Food: Noodle dish lets the whole family chill out

Kate Lawson
The Detroit News

I just don’t want to be inside. It’s that plain and simple. After last winter I may never stay inside again (not really). That means, of course, that I don’t want to be in the kitchen, either. But certain people in my household like to eat (OK, so do I) and I can justify pizza only so many times a month.

My recipes files are stuffed to the gills, but that’s where I always turn when I want to make a meal that was a winner the first time around. Pasta is the fattest file and no matter what I pull out of the folder, it’s always a hit, like these cold sesame noodles.

When the kids were little they loved cold noodles — mostly because they could stay outside and play and come in when they were hungry and grab some dinner — nothing needed reheating. Hey, it was summer, don’t judge my parenting skills.

So these days, when I want to stay outside and play and come in when I’m hungry, I plan ahead and make these cold sesame noodles. You can add the chicken, or not, and make the noodles colorful with some baby bell peppers and sliced radishes for a peppery punch.

This is a quickie meal that makes great leftovers for lunch the next day ... or even dinner if you just can’t bear to fix dinner the next night. I understand ... and offer you this.

Cold Chicken and Spicy Peanut Sesame Noodles

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 quarts salted water for cooking chicken plus additional water for cooking noodles

3/4 to 1 pound dried spaghetti noodles (or Asian rice noodles)

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup roasted peanut oil

2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for topping

3 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled

1 small clove of garlic

Fresh scallions, chopped, for topping

Sliced baby bell peppers for topping (optional)

Chopped salted peanuts for topping (optional)

Sliced radishes for topping (optional)

First, make the shredded chicken. (You can do this the day before) Boil 4 quarts of water with 1 tablespoon of salt. When the water reaches a boil, add the chicken and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Pour out the water and allow the chicken to cool on a cutting board or in a bowl.

In a large stockpot, bring water to boil then add spaghetti noodles and cook according to box. Drain well when done. Meanwhile, shred the cooked, cooled chicken using two forks.

In a jar of a blender, combine water, peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, peanut oil, sesame seeds, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Process until smooth.

After pasta is done cooking and drained, add to a large glass bowl. Pour the peanut sesame sauce over the noodles, add shredded chicken and toss to coat. The mixture/sauce will be very runny and it will look like you made way too much. But pop in the fridge for a few hours and the sauce sets up perfectly. Garnish with freshly chopped scallions and additional sesame seeds, baby bell pepper slices or chopped peanuts and sliced radishes if desired. Serves 6.

Per serving: 574 calories; 22 g fat (4 g saturated fat; 34 percent calories from fat); 63 g carbohydrates; 12 g sugar; 48 mg cholesterol; 706 mg sodium; 31 g protein; 3 g fiber.