Simplest Ginger Beef Stir Fry…..

I’ve decided that this is my absolute favorite stir fry.  I normally make a sauce that consists of cornstarch for thickening, chicken broth and other flavorings.  What I love about this is that there is no thick sauce covering up the flavors of the meat and the vegetables.   You could easily make this with boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, shrimp, or tofu and veggies. Use any vegetables you like.  Just remember to stir fry the ones that take longer first and add the rest accordingly

Light soy sauce and hot chili oil are the stars of this dish.  The hot chili oil has a delicious garlic flavor as well as some heat.  Of course, there’s ginger and garlic which are essentials in a good stir fry.  Have all ingredients ready to go before heating the pan.  Have the rice going as well.

Simplest Ginger Beef Stir Fry

For the marinade:

1 lb. lean sirloin, trimmed of any excess fat and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons or 2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons light soy sauce

For the stir fry:

1 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 cups snap or snow pea pods, cleaned and strings removed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into long thin strips
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot chili oil, stir it well before measuring out

4 cups steamed rice

1)  Trim and slice the beef and place into a small mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the cornstarch over the beef.  Mix well with your hands to coat.  Add the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2)  Prepare the peas, onion and ginger.
3)  Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Once the pan is very hot, add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola/vegetable oil.  Add the ginger and onions.  Stir fry until the onions/ginger get nicely brown.  Remove them from the pan and put into a small bowl.  Add the beef, being sure not to crowd in the pan.  Try not to stir until you’re sure the beef is brown.  Add the onions back to the pan, the pea pods, soy sauce and chili oil.  Cook another 2 minutes or until the peas are bright green.  Serve over steamed rice.   So good!

*Longest cooking veggies to lowest.  Add them to the pan in this order.

Bell peppers
Pea pods
Green onions
Bean sprouts
Baby corn
Water chestnuts
Bamboo shoots

**White steamed rice tip.  Rinse the rice thoroughly in a mesh colander under cool water.  This will remove much of the starch that can make rice gummy.  Add water to the pan 2 parts water to 1 part rice, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow the lid to be slightly ajar.  Cook for 17 minutes.



Asian Slaw…..

This salad is loaded with layers of flavor.  We begin with beautiful, bright, and healthy vegetables and fresh cilantro.  For the dressing, I love sweet and spicy, so I added sugar and a little chili garlic sauce.  I then top with chopped salted peanuts.  Crunchy vegetables, sweet and spicy dressing, fresh cilantro, and salty peanuts, the perfect combination!  Serve with simple grilled chicken breast and steamed rice for the perfect dinner.  If you have leftovers, enjoy the next day.

Asian Slaw

 For the dressing:

 2 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground bottled ginger
¼ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

 For the salad:

 ¼ head green cabbage, very thinly sliced
¼ head purple cabbage, very thinly sliced
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
1 medium red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped salted peanuts

 1)  Whisk all dressing ingredients together and refrigerate if you’re not using immediately.

2)  Into a large salad bowl, add all salad vegetables and ½ of the peanuts.  Thirty minutes before serving, add the salad dressing and toss to coat.  Just before serving, toss again.  Top with peanuts.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate leftovers.  Makes 6 servings.

Enjoy!  Have a wonderful weekend!


Kung Pao Chicken Legs….

These taste as good as they look!  Oh my gosh, sooooo delicious!  It’s the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.  There is so much flavor in the sauce that all you need to serve with is is simple steamed rice and stir fry vegetables.  Spoon extra sauce over the rice and chicken, YUMMY!

Here we go:

Finely chop 1/4 cup fresh ginger….

And 1/2 cup red onion….

Saute in a tablespoon of canola oil in a medium saucepan for about 5 minutes, stir often. 

