It’s Monday evening. A long day of work finished, and the project of dinner looms like a towering obstacle. Ordering take out may be your go to option in this weekday struggle, as it often was mine. Before my diagnosis of diabetes, I ate take out at least a couple of days a week. With the demands of long workdays and household tasks to also accomplish, it was an all too easy solution.
With this recipe, the preparation is done ahead of time on the weekend so the entire meal on the weekday takes a mere 15 minutes to cook. A perk? It’s delicious – with some key, light substitutions, you can have a far healthier version of one of my favorites – chicken lo mein. Here, we replace the pasta with zucchini noodles and the hoisin sauce with a lighter mixture. An optional sprinkle of everything seasoning adds another twist.
We hope this recipe inspires you to take on take out and eases the weeknight struggles!
6 zucchinis, ends removed
6 carrots, peeled and stemmed
1 red onion
3 cups baby spinach
4 green scallions
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ cup chicken broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp siracha sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
1 tbsp everything seasoning
The day before cooking, use a spiralizer to make the zucchini into thin strips like noodles (you can also buy them already like this at the grocery store.
Grate the carrots. Slice the scallions into ¼ inch pieces, omitting the white ends, and slice the red onions into thin half-moons.
Cut the chicken breast in half and then into strips. Season with the vegetable oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, tossing well. Marinate overnight. Whisk together the soy sauce, mustard, sriracha and broth, and put in the fridge in a separate container.
The next day take all ingredients out of the fridge and get your mis-en-place ready (everything ready beside you).
Heat a wok with 2 tbsp of sesame oil on medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken. Stir often but not too frequently until the chicken is mostly cooked. This will not take long. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and put in a clean bowl (do not use the same container you had the raw chicken in).
Add the garlic and ginger. Sautée until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
Add the vegetables with a pinch of salt. Cook down, stirring frequently. Return the cooked chicken to the pan and mix to incorporate. Add the soy sauce mixture to de-glaze the pan, scrapping any brown bits.
Add the zucchini, tossing well to incorporate. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until softened. If desired, add the everything seasoning, and toss to incorporate again.
There is a restaurant local to where I work that serves She-crab soup every Friday for its special. While She-crab soup, of course, is in itself special, nobody seems to agree on much about it, what should (and just as importantly, should not) go into its preparation.
The orange tint of most of the she-crab soups that are made come from the crab roe addition to it; however, this can be difficult to find due to crabbing laws and geography depending on where you’re located. Some people add crumbled hard boiled yolks to imitate the texture, others find this sacrilegious.
One thing almost everyone does agree on is that there is something comforting about a seafood bisque-like soup that invokes images of warmth, comfort and sunshine. Below, you’ll find our own recipe for crab bisque. We used Maryland blue crab and seafood stock that was leftover from our Paella recipe. We substituted the traditional grated white onion for shallots for a more mild taste and added the addition of fragrant garlic to enhance the crab meat.
One area you cannot go wrong with any seafood bisque is to add a teaspoon of sherry or other dry white wine to your serving bowl which will add a depth of flavor to the soup. As always, bon appetit!
3 cups whole milk
1 cup seafood stock (preferably homemade, but can use store bought)
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
1 pound crab (preferably blue She crabs, but other varieties will suffice)
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup heavy cream
Sherry or other dry white wine
Chives for garnish (optional)
In a pot, place milk and stock. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer. Keep mixture on simmer while working on the soup.
In a large pot, melt butter on medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add shallots. Stir frequently until translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add flour and stir regularly until flour turns brown and bubbles.
Add the hot milk/stock mixture into the soup pot with the flour, stirring while adding. The mixture will start to thicken.
Add crab. Continue to simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid is thickened.
Turn off heat and stir in the heavy cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. Let sit for 3-4 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Add a teaspoon of sherry to each serving bowl and ladle soup. (Alternatively, add 3 teaspoons of the sherry to the entire pot. If you wish to avoid alcohol, substitute with apple cider vinegar). Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.