Chicken stir-fry is always a family favorite. For the hubby, it's just because he likes the taste. For the kids, it's because they delight in using chopsticks to eat their dinner, and for me, it's because it's quick, easy and nutritious.
When I know it's going to be a stir-fry night, I take time before work in the morning to chop the vegetables ahead of time, then cover and refrigerate them. I also thaw in the refrigerator throughout the day about three individually frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Taking the time to do that in the morning always gives me a head start when I get home after a long day at work to be greeted by a hungry, impatient family. I find that chopping the veggies is often the most time-consuming part of prepping for this meal.
Stir-fry is a family favorite for all the right reasons. Kids will love eating with chopsticks, will eat all their vegetables and be asking for more.
The amount of veggies and number of chicken breasts you use certainly can vary based on the number of servings you'll need. (I always try to make enough to feed the family and store away an extra serving for my next day's lunch.)
Of course, a wok is ideal for preparing a Chinese dish, but I have always found that it is just as good - and perhaps more practical - to cook with an electric skillet because it works for so many other dishes.
Heat light olive oil before dropping the chopped, thawed chicken into the pan, then sprinkle with some poultry seasoning. Cover and cook until the juices run clear.
2 or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 to 5 cups of chopped fresh or thawed frozen vegetables, such as carrots, celery, onion, green and red peppers, broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms, etc.
3 tablespoons cooking oil
Chinese 5-Spice blend
White rice prepared according to package directions
In a wok, electric skillet or frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add sliced chicken. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning. Cover and cook thoroughly until no longer pink. Add chopped carrots and celery to chicken and stir well. Cook for five to ten minutes, then add remaining vegetables which require a shorter cooking time. Sprinkle with a teaspoon each of Chinese 5-Spice and ground ginger. Add a quarter-cup of soy sauce. Add about a half-cup of water. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until the water has cooked away and vegetables are soft.
Serve with white rice and season with more soy sauce to taste.
Next, choose the vegetables that will require the longest cooking time to add next. That usually means the raw carrots and celery. I add those veggies and a little water so they do not sear in the pan, and allow them to simmer for an extra 5 or so minutes before adding the remainder of the vegetables. The variety of vegetables is your choice.
After that, I sprinkle with some Chinese 5-spice, ground ginger, a few tablespoons of soy sauce (I choose the low-sodium soy) and add about a half-cup to a cup of water. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently and making sure the water doesn't cook away until the veggies are soft. If it does, simply add more water and continue cooking.
In the meantime, prepare some white rice according to package directions.
Serve with additional soy sauce on the table to season your meal to taste. And don't forget the chopsticks! The kids will love them, and will be eating their vegetables and be asking for more before you blink an eye.