Friday, July 18, 2008

Noodle Salad with Shrimp, Chicken and Mint: Dinner, Reign O’er Me

First, Pearl Jam covering The Who’s “Love, Reign O’er Me” at last night’s VH1 Rock Honors:

The only way that could have been better was if zombie Keith Moon sat in on drums, downed a fifth of ghost brandy, and drove a phantom Benz into the Waldorf pool. For old times sake, y’know. Woof.

After the Quadrophenia excerpt, I’m hesitant to even get into food. I don’t know if mere victuals can live up to the sheer awesomeness of Eddie Vedder doing his best Roger Daltrey backed by a full orchestra. I’m aflutter. But I shant cry, or raise my eye. Because Cooking Light’s Noodle Salad with Shrimp, Chicken, and Mint is only teenage wasteland ain’t too shabby, yo.

To be honest, when I first bit into this light, Asian-inspired dinner, my reaction was “Meh.” The few ingredients and minimal prep didn’t seem to merit an “OOOO.” Uh … as it turns out though, I was incredibly wrong. Three helpings later, I had to remove the serving bowl from my presence, lest I scarf the whole dang thing. Whether it was the limey, sesame-infused soy sauce or the moist, flavorful chicken or the sprinkling of green onions was immaterial. All I knew was I wanted more. In fact, I want some right now, but it might not go so well with my coffee.

There were a few changes to the initial recipe – I cut some salt because there was no low-sodium soy sauce on hand, and substituted much of the shrimp for chicken. Poultry’s less expensive than shellfish, and there was a heaping mound I had to use before it freezer burned to death. (Also, I ran out of shrimp. But we won’t mention that.) If you make Noodle Salad, feel free to dump in chicken, shrimp or a combination of either. Chicken will keep the cost down and make it into something more befitting a main meal. Shrimp will be lighter, but pricier and side dishier.

Oh yeah – AND I got the mint for free. This is because:

A) It grows like crazy in our backyard, and

B) Is the only food I’m comfortable eating out of our Gowanus Canal-infused Brooklyn soil.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Gowanus … remember the first Batman movie? (Not the Christian Bale one, the Michael Keaton one.) You know how Jack Nicholson’s bad guy fell into that steaming, bubbling vat of acid, and it gave him his Joker face? The canal is kind of like that, only really, really stinky and lined with concrete-shoed mob informants. Good times.

Anyway, where was I? The Who … freezer burn … canals … wow. I seem to have gotten away from food a bit. But anyway. Try the Noodle Salad. You’ll like it. I promise.

Noodle Salad with Chicken, Shrimp and Mint
Makes 3 servings
Adapted from Cooking Light.

1 (7-ounce) package uncooked vermicelli (I used thin spaghetti and it was fine – Kris)
12 ounces chicken breast, sliced into 1/2-inch filets
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 large lime – Kris)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces medium cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
Lime wedges (optional)

1) Cook pasta in large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain.

2) Salt and pepper both sides of chicken filets. In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Cook around 8 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. (So, 4 minutes per side.) Once done, place chicken on a plate and let sit for a few minutes.

3) To a small bowl, add lime juice, soy sauce, honey, mint, sesame oil, salt, and garlic. Stir.

4) Go back to the chicken and chop it into bite-sized pieces.

5) In a large bowl, combine pasta, shrimp, and chicken. Add dressing. Stir to coat. Top with scallions. Serve. Lime wedges are a nice touch.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
463 calories, 7.2 g fat, $1.11

1 (7-ounce) package uncooked vermicelli: 738 calories, 3 g fat, $0.21
12 ounces chicken breast: 375 calories, 4.2 g fat, $1.49
1 teaspoon olive oil: 39 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.04
Salt and pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
2 tablespoons lime juice: 8 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce: 17 calories, 0 g fat, $0.19
1 tablespoon honey: 64 calories, 0 g fat, $0.09
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, $0.00
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil: 80 calories, 9 g fat, $0.12
1/4 teaspoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2 garlic cloves, minced: 9 calories, 0 g fat, $0.06
2 ounces medium cooked shrimp: 56 calories, 0.6 g fat, $0.90
1 tablespoon chopped green onions: 2 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
TOTAL: 1389 calories, 21. g fat, $3.33
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 463 calories, 7.2 g fat, $1.11

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Jaime said...

When you say mint, do you mean peppermint or spearmint? What do recipes generally mean?

Katie Gregg said...

That looks really good...

Kris said...

Jaime, that's a great question, and I have no idea how to answer. In general, I prefer peppermint to spearmint, but am okay with whichever generic "mint" comes from the grocery store or backyard. Must research more ...

Jaime said...

I feel the same way about peppermint & spearmint in cooking (except in gum and lemonade), but I was buying mint recently for a recipe, and the box of peppermint (this was Whole Food, so herbs came in boxes) said "Peppermint" and the box of spearmint said "Mint (spearmint)." I bought the Peppermint anyway, and am glad I did. Spearmint's too sweet, I think, for most recipes. But maybe the world has other ideas?

Brittany said...

that looks SO tasty!

Anonymous said...

Made this last night for dinner - fast and tasty. I used soba noodles as there was an unfinished package lying around. Next time, I'd use the recommended regular pasta (maybe less of them too ?) and add some veggies like sugar snap peas or thinly sliced blanched carrots. I'm eating some left overs for lunch. Darn good. Fried tofu would be an excellent substitute for chicken here. Re mint, I also have some generic mint growing in the yard, I'm not sure if it's mint sauce ( for lamb) mint, or mint julep mint. It worked for this, I might even use more next time.

Kris said...

Mike, I think veggies would be wonderful added to this. Good call.

Bethany said...

This is one of my all time favorite recipes. I make it fairly often and can't get enough of it. In the summer I leave out the chicken and shrimp and take it to BBQs as a side dish. Everyone who's tried it LOVES it and many have asked for the recipe. When I first started making it I played around with the amounts of each ingredient until I got it the way I like it. The sauce can also be used in other things. I like to mix it in ground beef for Asian burgers. SOOOOO good.