Diving back in is sure to be a little rough -- I was really starting to get used to part-time work! But no time for complaints, 'cause there's no going back. And actually, productivity and a full schedule feels kiiind of nice after all that rest, right? Time to get stuff done!
In light of getting stuff done, I'm just popping in real quick; no step-by-step recipes or tons of pictures. BUT, I'll make up for the lack of detail with not one, but TWO new recipes! And they both involve my new favorite sauce... a spicy, flavorful, creamy Thai peanut sauce. I could eat this stuff with a spoon. Okay, so maybe I DID eat this stuff with a spoon. Just a bit! Don't judge. At least not until you taste it!
So how are we enjoying this peanut sauce? I have two options: DIY chicken pad thai spring rolls and grilled chicken satay.
Don't make me pick which one I liked better. They are totally different, but both so delicious! The spring rolls are fresh-tasting and unique. The chicken satay is perhaps a little more familiar to the taste buds, but is equally satisfying and so flavorful. The common denominator is that tasty peanut sauce... it takes both dishes to another level of awesome.
The spring rolls were a new adventure in the kitchen for me, as I had never rolled rice paper before. It isn't the easiest task, I will admit, but it's totally doable and definitely worth the effort. While spring rolls are traditionally a Vietnamese appetizer, I put a Thai twist on them by using pad thai-esque ingredients. In fact, these spring rolls are VERY similar to my pad thai recipe, just in rolled form! Hint: the hidden benefit of this is that *even if* you screw up the rolls, you can just throw everything else in a bowl and call it pad thai :) These spring rolls are healthy and refreshing, and they make for an impressive party finger food. Or just enjoy them on the couch while watching football, like we did!
The chicken satay is much simpler... just chop some chicken, mix up a flavorful yogurt marinade, slide onto skewers, and grill. Simple. And equally wonderful with that peanut sauce! Serve with a mixed salad and you have a healthy, filling, delicious meal.
Can't decide which to make? Try them both! We had enough peanut sauce to cover both meals. And if you're anything like me, you won't mind having this sauce twice in one week.
Here are the recipes:
For about 4 servings as a dip
-1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
-1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
-1 tbsp sriracha (*leave out if you're sensitive to heat)
-1 tbsp chile garlic sauce
-1 tbsp honey
-Juice of half a lime
-1/2 cup peanuts, crushed
-Whisk together all ingredients until smooth. If you prefer an extra creamy sauce, pulse in a food processor until smooth. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
Chicken Pad Thai Spring Rolls
For about 4 servings as an appetizer
-6 oz. rice noodles
-8-10 rice paper wrappers
-3 thin chicken breasts
-1/2 cup shredded carrots
-1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
-1 tbsp sesame oil
-1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-Large bowl of warm water
-Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cool water, then dry off and cut into 3 to 4-inch noodle segments. Set aside.
-Heat the oils in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to oil and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature. Slice into 2 inch pieces.
-To make your rolls (find a detailed tutorial here), gently immerse a rice paper sheet into the warm water for about 15 seconds, until it is beginning to soften. Don't soak too long it will tear and fall apart. Lay the wet rice paper smooth onto a cutting board or paper plate. Gently dab with a slightly damp paper towel.
-Place your ingredients on the rice paper: first, lay down several leaves of fresh cilantro. Top with a few carrots and cucumbers. Lastly, add on 3 to 4 slices of chicken and a small clump of rice noodles. Roll tightly.
-Repeat until you've used all filling ingredients.
-Slice the rolls in half. Serve with peanut sauce.
Adapted from Tyler Florence
For about 4 servings as an appetizer or 2 servings as a main course
-4 thin chicken breasts
-1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
-1 tbsp chile garlic sauce
-1 tsp freshly grater ginger or ginger paste
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1.5 tsp curry powder
-Fresh cilantro leaves
-1 lime, wedged
-Olive oil for grilling
-Wooden or metal skewers (if using wooden, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to use)
-Cut the raw chicken into 3-4 inch strips.
-Mix marinade ingredients: whisk together the yogurt, chile garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, and curry powder.
-Place the chicken in a large ziploc bag. Pour in the marinade and coat the chicken. Place in fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
-When ready to cook, pull the chicken strips out of the bag one-by-one and thread onto the skewers by folding each strip in half then sliding onto the skewer (so each strip is pierced twice). Alternate the direction of the folds as you thread the pieces.
-Place a grill pan over medium heat and brush the grill with olive oil so the chicken doesn't stick. Once hot, place the chicken skewers on the grill. Rotate every 3 to 4 minutes so that the chicken browns on all 4 sides. Grill until the chicken is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and peanut sauce.