Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-fry

As promised via Instagram, I am posting my recipe for a delicious and amazingly simple dinner of chicken tenders, snow peas, and brown rice.  I have gotten this dinner down to a quick and easy “go-to” for our family and have altered it too many times to count.  I am sharing this basic version so you, dear reader, have a place from which to “jump off” and create something that will appeal to the individual tastes of your own families… so let’s get to it!ChickenSnowPeas&Chard

I started with one package of chicken tenders and most of a bag of snow peas.  I cut each of the tenders into bite-size pieces and then added salt, pepper, and parsley before setting the chicken aside for a few minutes.

In a large skillet, I melted a bit of coconut oil on medium-high heat and browned half a diced onion,  Once the onion was browned, I added the chicken tender pieces and gave them time to cook thoroughly before adding the sauce.  I created the sauce by pouring about a cup of Chardonnay (I used Bread and Butter Chardonnay, because that was what I had in my fridge… feel free to use whatever white wine you have or prefer) into a bowl, adding a large glug of a pre-made sweet and savory sauce from Sam’s Club that we had in the fridge, along with a “thumb-size” amount of cream cheese, and pouring that into the skillet.  I added the snow peas and stirred everything together until the cream cheese had melted into the sauce and the peas had a chance to cook a bit.  I then served the stir-fry over a bed of brown rice.  I should also note that I added a bit of the same “sweet and savory sauce” into the rice when it was cooking, so there was some syncing of the flavors between the stir-fry and the rice.

Honestly, this is all I did to make dinner last night.  I have made variations in which I substitute the sweet and savory sauce with some pre-made housin sauce but I’ve also done the same thing using wine, the juice of a lemon, and some light-colored jam (I like apricot, peach, or fig preserves).  Play around with this recipe on your own and find your favorite version to serve.  It’s amazing how fresh and wonderful things taste when you play with ingredients!

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Recipe: Red Steak Stir Fry

The house smelled soooo good when I was making dinner last night…. a definite plus after a weekend of pizza and dinners out, no matter how yummy.  Since M asked me to make a stir fry, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and was able to throw this delicious meal together without too much difficulty.  Picking up two sale packages of “stir-fry beef”, a package of sliced mushrooms, a small package of Haricot Verts (long thin green beans), a bag of onions, and a bottle of Korean Teriyaki sauce, I started cooking in “layers”.  Let me explain what I mean by that…

RedSteakStirFry

Start with the onions and mushrooms.  Slice half an onion and half of the package of sliced mushrooms, and saute them in a pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil until they start to brown.  To this mixture, add some Napa Valley Pinot Noir red wine (this is what I had in the fridge… any tasty red wine will work well in this recipe) and allow the veggies to soak up the wine (here’s your first layer of flavor).  Remove the veggies and add another pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil, allowing the pan to get hot.  Add salt and pepper to the beef and add to the melted butter/oil in the saute pan.  Brown the beef thoroughly and then add more red wine (this is your second layer of flavor) so the beef can soak up more of this flavor.  Once the beef is cooked, return the onion/mushroom mixture and bring everything to temperature.

While sauteing the vegetables and beef, take a moment to pull the stir-fry sauce together.  This sauce was a blend of 2/3 cup red wine, 1/3 cup of Teriyaki sauce, some garlic, some ginger, and a spoonful of flour.  Whisk the sauce thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the sauce and wait to add the sauce until the beef is thoroughly cooked and toasty and the veggies are returned to the pan.  This will be your third layer of flavor.

Since the Haricot Verts are so incredibly delicate and quick cooking, I would suggest adding the beans and the sauce close to the same time in the cooking process.  Toss everything together for a few minutes to allow the flour to cook and the beans to warm.  I did add 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce a bit, but the stir-fry sauce I had made was absolutely delicious.  Served over a bit of brown rice (I microwaved a package of brown basmati rice), it was a thoroughly satisfying meal… warm, tasty, and totally yummy.

