Pork Stir Fry: Delightfully Healthy

When time is short, the weather is hot and you are hungry for a real meal I find a stir fry can be a great choice.  It allows me to use whatever is in the fridge and pantry to create a fresh wholesome meal. For a starch my go to choice is often rice noodles, they come in skinny to very wide size and are so easy to prepare.  They take on the flavor of the rest of the dish which can be handy; no flavor conflicts here!

This version I am sharing today is a pork stir fry with those delightful medium to wide rice noodles you can get these days in most grocery stores.  I soak them in very hot water for ten minutes and drain well before stirring them into the completed dish.  Foolproof.

Notes: the veggie amounts are very fluid; use more if you like a lot of something or skip if you hate.  And sub in other things if you dislike any of the veggies I used; other choices are broccoli, onion, or snap peas. Best made in a wok; I have a small one I use all the time.  I guess you can use a fry pan; keep it hot and stir constantly.

Pork Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Ingredients:

rice noodles, any thickness; a handful; around a cup

3/4 lb of boneless pork cut into bite sized bits

½ tsp. dry ginger

1-2 tbsp. cooking oil (I like mild olive oil)

2 carrots; sliced on the diagonal

2 celery stalks sliced on diagonal

1 cup sliced zucchini; about ¼ inch thick

1 cup bok choy; I used bokchoy greens from my garden

1 cup thinly sliced cabbage

1 big garlic clove minced

About a tbsp of slivered fresh ginger

1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp. soy sauce (be sure it is gf)

Directions: Put the noodles in a bowl half full of very hot water; I heat it in the microwave until almost boiling. I break them in half before putting in water; up to you if you like long strands. Let stand ten minutes.  Meanwhile, cut the pork up into thin slices or chunks; nothing that can’t fit easily into someone’s mouth, sprinkle it with the dried ginger.  You can also sprinkle it with meat tenderizer if you like; I would put that on before the ginger.

Heat mini wok, add oil.  Add pork and stir it after a minute; start flipping over; brown all over lightly; 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.  Add celery and carrot, stir a minute or two then add cabbage, stir a minute, add the zucchini and garlic; stir 2 minutes then add the bok choy, stir 1-2 minutes.  Add the pork back and the fresh ginger slivers.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  You want the veggies to be a touch crisp but mostly cooked.  Pour in the cornstarch water slurry and 1/2 tsp. soy sauce.  Stir well and add the drained noodles; keep stirring as it cooks for one  to two minutes; add more water if not enough sauce to your liking. This last minute is critical to make the sauce clear; you need to cook the cornstarch. Taste and add more soy sauce if you want, also, season with salt and fresh black pepper to your liking.

I often use fruit juice for some or all of the water.  Pineapple is my favorite but orange juice works well for some of the fluid; adds a lot of flavor. Should serve 3 people.

This is a naturally gluten free dish.  If you dislike the rice noodles service it over rice. Enjoy!

Mongolian Beef Stir Fry: Awesome!

Don’t know why but I’ve been totally craving Chinese food lately.  Quick stir fry meals served over rice, with rice noodles.  With lots of veggies.  With beef, chicken, tuna.  You name I crave it!  And I make it ‘cause there isn’t any gluten free Chinese restaurant within easy reach of my house. So when I saw this recipe for Mongolian stir fried beef I knew I wanted to re-create it.  I confess I made changes.  Yeap; I did.  Honestly, I almost always change recipes some.  Just the way I roll. This time I added lots of veggies and took out the deep frying aspect.  Oh, and I took most of the brown sugar out.  ¾ of a cup of brown sugar is close to insane in a stir fry. Just trying to keep things healthy folks.  lemon blooms and beef with broccoli 009

And it worked.  Yummy meal over rice and no guilt because low in fat, sugar and full of healthy vegetables.  Sure there is beef in there but not that much and it is lean rather than fatty meat. I used beef sirloin but the original recipe off of food.com used flank steak.  Use whatever cut of beef you like, if it is too chewy it will give you a chewy result; this is not a low braise but a fast stir fry.  I used plain sesame oil (not toasted!) but canola or mild olive oil both work well in rapid stir fries.

