Chicken Pad Thai

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There was a lot to get used to when Ben and I found ourselves newly married and moving into a house together three years ago.

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We lived separately until the day we said ‘I do’ and really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

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I quickly found out that Ben has a fondness for throwing t-shirts on the bathroom floor, while I prefer to put them in the hamper. I hang my robe and belts on hooks on the back of our bedroom door, but he…well you know what, I still don’t know where he keeps that stuff, but he hates a cluttered doorway!

Our solution? The hooks moved onto the back of the guest room door, and we rock separate bathrooms.

Separate bathrooms is my #1 secret to a happy marriage. I PROMISE you this!

The other thing we had to get used to? Each other’s cooking. Sure, we cooked for each other when we were dating. Quite often actually. But it’s different when it’s every. single. night.

In the first year of of our marriage (pre blog,) Ben came to find that I made a lot of chicken. A lot of chicken. Baked, sautéed, grilled, stuffed – you name it. If it was chicken, I’d cook it.

I also made a ton – A TON – of chicken pad thai. And not well, I might add. My pad thai noodles were sticky and gloopy with thick peanut butter and too much soy sauce. If Ben hadn’t thrown a pad thai intervention that first year, this blog might have been named “Iowa Girl Eats Bad Chicken Pad Thai While Husband Goes Hungry.”

Thankfully, it is not. Thankfully I found the perfect Chicken Pad Thai sauce, which I’m going to share with you! Smooth, salty & a little sweet, this sauce penetrates, rather than coats, the noodles for an unbelievably tasty dish.

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Chicken Pad Thai

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4oz cooked fettuccini or rice noodles
3 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
1 large chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt & pepper
1 cup tofu, cubed
1/2 cup shelled frozen edamame
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup coleslaw mix
1/2 cup snap peas
1/2 cup asparagus
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
dash of sesame oil
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

For the sauce:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons natural peanut butter
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons chili garlic paste

Directions:

  1. Add all sauce ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, then stir until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat an electric wok to 375 degrees (or heat a large skillet on high) and add 1 teaspoon oil. Season chicken with salt & pepper, then add into the wok and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add another teaspoon of oil to the wok and add in tofu. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Remove to the plate with the chicken.
  4. Add the final teaspoon of oil to the wok then add in edamame, green onions, coleslaw mix, snap peas, asparagus and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are tender and coleslaw is wilted, ~3-4 minutes. Remove to the plate with the chicken and tofu.
  5. In a small dish, whisk together the egg and a dash of sesame oil. Add to the wok and stir constantly until soft scrambled.
  6. Add cooked chicken, tofu and vegetables back into the wok, as well as the cooked noodles. Pour sauce into wok and toss all ingredients to combine.
  7. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts and extra sliced green onions, if desired.

NO GLOOP! Just silky, chewy noodles packed with yummy flavor.

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The peanutty taste is bold with peanut oil, natural peanut butter and chopped peanuts in the recipe, but it’s balanced out by salty soy sauce and the bite of rice vinegar. It is SO good.

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The best part is that you can totally customize the recipe to use whatever’s in your fridge. All veggies and proteins are welcome here! :)

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These days, after nearly three years of marriage, Ben and I are in the acceptance phase of each other’s weird quirks.

He accepts the fact that I can’t stand to see cups on the ledge of the sink, and I accept his obsession with keeping things in milk crates.

