I was combing through old blog posts from my old parenting blog and found this simple stir fry recipe post…and even though we no longer have four kids living at home with the hectic-ness that this post demonstrates, I thought I would run it here for those who…
(1) Find themselves throwing away little bits of this and that. Maybe this post will inspire you to use those healthy tail ends up!
(2) Want to learn to throw together quick stir fried veggies. Before I started stir frying veggies like this at least once a week, I had in my head that a “stir fry” was something in a wok—or at the very least with an elaborate Asian sauce and vegetables we didn’t like! Now, stir frying is such a huge part of my kitchen life, that I would love to pass its ease on to others.
(3) Want to be assured that a crazy busy house with teens is semi-normal—and, unfortunately, will pass much too soon!
Oh, and if you don’t want the “Asian” flair with the oyster sauce or soy sauce, you can use my smokey marinade mix instead!
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One of our many traditions/housekeeping rituals is that of cleaning out the refrigerator on grocery shopping day (which now with six “adults,” ages fourteen to over fifty living here is twice a week!). Everybody starts carrying in groceries, and as they are carried in, I sort them and bark out orders: “The SMALL deep freeze; not the big one. I need to be able to find this on Wednesday!” etc. etc. Also, while they carry (and I sort), I clean out the inside refrigerator and have people bring things in from the garage refrigerator. (Yeah, I am a mean multi-tasker after thirty years of homemaking/parenting/homeschooling/working!)
Anyway, all of this is going in WITH teenage boys talking about their day, our college age daughter going over her schedule with Mom or Dad (“Is it okay if I leave in ten minutes to run, so I can get five miles in before it gets dark?”), the dog pulling things out of the trash can as I put things in, and, of course, a radio drama playing in the kitchen cd player. (Yes, I can work with a lot of noise too, another survival skill developed through the years!)
Usually, one of these shopping days falls on “leftover night,” so I start organizing food for that night’s meal, “re-loading” (as my kids call it) some of the leftovers so that they look new, and cutting up old fruits and veggies before we put away the new ones. Someone will be called upon to make a quick fruit salad out of leftover fruits–and somebody will often start chopping leftover veggies to create a quick side dish to go with the main entree leftovers that we usually have.
A quick fruit salad…
We have gotten pretty good at throwing together fresh vegetable stir fries fairly quickly. We have variations on this side dish another night–we almost always have a chicken-veggie stir fry or beef veggie stir fry as one of our main entress each week. That night is is more involved and time consuming (cutting up meats, marinating meats, all the chopping and dicing and stir frying required for two huge pans of main dish meat/veggie stir fries). And, unfortunately, I don’t have much help on that night!
However, for “shopping day stir fried veggies” as a side dish, it is literally anything available chopped by whomever is available. I’ll give you some steps on tonight’s version, though it changes according to what’s left in the fridge on shopping day, who is home to help prepare veggies, and how many are there to eat it. (Leftover stir fry is not one of my family’s favorites!)
- Steam carrots in micro. (I put carrots with a tablespoon or two of broth in glass measure and cover with plastic wrap. Then I steam for three to six minutes, depending on how many carrots I have and how done I want them before I add them to the stir fry pan.)
- Heat small amount of broth in skillet while chopping onions, garlic, and peppers.
- Stir fry aromatics (the three in #2) while you pull out the carrots.
- Clean and chop brocolli and start steaming it in the micro in the same way as the carrots.
- Slice zuchinni in thin rounds.
- Add carrots, zuchinni, pea pods, garlic, Mrs. Dash, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and more broth, as needed and turn fire on medium high. Stir frequently as they cook.
- When stir fry has just a minute or two left of cooking time, fold in the brocolli. (My guys do not like mushy brocolli, so I fold it in at the end.)
- Continue to add more broth as needed while cooking.
+I am a big pre-cooker. And I precook in the microwave, despite what some say about the microwave. It steams brocolli perfectly, and it is fast. So...