prepared baking dish.  Cover with tinfoil and bake for 35-40 minutes.  When ready to serve, scoop marinara sauce over peppers; top with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Soy Peanut Noodles

TGIF and happy belated Halloween! KK and I opted to lay low last night, cooking up some Cajun Ranch Chicken Pasta and watching football.  Sadly, we didn't have any trick-or-treaters this year... guess the few kids in our building found loot elsewhere.  Instead of celebrating Halloween the traditional way, we're celebrating Dia de Los Muertos on Saturday at Cadallic Cantina with a few friends.  Today, KK is on a mission to find us some skeleton-faced masks so we can celebrate in style! Before the celebrations begin tomorrow evening, KK and I are running a 5K for a friend's birthday in Central Park.  It'll be my first time running in Central Park, so I am kind of looking forward to the scenery around the reservoir.  Even though getting up early and running aren't normally on my list of favorite things to do, it's just one of those things we'll happily do for our friends!

We had a menu mix-up earlier this week! KK had planned to make Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos, but he didn’t realize cilantro couldn’t be substituted for basil pesto.  Whoops! KK had this peanut noodle dish on the menu for later in the week, so we bumped it up a few days and added the chicken that was already thawing in the refrigerator.  Crisis averted! If you don’t have thin spaghetti, you can use regular noodles, or any sort of asian noodles – rice, udon, or soba – anything works! The sauce was a strange mix of salty and sweet, but I really enjoyed it.  We also opted to double the sauce which turned out to be a good decision.  Spiced up with some Sriracha on top, KK and I both went back for seconds, and I demolished the leftovers for lunch earlier this week.  Along with Tofu Pad Thai, I think this will be one of our go-to meals when the pantry is looking bare or I don’t have a lot of time/energy to put into dinner!

Soy Peanut Noodles
Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients
½ lb. thin spaghetti
1 lb. chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp vegetable or canola oil, divided
5 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
4 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Directions
1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook chicken pieces, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, peanut butter, honey, ginger, and garlic.

4. Add spaghetti, sauce, and peanuts to the skillet of cooked chicken.  Toss with tongs to coat and serve immediately.
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