“Zoodle” Kung Pao

So much is going on in life right now! Blaine is finishing up his last year of classes at the Lipscomb School of Pharmacy and prepares for a year of “clinicals” before graduating, meanwhile I am nannying full-time. We don’t spend a lot of time at home these days.
In order to keep eating food that nourishes rather than what’s quick and easy, we usually plan and prepare a few meals for the week on Sunday afternoons. It is something that is so worth working into our busy schedule. The biggest ways we prepare are by making weekly meal plans and shopping lists.

Before the busy week starts, we prepare a few meals that we know we will need to eat in a hurry or take along with us. This week I made one that I was especially excited about! It does take a good 30 minutes of prep and cook time, but it’s worth it and it keeps well in the fridge so you can make it for lunch or dinner the next day and save yourself some time!

Zoodle Kung Pao

Serves: 2-3

We love Chinese take out food around here. We don’t eat it often because it’s so sugary and fatty, so we make our own versions at home pretty frequently (with our own healthy spins to it.)

ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini squashes, julienned or “spiralized” (see instructions)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1lb chicken tenderloins, cut into bites
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 tbsp dry roasted peanuts, crushed
  • 1 tbsp green onion

for the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (or less if you can’t handle the heat) (this is found in the ethnic section of the super market. Find one without sugar added)
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar (a low glycemic and unrefined sugar alternative) or honey
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

Instructions:

Start with the chicken. Heat a large pan or wok with olive oil over med-high heat and add chicken pieces seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook chicken until done and set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, whisk together all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

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Dice the bell pepper, grate the ginger, mince the garlic, chop the green onions, and noodle the zucchini!

For those of you who don’t know what a “zoodle” is, get with the program! A zoodle is what we call it when we julienne a zucchini squash to make noodle-like strands! This has become a pretty popular thing amongst the low-carb, gluten-free, or paleo communities. So popular, in fact, that there are even products that you can buy that are made specifically with zucchini noodle making in mind! (I.e. The Zoodle Slicer or The Veggetti)
I use a handheld julienne slicer and it works just fine for me!

After you’ve set aside the chicken, add the sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to the pan and reduce to medium heat (and take a glorious whiff of that harmonious smell.) Add bell peppers and the sauce mixture and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for about 3 minutes. 

Add the zoodles and stir together until they soften up a little bit and then add the chicken, crushed peanuts, and green onions and stir until well combined!

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This stuff seriously rocks. We kept ours in the fridge for the next day and it heated up in the microwave just fine and was still just as pretty! Well worth the veggie prep!

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This one will be going in the books! The perfect meal for a busy week!

Kaitie Holley, housewife.

Substitutes & Staples

Have a peek into my pantry!
This is a list of things I always have stored because I use them all the time and they are healthy alternatives to things that you should probably get rid of anyways. (:

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  1. Coconut Oil First of all, HUGE kudos to Kroger’s Simple Truth brand for hopping on the fad wagon! Love that they sell their organic coconut oil for $6.something. They also have extra virgin coconut oil, but it has a more prominent coconut flavor. Coconut oil is perfect for high heat frying but I use it as my go-to oil for almost everything. Good for skin and hair too!
  2. Coconut Flour- (Pictured in my little red jar there) A low carb substitute for all purpose flour, I use coconut flour for baking! It’s a more packed consistency than almond flour, but it does have a coconut flavor to it. I love the hint of coconut though because it makes for killer blueberry muffins!
  3. Almond Meal/Flour Again, THANKS KROGER!! Simple Truth brand almond flour is a good $5 cheaper than any other brand I’ve found so far! Another low-carb substitute, I would say almond flour is more of a “bread-crumb” kind of texture. I love using it for any kind of crust or breading. I have used it for baking, but I find that I usually add some coconut flour along with it to make whatever I am baking come together a little better. But I ❤ almond flour so much.
  4. SteviaStevia is natural sweetener derived from the stevia leaf. I keep this around incase of sweet-tooth emergency! Some people don’t like it, but I can’t find anything about it that I don’t like! Just be sure check every box/bag/packet of stevia you buy to ensure the only ingredient is either “stevia leaf extract” or “Reb A” (a short name for Rebaudioside which is the name of the extract) because all of them are different and many of them have added sugars like maltodextrin or dextrose. The only other sweeteners I keep in my house are Pure maple syrup and honey which I use for any special occasion dessert baking (though they are  NOT low carb substitutes, they are less processed than any other forms of sugar)
  5. Coconut Aminos This is a substitute for soy sauce. Blaine and I are huge fans of stir-fry and we go through this stuff like crazy! Generic soy sauce has gluten in it, and the tamari, though GF is still made out of soy that is genetically modified to death. The taste of the coconut aminos is very similar to soy sauce and it’s made from coconuts… I honestly have no idea how it works but it works!
  6. (not pictured) Homemade Mayonnaise– I promise to make a post on this in the very near future. I would not have survived Whole 30 without it!

EDIT- The Stevia packets that I had in the picture above have dextrose as the first ingredient. I am not sure why I never caught it but I wanted to correct the post and show a picture of a brand I found without dextrose/maltodextrin/cellulose powder! And I even found it in my Kroger’s Nature’s Market section for a good price!

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These are my main staples. I cannot wait to start sharing recipes with you guys! Feel free to ask any questions and stay tuned.

Kaitie Holley, housewife