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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Grab-and-Go Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowls

Grab-and-Go Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowls_menu musings.com
So in between jobs, moving, shoulder surgery, kids going off to college and life happening here, there and everything else, I've been doing a bit of meal prep for a few precious friends.  It gets my mind off of what's coming down the line for me with my dominant arm.  Sheesh.   So anyway,  I'm sure you all know the value of meal prep by now.  You put in the time and effort on the front end, and it helps you make some wiser decisions throughout the week.  It also helps you save money by buying in bulk.  One of the major criticisms I hear from friends is, "I don't want to eat the same thing for several days."  Okay.  I can get that.  So maybe if there's a group of you, each of you could prep a different meal and then share the meals so you have the benefits of time, good choices, diet restrictions and savings but you wouldn't have to eat the same meal you prepped each day.  Genius, right?  

That leads to these beauties.  I think I have always been in love with anything Thai.  Oh, and everything noodles.  So a Thai noodle bowl is right up my alley!  These are actually meant to be eaten cold, which is fantastic for throwing in the refrigerator at work for your brown bag lunch.  They are equally great for your teen's lunch, your girl's group and that poor starving college kid you are sending back to the dorms.  Believe me, it's so awesome to come home and find a great grab-and-go meal that you can just pull out of the fridge and pop the top off of when you are worn out from a long day!


Ingredients: (4 servings)

Grab-and-Go Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowls_menu musings.comPeanut Sauce
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 fresh lime juiced
  • 3/4 tsp ginger paste 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tsp canned coconut milk
  • warm water - to desired consistency 
Ginger Lime Chicken
  • Majority of a can of coconut milk, reserving enough for dipping sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.25 pounds), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Seasoning of choice (I used Montreal Steak Seasoning)
Thai Peanut Noodle Bowls 
  • 8 oz dry spaghetti noodles
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli slaw (Super Blend)
    • containing:  Brussels sprouts, Napa cabbage, Kohlrabi, Broccoli, Carrots & Kale
  • 1/2 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 red/orange bell pepper chopped 
  • 1/3 cup shelled edamame 
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions chopped 
  • Optional - sesame seeds, garnish
  • Optional - chopped roasted peanuts, garnish
*I adapted this recipe from a mashup between my Thai Ginger Lime Chicken Skewers with Peanut Curry Dipping Sauce  and Thai Peanut Chicken Meal Prep Bowls from valerieskitchen.com.

Step-by-Step:
I gave you the ingredient amounts for 4 servings.  In the photos, I was making 12 servings, so obviously I will appear to be using much more than the amount listed... because I am!  I am showing you the process of making the recipe.  Under each, I will list amounts for both 4 servings and 12 servings.  I hope it will be helpful.

Marinate the chicken (1 - 8 hours) in a zip top bag in the coconut milk, ginger paste, chopped cilantro and lime juice.  
Chicken breasts + coconut milk
(reserve some for the peanut sauce)

*I planned on 0.33 pounds per person of chicken.  I hope that helps you if you are serving more than just a few.
Chopped fresh cilantro
4 sv - 1/4 cup
12 sv - 3/4 cup or lg handful
Ginger paste
4 sv - 1 tsp
12 sv - 1 Tbsp
I needed to thaw these chicken breasts overnight, so I popped them into the refrigerator.  Buying in bulk is a money saving option for me when cooking larger quantities. 
 If using fresh chicken breasts, you can totally skip that refrigerator step and move straight into the "bite-sized pieces" step.  

Juice of 1 large lime.
Allow to sit and marinate at least 30 minutes or so.
Season chicken with seasoning blend of choice, then oven roast for around 15 min or until internal temperature is 165 F.  This will depend on ovens and size of your chicken pieces.  You could also pat them dry and pan saute them in a bit of vegetable oil if you wish; but oven roasting takes care of all of them at once and uses zero extra oil. 
Pat your chicken pieces dry.  Sprinkle with seasoning blend of choice.  Oven roast.
I set the cooling racks over parchment paper for super easy pan cleanup.
While chicken is roasting,  prepare the peanut sauce.  Combine all ingredients in food processor, adding warm water last to thin out the sauce to desired consistency.  
Creamy peanut butter
4 sv - 1/2 cup
12 sv - 1 1/2 cup
Soy Sauce
4 sv - 2 Tbsp
12 sv - 6 Tbsp
Honey
4 sv - 2 Tbsp
12 sv - 6 Tbsp
Rice Vinegar
4 sv - 2 Tbsp
12 sv - 6 Tbsp
Fresh squeezed lime juice
4 sv - 1/2 lime juice
12 sv - 1 lg lime juiced
Ginger paste
4 sv - 3/4 tsp
12 sv - 2 1/4 tsp 
Garlic paste
4 sv - 1/2 tsp
12 sv - 1 1/2 tsp 
Curry Powder
4 sv - 1/4 tsp
12 sv - 3/4 tsp
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4 sv - 1/4 tsp
12 sv - 3/4 tsp
Coconut Milk
4 sv - 2 Tbsp
12 sv - 1/4 cup
 Blend until smooth.
 Add warm water until desired consistency is reached.
Warm water.  Amount will vary. (perhaps 1/3 cup - 1 cup)
Distribute sauce in individual 2oz portion cups or a resealable jar.  Sauce may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. 


