Garlic Chicken Recipe from Norma Huss

25 years ago today, I had no idea how much I’d wish for a personal chef to do all my cooking. As a child, I took my mother’s cooking for granted. On her shopping list, she planned out the dinners for each and every night. My mom would go grocery shopping once and buy all the ingredients needed for the week.

I don’t know why I didn’t inherit her planning – or cooking – talents. I tend to stop at the grocery story, panicked, two or three times per week. Some nights around 4 p.m., I still fling open the pantry cabinets and pace, wondering what the heck to feed my family. Luckily my mom sends me leftovers, but on those other days, I really wish someone else would show up to bail me out.

Since I’m in need of recipe ideas, I’m hosting Fun With Food Week on my blog this week. Today, Jo Durbin, the character in the mystery novel Yesterday’s Body by Norma Huss, is sharing her special recipe for Garlic Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Noodles and Vegetables.

Here’s an excerpt from Yesterday’s Body, Chapter 10, to introduce the recipe.

“What’s for dinner?” I asked.
“There’s half a barbequed chicken left,” Mel said. “I planned to heat it up.”
“Right,” I said and started opening cupboard doors. “You really want dried out leftovers?”
“I’m testing your skills,” he said. “You haven’t disappointed me yet.”
“You’re taking advantage of my good nature.” Of course he wasn’t, and he knew it. In my customary life I was an innovative but often haphazard cook, however, Mel was such an appreciative audience. And face it, I did need a break from outdoor research now and then.
# # # #
I found a package of ramen noodles, a few nuts, a can of mushrooms, and a half jar of peanut butter. I lined up his spices, decided which bits of veggies from the crisper in the bottom of the refrigerator were usable, and did my magic.

Garlic Chicken with Peanut Sauce, Noodles and Vegetables

Leftover rotisserie (barbecue) chicken
Noodles (rice noodles, egg noodles, ramen noodles or any pasta of your choice)
Veggies (broccoli florets, onion chunks, carrots sliced thin, mushrooms, celery, or any others of your choice) Note: You won’t find any peppers in Jo’s recipes because she doesn’t like them – but feel free to use them as well.
Garlic – 1 clove minced, or 1/2 tsp of canned chopped or minced (or more if you prefer).
Peanut Sauce – see recipe below
Peanuts – unsalted dry-roasted – may be chopped

1. Whisk peanut sauce ingredients together.
2. Cut bite-size chunks from left-over barbecue chicken.
3. Prepare veggies. (Peel &/or chop. If necessary, zap in microwave until done to tenderness you prefer.) Note: many veggies, especially frozen peas and mushrooms, may not need extra cooking.
4. Break noodles into 2 to 4 inch lengths then cook according to box instructions (rice noodles, egg noodles, ramen noodles, etc.)
5. Cook garlic in the peanut sauce for 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken and heat for another 2 or 3 minutes. Add cooked noodles and veggies. (Or add veggies earlier.) Stir and heat through.
6. Stir peanuts in before serving, or sprinkle a handful of peanuts on the top after serving.

Peanut Sauce – For 2 people (use multiples for more people – all measurements are approximate)
Whisk together –
1 TB creamy peanut butter
1 tsp hazelnut oil (or any oil)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 shakes ground red pepper
6 twists of pepper mill
3 shakes onion powder
3 shakes ground ginger
Further note: Norma’s first attempt at Jo’s peanut sauce was bland and gummy. So, after taking those pictures, she experimented some more with much better results.

Tomorrow, I will share an apple french toast recipe mentioned in my book Twenty-Five Years Ago Today. On Thursday, we’ll be joined by Avery Aames, author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime.

I would love to see reader recipes shared in the comments today! Does anyone have a favorite recipe to share?

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  1. Loved reading “Jo’s recipe.” What fun! I’m already imagining adaptations …

    Molly in “The Darkness Under the Water” doesn’t cook, but I can share the author survival treat that got me through multiple revisions: I keep a tub of dark chocolate frosting in the back of the fridge. When all else fails and I’m stuck in a chapter, I ramble to the kitchen, pull out a rice cake or slice of homemade whole-grain bread, and top it with a nice layer of that frosting! Then, back to work, quick snack in hand … and the words flow.

  2. That’s funny, Beth, I was just thinking of you. If I remember correctly, the topic of recipes came up during the discussion on your guest blog post. For anyone who missed Beth’s 25 Years Ago post, it can be found at:

    Oh, and I have a tub of chocolate frosting in the fridge right now, leftover from making a cake. I’ve been having it on graham crackers!

  3. Oh, that frosting, or any frosting, goes very well between two Ritz crackers. We called them Goodie Crackers. Lovely after-school snack when we really wanted a slice of that cake mother was making.

  4. I almost couldn’t get in here. What is with Google???
    Anyway, chicken sounds great. Frosting on crackers sounds good too. My protag is fortunate to have one of those grocery stores that caters to the finicky on the way home and eats from their ‘prepared’ department.
    But I have a great apple/cheese pie that’s tasty and a bit different. Cream cheese, not cheddar. Cheddar should just be melted on top of a really good chucky apple pie. Like topping pumpkin and squash pies with rum and powdered sugar.

  5. Frosting on crackers sounds good. Should I be embarrassed to admit that I stick a spoon in the can and eat the frosting right off the spoon? I always mean to just have one bite, but then I get another spoon and have a second bite. Sometimes I go through a few spoons. See, this is why I need a chef, so I don’t have to resort to eating frosting out of the can…

    Your pies sound good, Pat. Glad you got here. I have to start your book soon – my ereader needs recharging. Was it just this site you were having trouble with or other sites also?

  6. It required a couple of clickings, but I got in. At first it told me the page was an error, but clicking again got me here.
    Thanks for remembering my book. I put a page up for it on Facebook, thanks for the idea, and am looking for some ‘thumbs up’.

  7. Pat Marinelli says

    By Pat Marinelli

    1 medium onion, medium chopped
    5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 1-lb packages of frozen tortellini
    2 8 oz packages frozen chopped spinach
    5-7 16 oz cans chicken broth, depends on how much broth tortellini absorbs
    1 Tlb olive oil
    Salt and Pepper to taste
    For additional flavor, add 1 Tbl spoon of butter to olive oil.

    Sweat onion in olive oil, then add garlic. Cool about a minute and set aside.

    Put on water to cook tortellini.

    Empty all chicken broth in large soup pot. When it boils add onion-garlic mixture.

    Microwave the two packages of spinach for ten minutes. If water is left in pan, dry the spinach by cooking in onion pan until dry and add to chicken broth. Simmer until tortellini is ready. When tortellini is cooked drained, add to broth mixture. Simmer on a low heat until ready to serve.

    Makes enough for a family meal with leftovers. You can cut the recipe in half if you’d like.

  8. How funny, I have two Pats in a row to respond to…I found your page, Pat Gulley, and am following it. Thanks for the recipe, Pat Marinelli. I am printing this out right now! I love soup recipes. I found a low sodium chicken broth that I’m using and have been looking for recipes.

Stacy Juba