Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kung Pao Chicken Zoodles

I'm joining the zoodle craze.

Sure, February doesn't seem like the right time of year to start, um, zoodling, but it cannot be helped. I was catching up on reading the blogs I follow last month, in the evening and after a couple of glasses of wine. One of my favorite bloggers, Lindsay from Pinch of Yum, featured a recipe using spiralized veggies and that was all she wrote. I've had a spiralizer on my Amazon wishlist for months, but something clicked.  I had to have it. I wanted spiralized bell peppers, and cabbage, and most importantly, zoodles. The wine clearly muddled my thinking, and before I knew it, I'd already clicked "purchase" on Amazon.

Does this happen to anyone else late in the evening when they have a nice wine haze going on? I swear. Luckily, the contraption was only $30. It could have been worse :-)

Plus, the zoodles! Ohhhhhh, the zoodles...

Let's get this straight- I love pasta. Like, love, love, LOVE pasta. I love the texture, the taste, all the sauces, the cheeses... Pasta has to be one of my favorite things ever. So, while I've been wanting to try zoodles, I've never thought they would even compare to pasta. I guess you could say I went in to this experiment without the highest of hopes, really just looking for something different. 

Then, the zoodles blew me out of the water.

Yes, zoodles are not exactly like pasta. But (and that's a big, FAT but) zoodles are a creature all their own. The texture is similar to pasta. I only cooked my zoodles for maybe two minutes, so they still had a lot of crunch. And I loved that crunch. This particular dish is a big winner for zoodles; the sauce alone is fantastic in its own right. 

Before you outright dismiss zoodles, I highly recommend trying them. This girl has been converted. You can expect plenty more zoodle recipes to come. Scratch that- you can expect plenty of recipes to come using the spiralizer. I'm in love with that gadget. Texture is a huge part of eating vegetables, and the spiralizer has introduced me to a whole new host of recipes. Plus, it's super-easy to use. If I can figure it out, you can too.

Not that there's much to figure out. Plus, it's really cool that a zucchini can go from looking like dis-

To looking like dis!

Oh yummy, yummy zoodles :-)

So, other than the zoodles, the rest of this recipe is pretty standard Kung Pao Chicken. Red bell pepper, crushed peanuts, scallions...

A spicy sauce...

Browned chicken... OH yes.

I cannot wait until I have garden fresh zucchini to make zoodles with! My zucchini better turn out this year, that's all I have to say. We have huge problems with cucumber beetles here, so one of these summers I'll find a great organic way to deal with those buggars. I might try row covers for the cucumber, zucchini, and pumpkin this year. We'll see. 

By the by, I used a recipe from Skinnytaste for this, and I followed it exactly. Never having made zoodles before I decided not to waiver from the instructions. The recipe is top-notch and perfect as is! If anyone has had a problem in the past with the zoodles loosing too much water and making the dish watery, this recipe doesn't have that problem. In fact, when you add the zoodles to the sauce, you'll find the dish to be just a little on the dry side. This works to your advantage though, because the water lost from the zoodles adds the perfect amount of moisture to the recipe.

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. I've been a bad blogger this week. I've been hit with a touch of the blues, which in itself is nothing unusual. I find it harder to write when I'm feeling so down, which is how Monday and Tuesday were blown right past. I figured it was time to check in though, so here I am. I've got therapy later today, which might help. Sometimes a fresh perspective is all I need to pull myself out of a funk. Fingers crossed.

Gizmo woke up on Saturday on an apparent hunger strike. For all of you who don't know my dogs, my dogs are OBSESSED with food. All of them are. You give them their meals, and they are inhaled in 60 seconds flat. If you snack in the living room on the couch, they sit on your lap and salivate everywhere. They love food. So when Gizmo headed for the heating pad and not his bowl on Saturday morning, alarm bells went off in my head.

I thought he was sick. I thought maybe a tooth was loose. I added water to his chow, and let it sit for 10 minutes. I added more water, heated it up, and put it front of him.


I panic and wake the hubby up because I'm convinced at this point that Gizzie is sick. The hubby pulls himself out of bed with a groan, drags himself into the living room, and gives his dog an inspection. The next thing I know, the hubby is hand feeding Gizmo a couple kibbles of Mariota's puppy chow. And Gizmo scarfs them down.

Then the hubby fills Gizmo's bowl with puppy chow, and what do you know? He devours the whole thing. The hubby and I were flabbergasted. I was no longer convinced that Gizmo was sick.

After all that, it appears little Gizmo woke up on Saturday morning and said to the world, "No more. Today is THE day. I will not eat those stupid crunchies one more (bleeping) day!"

Gizmo now gets a teaspoon of pureed pumpkin mixed in with his food.

When are the other dogs going to catch on and demand pumpkin too? Your guess is as good as mine :-)

Happy Wednesday friends!

Recipe source: Skinnytaste

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 1/2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp sambal oelek (garlic chile paste)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp canola oil
2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
salt and pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 large zucchinis, spiralized
2 tbsp crushed peanuts
2 tbsp green onions, thinly sliced


1. In a small bowl, combine water, soy sauce, vinegar, hoisin, samba oelek, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk to thoroughly combined. Set aside.
2. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. You want the pan to sizzle. Add the chicken in a single layer. Let cook for 1 minute. Stir the pan to flip the chicken over. Cook for another minute. Now stir the chicken around for another 3 minutes or so, or until browned. Remove chicken from pan, set aside. Wipe pan out with a paper towel.
3. Heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add red bell pepper, sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add soy sauce mixture to pan, cook for 1-2 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. 
4. Add spiralized zucchini to pan. Toss to coat with sauce. Zucchini will appear a bit dry, and this is GOOD! Cook the zoodles for 1-2 minutes, or until they begin to lose water. Remove from heat, and stir in chicken, peanuts, and green onion. Toss to coat. 
5. Divide among plates, and serve immediately. 

*Chef's note- I recommend just making enough zoodles to eat at one time. Zoodles get watery and soggy over night, they don't make great leftovers. This entire skillet is only 600 calories, so truly this a filling dish for 2. No worries about small portions here!

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Linked to: Create It Thursday, Thank Goodness It's Thursday, Weekend Potluck, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party


  1. Bubba finally put his paw down on dry food too. He now eats either plain chicken or Fresh Pet. Picky kids... what can you do? ;)


    1. The worst part is Gizmo has been eating pumpkin for only a week and he is ALREADY starting to slow down on that. I swear :-)


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