Add four large cloves of minced garlic and cook for about one more minute.
Now for liquid ingredients.  Add 1/3 cup of honey.  If you spray your measuring cup with cooking spray it will come out of your measure more easily.
Add 3 tablespoons of mirin.  Mirin is a sweet rice wine used for cooking.  This and the following ingredients can be found in the Asian isle of most grocery stores.
Add 1/4 cup rice vinegar.
Next add 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce.  I know it seems like a lot of ingredients.  Trust me, it will be well worth all the measuring.
Add three tablespoons of hoisin sauce.  I love the flavor of this sauce.  It is sweet, salty, and a little spicy.   If you haven’t used this sauce before, it is a Chinese dipping sauce and commonly used in Peking Duck. 
Now for some heat.  Add 2 teaspoons (or more if you like) of chili garlic sauce.  This amount will not be too hot. 
Once all the sauce ingredients are in the pan, simmer for about 3 minutes to slightly reduce.  Set aside.

Prepare the chicken legs.  Season generously with salt and pepper, coat with about a tablespoon of canola oil, toss to coat with the oil and seasoning.  Add 3 tablespoons of flour, toss to coat.  Give prepared chicken legs a drizzle once arranged on a non stick foil lined cookie sheet.  “Oven fry” at 400′ for about an hour.  For even browning, give them a turn half way through.  Once the chicken is crispy, time for he sauce.  Have your serving platter ready to go.  Dip each leg into the sauce to coat…..
Garnish with chopped peanuts….
And sliced green onions.  Drizzle with a small amount of honey.
Kung Pao Chicken Legs

For the Chicken:
16 chicken legs (about 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon canola oil + more for drizzling
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper

For the Sauce:
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup fresh ginger, minced
½ cup finely chopped red onion
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup honey + more for drizzling
3 tablespoons mirin (sweet rice wine)
¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons hot chili sauce

¼ cup salted roasted peanuts, finely chopped
1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1) Preheat oven to 400’. Non stick foil line a cookie sheet with sides, set aside. Place chicken legs in a large bowl and drizzle with one tablespoon of canola oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the flour over the legs and toss to coat. Place on prepared cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with canola oil. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until nicely brown and crispy.
2) Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon canola oil. Once hot add the ginger and red onion. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
3) Add garlic, cook for about one minute. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for about 3 minutes to reduce slightly.
4) Chop the peanuts and slice the green onions.
5) Once the chicken is done, with a tongs dip each chicken leg into sauce to coat. Garnish with the chopped peanuts, green onion, and a light drizzle of honey. Makes 8 servings.

*Serve with steamed rice and simple stir fry vegetables. Spoon extra sauce over chicken, rice and veggies, yummy!
*Substitute chicken wings for the legs for an flavorful and beautiful appetizer.

Basil Chicken Stir Fry…..

Stir frys are quite simple, healthy, and delicious.   I think it best to enjoy the ones you make at home as you can control the amount of oil that is used.  Use whatever vegetables you like.  Just remember that when you begin cooking to cook the vegetables that take the longest to cook first.

This recipe is a delicious combination of sweet and spicy with vegetables that have many different textures, so good!  Adjust the level of spice according to your own taste.  If you’d like it to “blow your head off,” add jalepenos at the end of step #5.

Have everything completely pan ready before you begin to stir fry.  Let’s not forget the rice!  Before you begin cooking, put the rice on the stove.  If using brown rice, count on at least 40 minutes of cooking time.  Begin cooking the stir fry after about 20 minutes.   If using white rice, rinse the rice thorougly through a fine sieve.  (this will prevent the rice from being too gummy or mushy)  Cook according to package instructions.  Once it’s on the stove, you’re ready to start cooking.

 I’ve assembled all my ingredients.  You can see in the very back a measuring cup with sauce ingredients ready to go.

Use a large heavy skillet.  It is important not to crowd ingredients in the pan.  Plenty of space will allow for nice browning on the chicken.  It will also make the stir fry cook very quickly.

