Saturday, February 16, 2013

Grain/Dairy/Egg-Free Thai Chicken "Pasta"

I know I keep promising to post and explain our new wheat-free (and for me, sugar-free also) diet, but I just never seem to get around to it. Or any blogging at all, lately. But now it's Lent. Facebook is OFF for 40 days, so maybe this blog will get a little more attention.

This still isn't a post about our diet, but it IS a wonderful new Paleo-*21DSD-Friendly recipe that even my children ate fairly cheerfully-- even though it contains no less than THREE different veggies they normally have to be force-fed. SCORE! The recipe I made is loosely based on this one I found online.

Grain/Dairy/Egg-Free Thai Chicken "Pasta"

  • 1 med spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, tough ends removed and sliced into 2-3" pieces
  •  garlic pwd, sea salt, marjoram, pepper, sage to taste (I just used what I had on hand)
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent in other cuts)
  • olive oil for stir-frying
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 T. corn starch
  • 3 T. cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 1/2 t. salt, or to taste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 t. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom pods, crushed (you could probably just use pwd cardamom, if you don't have the pods)
  • red pepper, to taste ( I used my berbere that I use in my Ethiopian dishes, and I added about 2 tbs-- we like it SPICY around here)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and stems removed
The only downside of this recipe is needing to cook the spaghetti squash ahead of time. I tend to have them on hand-- we eat a lot of spaghetti squash these days. I bake mine at 350 for about 30-45 minutes. Scrape the "pasta" into a dish and season with salt, pepper and butter.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and blanch the asparagus pieces for about two or three minutes. Drain and layer on top of the spaghetti squash. Cover and keep warm.

Heat a frying pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Season the chicken breasts with spices listed (or play around with your own), and add them  to the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the breasts are golden brown on both sides. Remove the pan from heat and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Cut the the chicken breasts lengthwise into pieces about 1-2" thick, then return the pieces to the pan and return the pan to the heat. Cook until the pieces are just cooked through, just 2-3 minutes more. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm.

Now for the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the corn starch and water until smooth. Set aside. In the same pan you used to cook the chicken, combine the coconut milk, almond milk, salt, lime juice, garlic powder, red pepper and cardamom pods over medium-high heat. With a whisk, stir briskly, bringing it just to a simmer.. Add the corn starch mixture little by little, and stir constantly until mixture thickens to desired consistency. (You might not need the whole 3 tbsp. I think it depends on the brand of coconut milk you use and how thick it is.) Turn the burner off, add the spinach and stir till the spinach wilts slightly.

At this point you have some options... The original recipe calls for you to add all the other ingredients to the pan and stir to coat with the sauce, but I've found that spaghetti squash doesn't respond well to lots of stirring around in sauce pans. Blech. So I took three dishes to the table; the dish of spaghetti squash with asparagus, the bowl of chicken pieces and the dish of sauce. Then I "assembled" everything on the plate: veg, chicken layered on top, sauce spooned over all. This also enabled me to separate everything for my OCD children who can't stand to MIX their food. Weirdos. Also, for the children's sake, I kept back the berbere and added it to the sauce pan after I had served their plates. They don't really do spicy.


Let me know if you try it out :)

*That's the Twenty One Day Sugar Detox Diet. That's the thing I'm doing. I pinky promise, I really will post about it soon.

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