Chicken Stir Fry With Rice Noodles

When time is short, the weather is hot and you are hungry for a real meal I find a stir fry can be a lifesaver of an entree.  It allows me to use whatever is in the fridge and pantry to create a fresh wholesome meal very quickly, less then 30 minutes including prep.

For a starch my go to choice is often rice noodles, they come in skinny to very wide size and are so easy to prepare.  They take on the flavor of the rest of the dish which can be handy; no flavor conflicts here.

This version I am sharing today is a chicken stir fry made with those delightful wide rice noodles you can get these days in most grocery stores.  I soak them in very hot water for ten minutes and drain well before stirring them into the completed dish.  Easy for sure!  This batch was marked as extra wide and they were just that.

Notes: the veggie amounts are very fluid; use more if you like a lot of something or skip if you hate.  Best made in a wok; I have a small one I use all the time.  I guess you can use a fry pan; keep it hot and stir constantly.

I actually ate the leftovers the day after for my supper: served it cold as a salad; added a touch more soy sauce and a swig of sesame oil and it was just delightful: refreshingly different.

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Chicken Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Ingredients:

Wide rice noodles; enough for 2 people

½ lb of chicken breast cut into bite sized bits

1-2 tbsp. cooking oil (I like mild olive oil)

1 medium onion cut down from the top and then into slices top to bottom

1 big carrot; sliced on the diagonal

1 celery stalk sliced on diagonal

1 cup broccoli chunks

1 baby bok choy; about 1 cup of cut up chunks (2 big stalks works too)

2/3 cup pea pods; either snap or sugar peas

1 big garlic clove minced

About ½ a tsp of grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/3 cup water

1-2 tsp. soy sauce (be sure it is gf)

Directions:

Put the noodles in a bowl half full of very hot water; I heat it in the microwave until almost boiling. I break them in half before putting in water; up to you if you like long strands. Let stand ten minutes.  Meanwhile, cut the chicken up into thin slices or chunks; nothing that can’t fit easily into someone’s mouth.  Heat mini wok, add oil.  Add chicken and stir it after a minute; flipping over; brown all over lightly; 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.  Add onion, celery and carrot, stir a minute or two then add broccoli and bok choy, stir 1-2 minutes.  Add the pea pods and garlic.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  You want the veggies to be a touch crisp but mostly cooked.

Add back the chicken and the ginger, stir well for 30 seconds to a minute.  Pour in the cornstarch water slurry and 1 tsp. soy sauce.  Stir as it cooks for one minute; add more water if not enough sauce to your liking. This last minute is critical to make the sauce clear; cooks the cornstarch. Taste and add more soy sauce if you want, also, season with salt and fresh black pepper to your liking.

I often use fruit juice for some or all of the water.  Pineapple is my favorite but orange juice or even lemon juice works well for some of the fluid; adds a lot of flavor. Add the noodles and stir well before serving.  Should serve 2 people easily, maybe 3 if one isn’t too hungry!

This is a naturally gluten free dish.  If you dislike rice noodles serve it over rice. Enjoy!

Gorgeous Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

A stir fry is a great way to get veggies into you and your family.  We like lots of different vegetables. I put in broccoli for my 3 year old grandson who will eat anything with broccoli in it. Plus carrots for color and sweetness, chunks of chicken breast for a protein source and a few other choice vegetables to round out the mix.  This stir fry is made with medium wide rice noodles, the kind you put in Pad Thai.  They are low calorie and have no eggs or dairy.  The fresh ginger is crazy good for you as is the garlic and all those fresh vegetables.

Don’t be afraid to change a vegetable if you don’t like something or don’t have it on hand. My rule of thumb is to try not to have more than five main veggies in it or it will lack a cohesive flavor profile.  I used chicken but it works great with thin sliced boneless pork or beef.  I actually love it made with light tuna packed in olive oil.  Don’t like pineapple juice: use orange juice or another fresh 100 percent real fruit juice. Dislike ginger: leave it out but that will reduce the flavor punch so you might need soy sauce after all.  If you hate rice noodles it can be served over brown or white rice. That is the beauty of a stir fry; flexibility in many directions.

Don’t be frightened of the rice noodles.  They are so simple to make. Just boil up enough water to cover the noodles; pour it over them in a bowl and let stand ten minutes.  Drain and they are ready to throw into the stir fry near the end.  Simple and they add authenticity without a lot of calories.  You can find them nowadays in many grocery stores in the international food section as well as in Chinese grocery stores.

This entree goes together very fast once you chop the vegetables.  I didn’t add any soy sauce or rice vinegar.  I liked the mild clean flavor: lets the ginger and garlic shine.  Add those other things if you must! Very important: try not to overcook it – soggy is not the way you want the veggies to look or taste.  They should be just barely tender.  Makes 3-4 servings depending on your hunger.

