Here's one way to warm up in cold weather - a spicy dish of Basil, Chili and Garlic Chicken from Rachael Ray's magazine. This dish was done in 30 minutes and was just a touch too spicy for me. My husband thought it was perfect. After making this recipe, I started cutting the portion of whatever makes it spicy in half, since Darcy is pretty much eating whatever we are for dinner these days.
I like to douse my noodles with extra sauce, so I made the full recipe for the sauce and half the recipe for the onion, garlic, and chicken and thought it turned out well. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:
2 tablespoons fish sauce [Found in the Asian foods aisle.]
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/2 pound thin Asian rice noodles or vermicelli pasta [I went with whole wheat pasta.]
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion, plus 1 cup finely chopped onion
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
1-1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces [Rach's magazine recommends: "Skip the chicken and try cooked shrimp instead."]
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup water with the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and crushed red pepper. Stir to dissolve the sugar; set aside.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the rice noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, heat a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons oil, then the sliced and chopped onion, and garlic. Stir-fry until fragrant and softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and heat for about 1 minute. Working in 2 batches if necessary, spread the chicken in a single layer in the pan without crowding and cook, undisturbed, until the edges change color, about 1 minute. [I know you'll want to stir it around, but resist the temptation. Otherwise, you will end up with chicken that is all torn up instead of in nice, bite-sized pieces.] Turn and continue cooking, tossing now and then, until lightly browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and onion mixture and cook, tossing occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and evenly coated, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat and add the basil, tossing until slightly wilted. Serve the chicken over the noodles.