Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad

I feel like I did a marathon this weekend!

I was so fortunate to be able to drive up to St. Louis this past weekend for one of my dear friend’s bachelorette parties.

St. Louis Arch

Clydesdale at Anheuser-Busch: St. Louis

Home of the World Series Champions!

Since I went to school at Penn State and live in Memphis, it’s very rare that I get to spend a weekend with my best friends from college. Like, seriously, we hail from Florida, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh both represented), Connecticut and Illinois. So getting together can be a challenge – but when we do, there is no shortage on fun – which includes choreographed dances and Beauty and the Beast sing-a-longs! More to come too – because since November, three of my girls have gotten engaged!

So before I had headed out on my solo road trip that involved a lot of jamming out to my favorite artist (Eric Church) – I made a delicious pasta salad-type dish with an Asian twist.

I could totally eat this for dinner, but it made up a lot of my lunches last week. And man, were my lunches good. Like, seriously. You don’t even have to wait in line for a microwave in your break room at work – because you eat it cold. And dear goodness, it is incredibly delicious.

And only 8 WW points. I know, I know. You love me. =)

It’s a lot of ingredients – but don’t be intimidated! You won’t regret making the full recipe – or even doubling it if you are one of those people (aka me) who let produce die in your refrigerator drawers after 1-2 uses.

(Oh, and I am certain this would make a great vegetarian dish if you just omit the chicken – so let me know, well, if you try it either way what you think!)

Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad– (6 servings)

1 cup red or orange bell pepper, Julienne

1 cup carrots, shredded

1 cup raw zucchini, shredded

1/2 cup raw broccoli, chopped

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

8 oz. raw chicken breast (boneless/skinless)

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti

For Dressing:

6 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat peanut butter

2 Tbsp. sesame oil (Vegetable oil is okay)

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar (regular works too)

1/2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, chopped

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. Sriracha (I promise this isn’t too spicy – I actually added more to each serving)

3 Tbsp. chopped peanuts

Boil pasta according to directions. Drain, set aside and let cool in a large bowl.

Boil chicken breast for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Cool 3-5 minutes. Shred with two forks.

Add bell pepper, carrots, zucchini, green onions and broccoli on top of pasta.

Add chicken.

For dressing:

In a food processor, add soy sauce, water, peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic and Sriracha. Pulse until smooth. Add peanuts and pulse a few more times.

Pour dressing over chicken/veggie/noodle mixture and toss until combined.

Chill at least 1 hour.

Serve and devour. I did add a little more Sriracha and soy to the top of mine and mmmmmmmm was it delicious…

Clearly my goal in life is to make your co-workers jealous…

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Chocolate Chip Scones with a Peanut Butter Glaze

I seriously cannot believe it is April! The husband and I hit the 6-month-as-a-married-couple mark on April Fool’s Day. Seemed fitting considering it certainly doesn’t feel like that long. Somebody must be running ahead of me and messing with calendars!

Now, if you asked me what time of year it was judging by the weather – it certainly would not be early April! I believe Memphis just had a few months of “Wintring” this year, combining winter and spring. I mean, it’s 90 degrees! I wore jeans and a 3/4 sleeve shirt yesterday with flip-flops and I almost broke into a sweat loading my groceries into my car!

Anyways, with all of the gorgeous weather out – I managed to read 2 books during my patio time after work. It was nice – I feel like I’d been gluing myself to the tv lately just to “relax”. I have always loved reading but I’m so much better about doing it on vacations – but I don’t need a beach to enjoy a book! It relaxes me and makes me so happy to get lost in a good story. I read “Something Borrowed” – which quite honestly just made me angry, so I had to read “Something Blue” and it did help reduce the anger a little.

Well, by the time Friday rolled around I realized I was supposed to have something to make for our Sunday school! Our class was just doing a potluck type deal for breakfast. Since the husband and I go to early service, a breakfast casserole would be tricky to have it made early and then sit in the car for 1 1/2 hours. I figured baking something like muffins would be good, but when I hit the internet, I found these gems and did not look back!

I had never in my life made scones (maybe only eaten them once) but just something about these called to me. And I am glad they did.

Chocolate Chip Scones with a Peanut Butter Glaze  (makes 32 mini scones)

Scones:

2 cups white-whole wheat flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup reduced-fat buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 Tbsp. fat-free milk

Peanut Butter Glaze:

3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. fat-free milk

2 Tbsp. reduced-fat creamy peanut butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425. Line baking sheet with a baking mat.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut butter into 1/2 Tbsp. pieces and add to flour mixture. Cut into mixture with a pastry cutter until it becomes coarse and crumbly.

Add buttermilk, vanilla, egg and chocolate chips. Stir until just combined.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead a few times with your hands. Take half of the dough and roll into a rectangle shape, about 1/4 inch thick. Use a pastry knife to trim with precision.

Cut dough length-wise down the center of your rectangle. Then cut into 8 equal squares. Cut each square diagonally, leaving 16 triangles.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Place scones on baking mat and brush the tops with the 1 Tbsp. milk.

Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Don’t burn your fingers trying to steal on right out of the oven…I may or may not be speaking from experience!

For the glaze, whisk all ingredients together until smooth.

It’s not entirely necessary, because the chocolate chip scones on their own are, well, amazing…

But you know that peanut butter and chocolate kinda belong together, right? So it would just be sad to get in the way of fate…