Well, “The Holidays” have come and gone, and I feel like I haven’t slowed down in weeks (months?😬) enough to think about posting to the blog. This year, the holiday season came with an epic cold that hit the whole family, but I think I may have held the tile for getting beat down the worst by it. Sooo, I was off my cooking game and everybody’s appetites were all over the place too. Nobody wants to spend a bunch of time preparing a dinner that no one has an appetite to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I was not free and clear of dinner (or breakfast or lunch, for that matter) making duties, even though I was feeling horrid, I was just throwing together unimpressive, not super healthy, meals for the fam, in order to get food in them. That happens. Life happens. (That’s yet another reason I’m grateful for the shakes we drink. Thank goodness I was able to get some great nutrition in without standing at the stove. ‘Cause that wasn’t happenin too much.) But, Yesterday I was finally feeling good enough to get to the store. So, what did I choose to make for my first meal back in the game?? That’s right, one of my faves, Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry.
I make a this stir fry all the time. I use a lot of the same veggies every time. Some times I change it up and add some different veggies. I feel like it’s pretty darn simple. I’ll tell you the way I make it:
Step one. The chicken. I’ve done this a couple different ways, actually. The way I do it now is my favorite, but may not be yours, so I’ll tell you how I used to do it too. I used to cut the chicken breast into very thin slices and then season the raw chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper and olive oil. Then I would fry it up and set it aside, and then begin cooking the veggies. The problem with this way of cooking the chicken, for me, was that I could never get the chicken as thin as I wanted or as uniform as I wanted (I can be a little OCD with my cooking sometimes 😬). The way I do it now makes it much easier to correct both those issues. It also works for me now, because I am being pretty strict with my food intake (macros gotta be accurate 😉) and it enables me to measure out 6 oz of cooked chicken and add it to my stir fry so I know exactly how much chicken I’m getting. I still season the chicken with the same ingredients. I add the seasonings and then drizzle with olive oil and rub it around to cover the whole surface. I cook the chicken breast whole or butterflied. I make a lot of chicken, for what some of us people on a health journey call “food prep”. (“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”- Benjamin Franklin. Pretty simple, wise words.) I make batches of chicken and I cut them up and use them for all sorts of things. Dinners, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, or just a snack. I use this chicken for my stir fry. If you choose to do it this way it’s pretty simple. Cook it, cut it, add it to the cooked veggies. The only piece of advice I want to add, is a tip that I think most people know, but I shouldn’t assume. After you cook any meat you should let it rest before cutting, or you will cut it and watch all the yummy juices escape onto your cutting board. For a chicken breast, just a five minute rest should be enough. And you still have to cook all the veggies, so just wait a few and cut it while the veggies are cooking.
Now, you can use a new pan, completely clean the pan and start anew, or you can do what I do. I just scrape up the “stuff” in the pan that you don’t really want to burn while cooking the veggies. You should be left with just a bit of stuff and a bit of olive oil. I usually start there with my veggies. I try to keep it simple. Less pans= less clean up. Plain and simple.
Step two. The veggies. When thinking about blogging this recipe I just felt like it couldn’t be more simple. Chicken and veggies in a pan. Can’t get much easier than that. But there is a little bit of a timing issue. You can’t just cook the chicken and then throw in the veggies. The way I do it, the chicken is cooked and set aside, and then comes the ‘veggie timing’. This all depends on what vegetables you use. I LOVE broccoli and asparagus! These both take longer to cook than bell peppers and carrots, for example. So, if you just throw all 4 of those veggies in together your carrots and bell pepper are going to be mush by the time you get to your desired tenderness of broccoli and asparagus. So, depending on what you are cooking, take that into consideration. I usually cover the bottom of the pan with the veg with the longest cooking time, sprinkle a little onion powder, salt, fresh cracked pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix it all up and let that one cook for a few. Then I add each veg accordingly. I add a little garlic powder and onion powder here and there as I go. This is usually because, if not for the desire to save time, I would be using these two ingredients fresh. But I don’t like the texture of onions, only the flavor (insert Woody Harrelson clip from Zombieland “…it’s not the taste, it’s the consistency.” 😂 hahaha! If you’ve seen that you’re laughing. If you haven’t you need to.) Anyway- sweating onions and garlic takes time I just don’t have, most of the time, so I just use the powder. (Little tip though, don’t add garlic powder until the pan is full of veggies. If garlic powder sits on the pan uninterrupted it will burn easily and taste bitter.) Now I understand if you are not a big cooker and you are not sure you’ll be able to get the right tenderness out of each veggie timed right, fret not, there is an alternative. I do use this way from time to time because when multitasking this can be easier, so you don’t overlook your veggies. This method also lends itself to a little less olive oil usage (though I really don’t use too much either way). Sometimes I steam the broccoli and asparagus first. I cook them maybe just a bit under from the desired tenderness. This way I can just throw them in, season, toss, and then throw in the rest of the quick cook veggies and the sliced chicken, season, toss and Voilà. In minutes you’ve got a super tasty, healthy dinner!
Get crazy! Put every vegetable you love in there! Change it up each time until you find your favorite mix. I like to use the stems of the broccoli sometimes, or use my Veggetti and ‘ettie’ up some zucchini, or toss in some artichoke hearts at the very end, or one of my favorite adds is to add 1/4-1/2 of an avocado! That’s good sh..tuff right there. You never have to get bored with this one. There are a ton of ways to change it up! Enjoy your food and be healthy!