Simple Summer Meals: Asian-inspired Noodles with Grilled Chicken in Spicy Peanut Sauce

The days are long, and only getting longer.  I revel in squeals and giggles, screams and screeches, soft snuggles and hot little hands.  Days at the pool, evenings on the deck, sweltering nights filled with the gentle flicker of fireflies.  Summer.
School’s out, the kids are home, and we’re all looking for something to stave off the boredom that so often accompanies long hot summer days.  We’re not one of those families that fills our days with camps and activities, although sometimes I long for such a life.  A life where I can have a few hours of quiet while someone else entertains my children.  Sometimes I long for  a day, just one whole day, one 24-hour stretch where I don’t hear “Moooommm – he’s not sharing! Mommmmyyyy – I don’t want to have quiet time today!  Mooommmmy, I’m hungry, can I have a snack?!”  Just one.  That’s all.  One little day.

But then I see the delight on their faces when I turn on the bubble machine, or when we dance around the house to the music in our heads late in the afternoon, or when we go to the library for a new book.  Simple pleasures.  Quiet moments.  Books on the sofa while oscillating fans create artificial breezes. Days that run into nights that run into days.  Imaginations running wild, hunting dinosaurs in the woods, fighting the enemy in the backyard, creating force-fields to keep the zombies at bay.  Being the princess in the tower, protected by my chivalrous knight on his trusty steed. That’s our reality, and we find joy in it.

These humid 95-degree days call for as little cooking as possible.  Grilling out on the weekends and then lots of leftovers, cold salads and sandwiches during the week.  Meals that can be quickly thrown together without too much thought and effort, and that don’t require me to turn on the stove or oven for more than 10 minutes.

Today’s lunch was a perfect example of just such a meal.  I had some whole-wheat angel hair pasta (that takes almost no time to cook) and half of a grilled chicken breast in the fridge left over from this past weekend.  Paired with some left over grilled squash and a little homemade peanut butter and chili paste, it came together in the form of a quick Asian-inspired noodle dish.  You could even make it a cold dish, using leftover pre-cooked noodles.  It’s really that simple.

Asian-Inspired Noodles with Grilled Chicken in Peanut Sauce
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
serves: 2

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. whole-wheat angel hair pasta
3 oz. pre-cooked chicken, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini squash, grilled and thinly sliced
1/2 yellow summer squash, grilled and thinly sliced
1/2 carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 onion, very thinly sliced (shaved)
1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon chili paste
1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I used Tamari)
juice of one lime
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1/4- 1/2 cup pasta cooking water or chicken broth to thin sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Whisk together the peanut butter, chili paste, soy sauce, lime juice and water or broth.  Taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper as desired.
  • Drain the pasta and add the chicken, vegetables and basil.  Add the sauce and stir to combine.  Taste again for seasoning.  Garnish with a sprig of basil and a wedge of lime.

So, tell me – what are some of your favorite summer meals?

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Categories: Asian, leftovers, squash

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5 Comments on “Simple Summer Meals: Asian-inspired Noodles with Grilled Chicken in Spicy Peanut Sauce”

  1. 8 June 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    >I love angel hair pasta and often throw a cut up chicken breast in with it. I've never made a peanut sauce so I'm liking this recipe.Hoping you do manage to get a few days throughout the summer all to yourself where you can enjoy the weather, have no housework to do and can get lost in a good book…if only for a few hours.

  2. 8 June 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    >Love cooking angel hair in the summer- so fast! This dish looks amaaaaazing. I only wish I had fresh veggies on hand so I could throw things like this together, too!

  3. Mary
    13 June 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    great new look :) Very impressed.

  4. 21 June 2011 at 2:23 am #

    I LOVE the new layout – very classy and professional (reminds me of you). What does tomorrow night look like for you? Nights next week? LOVE YOU!

    • 22 June 2011 at 12:48 pm #

      Thanks! This week is probably out – we’ve got VBS and I’ve got meetings at P’s school. Next week I’ll be out of town at the beginning of the week. We’ll work something out, though.

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