"I love it when..."
How would you complete that sentence? What small serendipities in life just makes you smile?
The other day I was planning to make a recipe for Teriyaki Glazed Chicken. I love stir fry for weeknights and had planned to make this earlier last week. However, for various reasons the chicken was thawed in the fridge, but I had not gotten around to making the recipe. So on Saturday I decided to make it for lunch. Everything was going fine, until I realized that I was out of teriyaki glaze (and yes, I do use bottled sauce for most stir fries - since speed is the whole goal :-) - Kikkoman makes a decent one). I was in a bit of a hurry, so not in the mood to try and experiment with making my own glaze. But I did have sesame oil and soy sauce, so I figured with a couple of drizzles each, I could make an entirely different dish.
It came out beautifully, and I love the flavor combo. It would have been even better if I'd had some sesame seeds to toss over the top. Sesame is something I love in restaurants, but it's a flavor I rarely use at home. That's going to change! This is great "make your own takeout" if I do say so myself. It was YUMMY!
What I love about stir fries of any kind is their convenience. You can vary the meat and vegetable combination (or leave out meat entirely) based on seasons, convenience and your taste. This is a standby freezer meal for us - I will chop up whatever kind of meat I have, freeze it, and chop any extra bell peppers we have around. Freeze those too. With frozen broccoli, green beans, corn, carrots, snow peas, mushrooms... almost any veggie you want can be tossed in. If you like brown rice, keep some of that made and in the freezer, and all you'll need is some onion and garlic to complete the meal. I don't freeze onions (though some people do) because I find they are too watery and a hassle to cook with when thawed. But use whatever works for you! (Just don't forget your sauce of choice, LOL!)
This recipe is a great method - vary it as you see fit. I'll give you the ingredients I used for this one, but almost anything goes. Just remember - the key to a great stir fry is to keep adding things in the order of their cooking speed. Things that take longer to cook go in first. Enjoy!
Sesame Chicken Stir Fry
(Adjustable - serves 1 or a crowd)
Chicken breast, cut into chunks (trim any visible fat)
Bell peppers (any color combo) - slice into strips then halve
1 pkg sliced portobello mushrooms (they cook way down)
1/2 to 1 yellow onion, chunky slices
3-6 garlic cloves, chopped (your call)
Couple handfuls frozen green beans - break in 1/2
Olive oil for browning everything
Soy sauce (to taste)
Sesame oil (to taste)
Cornstarch (dissolve 1 tsp in 1 oz water to start)
Prepared rice of your choice (optional)
Brown chicken over medium-high heat until golden. Don't stir it around too much - you want it to caramelize. Remove chicken to a plate and keep warm. Stir in onions, peppers and garlic, tossing frequently to ensure garlic does not burn. Once everything begins to soften, add in the mushrooms and green beans. Continue tossing until mushrooms have cooked down and most of their liquid is gone, about five minutes. Reduce heat to low, return chicken and any juices to pan, and begin adding soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. Start with a little, stir and taste - add the sesame very slowly, as it doesn't take a whole lot. Begin with maybe a teaspoon of that, and keep checking as you go. Once it's seasoned to your liking, mix a little cornstarch in a very small amount of water (start with a teaspoon of cornstarch to an ounce or two of water) and add to pan - this will pull the sauce together and form a glaze. Continue cooking until it's the consistency you like - then serve over hot rice and enjoy!
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