Spicy Thai Noodles with Chicken & Quinoa Bowls
Last week, while my husband was taking a break from installing our new flooring, we were casually talking about this blog and how it’s become something of a safe haven for me the last year and a half while our families experienced heartbreak and loss. Cooking, or actually baking more specifically, has always been my escape from whatever’s bothering me in life. While I was whipping up last weeks’ guacamole recipe, my husband asked me if I was going to kick it up a notch and post more frequently. During my slow times of the year at work, I posted every Wednesday. Sometimes I didn’t post for weeks, while others I skipped a week here and there, especially while his mother was sick and between Thanksgiving and the start of this year. My husband rocked back onto his heels, covered in cement, and suggested I post a minimum of 52 recipes in 2018.
“That’s a recipe a week,” I replied.
He shrugged. “You’ll be able to buy more wine.”
That’s all the encouragement I needed. I’ll probably need a few pep talks throughout the year, but for now, I am inspired and motivated. I still question how highly successful blogger's put out so much quality content, even as life crumbles all around them.
I spent a couple of nights browsing my favorite food blogs that I admire, taking a closer look at the type of recipes they’re sharing with their readers and took another look at the kinds of recipes I tend to share... I noticed one big difference: I tend to over-complicate things when I don’t have to. I remember one of the last conversations I had with my mother-in-law before she passed away, and like me, she had a tendency to cook complicated, time-consuming dishes that only someone with an intermediate understanding of cooking would even be willing to tackle. So, with my first recipe of 2018, I wanted to share something with you that’s a.) not complicated, and b.) an ideal busy weeknight dinner.
Living in a small town, we don’t have many choices for Thai food, which is unfortunate because it’s one of my most-frequent cravings. I typically have most of the ingredients on hand and put together the sauce for the noddles and begin marinating the chicken the night before I plan to make this, which means when it’s time to cook dinner, all of the hard work is done leaving you more time to spend with loved ones or take a long, hot bath to warm up from the frigid temperatures outside. If you know you're going to be in a rush, you can even cook the quinoa the night before, and add it to the sauce when you're incorporating the noodles.
While the chicken and the noodles are cooking, I usually dig in my pantry for some dry roasted peanuts, rinse and dry bean sprouts and basil (or cilantro), slice up some green onions, jalapenos, carrots and lime wedges. Oh, and I usually open up a bottle of Riesling.
The sauce is somewhat spicy, which means it's begging to be paired with a high acidity wine to cut down on some of the heat. Lately, I've really been loving Paraiso Vineyards 2016 Riesling. It tastes just as good with spicy Asian cuisine as it does my other weeknight dinner go-to, barbecue naan pizza.
- 1/2 cup sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons 1/2 teaspoons roasted red chile sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and freshly grated
- 1 1/4 pounds chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 1/2 pound dried rice noodles
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil