Chicken Soba Noodle Bowl

Brace yourselves, kids.  Tonight's dinner involves chopsticks and a funny-sounding noodle.

Soba noodle....doesn't that sound funny? 

It's ok, you can humor me then and say it over and over again until it does.

I have to admit that I've never cooked with Japanese noodles before, even though they're not much different from pasta.  My experience in general with Japanese cuisine is shamefully limited to take-out sushi and the requisite fall-back chicken teriyaki.  Unfortunately, I don't think all the Ramen that I ate in college makes me an expert in the field.  (I gag a little just thinking about that.)

I also have to admit that when I go grocery shopping I function on auto-pilot, tending to stick to the same aisles week after week, and mindlessly grabbing the staples that I rely on to fill the pantry.  Let's remember, I love making the shopping list, I just don't necessarily enjoy maneuvering around the busy aisles with a giant cart and a low tolerance for bad manners.

So when this recipe came my way, I was getting a pedicure and perusing the latest edition of Fitness Magazine.  (Rough life I have, I know.  Stay with me.)   Everything about this recipe sounded perfect. 

Healthy: check!  Quick: check!  Easy: check!  The usual ingredients: check!  Wait, what?  What is a soba noodle?  Bok choy??

I was this close (picture forefinger to thumb) to flipping the page when I had an epiphany.  I came to realize that...wait for it...I need to broaden my horizons. 

Now before you think I'm about to get overly ambitious, as one might expect I'd do, let's be clear that I'm not talking about investing in any fancy sushi-making equipment, or buying a deep-fryer so I can fatten up my husband via tempura any time soon. 

(Furthermore, the original recipe included mushrooms.  If you know anything about me, you can guess at the exact limit of my horizons.  If you don't know anything about me, be warned that you will never see a mushroom make it's slimy little way into my blog.  Ever!)

I'm just saying that, in the past, I might have snubbed my nose at this recipe because of a seemingly obscure ingredient or two, as well as the extra 5 minutes it might take to park aisle-side while I comb the shelves for its location.  But that day in the pedicure massage chair, friends, I embraced it. 

And I'm so glad I did.

(Chopsticks are optional but highly recommended horizon-broadening tools.)

Chicken Soba Noodle Bowl
adapted from Fitness Magazine
Yields 4 servings

3 tbs orange juice
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 lb chicken breast tenders
8 oz soba noodles (you can find these in the Asian/International aisle in the store)
4 baby bok choy, quartered
3 c broccoli florets

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt/pepper, and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until just cooked through. 

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together your orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, jalapeno, lemon zest, and ginger. 

When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken or slice into bite-size pieces and add to the dressing.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the soba noodles, and cook about 3 minutes.  Add the bok choy and broccoli, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until the noodles are al dente.  Drain the noodles and veggies, and add them to the bowl with the chicken and dressing. 
Baby bok choy.  Cute, right?

I found mine in the health food aisle.  You can also find it with the international foods if your grocery store has that aisle.

Toss gently to combine, and serve hot. Enjoy!

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