No Stress Dinner: Stir-Fry

June 16, 2009

Most of the time I love cooking, but some nights I’m just tired or rushed and it seems like such an effort to dredge out all the ingredients and get something healthy going. But I usually still prefer to eat at home than eat out, so I have a secret weapon up my sleeve for a stay at home dinner that is always fast, very healthy and always yummy: STIR FRY. Stir-Fry is my go to meal – I think we probably have it at least once a week. But the best part about it is that you can make so many variations, it never feels as if it’s the same old, same old.

You can vary the meat: shrimp, chicken and pork are my favorite stir-fry meats. I’ve also skipped the meat and done tofu or edamame as my protein, but I usually have a meat to add for certain members of the house who may not be as enthralled with the idea of plant-based protein.

The veggies are the easiest part: I always keep at least one bag of frozen stir-fry veggies on hand in my freezer. I load up if there’s a sale, and there’s a couple of different mixes to keep it interesting: a broccoli-based mix, a snow-pea mix, etc. You can also use veggies that you have on hand already, such as onions, squash and zucchini, green peppers, mushrooms, corn – pretty much anything.

I use just a little bit of olive oil or sesame oil to cook the meat and veggies. Rice vinegar mixed with soy sauce is another really easy combination, and you can add garlic, chili pepper or onions to give it some extra kick. Or you can add a little bit of pineapple juice or orange juice if you want more of a sweet and sour taste – just add a little cornstarch to thicken as it cooks. All of these are pantry staples I keep on hand, so stir-fry is one of those meals I can pull together without even having to turn my brain on.

Stir Fry Staples

Stir Fry Staples

Depending on what else you have on hand, you can add little relishes to it that give it the illusion of being a well-thought out, put-together meal. My favorite: adding cilantro to the end result, or sprinkling on a little bit of crushed peanuts or cashews. (Note: a little bit.)

Chop, Chop, Chop, Chop

Chop, Chop, Chop, Chop

I also love Success Boil-in-a-bag Brown Rice (another pantry staple), and right before serving it, I pour the rice back into the stir-fry bowl (veggies and meat are removed), crack 2 egg whites in and stir it around. The appearance and tasted of fried rice without actually frying the rice. My other favorite “bed” for stir-fry is to just lay it all on top of a handful of shredded cabbage. The contrast between the cold, crispy cabbage and the hot, sauteed veggies is so yummy.

The Pantry Staples

The Pantry Staples

Finished Product.... Pretty Enough to Eat!

Finished Product.... Pretty Enough to Eat!

So there you have it – my secret to surviving the “I’m too busy to cook!!” nights.


One Response to “No Stress Dinner: Stir-Fry”

  1. […] cooking the real deal stir-fry only takes maybe 5 minutes more, I’ll stick to that. Sorry, Bird’s Eye – I’ll be loyal to […]

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