We all have that handful of quick, simple meals that we turn to when the week gets crazy. Usually for me it’s that I’ve got a heavy load of meetings at work, school obligations, or the coach throws in an extra soccer practice. These little things turn my well-intentioned meal plan out the door.
For those nights, we keep a few things around the house just in case. There’s almost always pasta, bread, eggs, bacon, vegetables,rice and a frozen something. But some weeks, we have too many of those nights and we can’t have sandwiches for lunch and dinner more than one day. You’ve done this too, right?
One of my favorite go-to meals is a quick stir fry. A shortcut I learned a long time ago is that frozen vegetables and fruits are almost just as good for us as fresh because they’re flash-frozen right after they’re harvested which means that the nutrients are preserved.
Another shortcut is our rice cooker. Oh my goodness, this appliance is used a lot around here! It’s so nice to be able to pre-program the rice cooker to have fluffy rice ready just in time for dinner. Or for stir fries, hours ahead of time so that it can completely cool. I also use it often for quinoa that I take to lunch with soups or vegetable sautés. I love my rice cooker!
Ok, back to stir fry. I make mine super, super simple. It’s basically a few ingredients that come together for a healthy, yummy dinner.
Easy Peasy Stir Fry
1 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce (we use low-sodium gluten-free tamari sauce)
3 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1-2 bags frozen stir fry vegetables (quantity depends on how much you want leftover; we also add half a bag of frozen peas and a couple handfuls of frozen edamame)
Vegetable or sesame oil to coat the pan (sesame oil is my preference)
2 tsp ginger (fresh or powder)
Rice (I start with two cups of cooked, cold rice and adjust from there)
- Coat frying pan with oil. When pan is hot, add frozen vegetables, garlic and ginger. Toss until vegetables are cooked. Don’t overcook though – they’ll turn to mush.
- While the vegetables cook, make the sauce by adding stock, peanut butter and soy sauce until well blended.
- Once cooked, add rice and pour the sauce all over on top. Mix very well, adding more rice and soy sauce as you’d like.
HINT: Want your frozen vegetables to cook even faster? Put extra stock in the pan with vegetables, place a cover and let them steam. Just watch them closely so they don’t overcook.
If you want to add chicken or another meat to the dish, cook that after the vegetables (set them aside). Once the chicken is just done, add the vegetables, rice and sauce and mix well.
What are some of your favorite meals for weeknights that don’t go as planned?