One of the hazards of having adult children is their penchant for spontaneous travel plans. From one day to the next, while they are temporarily residing with us, we are never certain who will be present for the evening meal.
Yesterday I experienced a major marketing trip. I loaded the basket with fresh and colorful vegetables according to my end of the week menu plan. I stuffed all these lovely fresh foods into our refrigerator, after eliciting the help of our two body building, young adult, male children who eat this food faster than I can buy it.
Afterwards, my older son inquired, “Why did you buy so much food?” My measured response was that due to the appetites that he and his brother maintain, I am required to shop almost daily to keep their stomachs full and their muscles ready to pump iron.
From the other room, my younger son yelled, “I’m going to Seattle tomorrow! Can I have a ride to the airport?” I sighed. Then my daughter yowled from her room that she was going on a weekend trip with her boyfriend and wouldn’t be back until Monday. I grumbled. I stared at oldest son and told him, “You may not go anywhere! Dad and I can’t eat this stuff by ourselves.”
The immediate and reasonable solution to this overstock of food came like an electric shock: Stir Fry! The result for tonight’s dinner was a wonderful, spicy Chinese Stir Fry with Chicken.
If you ever have more vegetables than you can consume, I highly recommend a simple, easy and delicious stir-fry. It’s a one pan, one bowl meal. It also works well for vegetables that may be aging in the refrigerator when you are just plain tired of vegetable soup.
CHINESE VEGETABLE STIR FRY WITH CHICKEN
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
Whisk ingredients together and set aside.
Lightly toast, 1 cup whole cashews. Authentic Chinese recipes would have you stir fry the nuts in oil, but I favor avoiding the additional oil so I simply toast them in a toaster oven or under the broiler. This way they are roasted all the way through. They should be just golden and crunchy. Set aside.
3 baby bok choy, sliced diagonally
10 leaves, savoy cabbage, sliced crosswise
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly on a diagonal
1 broccoli crown, split into individual pieces, no stems
1 red bell pepper, julienned
8 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 small leeks, white only, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups snow peas, whole
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 chicken breasts, trimmed and cut diagonally in thin strips
2 cups chicken non-fat or homemade stock
2 tablespoons Peanut oil, divided
Tamari sauce to taste
Brown or white rice to serve 6.
Heat a wok or large sauté pan until hot. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and a good long drizzle of tamari sauce. Saute or stir fry the chicken until it is opaque. Remove with a strainer to a clean bowl and set aside.
Wipe the pan clean with a paper towel. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and another drizzle of tamari sauce. When the oil is hot, add the red pepper, leeks and mushrooms. Saute until soft.
Add the cabbage and bok choy and stir fry until softened. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir fry until well mixed-just a couple of minutes.
Add the carrot, snow peas and broccoli. Stir well to combine.
Pour the chicken stock into the pan, give it a stir and let it heat enough to steam the remaining crisp vegetables. When the broccoli begins to change color, add the soy/cornstarch mixture and stir well.
Increase the heat, add the chicken back into the pan and stir until the sauce thickens and the chicken is heated through. This will only take a minute or two.
Serve over brown or white rice. Sprinkle with toasted cashews.