Sesame Noodles with Shredded ChickenHave I mentioned that my partner Dave is a sesame-noodle snob? When I saw the recipe for “Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken,” from Cooksillustrated.com, I hoped that the notorious perfectionism of the Cook’s Illustrated test kitchen would help me produce a dazzling meal that Dave would approve. I followed the chicken broiling instructions, cooking the breasts for 8:00 on the first side, 8:00 on the second side, then taking their temperature with an instant-read thermometer. My reading was only 147 degrees. So I turned the breasts over again, cooked for another 4:00, then got a temperature reading of 160 degrees. Indeed, this chicken then shred easily and was perfectly cooked. I love when Cook’s Illustrated does that!

I toasted my sesame seeds for only 4:00; this was fine. Instead of using the suggested chunky peanut butter in my sauce, I used the “smooth, natural” variety, and tossed some peanuts into the blender. I didn’t mind that my sauce was not as sweet as the recipe suggested it should be. I guess this call depends upon your own tastes. My chosen noodle was cappellini. My final, combined dish was not too saucy, but did have good flavor. The scallions were especially noticeable. My important result: Dave liked the dish.

Chinese Green Bean Stir-FryI also made the tasty and simple “Chinese Green Bean Stir-Fry,” from All Recipes. String beans are always a winner in my house. Instead of using a wok, I cooked these in a big pot. My total cooking time was approximately 8:00, until the beans were crisp. I used KaMe black bean sauce, described as “a staple of the Chinese pantry, made from fermented black soybeans, with a full-flavored, salty taste. It is designed to add richness and texture to dishes.” If you adore string beans as I do, you’ll enjoy the garlic/ginger flavors of this dish.

RECIPES: make a smart, impressive meal with little effort
PREP TIMES:
you’ll put together your meal in an hour
TASTES:
perfect chicken combines with flavorful, though modest, noodles; enjoy what black bean sauce can do to your string beans

Let’s play with shrimp, next time. I want to make the “Shrimp, Corn, and Pepper Sauté,” from Express Lane Diabetic Cooking, by Robyn Webb, with a side of “Mexican Rice II,” from All Recipes. Return to my site on Thursday, November 13, to see how fabulous this might be.