It’s love, I think. ;)

~~~~~

What have you had to get used to living with a new roomie/hubby/wifey?

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Comments

  1. Lauren 02.28.2011

    Haha awww, you guys are so cute. Toly and I definitely accept each other’s weird quirks at this point. Its actually to the phase where we don’t even have to recognize it, we just naturally adhere to each others idiosyncrasies. :) It is LOVE!

  2. that was a cute post! I really enjoyed reading it. My boyfriend and I have been dating for about 7 years now and we are starting to look at houses, etc. We are not moving in with each other until we are married though. I was just wondering what you and Ben did. Did you guys move into an apartment/house after you got married? Did one of you live in the apartment/house first and then the other moved in after getting married?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.28.2011

      We actually lived at my parent’s house for 1 week before we took possession of our house. We had just moved home from Minneapolis – he lived at his parent’s house and me at mine, for about a month before the wedding!

  3. Your noodles look fantastic!!
    Luckily, my husband and I live together pretty smoothly. And actually, he takes care of A LOT of the cleaning! He’s amazing. :)

  4. Ooh I wanna try this with almond butter (allergic to peanuts, wah).

  5. we live together pretty smoothly. we didn’t live together before we got married (in fact, we only lived in the same town dating for 3 months and then lived 3-6 hrs apart the rest of our dating/engagement). i think one adjustment we had was that while we both like things clean and tidy, he likes to get everything done right away while i put it off until later. he can’t relax til the chores are done. it’s nice- he does most of the dishes, so i’m not complaining! :)

  6. Mimi 02.28.2011

    The way that rent works out, my fiance and I are moving in together about three weeks before our wedding this summer. I am excited to read all these comments and get every ones’ tips!

  7. I am a tornado with my stuff when I come home from work – dropping it along the way as I head to change clothes. He on the otherhand, had never heard that you couldn’t put cooked meat back on the same plate you’d had raw meat on. We fixed his “quirk” quickly, but I’m still a work in progress! Thankfully, he loves me with my flaws :)

  8. lesli 02.28.2011

    I love your wedding photo! Yum, peanut noodles!

  9. When I met my hubby he only had Hormel chili in the cupboard and empty Arizona Iced Tea bottles full of water in the fridge. Fast forward ten years and now I have to fight with him to make dinner. He’s come so far. :)

  10. I LOVE peanut noodles! Well, I love all recipes that include peanut butter in a savory way!

  11. Melissa 02.28.2011

    You guys are adorable! I live alone & I pity the poor man who has to get used to my random obsessions (hello, wiping out the sink every time I use it!!!!). Here’s hoping someday someone is willing to put up with me!

  12. Tracy 02.28.2011

    I could write a book about living with my current roomie…A few days after we moved in together I came home to grape jelly all over the kitchen and tracked all over our carpet. When I called my roomie to see what had happened he asked me if the jelly fell and broke on the floor (NO) or if the door was locked (YES)……as if someone would break in just track jelly on our carpet!!!!! It was only after I asked him if he had eaten jelly today that he said “sure, I guess if it is my fault I will clean it up when I get home”. Seriously??? I have lasted 2 years and it only gets weirder!! I am moving out in August and am counting down the days!!

  13. erica 02.28.2011

    that noodle dish looks so yummy! i’ve got to try it! :)

    when the bf & i moved in together, it was (and still is) a total clash. he’s a total neat freak, and i’m….not. ha! he likes everything in order and done NOW, and i’m more, “i’ll get to it later”….we’re still a work in progress.

  14. Yum! I love peanut noodles! Looks like the perfect balanced meal to me. That picture is so beautiful of you two!

  15. With my boyfriend being long distance I often wonder what it would be like if we were actually together 24/7. I have a feeling there is so much I don’t know!
    Finding something to cook that we both like can be hard too, but he’d love that dish!

  16. Ellie 02.28.2011

    Haha, aww that’s so cute :)
    I’m getting married this summer, and my fiancee and I have dated for almost 5 years…I’m finishing up college and my final spring track season at a small liberal arts college in Iowa, and he’s working in Des Moines! We’re getting married this July and I’m sooo excited to move into together for the first time! I am SO nervous though, because he definitely has the same kind of habits…i.e. leaving towels all over the bathroom floor! I’m so anxious to get married and live in Des Moines (since I’m a small town girl!) but I am a little nervous for the things that come with living together 24/7! But definitely more excited to be together! Thanks for your post, I’ll make sure our house search includes two separate bathrooms :) Haha.

  17. So glad I lived with my husband for 1.5ish years before we got married. Best decision ever! We were able to get used to each others’ quirks and I had time to “train him.” haha.

