Healthy Weeknight Dinners

VIDEO: Better-Than-Takeout Chicken & Peanut Lo Mein Recipe

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

On a busy weeknights, the “What’s for dinner?” question can be the toughest one to answer. It’s not easy to get healthy meals on the table while managing a busy schedule of work, school, extracurricular activities, social commitments or whatever it is that keeps you on the go. Many of us rely on our favorite takeout places far too often. We know it’s not healthy for our bank accounts, and it’s definitely not healthy for our waistlines but yet we fall into the habit anyway.

Having meals like this one in your weeknight dinner arsenal definitely helps resist that takeout temptation. This chicken and peanut lo mein will rival the flavors of your favorite Chinese restaurant and comes together quickly — easily under 30 minutes especially if you manage to prep some of the ingredients in advance (like chopping the veggies beforehand, for example).

Better yet, it’s likely to be far healthier than anything you can get in a carryout container or at a drive-through window. This dish is packed with whole grains, a colorful variety of nutritious veggies and lean protein. (Check out the Cook’s Note for suggestions on how to make it meat free but still full of protein.) Plus, you can better control the fat and salt content in each serving by using just enough of a plant-based cooking oil like canola and by sticking with low-sodium versions of soy sauce and broth, which can so often be salt bombs. This recipe has probably half of the saturated fat and sodium of your typical takeout chicken lo mein meal. (And it doesn’t come with tempting but unhealthy add-ons like fried egg rolls, salty soup or fortune cookies!) The leftovers make a delicious lunch too.

Better-Than-Takeout Chicken and Peanut Lo Mein

(Downloadable/printable pdf version of this recipe)

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

8 ounces dry whole-wheat spaghetti
1 Tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1” pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
1 large onion (red or white, or 1 bunch scallions), sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bunch broccoli, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
4-ounce package shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 Tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lime
Dash of Sriracha to taste (optional)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped

Directions:

Heat water for spaghetti in a large stock pot and cook spaghetti according to package directions (minus salt and oil).

In the meantime, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large sauté pan. Add chicken and sauté until browned and cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside. In same pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil and sauté garlic, ginger and onion until fragrant. Add carrots and sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broccoli and celery; sauté 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté 3-5 minutes. Cook until broccoli is crisp-tender and bright green.

To prepare sauce, mix sesame oil with soy sauce, chicken broth, black pepper, lime juice, Sriracha (optional), cornstarch and brown sugar.

Add cooked chicken and sauce to vegetables and bring to a boil. Cook just until sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cooked noodles, top with peanuts and serve.

COOK’S NOTE: To make this a vegetarian recipe, replace the chicken with a 14-ounce package of firm tofu sliced into 6 pieces (press out extra liquid with paper towel) OR a 10-ounce package shelled edamame, and replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth.

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING: 440 Calories; 14 grams Fat; 2 grams Saturated Fat; 75 mg Cholesterol; 460 mg Sodium; 47 grams Carbohydrates; 12 grams Sugar; 9 grams Fiber; 34 grams Protein

Henry Ford LiveWell and Kroger have teamed up to assist you in your wellness journey! Learn how to shop and cook healthy by signing up for a grocery tour store hosted by a Henry Ford registered dietitian nutritionist at Kroger stores across southeast Michigan.

Looking for more info and want to make an appointment with a registered dietitian? Call 1-855-434-5483 or email ContactUs@henryfordlivewell.com.