Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

This dish is so. stinking. good. I’ve been making it for almost a year and am ashamed that it’s taken me this long to write about it. When we learned early last year that my middle son’s allergies would be keeping dairy, egg and gluten off the menu, I started trying more Asian recipes because they were typically conducive to our restrictive diet. This one was by far the best. The base of this recipe is the noodles (without the chicken). I’ve made it in the past topped with roasted shrimp and grilled chicken, but it would also be awesome as a vegetarian meal too. Tonight was my first attempt at this style of chicken and I loved it. Side note: I’m picky about chicken. I like grilled, I like roasted, I like boiled and shred… but I don’t like to cut up raw chicken and cook it because it typically gets too chewy. So I’ve long been perplexed about how the chicken at Asian restaurants is so tender. So I plopped some random phrase into Pinterest about how to get unchewy chicken for Asian recipes and wouldn’t you know there’s a technique: you “velvet” chicken. It’s really a thing. Well I tried it and it worked as advertised – delicious tender chicken pieces that went perfect with these noodles. So here you have it, my current favorite dinner for the fam (which, by the way, they all LOVE!) – hope you enjoy!

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

1 lb gluten free spaghetti noodles, cooked according to instructions
1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter – or more to taste (if you have creamy, just add chopped peanuts)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 scallions, sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp sesame seeds

1) While the pasta water is heating, add all ingredients (except pasta) in a small bowl (I used a 2 cup measuring cup). Stir well until ingredients are fully incorporated.
2) Pour over hot pasta. Add chicken (or other protein such as shrimp) – see below. Stir well until pasta is completely coated with the sauce.

“Velvet” Chicken
1 1/3 lbs chicken breast, cut into thin slices
2 tbsp canola oil (divided)
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 large egg white
1/4 tsp salt

1)  Whisk in 1 tbsp oil, cornstarch, vinegar, egg white and salt in a medium bowl. Add chicken and coat well. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.
2) Place 1 to 2 inches of water in a sauté pan and heat on high to boil. Once rapidly boiling, place the chicken pieces one at a time. Once the pan returns to boil, boil the chicken for 1 more minute. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

This recipe makes enough for my family of 5 with a little leftover. We love edamame with this dish too!

Velvet chicken

Velvet Chicken

Soy Peanut Sauce

Soy Peanut Sauce

Simple Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking’s SIMPLE ASIAN SOY-PEANUT NOODLES and How to Velvet Chicken

 

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

A bright spot in our allergy struggles has been that we can all eat bacon. And so we eat bacon a lot. So when I was searching for a recipe for a pork roast I had bought, and came across a bacon wrapped pork roast, I was pretty excited. Turns out, it was for good reason. The roast was awesome and I’m already plotting how long I must wait to put this on the dinner menu again. Next week too soon?? Below is the whole dinner… it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free. I cooked it all in the same oven (once it went to 425), and there were very few dishes (because I lined 2 of the pans). Hope you enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Pork Roast

1 pork loin roast (about 4 lbs)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp spicy mustard
1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (divided)
10-12 slice of bacon (nitrate free)

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil and place roast in it. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
2.) In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, spicy mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Pour over pork roast, making sure it is coated well.
3.) Lay bacon slices over top of roast, overlapping slightly. Tuck them under the roast. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
4.) Remove roast from oven, remove foil and baste the roast with the drippings. Turn the oven temp to 425 degrees and place the roast back in the oven. Bake for about 30 to 45 more minutes, or until internal temperature is at least 145 degrees.

Adapted from Sweet Tea and Corn Bread’s Bacon Wrapped Maple Glazed Pork Loin

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Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin

Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar, Bacon and Maple

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
3 slice of bacon, diced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper

1.) In a small non-stick skillet, fry the bacon until almost crispy.
2.) Place asparagus in a casserole dish, and pour bacon and bacon grease on top. Add vinegar, syrup, salt and pepper and toss.
3.) Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.

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Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley

1.) Place all ingredients in a gallon Ziploc bag and toss until potatoes are evenly coated.
2.) Pour potatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, and make sure potatoes are in a single layer.
3.) Bake at 425 for 40 minutes

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Dealing with Our Food Allergies

A few weeks ago we received some test results that indicated Beckett, our almost three year old, has food allergies. This wasn’t the first time he had been tested – the first two times showed a mild allergy to milk and moderate allergy to eggs, and at the recommendation of our doctor, we limited his exposure but went on eating food like normal. But then a few months ago, his eczema started to get out of control. We tried changing detergents, soaps and lotions. We tried creams and oils, and while these things helped a little, the poor guy was just miserable. He wasn’t sleeping well, he was itching like crazy. At one point he asked for some scissors to cut his leg off it itched so bad. Heart. Breaking.

Back to the doctor we went, but this time we requested they test him for a gluten allergy on top of the others, and sure enough, it was positive. Non-celiac gluten intolerance to be exact – in the moderate to high range. And the milk and egg allergies were still there too. Combine that with the fact that Brogan, our almost five year old has a tree nut allergy… oh, and Berkley is also getting eczema, and seems to be reacting to the dairy in my diet – and it’s A LOT. Holy allergies, Batman.

Initially, I was in shock. What would we eat? We decided that in addition to cutting out gluten, we’d be more strict on limiting his diary and egg too. Anything to get his eczema under control.  But all I could think about were the foods that he loved. All the treats I loved to cook. All the things he could’t eat. How hard birthday parties and eating out would be. I was sad for him. Sad to think about telling him no more cheese sticks or goldfish or ice cream or yogurt or cupcakes with buttercream frosting. But on the other hand I was hopeful that maybe, just maybe we had figured out what his eczema trigger was and we could stop it.

The more I thought about it, the better my outlook became. It was a challenge, for sure, but I’ve always liked a challenge. I stopped thinking about what he couldn’t have and focused on what he could – he can eat fruit and veggies and meat… he can eat rice and potatoes and oats. That covers a lot, actually. So then I started thinking about meals. What would be our go-to for breakfast – for snacks – for lunch – for dinner? And then I went into planning mode and was on a mission. I was determined to make home-cooked allergy-free meals that didn’t taste like we (or he) was missing out on anything. And so that’s what I’ve been doing. So far, so good. I’ve tried a lot of new recipes, and many that I’ll continue to make.

I’m happy to report that it’s been working. His eczema is MUCH better. He’s still got a few spots in the notorious problem areas (knees, elbows, armpits) that he won’t stop messing with, but his eczema no longer covers his entire body. He’s no longer waking up three times a night scratching himself (no, now he’s waking up three times a night for no good reason – ha!). So far, all the sacrifice has been worth it.

I know we’re not the only family living a restricted diet, and so I’m hoping that through this I can help others with meal ideas and recipes. Dinner on it’s own is hard to pull off every night – add a bunch of things you can’t eat and it’s much harder.  So I plan to start sharing my successes. That is, if Berkley ever goes to sleep early enough for me to have 30 minutes to myself in the evenings to blog. One day… I hope.

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