Try your own version of this stir-fry at your house… chances are that it will become your family’s favorite as well!

Recipe: Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry

I have to give my husband credit for the inspiration for this recipe.  I asked what he wanted me to make (using a pound of shrimp) for dinner and he rattled off a list of options that included the name of this dish.  I wasn’t thinking “teriyaki” until he threw that idea out… but it sounded yummy to me, so I set about rifling through the fridge to come up with ingredients that might work as a teriyaki sauce.

What I found, already in my fridge, were the following items:  half a jar of orange marmalade, Bragg Liquid Aminos (something like soy sauce, that *isn’t* soy, that my niece mentioned once on her blog so I bought it), homemade BBQ sauce, and a bottle of James River Cellars Montpelier wine (this new vintage is 100% Cabernet Franc, made as a semi-sweet blanc/rose’ wine… soooo yummy).  Since I hadn’t cooked with Montpelier yet, I was eager to try and find a way to use this fun wine.  NOTE: If you don’t have access to this specific wine, you’re welcome to substitute your favorite semi-dry/semi-sweet white wine or a lightly dry rose of your choice.  You could also just substitute chicken stock, if you prefer, but I really like the back note of wine in this dish.

TeriyakiShrimpStirFry

I defrosted a pound of frozen shrimp (I always like to have this on hand for quick and easy dinners that I know my husband will love) and sliced them in half, length-wise.  I love doing this with shrimp because they end up looking like little cork-screws of shrimp and they cook so quickly.  Feel free to cut them up or leave them whole… it’s entirely up to you!

I sauteed the shrimp in good olive oil until they were slightly toasty and browned.  Again, cook your shrimp according to your family’s preference… this is simply the way we like to have shrimp.  I wanted to add some sort of vegetable into dinner, so I used about a cup of broccoli slaw and tossed that with the cooked shrimp until it started to look a little glossy from the olive oil.  NOTE: If you’ve never used broccoli slaw before, you can find it in most grocery stores in the bagged vegetable area.  I love this stuff and try to keep it on hand to add to dinners whenever possible.  It cooks amazingly fast and is a nice addition to stir fry dinners.  I also like to use it in egg rolls, but that’s for another post on another day…

Once the veggies were well incorporated, I added the sauce that I’d made, using the ingredients i found in my fridge.  To be more specific, I used the half jar of orange marmalade, a few tablespoons of liquid aminos (this stuff is really salty, so go slow when adding and taste as you go), 2-3 Tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and 1/4-1/3 cup of Montpelier wine.  I tasted the sauce to make sure all the flavors combined well and adjusted as needed.  I let the sauce simmer with the shrimp/veggies until it had reduced a bit and didn’t look quite so wet in the pan.

Once the stir fry was done, I plated dinner in two different ways.  My husband really likes rice, so I like to keep microwaveable brown rice in the cupboard for meals.  I heated his rice and chose to put my dinner over a bag of Shiritake (tofu) noodles.  Let me say that I really like substituting regular pasta with these spaghetti-shaped noodles.  They’re low cal, low carb, gluten-free, vegan, and only about 30 calories for the entire bag (which is the amount I always eat).  They need to be rinsed REALLY well, as they are kept in a brine of some sort, but I find them to be a fun substitute that works well for me and how I want to eat.  I’m very visual, so I want to see a big plate of food or I feel like I haven’t eaten enough (no matter what my stomach actually says) and will snack more later.  NOTE:  The link I’ve included is the the Google search page for Shiritaki noodles… I didn’t want to limit you by suggesting a specific brand, since I’ve tried a few and don’t really have a favorite.

This dinner was super-simple and used things that I already had in my fridge or pantry.  I love being able to create something for dinner that doesn’t need tons of unique/single-use ingredients.  Orange marmalade is a terrific example of something that I keep on hand for tons of different uses.  Find your favorites and you’ll be able to pull dinner together in a snap – this was even faster (and cheaper) than take-out!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Shrimp Stir Fry

Dinner tonight was one of those “I’ve got 15 minutes to make dinner… let’s go!” meals and it was fabulous, if I do say so myself.  You should try this recipe and use The Force to make your own amazing 15 minute dinner.