Basil Chicken Stir Fry

2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 pinches kosher salt
1 pinch black pepper
3 large cloves garlic, minced

For the veggies:

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small red pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 small orange pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
6-8 button mushrooms, quartered
2 cups bok choy, chopped
1 cup sugar snap peas or pea pods
5-6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small bunch fresh basil leaves
1 small jalepeno thinly sliced (optional, will really spice up the dish, use carefully)

For the sauce:

1 cup chicken broth (Better than Bouillon is great, mix just what you need)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon chili garlic sauce (you can find in the Asian food section of the grocery store)
Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

White or brown basmati rice cooked according to package directions

1) On a cutting board designated just for meat, cut the chicken breast into small pieces. Season with salt and  pepper and toss well with one teaspoon cornstarch to coat. (this will allow the chicken to brown nicely) Refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.
2) Prepare all vegetables and put into separate bowls.
3) Prepare sauce. Mix cooled chicken bouillon with cornstarch, whisk until blended. Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and chili sauce, whisk. Set aside.
4) Heat a large heavy non stick skillet or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add one tablespoon oil and add chicken breast. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is nicely brown. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Remove from pan into a large bowl, cover with foil.
5) Add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the bell peppers, cook for about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and bok choy. Stir fry for about 5 minutes stirring often. Add snap peas and green onions. (add jalepenos here if you wish)  Cook for a couple of minutes.
6) Whisk the sauce ingredients until well blended and add to the pan with the veggies. Bring to a bubble. Add chicken back to the pan.  Add basil and mix well. Serve over brown basmati rice and garnish with sesame seeds. Serves 4.

Orange & Ginger Glazed Chicken Kabobs….

As you can see, I’m on an Asian kick!   Instead of Chinese “take out,” I’m going to call it Chinese “make in.”    Be sure to buy a good size chunk of fresh ginger, about two times the size of your thumb.  Use a whole fresh orange, the zest of the orange will give a very intense orange flavor.  Feel free to add red pepper flakes to the sauce if you like it spicy.  For sides, do anything you like.  I love brown jasmine rice and simple stir fry vegetables.  Would also be great with Thai peanut noodles..yum!
Orange & Ginger Glazed Chicken Kabobs

For the marinade:

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
½ cup orange juice
1 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size pieces

For the glaze:

Zest and juice of one large orange
Enough orange juice to measure 1 cup
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
3 slices fresh ginger, the size of a quarter
Sesame seeds
Orange slices & fresh green onions for garnish

1) If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 15 minutes before skewering chicken. Skewer chicken and place in a pan or container where they can lay flat. Whisk all marinade ingredients well and pour over skewered chicken. Marinade in refrigerator for an hour. (You can also marinade chicken pieces in a bag and skewer chicken later, I find this very messy.)

2) Wash and dry the orange. Zest the orange and set zest aside. Juice the orange into a 1 cup measure. Add enough additional orange juice to measure 1 cup. Pour into a small sauce pan, add ginger slices, and reduce over medium heat to ½ cup. Add honey and continue to simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and remove ginger slices. Add toasted sesame oil and orange zest. Allow to cool.

3) Preheat grill. Cook kabobs over medium high heat for 10-12 minutes. Generously brush glaze over chicken. Watch closely, the sugars will burn if you’re not careful. Place on serving platter, brush with additional glaze. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onions, and orange slices. Serve with steamed or vegetable fried brown rice and simple stir fried snap peas. Serve additional glaze on the side.

Beef & Vegetable Stir Fry….

I add a bit of spice to this dish, but it’s optional.  Make it to your taste, add a bit more spice if you dare!  If I were making this for myself, I would add fresh thin slices of jalapeno peppers, seeds included!

Vegetable Beef Stir Fry

8 oz.  (1/2 lb.) fresh beef sirloin, cut into very thin strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1″ of ginger, (thumb size) peeled and minced

2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 small onion, cut into wedges
6 mushrooms, cut into slices or quartered
1 medium red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1 small bunch of broccoli, washed and cut into bite size pieces
2-3 tablespoons canola oil for stir frying


1 cup water or chicken broth (cold or room temp)
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons hot chili sauce (optional) can also be used as a condiment when serving for those who would like the heat
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1)  Place the strips of beef, cornstarch, rice vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl, combine and refrigerate while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients.
2)  Prepare garlic and ginger, and place into their own small bowls, set aside.
3)  Prep carrots through broccoli.  I use a small bowl for each and place them on the counter in the order they will go into the pan.
4)  In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, add water or broth, soy sauce and cornstarch, whisk.  Add chili hot sauce, hoisin sauce,  honey, and sesame oil.  Whisk until blended.  Set aside.
5)  We’re ready to go!