    As soon as we figured one thing out – life was smooth sailing. That one thing, “She cooks, He cleans.”

  18. Emily 02.28.2011

    holy gorgeous bride

  19. Great recipe! This might be my first attempt at a peanut noodle dish! Ummm I have to get used to the alarm clock snoozer I live with! NOT FAIR!

  20. eemusings 02.28.2011

    Oh man, I have a draft post coming up on this! Soooo many things….

  21. Girl you are gorgeous!! Slash you have NO idea how obsessed/addicted I am to any and all form of peanut noodles. You rock. my socks.

  22. Katy @ RecipeCan 02.28.2011

    You have the best recipes! I keep bookmarking your posts….I can’t wait to try them all :)

  23. Hardest thing lately: dealing with travel that causes him to be away most of the time.
    When he’s home: How he can watch hours of History channel, Animal planet, or Discovery channel. Which is a bit inconsiderate considering we only have one TV. ;)

  24. Katy @ RecipeCan 02.28.2011

    Oh – and where is that Two Cheese Vegetable Frittata? I keep checking back for it…looks soo good

  25. dmcgirl 02.28.2011

    Awww… you are so beautiful and happy looking in your pics. You both are beaming!

  26. A.J. 02.28.2011

    I am a bit surprised at how many commenters chose not to move in together before marriage. I lived with my last boyfriend for FOUR YEARS and we never did get married!! Not sure now I feel now about living together before marriage…. I don’t really have any regrets, but I am not sure I would do it again. The hardest thing to get used to was that he was a slob. We had to hire a cleaning lady, because we had many fights over cleaning/picking up.

    • April 03.03.2011

      I was shocked as well A.J. I lived with an ex and would never do it again until marriage. I think it will make the marriage that much more exciting to wait. I hate when people say you have to live with someone to really know them. If you spend time with them at thier house you will know how they like their towels folded I promise lol. Iowa girl your noodles look amazing, thanks for yet another great receipe!! I am attempting the stuffed shells this weekend :)

  27. Believe it or not, my husband has been a pleasure to live with from day one. He puts the seat down, gathers dirty clothes and eats anything I make whether he likes it or not, he’s polite about it. He would life if I made as much chicken as you do! lol

    The peanut noodles look delish! Hubby doesn’t love Asian foods as much as I do, so I try not to make things that he eats just to be nice. I’d love it, though! Yum

  28. Rachel 02.28.2011

    My husband & I were pen pals for about 10 years before we officially met & I moved out to South Dakota. We lived together about 2 1/2 years before we got married & it’s still sometimes a struggle getting used to–We’re both “pilers” in that we have piles of stuff everywhere! He does have a habit of leaving clothes on the floor next to the bed, which kind of makes me a little nuts, but he’ll go on cleaning sprees more often than I will & he takes care of rearranging the furniture. I think I’ll keep him. :)

  29. What an adorable picture of you and ur hubs! Those thai peanut noodles look amazing! :D

  30. Well, honestly, my husband is way more organized and clean than I am so I think HE’S had to get used to ME. I leave shirts and such on the floor every so often but he’s gracious enough to overlook my occasional sloppiness. He’s a keeper :D.

  31. Ms.S 02.28.2011

    hahaha! This post made me think about my husband and I. Carl has very particular ways of doing certain things and is generally convinced that his way is best – much to my annoyance. For example, I hate doing dishes, but when I would do them when we were first married he’d critique my methods. I told him if the dishes came out clean in the end, did it really matter HOW I did them? Needless to say, I am much more comfortable putting my foot down and standing up for my methods, and he is becoming much less of a micro-manager. Yay! To poke at myself a bit, when we first met I kept my dorm room immaculate because it was so tiny. So he thought was a neat-freak like him. My mom could have told him I’ve never in my life been a neat-freak. Ever. Except for those nine months. He jests that had he known my true colors we might not have gotten married. But I’m working on mending my ways (it’s hard work, though)! :)

  32. Dream Mom 02.28.2011

    You guys are too cute! I love hearing the stories!

    When we got married, I found out my husband had a zillion black shirts and very little colored ones (Well I kind of knew that after three plus years of dating!). I began to purchase a few colored shirts and used to put them in a separate dresser drawer. I used to tease him that this “drawer” was for when he was feeling “adventurous”. Today, he wears both color and black shirts, lol.

  33. Lyn 02.28.2011

    you guys are adorable.. and you are my favorite blog!

  34. Hwasun 03.01.2011

    Yeah I 100% agree with seperate bathrooms idea!! When I was living with my ex-boyfriend this could have been really helpful. Too bad we were students, studying abroad and living in a one-bathroom apartment. I always complained about how I had to do all the bathroom cleaning (which I hate so much!!). But he did all the cooking and I didn’t know how to cook at that time, so we were even.

