I know many of you out there don’t just cook for yourself. You’re cooking for significant others, family members, or roommates, too.
This can make it tough when you want to change up your diet on your quest to get back in shape. Sometimes the others in the house are not willing to partake of all the food on your menu. When this happens, what options do you have for dinnertime?
Well one option is to be sure you always have a lean protein and veggie somewhere in your meal. Load up your plate with the veggies and the protein and pass on the starchy carbs like bread, potatoes, rice, or pasta.
Ahhh pasta. How I miss it. That and bread are the two starchy carbs that I really wish I ate more often. Recently I’ve noticed my body isn’t a fan of flour based products (maybe a gluten issue), so I’ve been trying to avoid stuff that is made of flour. Le sigh….
Anyway, every once in a while I get a massive craving for something that looks/feels like pasta. While spaghetti squash is a great option for this, many days I don’t have time to cook the squash and whatever is going with it. So for this meal, and many others in the past, I opted for these gems called shiritaki noodles.
These things are amazing. Seriously. If you’ve never heard of them you should visit the Miracle Noodle website (my fav brand) and read up on them.
Essentially, shiritaki noodles are made from a plant-based fiber, and they have no calories (no sugar, starch, gluten, protein, soy, etc.). So they really are a guilt-free alternative to any sort of pasta, and they make the noodles into all different shapes and sizes. ((my favorite are the angel hair and rice))
Oh, you can find shiritaki noodles online of course (cheaper option), but if you just want to try them real quick, you can find them at most health food stores.
Because they don’t really require any cooking (just VERY thorough rinsing then warming), you’re not dirtying any other pans to get them to your plate. All you do is open the bag (don’t smell the water they’re packaged in please… it smells like funky fish, is just weird but normal and a good rinse takes all the funny smell away) and drain then rinse the noodles. You can do this while the pasta for everyone else is boiling away and your sauce is simmering :)
So on to the actual recipe. It took me a little over 30 minutes to pull together the sauce and the chicken. If you start the water boiling for the family’s pasta early, you won’t have an issue getting it ready to go in about 30. Yay for easy and tasty meals! And yay for a delicious, veggie based pasta sauce! It’s one more way I like to sneak veggies into my meals.
Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta
Pasta of your choice, enough for everyone else you’re cooking for
1 bag shiritaki noodles (it’s 1 bag per person that’s gonna eat them)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 chicken breast per person you’re feeding
s&p OR Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (<- delicious stuff!)
Sauce (makes 3-4 servings)
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans roasted red peppers, peeled and roughly chopped
~1/2 c no/lo sodium chicken stock
10 basil leaves, torn or 1/2-1 tsp dried basil
s&p to taste
Preheat oven to 350F and get a pot of water heating for your pasta. Heat the 2 Tbs olive oil over medium high heat, and season chicken on both sides with s&p or TJ’s 21 SS. Sear chicken breasts on both sides then place on baking sheet in oven for 15-20 min or until internal temperature reaches 160F (aka until it’s done ). Remove chicken from oven and transfer to plate to let meat rest.
Drop your pasta in the boiling water sometime around now.
To prep the sauce – to the pan that the chicken was cooked in, add an additional 2-3 Tbs olive oil and onions and saute over medium heat until soften. Add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes. To the pan, add the chopped red peppers and heat through. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender (or use an immersion blender), and pulse the mix until you’ve got this beautiful red and still kinda lumpy looking sauce. Put the sauce back in the skillet, add the chicken stock to loosen the sauce to the desired consistency. Then toss in the basil and bring the mix to an easy simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice chicken breasts and stir into sauce.
Drain the pasta. Drain and thoroughly rinse the shiritaki noodles. Put the pasta on the plates, top with the sauce/chicken combo. Sit at table and savor the tasty stuff on your plate. Smile. Belch. Oh, wait, don’t belch. Or if you do, say excuse me at least. We’re trying to be civilized here! Anyway, I hope you like it
Quick hint: boneless, skinless chicken breasts can easily dry out when you’re cooking them up. This method of searing first then finishing in the oven is one of the BEST ways I’ve found to keep the juices locked inside. So cook em that way and the other peeps at dinner will marvel at how juicy the chicken is. Trust me, they will….
Hope you enjoy it! Let me know in the comments how you get around the different tastes/food needs of the people in your house