Pad Thai Chicken Zoodle Salad
This is recipe it too perfect not to share with our Warriors and fellow Fit Fab Foodies! I was amazed at how fast, easy and tasty this recipe was - and it made plenty for leftovers (always a plus in my book)!! Guaranteed this will make your regular dinner rotation - especially in the heat of the summer when the last thing you want to do is fire up the oven...
1 Roast Chicken (see below for tips on the perfect slow cooker roast chicken), de-boned and chopped.
1 Red Bell Pepper – diced
1 cup fresh Cilantro – chopped
2-3 stalks Green Onions – thinly sliced
3 medium Zucchini – time to break out your zoodler! (see below for tips on zoodling if you are a zoodle “virgin”)
*Any other random veggies you feel like sneaking into the salad at this time (i.e. shaved red cabbage, matchstick carrots, chopped mushrooms – almost anything goes with this one!
Chopped Peanuts or toasted Slivered Almonds to sprinkle on top – these add the perfect amount of crunch and a little extra protein.
Toss all of this together in a big bowl. Except the nuts – use these to top the salad before serving.
Thai Peanut Sauce (yes it is this easy!)
½ cup all natural creamy peanut butter (chunky will work too)
2 Tbsp. Tamari/Soy Sauce Sauce (can sub 3 Tbsp coconut aminos)
2 Tbsp minced fresh Ginger
1-2 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar (make sure it is un-sweet!)
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce (this might be the only thing missing from your condiment drawer – super easy to find in the Asian section of any grocery store)
½ Tbsp. Honey
1 Lime zested & juiced
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
*Pinch or two of red pepper flakes to add some heat
Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until creamy.
Pour peanut dressing over salad ingredients and toss well to coat. Top with nuts (optional) and serve immediately. Store leftovers in a Tupperware and be sure to eat them the next day. The zoodles tend to get mushy if it is stored for more than a day.
The Perfect Roast Chicken (without ever turning on the oven)
For those of you reading this that do not currently own a crock pot – stop reading immediately and run (don’t walk) to the nearest Target (or Walmart if you must) and pick up one of these nifty (and surprisingly inexpensive) appliances!! I seriously cannot stress this enough or even begin to tell you how much this simple purchase will begin to change your Fit Fab Foodie life forever! *Quick note – I recommend purchasing the largest size available – trust me on this!
Now that we all have a crock pot in front of us. Take your bird out of the packaging. *As always I highly recommend using an all-natural, organic and if at all possible, locally raised chicken. The flavor & texture are far superior and the knowledge that you are contributing to a sustainable food culture are well worth the extra $2-3 per pound (in my humble opinion anyhow). Lay the chicken on a clean cutting board and carefully remove any innards (heart, neck, gizzard etc…). Pat the chicken dry with paper towels – inside and out for best results. Create a quick mix of kosher sea salt and ground black pepper in a small dish. Liberally season the chicken inside and out with the S&P mixture. You can also get creative and add a little Mrs. Dash or other seasoning blend to the mix for added flavor. My favorite homemade seasoning blend is a mix of chili powder, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, onion, garlic, touch of brown sugar and dried Italian seasoning. Pour 4-5 cups of chicken broth (homemade, boxed, or my favorite, an organic chicken boullion mixed with hot water (the best brand I have found is “better than boullion” – this allows you to control the strength of broth flavor which I appreciate) into the crock pot dish and gently place the chicken, breast side up, into the broth. It seems like a lot of liquid but it works out perfectly I promise! You can also add a chopped onion, halved lemon, sprigs of fresh herbs, garlic cloves etc.. to the pot for extra layers of flavor. Cover with the glass lid and set the crock pot to HIGH. Set your timer for 2 hours and give it a quick poke with the meat thermometer at the 2 hour mark. I let mine go for a full 3+ hours and the temp on the thermometer read 180 + degrees. I was afraid it would be overcooked but the meat was moist, juicy and literally slid off of the bones! Reminiscent of a grocery store rotisserie chicken without having to sit in the greasy rotisserie box for hours – homemade is always better if you ask me!
When the chicken is done turn off the crock pot and let the chicken sit in the juices 30 min to 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool completely on a cutting board before removing the bones and chopping for the salad.
This can be done a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator for an even quicker salad prep the next day… I hope this changes your roast chicken game the way it did mine!! *The only downside to this method of roasting is the fact that you don’t get that beautiful extra crispy skin that you get from a nice hot oven. This recipe is perfect for 90% of your roast chicken needs but if you are looking for a magazine quality presentation go with a traditional oven roast method…
For the Zoodle "virgin"...
Not only is it fun to say "zoodle" it is even more fun to make them! This simple kitchen tool changed the way I look at zucchini and at pasta. Zoodles are the perfect healthy alternative to everyone's favorite carb - the noodle, and they taste soooo much better than those gross, mushy Gluten Free pastas! At first this contraption can seem a bit intimidating and strange so I have included a quick YouTube video below on how to master the tool...
These babies can be used in place of any pasta or rice really. The biggest difference - zoodles only need a quick 2 - 3 minutes saute in a non-stick skillet with a touch of coconut oil, lemon zest (juice makes them mushy quickly) and S&P. They get mushy quickly if overcooked or if too much liquid is added. In fact I often add them raw to a hot sauce and let that do the trick. I also recommend cutting the long stings with kitchen scissors for ease of preparation and eating. Oh and one more thing about the zoodler - it doesn't work so great for other veggies. I found carrots and sweet potatoes to be impossible to specialize so my advice is... stick to zucchini and find fun new ways to use it in your favorite recipes!