Growing up my family had a favorite Chinese restaurant that we frequented nearly weekly for dine-in or carryout. We knew the names of the servers, were friendly with the owners, and had the menu completely memorized. Whenever I came home from college for a visit, a trip to the Chinese restaurant was always on the agenda. Stan and I even considered hosting the rehearsal dinner for our wedding at my beloved restaurant. (We ended up going for a backyard barbecue instead.)
Considering my deep and abiding love (and ingrained habit) for Chinese food, you can imagine my dismay upon discovering the lack of good Chinese food in Nashville. (Nashville folks, if you’ve got a recommendation, I’d love to hear it!) I’ve looked around, asked long-time residents, and tried some less than stellar venues. While Nashville has many other amazing options for ethic cuisine, Chinese food is just not where my current hometown shines.
Since I don’t get back to Dayton as often as I’d like, I’ve had to come up with ways to get my Chinese food fix in my own kitchen. The recipes I’ve tried are certainly not as authentic as those you’d find in a restaurant, but they tide me over until I can get the real deal. And besides, they’re pretty darn delicious.
Like this recipe for Szechuan Chicken with Peanuts. You can make this recipe in less time that it would take to pick up carryout, and I guarantee you it’s healthier than its restaurant counterpart. Strips of chicken breast are quickly stir fried (not deep fried) with carrots, green pepper, and peanuts and then tossed in a slightly spicy (or really spicy, if that’s how you like it) brown sauce that’s rich in flavor without being high in calories. Served with some rice, it’s as good as take out - with half the time and calories.