One of the principles of Intuitive Eating is "Discover the Satisfaction Factor." This principle is all about choosing and preparing food that is pleasurable to eat. Seems pretty simple, and I mean, who's anti-eating tasty food?
But practically speaking, sometimes time and cooking skills can be a constraint. Our taste buds crave a wide variety of foods and flavors in a well prepared dish, but only know how to cook a few things, or don't have time to make what you're craving, that can be a problem.
I think I encourage my clients to do is to dress up simple meals with store-bought sauces, dips, and condiments, like hummus, tzatziki, my new personal favorite - zhoug, or the peanut sauce I used in this recipe. Rotisserie chicken with rice and roasted vegetables is boring. But add a scoop of tzatziki, a side of kalamata olives and maybe a few cherry tomatoes if you're feeling fancy, and you've got a Greek feast. Eggs and toast for perfect for days you get home from work late, but add a dollop of zhoug to your eggs and it makes it feel gourmet.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of fear around processed foods, so sometimes my clients feel like they have to make every sauce homemade to avoid preservatives or eat "clean." But in the context of your overall eating pattern, as long as you're eating plenty of fresh, whole foods, having some convenience foods in there makes healthy easy. While homemade sauces are really tasty, they're not always realistic, so it's nice to have a few convenient options on hand.
Noodle bowls are one of my favorites - just search noodle bowl on my blog and you'll get approximately 4,583 results. To simplify it for a busy week, I used a store bought peanut sauce as a dressing (I got this one from whole foods), so this time to simplify it, I used a store bought peanut sauce. Before leaving for work, I tossed the chicken with a 5 minute marinade, although you could easily skip this step and do simple salt and pepper seasoned chicken, or use a store-bought marinade. Cooking dinner was as simple as sauteeing chicken, chopping some vegetables, and cooking rice noodles for 3 minutes in boiling water.
Noodle Bowl with Lemongrass Chicken and Peanut Sauce
Makes about 4 bowls
Chicken adapted from this recipe from Bon Appetit.
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass (I use the stuff from a tube)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 1/4 cup boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 8 ounces thin rice noodles
- 3 small cucumbers, sliced
- 1 large carrot, shredded on the large grates of a cheese grater
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 scallions, chopped
- Store bought peanut sauce, for serving
- In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, 1 tablespoon canola oil, soy sauce, fish sauce and brown sugar. Season with salt and black pepper. Add chicken and toss to combine, Refrigerate at least 4-24 hours to marinate.
- When ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook rice noodles for 2-4 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Heat remaining oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add chicken and saute about 4 minutes per side until cooked through and slightly charred. Remove to a cutting board and let cool 10 minutes before slicing.
- Divide rice noodles between bowls. Top with cucumber, carrot, herbs, and chicken. Drizzle with peanut sauce before serving.
More noodle bowls: