If I can find a meal everyone loves and I can throw in lots of hidden vegetables, it is a win for everyone!
This is a recipe I found online and tweaked to fit our taste buds. The original recipe called for too much soy sauce and some other vegetables which don’t fit my family. After a few tries in its original form, I found the right combination for my somewhat picky eaters.
This is where I remind you that while cooking actually is a science, it is a science which can be adjusted to your own needs. So, if you like other vegetables, or you want to use crunchy peanut butter in order to have bits of peanuts in the sauce, go for it.
As long as you make sure to cook your chicken thoroughly, you can pretty much change anything in this recipe and be fine.
That said, here is my strongest advice. I will let you know about my own “recipe rule” which has helped me build my cooking skills and recipe arsenal.
When trying a new recipe do your best to make it just as it is written. Once you have tasted the original recipe and you have tried it the way the chef originally intended for the meal, then decide what needs to be changed to fit your own tastes.
I used to be just like Sally in my favorite eighties movie. I would order everything on the side or switch the sauce, cheese, meat etc… Now, I realize, there is a reason chefs are successful. They know what works together. A few years ago I started accepting meals “just as the chef prepared them.” In doing so, I allowed myself to try some new foods and learned that there are many foods and combinations I thought I did not like which I now actually find delicious.
Therefore, the next time you see a recipe that looks good to you, think twice before making changes to it unless it is absolutely necessary due to allergies (or wanting to save yourself a trip to the grocery store).
Here is one of our current family favorites. Please leave a comment if you decide to try it!
Yummy Peanut Thai Chicken with vegetables
( recipe adapted from Amazing Thai Peanut Chicken by Engineer in the Kitchen on Food.com)
- 3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 5 teaspoons rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 3 Tablespoons peanut oil ( if you don’t have peanut oil, any oil is fine)
- 3 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped fresh gingerroot (optional depending on how your family feels about the strong taste of ginger)
- 1 onion sliced thin and then chopped into strips
- 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup carrots thinly sliced
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- 1 package frozen broccoli florets – defrosted (I use the 12 oz size but any size is fine)
- First place the peanut butter in a small bowl and then add a bit of the soy sauce and stir. Once you get that incorporated, add more soy sauce and repeat process. If you add the soy sauce a little at a time, it will be easier to incorporate it into the peanut butter in order to avoid a globby mess. Lastly, add the vinegar. Set aside to be added to the cooked chicken later in the directions.
- Heat 1-2 Tablespoons oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. ( I have a wonderful Staub Paella pan which is perfect for preparing this dish)
- Add onions, garlic, carrots, green pepper (do not add the broccoli at this part as it will get too mushy if added here)
- Cook this vegetable mixture about 5-8 minutes until everything gets a bit soft. Stir frequently if not constantly. Keep an eye on the heat and reduce it to medium-high if you feel the heat is too high.
- Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking (remember they will cook a bit more later in the dish), remove the vegetable mixture from the pan and place in a bowl or plate while you use this pan to cook the chicken.
- Add the remaining oil to the now empty pan. Raise heat back to HIGH if you had lowered it previously.
- Add chicken, garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring constantly, until chicken is golden on the outside, about 5 minutes.
- REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM, and add the vegetable mixture back into the pan to join the chicken.
- Now is the time to add the broccoli. Mix the broccoli, other vegetables and chicken well.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture into the pan and mix well so that the chicken and vegetables are well coated.
- Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until broccoli is tender, and chicken is cooked through.
- Serve over rice or rice noodles.
Here is the pan I currently use but any large pan of similar shape will work just fine. You can click this link to find it on one of my favorite kitchen websites. (my personal disclaimer is that I do have a reason for being a fan of that store.)