I plan my weekly menus out — sometimes quite a bit in advance. It saves me time, money, and energy. And sometimes, I just want to deviate from my plan. For me, that's no problem since I have a bevy of go-to recipes for just that. Here's one example:
This lo mein recipe features chicken and vegetables tossed with a sweet and spicy sauce. If I don't have chicken, I can just as easily use pork, beef, tofu, or any number of other options. I have a few vegetables that I really enjoy as placeholders in this recipe, but it's a great one for using what you happen to have on hand. Broccoli is particularly pleasant, for example. Even the sauce is open to interpretation. Don't like spicy food? Get out. Just kidding — you can increase the amount of soy sauce and add a little orange juice to make a very pleasant sauce. Or grab your favorite bottled sauce. I won't tell!
I like just having this meal on a pretty plate, grabbing a pair of chopsticks, and washing it all down with a chilled Asian beer, hard cider, or crisp white wine. You could add egg rolls or a light Asian slaw to the side, but one of the things that is so appealing about recipes like these is how they just fill a gap in your weekly menus without causing any trouble or making you feel guilty for deviating from the plan. In a world that doesn't often let you do that, having options like this one is enough to bring a smile to my face. I hope the same is true for you.
- 16 oz. spaghetti or similarly-shaped noodles
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 oz.)
- 1 T. sesame oil
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 medium onion, cleaned and sliced into thin wedges
- 2 c. finely chopped Napa cabbage
- 2 T. sriracha
- 1/3 c. honey
- 2 tsp. soy or tamari sauce
- 1 ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- Black sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. When the noodles are properly cooked, drain them thoroughly.
Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat and stir-fry the chicken pieces until lightly browned. Add the vegetables and continue stir-frying until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender.
Combine the sriracha, honey, soy (or tamari) sauce, black pepper, and garlic powder. Add the mixture to the cooked chicken and vegetables and stir lightly to combine. Toss the coated chicken and vegetables with the drained noodles and serve sprinkled with sesame seeds, if desired.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 minutes