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So stop whining about there being no P.F. Changs around here.  You can do this, it’s not that difficult.  You do need a wok if you want to do it half decently. And yes, a gas range works hugely better for woking. I have a big one but my favorite kitchen pan is my baby wok.  Makes up to four servings in it easily and fits on burner a heck of a lot better than my big old wok from years gone by.  You can use a big one but honestly, my baby wok does 99 percent of my stir frying.  If you need to double this recipe, well then maybe you need a full sized wok.  But for 4 or less; small is best! lemon blooms and beef with broccoli 011

You may wonder why I need to make this recipe myself and call it gluten free when there is no naturally occurring gluten in it.  Well, a lot of soy sauces have gluten in them.  And a lot of Chinese restaurants do not prevent cross contamination.  If you have celiac even a tiny amount of gluten is a serious problem.  So I really can’t chance eating food from a Chinese take out place or most restaurants unless I am sure they understand this issue fully and can make truly safe food for me. Annoying for sure as sometimes I do miss eating Chinese take out…. For now though, I am more than satisfied by the authentic flavor of my new fav stir fry dish!

Angie’s Mongolian Beef with Veggies
Serves 3-4

¾ lb of beef round sliced into ¼ inch thick by 1 inch pieces

3-4 tbsp. corn starch

1 tsp. ginger

1 tbsp. oil for stir frying

1 large onion sliced top to bottom into long segments

2 cups or so of raw broccoli florets; make them like 1 inch wide and I cut the lower parts of the stems into 1/8 inch slices

2 carrots, cut on the bias to make long ovals. 1/8 inch thick

2 celery stalks cut on the bias to make long half moon slices; 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick

1 tbsp canola or sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. fresh ginger minced or grated frozen ginger

1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar

1-2 tbsp. gf soy sauce or tamari sauce

3-4 green onions cut into slivers, optional

Directions

Sprinkle the ginger powder over the cornstarch on a sheet of wax paper, stir around. Roll the beef pieces around to coat them well.

Let stand while you cut up the veggies, up to ten minutes.

Heat the cooking oil in a wok to almost smoking hot.  Add the beef.  Cook a couple of minutes on the first side, stir up and cook a couple more minutes.  The heat should be fairly high to cook things fast. You want the meat to get crusty but not hugely overdone.  Remove to a plate; cover to keep warm.

Add another tbsp. of oil to the same pan.  Throw in the cut up onion and carrots.  Stir a minute. Add the celery slices.  Stir another minute. Add the broccoli stems, stir and then throw the rest of the broccoli on top. Add 2-3 tbsp. of water and let steam a minute or two uncovered.  Add the garlic and fresh ginger.  Cook a minute. Return the beef to the pan, dump the brown sugar on top, add the soy sauce.  Add the green onions if you want some, I went without this time but I plan to add them next time I made this yummy meal. Stir a minute or two.  Add more water to create sauce if there isn’t enough.

Serve over brown rice or white rice.

Note, these stir fry times and amounts are flexible.  If you don’t want one of the veggies leave it out or sub in something else.  If you want more soy sauce or more sugar; add more and taste to see how you like it.  I like things a tiny bit crunchy; taste and see if you need to cook another minute or two before you turn off the burner. I find stir frying rather freeform and fun.  It can use what you have available in your fridge and pantry.  I also would like to try this dish made with chicken.  Enjoy!

Original recipe inspiration from food.com.

Chicken Stir Fry With Rice Noodles

When time is short, the weather is hot and you are hungry for a real meal I find a stir fry can be a lifesaver of an entree.  It allows me to use whatever is in the fridge and pantry to create a fresh wholesome meal very quickly, less then 30 minutes including prep.

For a starch my go to choice is often rice noodles, they come in skinny to very wide size and are so easy to prepare.  They take on the flavor of the rest of the dish which can be handy; no flavor conflicts here.

This version I am sharing today is a chicken stir fry made with those delightful wide rice noodles you can get these days in most grocery stores.  I soak them in very hot water for ten minutes and drain well before stirring them into the completed dish.  Easy for sure!  This batch was marked as extra wide and they were just that.

Notes: the veggie amounts are very fluid; use more if you like a lot of something or skip if you hate.  Best made in a wok; I have a small one I use all the time.  I guess you can use a fry pan; keep it hot and stir constantly.

I actually ate the leftovers the day after for my supper: served it cold as a salad; added a touch more soy sauce and a swig of sesame oil and it was just delightful: refreshingly different.

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Chicken Stir Fry with Rice Noodles

Ingredients:

Wide rice noodles; enough for 2 people

½ lb of chicken breast cut into bite sized bits

1-2 tbsp. cooking oil (I like mild olive oil)

1 medium onion cut down from the top and then into slices top to bottom

1 big carrot; sliced on the diagonal

1 celery stalk sliced on diagonal

1 cup broccoli chunks

1 baby bok choy; about 1 cup of cut up chunks (2 big stalks works too)

2/3 cup pea pods; either snap or sugar peas

1 big garlic clove minced

About ½ a tsp of grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. corn starch dissolved in 1/3 cup water

1-2 tsp. soy sauce (be sure it is gf)

Directions:

Put the noodles in a bowl half full of very hot water; I heat it in the microwave until almost boiling. I break them in half before putting in water; up to you if you like long strands. Let stand ten minutes.  Meanwhile, cut the chicken up into thin slices or chunks; nothing that can’t fit easily into someone’s mouth.  Heat mini wok, add oil.  Add chicken and stir it after a minute; flipping over; brown all over lightly; 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.  Add onion, celery and carrot, stir a minute or two then add broccoli and bok choy, stir 1-2 minutes.  Add the pea pods and garlic.  Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  You want the veggies to be a touch crisp but mostly cooked.