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Ginger Chicken and Noodles

Ingredients

1 cup pad thai noodles, broken up somewhat

1 ½ cup boiling water

¾ lb chicken breast tenders (or pork in thin strips)

1-2 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled

2 celery stalks

1 large carrot

1 cup zucchini slices

2 cups broccoli florets

2 thin slices fresh ginger cut into short strips

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp cornstarch

¼ cup pineapple juice

Prep: Chop onion long way in half and then into long strips.  Cut celery into thin slanted slices, same for carrot.  Cut zucchini into ¼ inch slices  and cut into half moons. Cut broccoli stems into thin rounds and separate the florets into bite sized bits.  Peel garlic and smash in press.  Put dry noodles into a bowl, cover with the hot water and let stand ten minutes and then drain. Reserve to add near the end of the cooking.

Stir fry directions: Cut chicken into small chunks and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a mini wok (9-10 inch diameter) and add half the oil. Heat not quite to smoking hot. Add the chicken; brown lightly on both sides, remove from pan, set aside. Add rest of oil to still hot pan. Add onion and carrot slices, stir for a minute, add celery, stir 2 minutes, add broccoli stems, cook a minute, add the tops, cook a minute, add the zucchini, garlic and ginger.  Cook until tender crisp.  Add chicken back in.  Stir a minute to heat it, add the noodles, stir briefly.  Mix the cornstarch and juice; pour over the stir fry.  Mix in and cook one minute. If you need more liquid add more juice or some water. Serve hot.

One Last Hot Soup for Winter 2015: Chicken Curry Noodle

Recently I fell ill with a pesky respiratory ailment and as I got sicker my body craved that old folk remedy: chicken noodle soup.  But, I was tired of the same old chicken soup which, lately, seemed light on flavor and not very exciting. I saw this recipe somewhere; frankly I was pretty ill and can’t even remember where I spied it.  Last weekend I just had to give it a try. It’s a humdinger of a spicy, flavorful brothy soup and just the ticket for whatever ails you or maybe you want to add a new flavor to your soup repertoire. It sure is not my usual chicken noodle!

This was one time I got adventurous with the Madras even though I am not a huge curry powder fan.  The spicy combination of hot peppers (I used a medium hot yellow hot one, an even milder green hot pepper and part of a sweet red pepper) and curry powder was great for opening my sinuses. The coconut milk pulls the flavors together to play nicely.  I used only one can of it but the original recipe used two. I could taste all the flavors, even stuffed up.   I loved every spoonful and felt better after imbibing!

I made my soup with some butternut squash which was already cooked and relaxing in my fridge. The original recipe used cooked cubes of red skinned yam, I plan on trying that version soon.  It also had fresh basil leaves shredded on top of each bowl; feel free to add some, There was no fresh basil around so my soup is without it.  I used some skinny rice noodles; the original recipe called for some weird sounding bean noodles.  I might use wider rice noodles in my next version or gf egg noodles.  You might use chicken breast if that is what is in the fridge or freezer. Add more chili garlic sauce if you love it hot; I went with the lesser amount; go as high as 2 tsp. if you dare!  I added the zucchini for more vegetable impact, add or subtract a vegetable of your choice….

That’s the one thing I want to stress in this post; you don’t have to have every single ingredient to make a soup recipe, its okay to make substitutions.  This is not baking, where you need to be more exact.  The only thing I ask is: don’t complain all over the place if you dislike the dish after you made huge changes to the ingredients.  I see that on foodnetwork.com and epicurious.com all the time and it makes me nuts.  No whiners!

So have fun and throw a different and spicy soup that will warm you totally up, it’s really not that spring like today and your body will thank you.

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Just after adding the zucchini slices.

 

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Ready to spoon out into the bowls.

Curry Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups of cubed cooked butternut squash or yams
7-ounce rice noodles, skinny or wide

4 cups gluten free chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics)
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
¾ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced

1 small zucchini sliced into half rounds

1-2 red, yellow and/or green chilies, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into half

Directions

Roast a butternut squash which you have cut in half the long way and seeded.  I place the halves cut face down on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray, bake at 375 or 400 degrees until soft; 30-40 minutes, depends on the size and thickness.  Another option is 1-2 yams roasted and cubed.

Add the rice noodles to 1 ½ cups boiling hot water, turn off the heat and let stand ten minutes. Drain.

In a soup pot, combine the chicken stock, coconut milk, curry powder, and chili garlic sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Add the sliced chicken thighs and cook for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini at the start of the last 4 minutes. You don’t want them overcooked, still a tad crisp. Add the squash or sweet potatoes and the soaked noodles and heat through. Add the chilies and green onions and squeeze in the lime juice.

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Serve the soup making sure you get some of the pepper chilies slices and green onions in each bowl.

Servings: four to six depending on bowl size.