Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken (gluten free!)

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

My wonderful friend Andrea introduced me to this meal when I was visiting her and her husband in DC last summer. It was love at first bite. She also introduced me to my first food blog (Smitten Kitchen), so I really have a lot to thank her for. This recipe also happens to be from Smitten Kitchen (did everything just come full circle?).

This meal is one of my all-time favorite summer time dishes. The ingredient list and instructions might look a bit long and daunting, but once all the chopping and slicing is finished, it’s pretty easy to get together. I will be quite honest and admit there are a few things in here that I would never be caught eating by themselves (I’m looking at you cucumbers!), but put them all together with some peanut sauce, cilantro, and lime, it’s hard not to like everything in this meal.

Despite my reservations about cucumbers (and bell peppers too), I left the recipe nearly all the same, except for using chicken breasts and all gluten-free ingredients. I also used more cilantro than mint and basil, but that’s just because I love cilantro (I’m lukewarm on basil and barely acquaintances with mint). Luckily, just about everything in this recipe can be adjusted to every individual taste. When you serve this delicious meal up, it’s kind of like a noodle-taco bar scenario. Everything is prepared separately and you get to pick and choose what you do and don’t like, which makes it good for a small crowd. And I am happy to report that this meal is one that gets better with age. The leftovers are even better than the original meal!

Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken

Gluten Free Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.


For the Dipping sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • Small Thai or Serrano chile, thinly sliced, to taste (jalapeño works too)
For the Peanut dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 9 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 6 tablespoons natural unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Pinch of cayenne
For the Chicken and noodle salad:
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6)
  • 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
  • 2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
  • Additional vegetables, as suggested above
  • Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
  • 4 or more scallions, slivered
  • 1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
  • Lime wedges (to serve)


Make the dipping sauce:
    1. Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
Make the peanut dressing:
    1. In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
Marinate the chicken:
    1. Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles:
    1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
Cook the chicken:
    1. Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
To serve:
  1. At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish.
  2. Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Brown Butter Sauce

Pumpkin is pretty gross looking. The look and smell definitely do not appeal. I’ve actually only had pumpkin once before. It was also gnocchi form. It was pretty delicious. Since pumpkin seems to be absolutely every where this time of year, I decided to give it a whirl. This recipe was also absolutely delicious.

I must say that homemade gnocchi was not as difficult to make as I thought it would be. Not that it’s a meal to make every night, but it definitely seems a lot more daunting than it really is. The most time consuming part of the whole thing, was waiting for water to boil.

The recipe for the gnocchi will generously serve 4 people or 2 with plenty of leftovers for a whole other meal.

Now I just need to figure out how to use up the rest of this pumpkin…

Gluten Free Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Brown Butter Sauce

  • 1 pound/450g of potatoes (around 3 medium russet potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup/75g pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup/160g flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Mix)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • Butter
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh sage
  1. Bring small pot of salted water to a boil. While water is heating, peel potatoes, cut into pieces and add to boiling water. When cooked, drain from pot and allow to cool slightly. When cooled, press potatoes through ricer or mash until smooth in a large bowl.
  2. Add pumpkin puree, flour, nutmeg, salt and egg to bowl. Mix together until sticky, but clean to the touchy (ie, doesn’t stick to you).
  3. Divide dough into four. On a clean, well floured surface take one section of dough and roll out into long skinny ‘snake’ about one inch thick. Cut dough into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add in gnocchi (you might have to work in batches). Gnocchi will rise to the surface and allow to boil for 2-3 minutes. When done remove from water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
  5. In a large pan melt butter over medium-high heat. When melted, add gnocchi (you might have to work in batches or use multiple pans) and allow to crisp. Flip to crisp on other side. When done, add another pat of butter, melt and allow to start to brown/caramelize and chopped sage. Cook sage until crispy.
  6. Put gnocchi on plates, top with sage-butter sauce and top with grated parmesan and freshly ground pepper.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Gluten Free Chicken, Broccoli Mac & Cheese

After spending nearly 4 hours in traffic on my drive up from work, I wanted a dinner that would be quick, fast and tasty. After a quick and fruitless Google sesh, I decided to get serious and go to a site that has rarely let me down: Real Simple. On their website, Real Simple has a ‘Dinner in 15 Minutes Flat‘ page, which is pretty much awesome, especially when you are short on time. The only thing that I found annoying about the recipe was the fact that it called for a rotisserie chicken… that would be fine and dandy, but when you get home and are looking for a quick, last minute recipe, I highly doubt you have a rotisserie chicken laying around or that you want to head back to the store to pick one up. Instead of dinner in 15, it was more like dinner in 30 since I had to roast chicken, but it was worth it.

