Volunteering & Hubby Makes Dinner...My Kind of Night!

This week has been absolutely insane.....Tyler had midterms and I've been swamped at work :( It's been lots of late nights in our apartment with little sleep and quick and easy meals (recipes posted below). At any rate, last night I was totally spoiled...I've joined the Junior Board of an amazing nonprofit called Opportunity Network and am so thrilled to be working on such an important initiative. If you'll remember, Tyler and I volunteered in the fall at one of their Speed Networking events and absolutely loved it! I got to attend another Speed Networking event last night with high school seniors and was blown away at how mature, articulate, and amazing the students were. These students have such high aspirations and are incredibly hard working. It's so refreshing to see such impressive talent!

Following this wonderful evening, I came home to a fabulous dinner my amazing husband prepared for me :) I had gone grocery shopping and sent him a recipe to make Thai Peanut Noodles and was excited to see how it would come out. I'm pleased to say this recipe was "husband proof" and Tyler did an excellent job! This dish is incredibly flavorful and really good...definitely give it a try. My favorite part about when Tyler cooks is he manages to use every dish in the kitchen and doesn't clean as he goes (I'm totally Type A and have to clean as I go)....It usually looks like a bomb went off by the time he's done (example picture below from last night)!

Here's the recipe for the Thai Peanut Noodle Dish:

  • 3 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground fresh ginger
  • 1 lbs chicken breast tenders, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced.
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon, packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 2 scallions including green tops, chopped
  • Chopped Cilantro (optional)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional)
  1. In a medium shallow glass dish combine the 3 tablespoons soy sauce, the 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 tablespoon of oil, the garlic, and ginger. Add the chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until just done following package instructions, drain and set aside until ready to assemble.
  3. While pasta is cooking mix peanut sauce and cook chicken.  Place peanut butter in a medium, microwave safe bowl and microwave for 60 seconds.  Remove peanut butter from microwave and whisk in 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons lime juice, broth, sugar, salt, and red-pepper flakes.  Set aside.
  4. Heat a non-stick deep skillet over moderate heat. Stir-fry the chicken until browned and just done, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add carrots and scallions and stir fry one minute more.  Add the peanut sauce to the chicken and scallions and stir to coat.  Add pasta and toss with tongs to coat with sauce.  Top with the chopped peanuts and cilantro if desired.
Also this week, we had two other great and super easy dishes: Beef & Broccoli & Bacon Ranch Chicken Skewers!

Beef & Broccoli
*I didn't have mirin and it came out just fine!

  • 3/4 pound flank steak, sliced very thin and against the grain
  • 4 cups broccoli cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil like vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • cooked white rice 
  • For the beef marinade
    • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon mirin
    • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • For the Sauce 
    • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
    • 2 teaspoons mirin
    • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  1. Place the sliced beef in a large ziplock bag. Stir together the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag. Smoosh to coat the beef in the mixture, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the broccoli for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender. Do not overcook as the broccoli will cook a bit more later in the recipe.
  3. Stir together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Heat an electric wok, or very large skillet, to high heat. Add the oil then gently place the beef in the wok and spread into a single layer. Let the beef cook for 1 minute without touching it.
  5. Add the garlic and stir continuously for 1 minute, then add in the sauce and broccoli. Bring the sauce to a boil, then add in the cornstarch dissolved in water. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Serve over rice, if desired.
Bacon Ranch Chicken Skewers
 *I slightly modified the recipe to marinate the chicken longer and cooked the skewers in the oven.

  • 12 bamboo skewers 
  • 4 large (8-10 oz) boneless skinless chicken breasts 
  • 1/3 cup ranch dressing 
  • 1 tsp hot chili paste or any spicy condiment 
  • 12 strips bacon 
  • 24 pieces of red onion 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • extra ranch dressing to dip
  1. Soak the skewers in water over night (preferable). I didn't have time to let them soak so I dipped them in water before using them and just monitored the oven.
  2. Cut the onion into about one inch pieces and place to the side.
  3. Cut the chicken into about equal sized chunks (roughly 1 inch). Add chicken to mixing bowl and add in the chili paste and ranch dressing. Stir the ingredients until the chicken pieces are coated. (Note: this recipe states to marinate for 1 hour minimum and 2 hours max. I knew I wasn't able to get home and marinade the chicken in time to eat at a reasonable hour. So I took the chance and did the marinade in the morning and the skewers were perfect!)
  4. Preheat the oven for 400 degrees.
  5. Take one skewer and slide a piece of onion; don't slide the onion all the way to the bottom of the skewer. Just leave it towards the top of the skewer. Take the piece of bacon and slide one end of the bacon on the end. Next slide a piece of chicken. Once the chicken is on, bring the bacon over to cover the chicken and simply turn the skewer so the bacon is hanging down. Once the bacon is hanging down, place another piece of onion and then a piece of chicken and repeat the bacon steps. Once you have 3 pieces of onion and 4 pieces of chicken, slightly space out the items on the skewer. Continue these steps for all 12 skewers.
  6. Bake the chicken skewers for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the bacon begins to get crispy.
  7. Serve skewers with extra ranch dressing. I made green beans and salad to go with them...delicious!

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