Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eat This?

You've probably seen the segments, or read the stories, or at least have heard about David Zinczenko's "Eat This, Not That" - that inspiring (ha) theory that basically tells us how horrible all restaurant food is. I mean, who doesn't love learning that one plate of somethingoranother from Cheesecake Factory is worse than eating 10,000 pieces of cheese?

Although we very rarely eat at chain restaurants (love our NEO food scene), I still find these little ditties super fun. So, I was super excited to be suckered into buying a couple of cookbooks from Mr. Zinczenko. So excited in fact, that since buying them and looking at them once, they have not left the shelf.

Until tonight! Bet you can't wait to read on!

Of course, the book comes with all sorts of flashy promises about low-cal meals and losing weight (and lots of glossy pics), but I'm not too impressed with many of the recipes as they are still too high in sodium and don't specify portion size. But in the spirit of this challenge, I decided to give one a whirl.

Sesame Noodles with Chicken & Peanuts
Source: Cook This Not That, by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, 2010

  • 6 oz whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil, plus more for the noodles
  • Juice of one lime (used 1 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1-1/2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 tbsp sriacha
  • 2 c. shredded chicken
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, sliced (used red)
  • 2 c. sugar snap peas (skip)
  • 1 c. cooked and shelled edamame (optional - used it)
  • Chopped peanuts, sesame seeds or scallions (optional - used peanuts)
  • Note: I added in sliced carrots
  • Bring a large pot of salted (! - no) water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions. Drain pasta and toss in a large bowl with a bit of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar to keep noodles from sticking (did not toss with oil or vinegar).
  • Combine the lime juice, water, peanut butter, soy sauce, sriacha and sesame oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds, then stir to create a uniform sauce.
  • Add the sauce to the noodles and toss to mix. Stir in chicken, bell pepper, sugar snaps and edamame. Top individual servings with peanuts, sesame seeds, scallions, etc.
Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 340 calories, 11g fat (2g sat), 400mg sodium.

Fun note: According to the authors, this recipe is comparable to California Pizza Kitchen's Kung Pao Spaghetti with Chicken, which clocks in at 1,160 calories, 8g of saturated fat and 1,737mg sodium. In case you are wondering, that sodium content alone is almost an entire day's worth, depending on your dietary guidelines. For others who watch sodium carefully (like me - lots 'o heart disease in my family) - that is MORE than an entire days allotment. I can't comment on the similarity because I have never tried CPK's version - and honestly, haven't been there in years and years.

Tonight's kid quote? "This is very spicy for a little kid." It did have some kick, but it wasn't too bad. I thought the taste was OK, the meal OK. Nothing special, nothing too unique as I've made variations of this before, but used healthier ingredients than called for in the recipe (almond butter, not all of that extra oil, etc.). I did make adjustments as noted, and the meal was very easy to throw together. I am not the biggest fan of this cookbook, but I anticipate using it - or the other Cook This Not That edition I bought - at some point again.

Two Forks

"This is very spicy for a little kid."

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