A great deal of my retirement is spent cooking. We have to eat-right? Cooking healthy is a challenge for me. We come from down home good old comfort food families. These past few years I have tried to use healthier ingredients and change the way we eat. I have more time now to incorporate fresh foods and we seldom eat processed or fast food anymore. My recent favorite thing to cook up for dinner is…
The beauty of stir fry is you can merge all of your favorite veggies together, with or without meat. It is quick, easy, and healthy! I don’t have any fancy pans or techniques but it always turns out and everyone enjoys it. For a more substantial meal you can include white or brown rice or oriental style noodles. They come in buckwheat, rice, grains, and a variety of other textures and flavors. Look around and see what is available in your local grocery or specialty stores.
This list is simply suggestions. Use any combination that you desire. I might select at least 4-6 (or more) to keep it interesting. I tend to like a larger variety and use this as an opportunity to clean out the fridge!
- bok choy ( I love baby bok choy)
- napa or other cabbage
- bell peppers (all colors)
- bean sprouts
- snow peas
You get the idea. You can use whatever you like! I sometimes use chicken, beef, pork, and I bet shrimp would be good too. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to change it up. It is really hard to mess this up! This is a one pan endeavor which makes it even better.
Basic Stir Fry Recipe
Using a small amount of olive oil (or your favorite oil), cook chopped meat in a large fry or sauté pan. Season how you like it. Tonight I marinated my chicken in some cranberry/orange dressing that I found in my fridge.
You can also use soy or teriyaki sauce for flavor.
Make sure meat is thoroughly cooked. You can also use a rotisserie chicken or left over roast from dinner last night.
Select, prepare, and chop your veggies into smallish bite sized pieces.
I usually remove the meat while cooking the vegetables but this is just my preference. (Usually because I am scrambling to finish gathering my ingredients together and I don’t want it over cooked.) You can also sauté chopped onion and/or garlic while you cook your meat or after it is removed from the pan. We are building the flavors as we go along to make sure we have a tasty result.
Next, you will want to cook (over medium high heat), your more dense veggies like broccoli, celery, or zucchini. Remember this is stir fry so stir often! Depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables, have small pieces cook for 5 or so minutes before adding your softer vegetables like bok choy or bean sprouts as they cook very quickly. You don’t want a soggy mess. If you have not added your chopped onion and garlic yet, now would be a good time.
If you are serving rice or noodles with your dish, you will have wanted that almost completed now as this next step does not take long at all.
Tonight I cheated a bit and purchased a prepackaged bag of chopped vegetables. It caught my eye because the work was done and included finely sliced brussels sprouts.
After cooking (and stirring) a few minutes, I added baby bok choy and bean sprouts. Add all of your remaining veggies and seasonings. I usually toss in a little sesame oil about now (if I have it). Of course salt is always good but since soy sauce has so much sodium I would use sparingly. I actually like a little coriander which sounds like a strange choice, but has great flavor. If needed, add some soy sauce (which I like) or water to help steam veggies and as you stir to heat all the way through.
Now that the veggies have cooked down a bit (and they will cook down) you can add the meat back into the pan. Stir together.
How long should you cook this you might wonder? Well, depending on the doneness of your veggies or the type you select, this entire cooking process is finished in about 6-10 minutes. You just want to be sure that the vegetables are thoroughly heated for maximum flavor. Add soy sauce as desired.
I served on a bed of rice and my healthy dinner was ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.