Have water boiling in a large stock pot.  To boiling, salted water, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain cooked pasta and rinse under cold water.  Toss with sesame oil and set aside.  

Cooked, Drained, Rinsed Pasta
4 sv - 8 oz dry pasta + 1 Tbsp sesame oil
12 sv - 24 oz dry pasta + 3 Tbsp sesame oil
Mix broccoli slaw with cucumbers, bell peppers, edamame, cilantro and green onions.  Toss to combine. 
Broccoli Slaw "Super Blend"
4 sv - 2 1/2 cups
12 sv - 7 1/2 cups
Chopped Cucumbers
4 sv - 1/2 cups
12 sv - 1 1/2 cups
Red/Orange Bell Peppers
4 sv - 1/2 bell pepper
12 sv - 1 1/2 bell pepper
Chopped Fresh Cilantro
4 sv - 1/3 cup
12 sv - 1 cup
Shelled Edamame (frozen)
4 sv - 1/2 cup
12 sv - 1 1/2 cups
Toss to combine.  Just look at these colors!
Add broccoli slaw on one side of meal prep containers, noodles on the other.  Make room for the peanut dipping sauce in the middle.  Divide the chicken around the dipping sauce.  Garnish the noodles and chicken with sesame seeds and chopped peanuts if desired.  
Grab-and-Go Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowls_menu musings.com
 Store noodles bowls in the refrigerator for up to four days in air-tight meal prep containers.  
Grab-and-Go Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowls_menu musings.com
* I'm going to be honest.  When I eat mine, I like to mix it all together and make a salad out of it.  But you enjoy it any and each way you prefer.
Grab-and-Go Thai Peanut Chicken Noodle Bowls_menu musings.com
Written Method:
Marinate the chicken (1 - 8 hours) in a zip top bag in the coconut milk, ginger paste, chopped cilantro and lime juice.  Season chicken with seasoning blend of choice, then oven roast for around 15 min or until internal temperature is 165 F.  This will depend on ovens and size of your chicken pieces.  

While chicken is roasting,  prepare the peanut sauce.  Combine all ingredients in food processor, adding warm water last to thin out the sauce to desired consistency.  Distribute sauce in individual 2oz portion cups or a resealable jar.  Sauce may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. 

Have water boiling in a large stock pot.  To boiling, salted water, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain cooked pasta and rinse under cold water.  Toss with sesame oil and set aside.  

Mix broccoli slaw with cucumbers, bell peppers, edamame, cilantro and green onions.  Toss to combine. 

Add broccoli slaw on one side of meal prep containers, noodles on the other.  Make room for the peanut dipping sauce in the middle.  Divide the chicken around the dipping sauce.  Garnish the noodles and chicken with sesame seeds and chopped peanuts if desired.  Store noodles bowls in the refrigerator for up to four days in air-tight meal prep containers.  

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

slow cooker red beans_menumusings.com
It dawns on me that the title to this post is all wrong... this is not a post about making rice at all.  It's all about the beans.  But here in the South, it's just hard to say the "red beans" part without saying the "rice" to go with it.  You could call it red beans with smoked meat, I suppose... but that just doesn't have the right ring to it at all.  Anyway, y'all know what I mean.

When I was a little girl, we had red beans and rice EVERY Monday at school.  This is a very Southern tradition.  Mondays in the South were traditionally considered "wash day" for as long as anyone can remember.  This goes back to the old plantation days.  Folks back then put the beans on to soak overnight and then enjoyed the slow cooking smell of the beans simmering with some good smoked meat and seasonings all day while they did the wash (by hand).   Lord Jesus, I'm so thankful we don't live back in those days!  But one thing hasn't changed... the smell of those beans simmering with that smoked meat all day sure makes your house smell amazing!  I don't have enough forethought to put them on the night before, so I just throw mine in the crockpot.  This works like a charm.  What I also love about crockpot cooking is that you don't have to tend to it.  Just hit the button and walk away.  Yes.  Score!


