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Easy Stir Fry-A Family Favorite Meal
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Stir Fry: A Quick and Easy Dinner
Today’s families are busier than ever and will appreciate speed and consolidating time spent preparing their evening meal. One of the ways I have chosen to enhance quality family time and decrease meal prep time is to think of ways to stretch the menu. Weekly menu planning helps me to stay organized in the kitchen. I plan one large meal, such as roast chicken or pork tenderloin, and count how many more meals I can get from it. It doesn’t even have to be within the same week, but can be frozen and removed for a quick meal later in the month.
I have discovered stir-fry to be a healthy and versatile meal. There are so many ways to prepare it that it never gets old or routine. For those families who do not consume meat, it can be easily converted to a vegetable stir-fry by merely eliminating the addition of any meat. Or, just add tofu for an additional protein boost.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is an important source of protein for vegetarian diets. It originated in Ancient China as part of the Buddhist culture. It is often referred to as bean curd and is made by extracting the soy ‘milk’ from the soybean, then coagulating it into white blocks. It has a mild flavor. Caution: if you are allergic to soy, or are on medication such as levothyroxine, that is contraindicated with soy products, do not ingest tofu or soy products.
Budget meals: Stir Fry
**Total family meal serving six (one cup serving) with rice:
1 package of four pork chops=$4.19
1 C brown rice = $0.50
stir fry sauce=$2.89
1/4 lb. of carrots= $0.50
1 can baby corn=$1.49
1 C zucchini-free
1 bunch broccoli=$1.89
Total price for meal=$11.81
**Price will vary depending on current cost and number of items used.
Stir Fry ingredients vary
The great thing about making stir fry is that the ingredients can vary depending on what you have on hand, and it is a wonderfully simple way to use left overs. For example, on the first day I may have chicken, on the second day I will throw the left over or tiny bits of chicken into a stir fry pan and mix them with vegetables.
Plus, the whole family can help chop vegetables or throw the veggies into the pan, providing an opportunity to engage in dialogue. For this evening meal I used a cheaper cut of pork chop, a portion of a zucchini given to me from a friend’s garden, half of an onion, one cup of carrots, broccoli and a can of baby corn, chopped. I used a store bought stir-fry sauce, which tends to be higher in sodium, but can be reduced if you can find a low sodium brand. I don’t use a homemade sauce due to the time factor. There are so many ways to enhance the stir fry-like a big pot of homemade vegetable soup-add what you have.
- 4 Pork Chops, or any meat or seafood or Tofu
- 1 Cup Broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped or diced
- 1 Cup carrots, chopped or sliced
- 1 Cup zucchini, chopped
- 1 14 oz can baby corn, or any fresh or frozen corn
- any amount vegetable, on hand
- 1 14-16 oz bottle stir fry sauce, any brand, low sodium or regular
- 2 T vegetable oil, or pan spray for skillet
Photos of steps to make stir-fryClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Prepare all food ingredients by chopping and slicing, dicing vegetables and meat. Get the whole family involved in this to make the meal prep go quicker. In a separate pot, prepare your RICE, (unless you are using instant rice, which cooks in about one minute). Usually rice takes approximately 20 minutes to cook and can stand on the stove as you complete the other part of your meal preparation.
- When food ingredients are almost ready add 2 T of vegetable oil and heat the wok or electric skillet to 350 degrees.
- When skillet or wok is ready add the meat and cook thoroughly.
- Add the denser vegetables next, such as carrots or broccoli.
- Add the less dense and quicker cooking vegetables next, such as onion.
- Cover and let steam for 2 minutes
- Remove cover and stir in the stir fry sauce mixing thoroughly with the other ingredients.
- Replace the cover and cook for another minute or so to allow the integration of the flavors.
- Rice: cook instant rice at the last minute of your simmering skillet.
Stir Fry combinations to try:
Vegetarian Stir Fry
Soy based Stir Fry
Chicken Curry Stir Fry
baby corn, green beans, water chestnuts, bell pepper, onion
coconut milk, red curry paste
Shrimp Curry Stir Fry
onions, bell pepper, water chestnuts, snow peas, broccoli
coconut milk, red curry paste
Beef Stir Fry
onions, baby corn, broccoli, water chestnuts
soy based stir fry sauce