  35. Manya 03.01.2011

    Men don’t see clutter! Men leave their things everywhere, where they can see them and find them easily the next time they’ll need them. They don’t care if something looks good as long as it’s convinient. So if the oil, vinegar,salt, sauce bottles are on the counter it doesn’t mean “pretty” to them, it means “easy to reach”.
    Next time you open a cabinet or a closet and you see that he’s “been there” before you, don’t yell at him, because according to his eyes, there’s nothing wrong…everything is neat!

  36. We didn’t live together before we got married either and the week before our wedding I thought it would be easier (b/c I had the time) to move my stuff into his place, which would be ours after the wedding. Although we had been together 2+ years, when he came home from work and saw all of my stuff, he freaked out a little, not enough for it to be a big deal. I think the whole “man and wife” forever thing became real for him and he was realizing that he was now going to have to share space.

    Well we have been married 2 1/2 years now and I can’t say that things are magical every day, if I find a married couple who can I want to know their secret. But I think the thing I notice most, still after that long is he will likely always be “messy,” not dirty, but just stuff and clothes everywhere. And he is a pack rat and I am going to always have to find ways to organize our lives so I don’t go insane. But then again I am sure he has some things to say about living with me haha !

  37. Tiana 03.01.2011

    My boyfriend and I have been living together for a year. He moved in with me after dating for a year and living separately. All of my stuff is on the INSIDE of our townhome – and most of his stuff, is still IN BOXES in the garage. I’m not sure he likes this but we don’t have enough room for his “crap” lol. For the most part we get along okay and we have gotten used to each others quirks… He closes the bathroom door and I hear water running/splashing and I have no idea what he is doing in there… and I’m not sure I want to know… but dangit I am curious…
    I have thick naturally curly hair and when I shower and comb it, it falls out everywhere!! This results in his complaining about me going bald… and he refuses to clean the bathroom.
    He is in the Army and he is what you would call a “Weekend Warrior”. Once a month he has a drill weekend and he has to pack all of this stuff up in his Army bags and leave for the weekend. When he comes back… he hauls all of this stuff in and just leaves it in the dining room. (UGHHHHHH!!! THIS BOTHERS ME TO NO END!) We are talking like 3 HUGE bags of stuff… that weighs close to 50lbs… so I cant haul it around. :) I never say anything to him because I appreciate what he does for our country and I feel that its my duty to just deal with it :)
    Regardless of what we do to drive each other nutso… At some point it becomes a part of the person that you really love. That is true love. <3

  38. Hope 03.01.2011

    Those Thai Peanut Noodles look amazing! I definitely need to try making this!

    My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 5 and a half years. We have been living together for almost 2 years. I have to say the first few months of living together were quite stressful. It was hard to get into a routine of things and learn about each others quirks. However, I am so glad that we went through all of that because now it is amazing. We really do have a whole system down and it works for us. I am so happy to be living with him. :)

  39. My husband and I were actually roommates before we even started dating, so there were no real surprises. I knew he was a total slob :-P. It was definitely hard transitioning from a two bedroom to a one bedroom, though, because when we were just roommates I could throw his crap in his bedroom and close the door, but now every space is our space, so his messiness drives me insane. He’s getting better, thankfully! And when we buy a house, I sincerely hope we can have our own bathrooms. That would be wonderful.

  40. Laurel 03.01.2011

    Love the wedding pic! This comment thread is interesting in that so many are weighing in on the pros and cons of living together before marriage. I definitely have to throw in my vote for “wait”. There’s nothing that you’re going to figure out before marriage that you can’t figure out after marriage — with commitment to eachother, a sense of humor, and common kindness. I think living together would before would take something away from the excitement of getting married.

  41. I can so related to this. My husband has this thing with his socks – they never, and I mean NEVER end up in the laundry basket. At one point, I just started throwing them away, but he’d just buy more. Drives me crazy as he just takes them off whenever and wherever he feels like it. I can’t tell you how many I have pulled out of the couch cushions or rescued from the backyard as our dogs love taking them outside.

    I of course do nothing to drive my husband crazy. I’m perfect. ;)

    Peanut sauce sounds wonderful – the whole dish does. I’d like it for breakfast please.

  42. Jacki 03.01.2011

