We decided to shake things up with dinner last night and try something new. Chicken Lo Mein with Vegetables is a cross between a chicken stir-fry and Ramen noodles. I took several fresh vegetables that I had, including cabbage, broccoli, turnips, mushrooms, and celery, and stir-fried them with chicken to create this dish. I then mixed them with Ramen noodles. While not a traditional Lo Mein, it is a fun twist and my kids and husband LOVED it!
When I was a little girl, Ramen noodles were a staple in our home. Cheap, easy, and fast. We used to call it “Sapporo Ichiban,” though I pronounced it “supodowichiban.” My dad served a two year mission for the LDS church before he married my mom and this is what he had in Japan. Quick meal for poor missionaries! That said, it really isn’t healthy at all. As kids, we didn’t care because it tasted so good and it was fast, but as a mom, I do care. I often tell my kids, “You have to eat your vegetables because I don’t want you to die of scurvy.” Not that they fully know what that is, but it SOUNDS bad, and so they eat their vegetables:)
I honestly hadn’t bought Ramen noodles for years, but my kids really wanted to get some the last time we went shopping so this recipe is my attempt to add some protein and nutrition to an old family favorite. It’s a great chicken dish and a complete meal. To make it healthier you can always substitute whole wheat noodles or brown rice noodles.
My inspiration for some of the ingredients came from my box from the organic farm. It is local, fresh, and in season, which is fun. I got some broccoli, a beautiful head of savoy cabbage, and some turnips (hello, what do you do with those???). I also had carrots, celery, mushrooms, and green onions on hand and so Chicken Lo Mein with Vegetables was born!
For the sauce, I used soy sauce, olive oil, water, garlic powder, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. Sesame oil is really the secret ingredient. You only need a tiny bit, but the flavor it adds is exceptional. I also used the Ramen packets mixed with a little bit of water for the final wash. When working with vegetables and noodles, I find that using rubber tipped tongs really helps in mixing everything together. They are my go to for salads and pasta and save a lot of frustration.
A lesson learned when making this is to be sure and NOT soak the noodles too long. Otherwise they will be a little bit too soggy. Also, it would make the cooking time go much faster if you chop all of your chicken and vegetables ahead of time. This tip is key to quick stir-fries in general. If you don’t want soggy vegetables or dry meat, you have to use a high heat and cook them quickly. Preparing things ahead of time help to expedite this.
One quick way I prepared my broccoli stems, turnip, and carrots was to use a food processor. I have one that is an attachment for my Bosch mixer that I use ALL THE TIME. I love it! I used the grater attachment and pushed the carrots, broccoli stems and peeled turnip through. Hidden turnip. Happy kids. Win win! The other vegetables were coarsely chopped with my Mac knife. I love my Mac knives. Super sharp, great precision, and used daily in my kitchen. Pricey, but it was worth it.
That’s the gist of it. In hindsight I may have added some cashews to this dish. Would’ve been divine! Maybe next time:) So here is the recipe for Chicken Lo Mein with Vegetables:
- 3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, diced
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. sesame oil, divided
- 2 T soy sauce
- ½ c water
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 T cornstarch
- 4 3-ounce packages of ramen noodles (your choice of flavor; I did two chicken and two beef)
- ½ c chicken broth
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 small head savoy cabbage, shredded
- 4 carrots, shredded
- 4 stalks celery, diagonally sliced
- 1 c mushrooms, sliced
- 1 turnip, peeled and shredded (optional)
- 1 c broccoli, florets chopped and stem peeled and shredded
- ½ c hot water + ramen seasoning packets
- Heat 1 tsp. sesame oil and 1 tsp. olive oil in a large skillet. Add diced chicken. Saute for about 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
- While chicken is cooking, in a separate bowl combine together soy sauce, ½ c water, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and cornstarch. Pour over cooked chicken and cook for an additional minute.
- Pour cooked chicken plus juices into a bowl and set aside.
- Take raw ramen noodles and place them in a large bowl. Cover with very hot water and set aside for 3-5 minutes (DO NOT OVER SOAK. Test periodically.)
- In a large skillet, on high heat, heat up ½ c chicken broth and the other tsp. of sesame oil. Add green onions, shredded cabbage, carrots, celery, mushrooms, turnip and broccoli. You will need a very large wok to cook this in or a medium sized stock pot. Saute vegetables for about 3-4 minutes or until they are tender crisp, stirring constantly.
- When vegetables are tender crisp, add chicken to the mix.
- Drain soaked noodles and add them to the pot with chicken and vegetables.
- Using rubber tipped tongs, mix together noodles, chicken, and vegetables.
- In a separate bowl, mix together ½ c hot water with the four ramen seasoning packets. Pour seasoned water over noodles and vegetables. Stir to coat.
- Serve warm!