Despite shopping struggles, chicken chow mein wows

Published 8:17 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

Chicken Chow Mein

— 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

— 3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces

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— 6 ounces dry chow mein noodles

— 1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

— 1/2 cup shredded or julienned carrots

— 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery

— 1 teaspoon minced garlic

— 1 cup shredded cabbage

— 1/4 cup soy sauce

— 2 teaspoons honey

— 1 tablespoon sesame oil

— 1/4 cup sliced green onion tops (only the dark green part)

— salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add the chow mein noodles and cook according to package instructions.

Preheat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.

Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until just softened.

Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the cooked noodles to the pan, along with the cabbage. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the pan.

Stir until sauce evenly coats the noodles. Add the green onion tops and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until green onions and cabbage are wilted. Serve immediately.

Once again, I found today’s recipe while browsing through Facebook. When I clicked on the recipe, I was directed to

As you know, we like chicken and I’m always looking for a different way to fix it. After reading the ingredient list, I decided this was something I was willing to try, even though it included a vegetable I don’t like — cabbage.

I took the recipe to the grocery store on my normal Saturday visit and began gathering all the ingredients I would need. Even though the recipe doesn’t call for bell pepper, I figured they would probably be good in it and bought a red and green one.

I noticed the green cabbage heads were huge. and then I spotted the purple ones. They were a little more expensive but they were much smaller. I only needed a cup of it shredded. Knowing darker vegetables are better for you, and hoping it would taste better (meaning sweeter) than the green, I put the smallest one I could find in my cart.

I then headed to the Asian cuisine section of the store to get the chow mein noodles. When I got there, I looked and looked, but I could not find the dry kind that you boil. I looked at every bag of noodles on the shelf trying to figure out if one of them might work. None of them said they were chow mein.

After searching for about 10 minutes, I opted to just go somewhere else and see if I could find them. A couple days later I was at another store and started my search for chow mein noodles again. No luck!

I finally saw lo mein noodles and after reading the prep directions I figured since they had mein in the title, surely they were close enough.

The next night, I was anxious to try this dish. The directions seemed simple enough and I figured I’d have supper on the table in no time. I was wrong.

I cleaned and cut up the chicken before starting on the vegetables, knowing it would take longer to cook than the recipe said. I set the chicken aside and then began the process of cutting up all those vegetables — which took a lot of time. After washing and shredding and slicing and slicing and slicing, I was finally ready to get started.

I used my mandolin to thinly slice the onion, celery and peppers, but it still took forever. I minced the garlic and let it sit, like you are supposed to, to gain the full benefits.

Finally, I was ready to cook the chicken. I put it in the pan with some

oil and cooked it until it was done.

While it was cooking, I filled a pot with water and waited for it to boil. I didn’t want to put the noodles in to cook too early because I wasn’t sure how the lo mein ones would cook and I didn’t want them to end up being overdone and soggy.

When the chicken was done, I dumped in the onions, carrots and celery, then noticed Brad had placed a shiitake mushroom on the counter. I guessed this was my clue he wanted it included in the dish. I sliced it up and added it to the pan.

As soon as the vegetables were in the pan, the noodle water was boiling and I put half the package in to boil. Of course the water boiled over into my new burner pans (I got them for Christmas. They were something I’d been wanting and, yes, they were on my Christmas wish list) and made a mess.

While the veggies were cooking, I mixed up the soy sauce, honey and sesame oil and set it by the stove. When I was satisfied the vegetables were done, I checked the noodles and they appeared to be ready. I drained them and added them and the cabbage to the pan.

I turned to get the sauce and noticed the garlic sitting there — oops! I quickly added it to everything else, stirred it up and let it cook for a few minutes.

I added the sauce to the pan and mixed everything using some tongs. Then I called Brad to the table.

I served this dish straight from the pan.

We sat down to eat, and after a prayer was offered, Brad asked if we had any cashews. We did.

He sprinkled a few on top of his chow mein and took a bite, then he took another bite and another.

Brad said he thought it was pretty good, but would have liked fewer noodles.

I ended up adding a few cashews to my plate, too, just because I like cashews in Asian food.

I told Brad I thought the dish was good and would be making it again.

I put the leftovers in the refrigerator and the next day, while my son Daniel was visiting, we pulled them out and heated them up. Daniel gave the dish a thumbs up.

This is a dish I think you could add other vegetables to if you wanted. I bet sugar snap peas would be good in it and Brad would probably like asparagus in it.

I nailed this dish and it’s headed to my self-made cookbook.

I’ve still got half a package of lo mein noodles so it might not be long before it’s on the supper table again.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.