A 5-Day Asian-Inspired Meal Plan That Is Better Than Takeout

Chicken in spicy peanut sauce recipe

Chicken in a spicy peanut sauce
Image: Milagros Cruz

If you’re looking for a super-quick recipe this week, then make this chicken with a spicy peanut sauce. It takes only 20 minutes to whip up, and you can adjust the heat in this recipe to your liking. If you’re not a fan of spicy food, then you can omit the hot sauce altogether.

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • White rice or stir-fried vegetables for serving
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar and lime juice until smooth.
  3. Set aside 1/3 cup of the peanut sauce for serving.
  4. Season your chicken with salt, pepper and the remaining peanut sauce. Place on a greased baking sheet, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and browned.
  5. Make sure to turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
  6. Serve your chicken with peanut dipping sauce, white rice and/or stir-fried vegetables.

More: Stuffed Veggies Are the Easiest Summer Meal — Here Are Our Favorites

Sesame & peanut noodles recipe

Sesame and peanut noodles
Image: Milagros Cruz

Make the same peanut sauce you made for your chicken (with or without the hot sauce), and use it for your noodle dish tonight. The only thing you have to cook is your noodles, and then you toss them into the peanut sauce, top with sesame seeds, and dinner is served. It’s better than any takeout dish you could have ordered.

Serves 4 – 6

Prep time: 7 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 17 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 16 ounces rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 a lime wedge for garnish
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. To a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the sesame seeds. Toast over medium heat until the seeds are lightly browned and nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes, making sure to stir frequently. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, water, sesame oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, vinegar and lime juice until smooth. Set aside.
  3. To a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, add the rice noodles. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes depending on the thickness of the noodles.
  4. To a large mixing bowl, add the pasta, peanut sauce and chopped cilantro. Mix to combine, and top with toasted sesame seeds.
  5. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Note: If the peanut sauce is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of pasta water at a time until the sauce is loose and coats the pasta.

Stir-fried noodles with shrimp & vegetables recipe

Stir-fried noodles with shrimp and vegetables
Image: Milagros Cruz

If you’re in need of a hearty dish, try this one for dinner. Sauté your veggies, cook your shrimp, and boil your noodles. That’s all there is to it. You’ll have a stick-to-your ribs meal on the table in under 30 minutes.

Serves 6

Prep time: 2 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 16 ounces rice noodles
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups stir-fry vegetables (broccoli, bell peppers, onion, carrots, etc.)
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. To a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the sesame seeds. Toast over medium heat until the seeds are lightly browned and nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes, making sure to stir frequently. Set aside.
  2. To a large pot of boiling salted water over high heat, add the rice noodles. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 5 to 7 minutes depending on the thickness of the noodles.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, make the veggies. To a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the minced garlic and the stir-fry vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and stir frequently until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, and add it to the vegetables. Sauté the shrimp until pink, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the pasta to the sauté pan. Stir to combine.
  6. Add in the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir to combine.
  7. Garnish your stir-fry with cilantro and sesame seeds.

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