I’m not really a fan of pasta, like I kind of hate it, which apparently makes me a crazy person according to most. I am of the school of thought that potatoes are where it’s at. Despite my misgivings about pasta, this recipe still appealed. I actually think that with a bit more broccoli, this could be served as a meal by itself without pasta and still be just as satisfying. The other good thing about this recipe, which might have been a by product of using more pasta that the original recipe called for, was the fact that there were tons of leftovers. If I had been going to work the next day, it definitely would have made for a great lunch.

Roasted Chicken Breasts

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • garlic powder
  • unsalted butter
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
Easiest roast chicken ever! The chicken definitely could have been served as is when it was done in the oven. It was very tasty by itself.
Heat oven to 400. Prepare the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with garlic powder on each side and place in baking dish. Top with a patty/slice of unsalted butter then lightly drizzle with olive oil. Top with kosher salt and generous grind of pepper. Squeeze one lemon over chicken. Cook chicken for 20-25 minutes.

(Gluten-free) Chicken Broccoli Mac & Cheese (adapted from this recipe)

  • 8 oz. dried pasta of choice (I used a 12 oz. box of gluten-free elbow pasta)
  • 2 cups of fresh broccoli florets
  • Roasted chicken breast
  • 1 5.2-oz. pkg. semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs (aka Boursin)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and snipped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, optional

In large saucepan cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli florets during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. While pasta is cooking, remove meat from roasted chicken. Coarsely chop chicken. Drain pasta and broccoli; set aside.

In same saucepan combine cheese, the 3/4 cup milk, tomatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta mixture and chicken. Heat through. If necessary, thin with additional milk. Sprinkle fresh parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Penne Bake

With winter and its freezing* cold temperatures still looming outside, today’s dinner had to be warm and comforting. I’m not really a pasta fan, like I kind of hate it (potatoes are a totally different story…), but I saw this recipe and was intrigued. It contained several of my favorite ingredients; onions, mushrooms, 2 kinds of cheese, red wine, how could this be bad? After a day of errands and grocery shopping, I got home and realized that I was still without some of the ingredients so a few quick substitutions, lasagna was out and a penne pasta bake was in.

(* – It did not get above 60/15 (it was 52/11 to be exact) today, therefore everyone in Southern California reserves the right to complain profusely about how cold it is and wear any amount of ridiculous layers and ‘winter’ clothing as they see fit. The fact that there was snow forecasted for much of the state totally justifies any and all complaining.)

I started making this earlier in the day, caramelizing the onions while I made lunch, but the rest of the meal came together surprisingly fast despite the seemingly daunting list of  ingredients and directions. I think making this a bake, as opposed to a real lasagna, definitely helped speed things along.

I’m fairly certain I would make this again, but there are a couple of things I would want to change. Mainly the ricotta and spinach mixture. The original recipe called for salt, but in interest of cutting down sodium, I left it out. I had no idea how incredibly bland ricotta is. I think some garlic and a pinch of salt would fix all that. The smell of the mushrooms and red wine, however, was absolutely amazing. I would have been more than happy to eat the mushrooms and onions by themselves. They definitely could be used as a pasta sauce or on top of a baked potato.


Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Penne Bake
Inspired by this Eating Well recipe

  • 1 box of penne pasta (I used gluten-free penne)

Onion and Mushroom ‘Filling’

  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 onions, sliced
  • 12 oz. mushrooms, washed, stemmed, diced (I used regular white button mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cheese ‘Filling’

  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil

White Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. flour (all-purpose or gluten-free substitute)
  • 2 cups non-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
  2. Cook pasta in salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain. Return to pot and cover with cold water.
  3. Onion Mixture: Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are starting to caramelize. Stir in mushrooms and cook until just beginning to soften. Stir in wine and 1 teaspoon salt and continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in pepper.
  4. Spinach Filling: Place spinach, ricotta and basil in food processor and process until smooth.
  5. White Sauce: Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir until bubbling whisk in milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking, until the sauce has the consistency of thick gravy (it will be slightly thinner if you’re using non-fat milk). Add Gorgonzola and gently whisk until it is melted. Remove from the heat. (The sauce will continue to thicken as it sits.)
  6. Drain noodles again and dry on towel.
  7. Mix noodles, onion mixture and ricotta mixture in large bowl.
  8. Coat large baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer pasta.
  9. Pour white sauce over pasta and top with walnuts.
  10. Bake until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

I enjoyed my penne bake with a glass of my favorite Santa Barbara Winery blend ZCS (Zinfandel, Carignane, Sangiovese). It definitely made the meal.

Now I’m off to cuddle with puppies and watch some Dateline Mysteries…