Menu Monday: Asparagus & Bacon Mac and Soba Noodle Asparagus Chicken Satay

Author of Meals From The Mitten, Gina Ferwerda gave us a double helping for ‘Menu Monday’. With the asparagus season in full bloom, she adds this nutrient-rich vegetable to two meals that are perfect dishes for the family BBQ. First up is the Soba Noodle Asparagus Chicken Satay.

“Chicken satay, as delicious as it is, can be really fattening. In this recipe, I save tons of calories by using peanut butter powder instead of actual peanut butter. In just two tablespoons, it will save you about 14 grams of fat but you lose nothing else. It’s still flavorful and the consistency is still spot on. This dish is great hot or cold the next day. My daughter just loves it.”

Soba Noodle Asparagus Chicken SatayGina Chicken Satay Pic

Peanut Sauce

  • ½ cup peanut butter powder
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup water

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half lengthwise


  • 12 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh Michigan asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup leeks, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced

Skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling)


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine peanut butter powder, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic paste, ginger paste, oils and water. Whisk together and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Let cool and set aside.


Add chicken and ¼ cup of peanut sauce to a large, resealable bag. Seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.


Add noodles, cabbage, asparagus, leeks, and peppers to a large pot of boiling water. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of water, then drain and set aside.


Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Thread chicken onto skewers and grill over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes each side, or until done.
Add the remaining peanut sauce to the noodle mixture. Lightly toss together over medium heat until warm. Add some reserved water to thin the sauce, if needed.
To serve equally, divide noodle mixture among 8 plates and top each with 2 chicken skewers.

Asparagus & Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese

It’s not a party until someone brings in the mac ‘n’ cheese. Gina uses 3 different types of cheese in her recipe making it rich and creamy. Her take on this comfort classic includes bacon, panko, and asparagus.


  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, cut into bite-size piece

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon House Seasoning (salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion & smoked paprika)
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use
  • 1 cup freshly shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Garnish (Optional)
    • Chopped scallions
    • Chopped tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook pasta according to package directions, then drain and set aside.


In a large skillet, add bacon and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Add asparagus and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, then add a pinch of salt. Remove bacon and asparagus with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together milk, heavy cream, House Seasoning and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and keep warm.

In a large saucepan, add butter and onion, and cook over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Slowly add cream mixture, whisking continually. Once the mixture thickens, stir in cheeses and remove from heat. Stir in asparagus and bacon. Add to pasta and stir to combine.


In a small bowl, mix together breadcrumbs and melted butter.


Pour cheesy pasta into baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over pasta and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm. Garnish with scallions and tomatoes, if desired.

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