#glutenfree #dairyfree #highfiber #southern #easy #budgetfriendly  #crockpot  #crowd  #potluck

Print this Recipe

Ingredients:  (serves 6-8)
  • 1 pound dried red beans
    • I highly recommend Camillia brand if you can find them
  • 1 pound smoked meat, cut into bite sized pieces 
    • the smokier the better
    • I have 1/2 pound smoked andouille sausage and 1/2 pound tasso
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
    • I keep some frozen for easy dinner prep
  • 1 cup diced onions
    • I keep some frozen for easy dinner prep
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp Creole seasoning 
    • (there are gluten free formulas available)
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • Steamed rice for serving with the beans
  • Optional - fresh parsley for garnish

Step-by-Step:
Rinse your beans and check for any small pebbles or anything that may have been left in the package accidentally.
1 pound dried red beans
First comes our vegetables seasonings.  Add the beans to your slow cooker and then just start dumping all the other ingredients in.   I'm using frozen veggies because I usually always have some on hand in the freezer.  This makes my meal prep so fast and easy! 
1 cup diced bell peppers
1 cup diced onions
Next comes our meat seasonings.  I'm using 1/2 pound each of smoked andouille sausage and 1/2 pound tasso.  Use what you prefer, but the smokier the better.  A smoked ham hock, perhaps?  Pork has a long history in the South, so it would be a common seasoning for the beans.
1 pound smoked meat

 Add in your dry seasonings.
2 Tbsp Creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere's)
1/4 cup dry parsley flakes
1 Tbsp minced garlic
 Okay, let's add our liquid in here.
2 cups chicken stock
7 cups water
 Give it a good stir to mix all the ingredients.
Now.. here's the good part.  Press GO.  On my slow cooker, I select HI and set the time to 8 hours.  That's it!  You do have to endure the smell all day.  It's a tough job.

*If you like a soupier red beans, let it go for the whole 8 hours.  I like mine a bit creamier.  So around hour 6-7, I lift the lid and use either a potato masher or the back of a spoon and mash up some of the beans.  I allow it to continue cooking the rest of the time.  Something happens with the interaction between the mashed beans and juice that makes it thicken and get creamier.

**Also, consider that these are even BETTER the next day.  Yes, seriously.  They will also thicken by the next day.  This makes it a great make ahead dish to bring to a function to reheat.

My kids would absolutely revolt on me if I didn't serve this without cornbread (another Southern staple)... so of course we are having cornbread muffins, which are very kid friendly.

There are a TON of new food fads out there.  You know it.  I know it.  But sometimes, there's something very comforting about going old school.  Really old school.  You can almost feel the humid breeze blowing the Spanish moss and hear the whistle of the riverboats.

Here's some bonus recipes I hope you'll enjoy:
Spicy Sausage and Sweet Potato Hash - #paleo #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30compliant
Spicy sausage and sweet potato hash_menumusings.com
Chicken Fajita Burrito Bowls - #glutenfree #dairyfree #mealprep #mexican
chicken fajita burrito bowls_menumusings.com
Baked Chicken Parm - #baked #healthier #familyfriendly #italian
Baked chicken parm_menumusings.com
Skinny Mexican Pizza - #teens #reducedfat #turkey #mexican
skinny mexican pizza_menumusings.com
Chicken Cordon Bleu - #dinnerparty #french
Chicken Cordon Bleu_menumusings.com

Written Method:
Rinse your 1 pound of beans and check for any small pebbles or anything that may have been left in the package accidentally.  First comes our vegetables seasonings.  Add the beans to your slow cooker and then just start dumping all the other ingredients in.   I'm using frozen veggies because I usually always have some on hand in the freezer.  This makes my meal prep so fast and easy! 1 cup diced bell peppers + 1 cup diced onions.  Next comes our meat seasonings.  I'm using 1/2 pound each of smoked andouille sausage and 1/2 pound tasso.  Use what you prefer, but the smokier the better.  A smoked ham hock, perhaps?  Pork has a long history in the South, so it would be a common seasoning for the beans. 

Add in your dry seasonings. 2 Tbsp Creole seasoning, 1/4 cup dry parsley flakes, 1 Tbsp minced garlic.  Okay, let's add our liquid in here.  2 cups chicken stock + 7 cups water.  Give it a good stir to mix all the ingredients.  Now.. here's the good part.  Press GO.  On my slow cooker, I select HI and set the time to 8 hours.  That's it!  You do have to endure the smell all day.  It's a tough job.

*If you like a soupier red beans, let it go for the whole 8 hours.  I like mine a bit creamier.  So around hour 6-7, I lift the lid and use either a potato masher or the back of a spoon and mash up some of the beans.  I allow it to continue cooking the rest of the time.  Something happens with the interaction between the mashed beans and juice that makes it thicken and get creamier.

**Also, consider that these are even BETTER the next day.  Yes, seriously.  They will also thicken by the next day.  This makes it a great make ahead dish to bring to a function to reheat.

My kids would absolutely revolt on me if I didn't serve this without cornbread (another Southern staple)... so of course we are having cornbread muffins, which are very kid friendly.

There are a TON of new food fads out there.  You know it.  I know it.  But sometimes, there's something very comforting about going old school.  Really old school.  You can almost feel the humid breeze blowing the Spanish moss and hear the whistle of the riverboats. 

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