Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Peanut Butter and Chicken Sauce Euphoria

When I got married 6 years ago, I realized that if I wanted something other than macaroni and cheese, I'd have to make it (Andrew can cook and will help anytime but it's just not something he gets excited about). So I ordered Cooking Light, one of the best health decisions I've made since I started running in 1994, and have been inspired ever since. Besides helping me keep track of my calories and teaching me tricks for preparing good food that's good for us -- like using fresh herbs, sea salt, and small quantities of good olive oil -- it's helped us broaden the kinds of foods we eat. We've added Indian and Thai to our standards, Southwestern and Italian (I think Andrew would also add his favorite, "meatloaf," as a food category but I'm not sold).

The following recipe is now in the rotation of go-to recipes for our household because of its versatility; it uses staples, it's not too weird, and it can be altered to be a sack-lunch or dressed up for company. It would be a great way to try something new -- it incorporates classic Thai ingredients -- even if you have picky people in your household. I'll include the original recipe but then tell you how we've changed it to stretch it, make it vegetarian, alter it to be a soup in the wintertime, and dress it to make it more colorful. The recipe is courtesy of


Cooking spray
1/2 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2/3 cup light coconut milk
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas
1 1/3 cups packaged angel hair slaw


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add carrots and onions; sauté 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through pepper); cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the chicken; cook 1 minute, stirring to coat. Remove from heat; cool. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla, and top each with 1/3 cup angel hair slaw. Roll up. Cover and chill. (I top mine with Sriracha, or Thai chili sauce, and a few extra unsalted peanuts for crunch.)

4 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 321(28% from fat); FAT 10.1g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.7g,poly 2.1g); IRON 0.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 49mg; CALCIUM 37mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.5g; SODIUM 844mg; PROTEIN 24.1g; FIBER 4.3g

So this is the basic recipe. But you can omit the chicken, tortillas, and cabbage and double the carrots and onions, and add matchstick-cut red peppers and toss with warm fettuccine for dinner. Garnish with green onion tops, peanuts, cilantro, and Sriracha, or Thai chili paste, the red bottle with the giant chicken on it (which is why Andrew calls it "chicken sauce"). It's beautiful with all of the vibrant colors. This same meal is also excellent on white or brown rice, if you're looking for a boost in fiber.

The other way you can alter it is by making it into a Thai Chicken Chowder. Saute the onions and carrots like before, but add 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup chopped bell pepper, 2/3 cup snow peas, 1 1/2 cups (1/2 inch) cubed sweet potato, and 1 1/2 tsp of ginger to the pan as well. When that has cooked 8 minutes, stir in 2 (14-oz) cans of chicken broth and simmer 10 minutes. Then add 2 tbl lime juice, a dash of Sriracha, 1 1/2 cups cooked chopped chicken breast and one can of light coconut milk; cook 1 minute or until heated. Serve garnished with onion tops, cilantro, lime wedges, unsalted peanuts and Sriracha if your guests like food HOT!

If you end up trying it, lemme know what you think. If you have another recipe for me, send it my way. I always need new ideas.


Ortho said...

Wow, this recipe sounds delicious! I will try it.

You might like some of the recipes in Lighter, Quicker, Better. It's one of the three cookbooks I own. Unfortunately it's out of print. But Amazon has a handful of used copies:

Lisa said...

Here's a good quick and light dessert that I love (the only bad thing is the margarine)and I have a spicy black bean and chile dip that you may like too but I have to find it:

Margarita Pie
1 ½ cups of crushed pretzels (Snyder’s multigrain pretzels work well)
¼ cup of Splenda or sugar
6 tbsp margarine or butter (melted)
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
½ cup lime juice
1 envelope Kool-Aid lemonade
18 oz tub of Cool Whip Lite

1) Take the crushed pretzels, Splenda and margarine, mix together and put on the bottom of a pie plate to make the crust.
2) In a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, adding the Cool Whip last. Mix together until smooth. Pour mixture into pie pan.
3) Chill in freezer for 6 hours or overnight. Serve when pie has solidified.

Anonymous said...

Do you know where to get recipes for "Kids who don't eat ground meat or anything remotely related to a vegetable?" Is there a website for that??