I started with a pound of frozen shrimp (the bagged stuff from my local grocery store that is usually on sale), a bag of broccoli slaw, and a sauce mixture of hoisin sauce, James River Chardonnay, spoonful of flour, a thumb-size amount of lemongrass and a thumb-size amount of garlic.  When I walked in the door, I started peeling the shrimp that my husband had pulled out of the freezer and put in water.

 

Once the shrimp were peeled, I put some good olive oil in a large skillet and sauteed the shrimp until they were pink and a little toasty.  I then added half the bag of broccoli slaw and sauteed everything together.  Once the vegetables were slightly softened, I added the sauce and gave the entire meal a moment in the pan to allow the flour to cook a bit and thicken.  I had popped some brown rice into the microwave just as I added the vegetables, so dinner was ready in just about 15 minutes.

Dinner was served over brown rice and it was amazing…. so simple and quick, yet the flavors melded together nicely and made for a great meal.  Try playing with wine when making dinner.  It can be fun to come up with different ways to utilize wine in place of chicken stock.

There’s something so wonderful about creating a dinner that makes your loved ones happy…  wishing you a lovely evening and a grand meal!

Recipe: Chicken Stir Fry

Stir fry is one of my favorite things to make for dinner for a number of reasons.

  1. I love being able to get dinner on the table in a relatively short amount of time.
  2. I like using whatever I have in the fridge for the vegetables.
  3. I love using broccoli slaw for the vegetable when I don’t have anything “bigger” on hand.
  4. I’ve learned to make a fairly consistent sauce with wine that my whole family enjoys.

Tonight’s dinner was no exception. I started with chicken tenders, slicing them into bite-sized chunks and saute’ing them in a pan sprayed with Pam until browned. I then removed them from the pan, added a little bit of olive oil, and popped in the vegetables. Tonight’s assortment included broccoli slaw and fresh green beans. Once these were cooked to crisp-tender, I added my sauce.

The sauce for dinner tonight was a standard for me, albeit unique from most conventional stir-fry sauces. REMEMBER: I USE THE FORCE WHEN I COOK! Using a 1-cup Pyrex measuring cup, I poured in about 1/4″ of hoisin sauce, a small amount of oyster sauce (seriously using The Force on this sauce), a large amount of an oaked Chardonnay (maybe 3/4-cup?), an inch of pre-crushed garlic from a tube, an inch of lemongrass (again, from a tube), a spoonful of flour and a smaller spoonful of homemade pesto. I had mixed this together earlier so the flour wasn’t glumpy and stirred it occasionally until it was time to add to the saute’ pan.

Once I added the sauce to the veggies in the pan, I dropped the chicken back into the pan and popped a package of Uncle Ben’s Microwave Brown Rice into the microwave. 90 seconds later, the sauce was thickened and the brown rice was done… dinner was served!

There are tons of ways to make this recipe your own, but this is one of my favorites. I’ve substituted shrimp, pork, or beef for the chicken. I’ve used Vidal Blanc, Chardonel, or even a Sauvignon Blanc if that’s what I had on hand. I absolutely love the tubes of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, basil, or Italian herbs that I can find at my local market, so usually add a variety of flavors from those handy items. There’s enough salt in the ingredients already that I typically won’t add more, but I have been known to add paprika or some lemon thyme if I want a different taste to come through. It all depends on my mood as I’m cooking.

Dinner in a flash… it can certainly be done, but it does take some thought and a little planning. I’m just grateful that my family enjoys most of my experiments. It’s not a 15 minute dinner, but it doesn’t take that much longer to go from fridge to table.

Try this with your family and see where The Force might lead… a totally unique dinner might be just around the corner!

Cheers!