17 January 2009

Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is such an easy meal to put together, and you can use whatever you've got on hand. I try to keep bags of frozen veggies to get started with - sliced peppers, broccoli, green beans, peas, etc. Then I can add whatever meat I have - frozen shrimp, leftover grilled chicken, roasted garlic pork, the list goes on.

Here are the basics:

1 medium onion, sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. canola oil
veggies & meat of your choice
1/4 c. Szechuan-style stir fry sauce
green onion, sliced - optional
toasted sesame seeds - optional

I always start a stir fry with sliced onions in a bit of canola oil. Olive oil is too heavy for stir fry, as is butter, and canola oil is a good option both because it's light and because it's so good for you. You're not looking for carmelization, just soft onions, so salt them immediately.

If I have raw meat, I add it once the onion softens. While the meat is cooking, I put any frozen vegetables I'm using into a colander and run hot water over them to get rid of any ice and increase the temperature of the veggies.

Once the meat is cooked almost all the way, I add the thawed vegetables and the Szechuan sauce and put a lid on the pot. I let the frozen vegetables heat all the way through, then remove the lid, add any fresh vegetables, and put the top back on. If I'm using meat that is already cooked, I add it at this time.

Lastly, I spoon the stir-fry over a bowl of rice or stir into whole wheat spaghetti for an easy lo mein. Top with the green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.

This time, , when I added the onions, I added sliced carrots at the same time. I had grilled chicken from a previous nights dinner, so I cubed it and threw that in. I have a can of water chestnuts in my cupboard - it's been there for the past three stir fry nights, and I forget it every time. Yet again, I forgot, so the poor water chestnuts remain languishing with the Tupperware and crackers.

We do stir fry once or twice a month - it's never the same twice, but it's always delicious.

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