Let’s talk the contents of my refrigerator and Hot and Sour Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Chicken.
Open my postcard/wedding invitation/birth announcement/sassy sayings-covered refrigerator door on any given day and you will find:
- 17 different types of mustard. Just kidding. Sort of.
- Leftovers packed in lunch-sized containers, then stacked like an interactive Tetris game. (Recent cargo: Skinny Greek Mac and Cheese; Vegetarian Bibimbap; 20-Minute Healthy Ricotta Pasta)
- Almond milk (for smoothies), skim milk (for cooking/cereal), buttermilk (for baking), half and half (for coffee), heavy cream (for life).
- Half-eaten dessert with the lid slightly askew; fork marks indicate direct fridge-to-mouth consumption. (Reference: Irish Whiskey Brownie Pie)
- Assorted cheeses.
- Part-empty bottle of white wine—unless you are checking after 9 p.m., in which case check the recycling bin instead.
- Salsa, hummus, pickles, and almond butter. Always and forever.
- A comfortable supply of butter.
Without fail, my refrigerator will also contain:
- A random assortment of orphaned vegetables I feel too guilty to throw away.
Throughout the week, rogue vegetables migrate to my crisper, then give me the stink eye for neglecting them. I recently found myself in a stare-down with a half-used head of cabbage and an almost-empty carton of chicken broth.
Kitchen combat commenced, and I emerged victorious with a pan of Hot and Sour Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Chicken as my prize.
Hot and Sour Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Chicken is a simple, flavorful and healthy stir fry dinner that comes together in 30 minutes (just like this Zucchini Stir Fry).
I supplemented my cabbage with frozen stir fry veggies that I keep on hand, but you can use any fresh or frozen vegetables you like (or have languishing in the fridge.)
The chicken and vegetables are quickly stir fried with ginger, chili, and garlic, then mixed with whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
Tangy rice vinegar, toasty sesame oil, savory soy sauce, and fiery red pepper flakes are added directly to the pan to create an instant, multi-dimensional sauce—no cooking required.
A shower of crunchy roasted peanuts provides the final flourish of texture and flavor.
The entire process requires only two pans, one for the pasta, one for everything else.
Hot and Sour Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Chicken may be been inspired by my need to find a happy ending for our straggling produce, but its ease of preparation and dynamite taste have earned it a place on our regular weeknight menu.
From my refrigerator, with love: Hot and Sour Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Chicken.
Hot and Sour Noodle Stir Fry with Peanut Chicken
- 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or similar long, thin noodles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for coating pasta)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed into bite-sized pieces (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh ginger (1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger)
- 3 cloves garlic about 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 16 ounces frozen stir fry vegetables, thawed (or any fresh or frozen vegetables you have on hand—I used Trader Joe’s Harvest Hodgepodge)
- 1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (unsalted and roasted) plus additional for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender. Drain and toss with a little olive oil to prevet sticking. Set aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, half of the ginger, half of the garlic, and the salt. Saute until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- To the skillet, add the stir fry vegetables, cabbage, remaining ginger and garlic, and sauté until the vegetables are hot and the cabbage is slightly tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add the broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Cook 2 minutes.
- Add the reserved pasta, reserved chicken, peanuts and pepper flakes to pan. Toss gently to combine, then serve warm, topped with additional roasted peanuts and red pepper flakes as desired.
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