Wow, that summer flew by!
My girls started back to school yesterday! It was their first day in their new school, and I was, admittedly, a little bit nervous for them. In fact, I think I was more nervous than they were! They never left my mind during the day, and I wanted to make sure that I had a quick and easy dinner to put together that night, so that we’d have all the time we needed to discuss how the day went. I wanted to be there to hug them if they needed it, and to lend an ear if they wanted to vent about being the new kid. I was waiting for stories of new friends and new adventures. I was ready to be Super Mom.
In true kid fashion, they were unphased. They had a great day, no issues, and the discussion of how Day One went lasted about five minutes, total, and then they were off doing their thing.
Oh well, I still had a nice and simple meal to throw together for dinner.
This meal is bright and fresh, and perfect for a warm summer school day.
I started by prepping my noodles. I used thin rice noodles, that I was able to find in the Asian section of my grocery. They don’t require stove-top cooking, but instead, soften up in warm water on the countertop.
You could substitute thin, angel hair pasta, if you can’t find the rice noodles, but then you’d need to cook them according to the package on the stove.
As the noodles were softening up, I quickly cooked up about a pound of thin chicken breasts in a pan on the stove. Once they were cooked through, and browned nicely, I removed them and set them aside while I prepped my vegetables.
Getting all of the prep work out of the way is key when making a stir fry type dinner like this. Get everything chopped, minced, measured and set aside so that when cooking time comes, you’re ready to go.
So, in the spirit of prep, I sliced up some scallions, a carrot, and snow peas. I also chopped up a bit of cilantro to top the finished product with. I measured out a bit of roasted hot chili paste, and then combined it with some minced garlic and fresh ginger.
Finally, I measured out some chicken broth, and combined it with a hefty dose of fresh lime juice, a dash of Thai fish sauce (nam pla) and some brown sugar.
Then…we were ready to sizzle.
I placed the pan I’d used to cook the chicken back over low heat. To the hot pan, I added my garlic-ginger-chili mixture and gave it a good stir for a minute or so.
Once the garlic was sizzling and fragrant, in went the broth, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar.
Once the sugar had dissolved, I tossed in my vegetables, cooked them for about a minute, and then added in my softened noodles and the chicken, that I’d sliced up while the veggies were cooking.
I tossed the noodles and chicken in with the vegetables and sauce for about three minutes, just long enough to heat everything through and for that bright, flavorful sauce to permeate every last bit of it.
I served it up in bowls, and sprinkled the servings with a bit of that chopped cilantro. It was delicious! The lime juice brings out the freshness, and for those of you scared off by heat, don’t think the chili paste will burn! It just gave it some deep flavor, it wasn’t too spicy at all. (My kids ate it with no problem.)
So, the first day of school was a success and dinner was a delicious new discovery. It was a great day overall!
THAI NOODLES WITH CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
Adapted from Weight Watchers
- ¼ lb thin rice noodles
- 2 tsp. canola oil
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp.jarred hot chili paste
- ½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- ½ tsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1 cup fresh snow peas, halved and trimmed if needed
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Place the noodles in a large bowl. Add enough hot water to cover the noodles. Allow the noodles to soften in the hot water for about 10 minutes, until soft. Drain, and transfer to a bowl with cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain again, and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice the chicken into ¼ inch thick slices and set aside.
- As the chicken is cooking, prep your veggies and get your sauce ingredients together.
- Heat the same skillet over low heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili paste. Give it a good stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the broth, lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar to the pan. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 seconds.
- Add the snow peas, scallions and carrots to the sauce. Cook 1 minute.
- Stir in the chicken and softened noodles, tossing to coat with the sauce and mix with the veggies.
- Cook until heated through, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve.