It's wintry and cold out. The wind is going at 40 miles per hour and I can hear it whistling past our window panes, trying its hardest to eke its way through any cracks.
Though they're tucked into fuzzy slippers, my toes are cold. They haven't been able to shake the chill since I came indoors hours ago. It's time for a hot, spicy dinner to counteract the elements.
I'm inside where it's warm, the Christmas tree is lit, ornaments shining, dog snoozing on his couch pillow. A big heaping plate of chicken pad thai, steaming from the wok, truly radiates heat with every saucy, delicious noodle twirled around my fork. It's a recipe for true toastiness from the inside out.
Ingredients: recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen. Serves 4
8 oz. rice noodles
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
1/2 t. grated lime peel
3 T. fish sauce
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 T. packed brown sugar
4.5 t. rice vinegar
1 T. Asian chile sauce with garlic
3 T. cooking oil
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized strips
1 T. finely chopped garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bean sprouts (I used 1 cup of defrosted frozen stir fry vegetables)
1/3 cup sliced green onion
2 T. snipped fresh cilantro (optional)
In a large bowl, soak noodles in hot water for 10-15 minutes (until pliable but not soft). Drain well.
Combine peanuts and lime peel in a separate dish, set aside
Whisk together fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chile sauce until smooth and set aside.
Heat 1 T. oil a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and cook the chicken and garlic about 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the egg with a spatula and cook for 30-60 more seconds, then remove from skillet and chop. Set aside.
In same skillet, heat 2 T. oil over high heat for 30 seconds. Add drained noodles and vegetables (sprouts or stir fry veggies), cook 2 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken, stir fry for 1-2 more minutes or until heated through. Divide entire pan contents among 4 plates. Top with the egg, peanut topping, green onion, and cilantro.