Ahhhh, it's summer! The last month has been BUSY! School and all those school-year activities wrapped up. We've had recitals, open houses and field trips galore. Then, before we could even catch our collective breath, we took off over the Memorial Day weekend to visit our far-flung family and friends. Not to mention, my hubby has been super busy at work, so his help around the house has been spotty at best.
With that in mind, in order to get dinner on the table, I've needed food that could be prepared in advance -- usually during nap time -- that could cook for a few hours (i.e. slow cooker recipes!) or foods that could be served cold. This recipe fits the bill perfectly! Not to mention, it makes a huge amount of food, so we could easily get two family meals out of it. Yay for "twofers"!
The original recipe does not add chicken, but I knew my family would revolt without a little meat somewhere. But you could easily leave it out. Also, if peanut butter is a no-no in your house, I would recommend using sunbutter.
Sesame Noodles with Golden Garlic
Source: Adapted from All You
3 tbsp. canola or coconut oil
4 large cloves garlic, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 lb. chicken breast, thinly sliced, optional
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
1 lb. spaghetti
½ cup peanut butter
1 cup reserved pasta water (likely won't use all of it)
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1-2 tsp. MSPI-friendly fish sauce, optional
Salt, to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta to the water and cook, according to package directions, to al dente. (While pasta is cooking, you can prep your veggies and chicken.) Before draining the pasta, remove 1 cup of cooking water from the pot and set it aside. Drain pasta well and rinse under running water. Place noodles in a large bowl and return the pot to the stove.
Warm oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. (Do not step away from the stove. The garlic will burn if you don't watch it closely!) Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Leave the oil in the pot and return it to the stove top.
If using chicken, add it to the oil in the pot and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken and add to the noodles. Return pot to the stove top.
Add the vegetables to the pot and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the noodles.
In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, ½ cup pasta cooking water, vinegar and sesame oil until blended. Add salt to taste. Drizzle the sauce over the noodles, chicken and vegetables and toss until well coated. Add more pasta cooking water, if so desired, and adjust seasoning to taste.
The dish can be served now while warm, or refrigerated and served cold. Sprinkle golden garlic and green onions over pasta just before serving.
Tip: I don't give a measurement on how much salt to use in the sauce because it will greatly depend on how much salt you put in your pasta cooking water and whether you use fish sauce.
Vegetarian: Leave out the chicken and fish sauce.