    My husband worked nights and would never make the bed when he got up. I started to make my side around him before I left. He also left soda and beer cans in the livingroom. When I complained, he moved them to the left of the kitchen sink. (Do you store your empty cans on the counter?)

  43. Ah, to be a newlywed again! We lived in sin before marriage but cohabitation was the toughest transition of our relationship. I think dealing with money issues was also a challenge when we first got hitched. Almost three years later, we’ve gotten a good system down!

  44. joe 03.01.2011

    I’m a confirmed believer in living together apart. I have my house; she has hers. That way I don’t have to live in a house splattered with absurd decorative items (dried flowers bundled and hanging from a nail in the wall)? And my seat is ALWAYS up. Seriously – it has a spring on it. I help her with the things I’m good at
    (installing a water heater) and she helps me with things I’m not good at (wiping down the outside of counter appliances). Polishing the chrome on a toaster? Come on, I could think of a million things that would be a better use of time. I like my house with its lived in look. Too many women want to live in magazine photo-spread cleanliness. And that’s a sign of something really, really wrong with the psyche.

    • Sandi 07.24.2011

      For many people, living amongst major clutter is depressing. I didn’t realize this applied to me until we did some extensive remodeling and I didn’t realize until 6 months of mayhem was over and just looking at my neat (not perfect) house back in order was such a relief. For my husband, a place for everything and everything in it’s place is a must due to recognition issues left from a TBI. Although I can remember where I put things (in my office my desk is piled, but I can always find what I need), always making sure things are put back where he expects to find them is a thing I’m willing to do because I love him and I want to help him avoid the stress that results when he can’t find things.

      As far as ‘polished’ appliances. Mine aren’t spotless, but if you really let things get to a sticky, sloppy stage…would you eat in a restaurant with food prep equipment that looked like that?

      I KNOW that the thing I do that annoys the hubby the worst is if the non-recycle can isn’t full, I don’t bother to take it out on the night before garbage day when he’s not there. The outdoor can is never full for pickup anyway (we recycle or compost via the garbage disposal (our city has a fantastic program that turns such things into fertilizer and potting soil available to residents at little or no cost) and our under the sink, non-recyclable can only hold 2.5 gallons and usually takes 2 weeks to fill. I don’t want to be out traipsing on uneven ground in the dark when it’s unnecessary. My pet peeve is that although he’s happy to do the dishes, he never cleans the sink when he’s done. I hate trying to chisel dried on God knows what out of the sink. Other than that, he’s nearly perfect, lol. Maybe 20 years of mostly happy marriage has laid enough love over irritants to turn them to pearls.

  45. Lauren 03.01.2011

    This was a fun post!!! :) And I love all the recipes you have, but this one looks AMAZING!

  46. RegularCinderella 03.01.2011

    I was watching Grey’s Anatomy last week and Meridith told Derek she didn’t care about having two sinks in the bathroom. I was screaming at the TV–“GET TWO SINKS! IT WILL SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE!!!”
    When I moved in with my husband, he did not own salt and pepper. Who doesn’t own salt and pepper??? He has always been a good cook, but I have had to retrain him on portion sizes (a lesson I learned, sadly, only after I packed on 100 pounds and am STILL working off 11 years later) and VARIETY. If I made something delicious one night, he would want to try to recreate it the very next night. With leftovers, we’d end up eating the same foods 4 days or more a week. (Again, fastforward 11 years and I’m making tacos, fajitas, or enchiladas 4 days a week…I just love me my Mexican food!)
    Great wedding photo–thanks for sharing!

  47. Daisy 03.01.2011

    It is so interesting that you guys never lived together before you got married! I never knew that!! I have lived with my boyfriend for as long as your marriage – funny the path relationships take and I love hearing about how different they all are.

  48. Nicole (the other one) 03.01.2011

    I lived with my husband before we got married, so we both knew what we were getting into. But do you know he thinks we should actually PUT AWAY clean laundry that we are just going to have to drag out again AND he thinks we should make the bed that we are just going to mess up again every night! It’s absurd! And lest you think I’m the slob of the family, just wait until you spot us on an episode of Hoarders for the number of bread “end” pieces in our pantry. I bet if I went into the pantry right now, I’d find 3 bags of bread ends…if you don’t eat them, throw them away…crazy person.

  49. Stephanie 03.01.2011

    He’s got more clean quirks than I do. I consider this a blessing. He considers this a curse. hehe

  50. GORGEOUS wedding dress? Is it designer or vintage?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 03.06.2011

      I got it at a local wedding shoppe here in town and I LOVED it because it looked vintage. Lots of lace!

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