Heat your wok or pan over high heat.  Add 2 teaspoons of oil to pan.  Add ginger, cook for about one minute.  Add beef and cook about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Add garlic, cook about one minute.  Place into a large bowl, wipe out pan with paper towel.  Put the pan back on the heat.

Add 1-2 teaspoons of oil and begin the veggies.  Add the carrots and onions, cook 3-4 minutes, stirring often, the sugars in the carrots and onions will burn if you’re not careful.
Add mushrooms and red pepper.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
Add broccoli. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
6)  Place all veggies into the bowl with the meat, loosely cover.
7)  Give the sauce another whisk and add all at once to the pan, stir constantly, it will thicken quickly.  Add all stir fry ingredients back to the pan and heat through.  Serve over steamed brown or white rice.  Or serve with brown fried vegetable rice.  Enjoy!

Vegetable Fried Brown Rice….

Fried Vegetable Brown Rice

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups cold cooked brown rice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables or petite peas, thawed
½ cup bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)

1) Heat a large non stick skillet over high heat. Add oil. Add eggs, all at once, stir constantly and break into small pieces. Add rice and green onions. Drizzle soy sauce and sesame oil over rice. Heat through, stirring often to prevent scorching. Add mixed vegetables and bean sprouts. Taste. Season with more soy sauce if necessary. Top with sesame seeds.

Remember, be creative, add whatever vegetables you like!

To make this a quick dinner entree, add some leftover pieces of rotisserie chicken or thinly sliced leftover grilled steak or pork!  Simply stir fry in the pan at the very beginning, remove from pan before adding eggs, then add back to pan after adding the rice.



Stir Frys and Fried Brown Rice Tips…..

The next time you make brown rice, make double and freeze.  Simply thaw and whip up Fried Vegetable Brown Rice.  This is healthy and so simple.  Add whatever vegetables you like or even add a small amount of leftover rotisserie chicken or any other leftover meat to make for a satisfying entree.   Remember too, that you can offer a stir fry side dish to accompany most any grilled or pan seared protein.
Stir frys do not need to be complicated.  You need seasonings such as garlic and ginger, protein if you like, can be tofu, tempeh, seafood, chicken or beef, and a simple sauce.  Personally, I fancy sweet and spicy.  Let us not forget noodles….so many options!

Here are a couple things to keep in mind when preparing fried rice or stir fry:

1)  For fried rice, always use cold rice, this is why leftover is best.  Brown or white rice are equally suitable.
2)  Have all ingredients that are going into fried rice or a stir fry are prepped ahead and ready to go into the pan.
3)  Remember to use meats as a condiment rather than the focus of your stir fry, it will be much healthier and you will get plenty of the daily fiber requirement your body needs. 
4)  Be creative and use leftover meats and vegetables to reduce waste.
5)  Cook meats first, remove from pan, wipe with a paper towel and move on to vegetables.
6)  Cook the vegetables that will take the longest first, adding veggies down to the quickest cooking. Add the cooked meat back to the pan at the very end with sauce ingredients.
7)  Stir fry odds and ends of vegetables you have in your crisper to use them up! 
8)  Pan to use?  Of course you can use a wok, if you do not have one, no worries.  A large heavy skillet with good heat conduction is perfect!  You want the pan very hot before adding oil to begin cooking.

Here are the vegetables in order from longest cooking to shortest:
Napa cabbage
Snap peas
Pea pods
Green onions
Bean sprouts-just need to be warmed
Water chestnuts-just need to be warmed
Bamboo shoots-just need to be warmed

Pantry items to have on hand: 

Low sodium soy sauce
Toasted sesame oil
Chicken broth (better than bouillon)
Chili Garlic Sauce
Hoisin Sauce
Rice vinegar
Sesame seeds

The key to making stir frys, fried brown rice or noodles, is to have everything prepped and ready to go in the pan.  Depending on the number of ingredients you use, dinner can come together in a matter of minutes on the stove. 

So get ready to stir fry!  I will be sharing many quick stir fry recipes throughout summer.

Have a wonderful holiday!!