Add back the chicken and the ginger, stir well for 30 seconds to a minute.  Pour in the cornstarch water slurry and 1 tsp. soy sauce.  Stir as it cooks for one minute; add more water if not enough sauce to your liking. This last minute is critical to make the sauce clear; cooks the cornstarch. Taste and add more soy sauce if you want, also, season with salt and fresh black pepper to your liking.

I often use fruit juice for some or all of the water.  Pineapple is my favorite but orange juice or even lemon juice works well for some of the fluid; adds a lot of flavor. Add the noodles and stir well before serving.  Should serve 2 people easily, maybe 3 if one isn’t too hungry!

This is a naturally gluten free dish.  If you dislike rice noodles serve it over rice. Enjoy!

Gorgeous Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

A stir fry is a great way to get veggies into you and your family.  We like lots of different vegetables. I put in broccoli for my 3 year old grandson who will eat anything with broccoli in it. Plus carrots for color and sweetness, chunks of chicken breast for a protein source and a few other choice vegetables to round out the mix.  This stir fry is made with medium wide rice noodles, the kind you put in Pad Thai.  They are low calorie and have no eggs or dairy.  The fresh ginger is crazy good for you as is the garlic and all those fresh vegetables.

Don’t be afraid to change a vegetable if you don’t like something or don’t have it on hand. My rule of thumb is to try not to have more than five main veggies in it or it will lack a cohesive flavor profile.  I used chicken but it works great with thin sliced boneless pork or beef.  I actually love it made with light tuna packed in olive oil.  Don’t like pineapple juice: use orange juice or another fresh 100 percent real fruit juice. Dislike ginger: leave it out but that will reduce the flavor punch so you might need soy sauce after all.  If you hate rice noodles it can be served over brown or white rice. That is the beauty of a stir fry; flexibility in many directions.

Don’t be frightened of the rice noodles.  They are so simple to make. Just boil up enough water to cover the noodles; pour it over them in a bowl and let stand ten minutes.  Drain and they are ready to throw into the stir fry near the end.  Simple and they add authenticity without a lot of calories.  You can find them nowadays in many grocery stores in the international food section as well as in Chinese grocery stores.

This entree goes together very fast once you chop the vegetables.  I didn’t add any soy sauce or rice vinegar.  I liked the mild clean flavor: lets the ginger and garlic shine.  Add those other things if you must! Very important: try not to overcook it – soggy is not the way you want the veggies to look or taste.  They should be just barely tender.  Makes 3-4 servings depending on your hunger.

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Ginger Chicken and Noodles

Ingredients

1 cup pad thai noodles, broken up somewhat

1 ½ cup boiling water

¾ lb chicken breast tenders (or pork in thin strips)

1-2 tbsp. mild olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled

2 celery stalks

1 large carrot

1 cup zucchini slices

2 cups broccoli florets

2 thin slices fresh ginger cut into short strips

2 garlic cloves

1 tsp cornstarch

¼ cup pineapple juice

Prep: Chop onion long way in half and then into long strips.  Cut celery into thin slanted slices, same for carrot.  Cut zucchini into ¼ inch slices  and cut into half moons. Cut broccoli stems into thin rounds and separate the florets into bite sized bits.  Peel garlic and smash in press.  Put dry noodles into a bowl, cover with the hot water and let stand ten minutes and then drain. Reserve to add near the end of the cooking.

Stir fry directions: Cut chicken into small chunks and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a mini wok (9-10 inch diameter) and add half the oil. Heat not quite to smoking hot. Add the chicken; brown lightly on both sides, remove from pan, set aside. Add rest of oil to still hot pan. Add onion and carrot slices, stir for a minute, add celery, stir 2 minutes, add broccoli stems, cook a minute, add the tops, cook a minute, add the zucchini, garlic and ginger.  Cook until tender crisp.  Add chicken back in.  Stir a minute to heat it, add the noodles, stir briefly.  Mix the cornstarch and juice; pour over the stir fry.  Mix in and cook one minute. If you need more liquid add more juice or some water. Serve hot.