Cooking On A Budget: Loaded Vegetable Chicken Stir Fry

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Loaded Vegetable Chicken Stir Fry


One of the best dishes that stretches the budget is a stir fry meal. The reason is you don't need a lot of protein because the rest of the dish has a host of vegetables and it makes for a very nutritious and filling meal.
Aside from that fact, stir frying is a great way to retain all of the precious nutrients in the vegetables and is considered one of the healthiest ways to eat. Every once in a while I actually get a craving for a stir fry meal which for me is my body letting me know that I need lots of vegetables.

I was thrilled that my number one critic exclaimed that the flavors in this dish were "really, really good" and I also thought the balance in the sauce of tangy, sweet and salty were great. Loved the crunch of the vegetables to just above el dente and the fact that each vegetable held it's own flavor while playing well with the others. In addition the vegetables do soak up some of that exquisite sauce. At the end the nice bite of the scallion which I used for garnish just took this over the top.

This recipe does not skimp on the veggies whatsoever. You would also think because of that fact that it's outrageously expensive. It is not really when you consider that you don't use the whole broccoli crown or the whole head of cauliflower or a whole box of mushrooms. And getting chicken breast or tenders on sale and your broth helps to keep the cost down as well as using water instead of broth to make the rice. However I love the flavor of the rice when cooked in broth.

I have one more thing to tell you. The cauliflower was $3.99 but I said out loud, "oh it's already getting brown spots on it". (There weren't many.) A produce fellow who was standing near me heard me and he said if I really wanted it he would knock off one dollar. I could not resist. So it pays to say something rather than pass it up for just a few spots!

I figured that what I made for the stir-fry itself was enough to feed at least six people. The rice I made was four portions. The entire meal cost me approximately $15.85. Your saying well that seems like a lot to me. Feeding six people for $2.64 each is a good deal. Even if you increase the amount of rice you are looking at maybe 20 cents more per person.
  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken (either breast or tenders)
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (I used orange)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 small bunch bok choy (about 5 stalks) - remove 1" of the green top and sliced the rest
  • 1 cup mushrooms - sliced on the thicker side
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 bunch scallions -  sliced (use about 3/4 for the stir-fry and the rest for garnish)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup sno peas - leave whole or slice in half
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt or 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. mirin
  • 3-4 tbsp. oil (use canola, regular olive oil or vegetable oil)
Before I get into how to do this, I just want to say that I keep rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and mirin as staples in my pantry. All of these items can be found in the international aisle at your grocery store or with the vinegars. If you don't see an item ask the grocery store manager if they will start stocking some. My local store is very accommodating.
  1. Start by washing your chicken under cold water. I remove all the extra fat, excess silver skin and pull the whitish tendon from chicken tenders. Then cut the chicken into bite size pieces and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and black pepper, toss to coat.
  2. Next, prep all of your vegetables.  Remember to save some of the scallion for garnish.
  3. Measure out the chicken broth.
  4. Place the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and mirin in a small bowl and have the crushed red pepper flakes ready.
  5. Heat up your wok. I have an electric wok I heat to 350°. Add in 1-2 tbsp. of the oil and begin stir frying the chicken. Do this in batches so have a clean bowl or plate ready to transfer the chicken.
  6. When the chicken is done add in one more tablespoon of oil and add in the garlic, stir for 20 seconds and add in the cauliflower and broccoli as these take the longest to cook. Adjust the flame or turn the electric wok down as necessary to prevent scorching and keep stirring the vegetables. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  7. Next add in the mushrooms, the red pepper flakes, the bok choy, the sno peas and scallions. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add in the mixture of sauce ingredients (soy, vinegar and mirin). Stir well.
  9. Last to add is the chicken broth and the already stir-fried chicken. Stir and cook until the chicken is done (about 5-6 minutes) or longer to get the vegetables to the desired tenderness you like.
Serve all of this over rice and be sure to add the delicious sauce to each plate.

By the way, I used Google to translate the name of this dish and put it at the top of the above photo! Love it.
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