As a teenager, I remember my mom frequently preparing a very easy stir-fry. Usually, it was based on cabbage, carrots, and broccoli and always had a bit of chicken. It was so, so, so simple — as all stir-fry dishes should be — but the flavor was nothing short of homey goodness. The kind of comfort-food flavor you yearn for once you’re in college and you are having to cook for yourself.
Even now — nearly 20 years since I left the nest — I think about my favorite dishes that my Mom prepared and her stir-fry ranks right up there with her Brown Beans and Cornbread and her Pot-Roast.
You just can’t beat comfort food.
Especially healthy comfort food like my spin on Mom’s dish: 20-Minute Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry.
Honestly, if you are using a wok to cook this dish, the twenty minutes is a generous amount of time: extra seconds here and there if you wanna check Facebook while you’re chopping vegetables … a built-in time cushion if you find yourself tripping over a toddler who thinks the kitchen floor is the perfect spot for a tower of blocks.
(time for truth: both of those things happened the last time I made this recipe. No comment as to whether or not I stayed upright after the tripping incident)
Instead of the heavy sauces you get when you order take-out, this Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry recipe focuses on the fresh flavor of crisp-tender vegetables and a light “marinade” of mirin and soy sauce to be the perfect accompaniment to pan-seared (or wok-seared) skinless chicken breasts (I used H-E-B’s Natural Chicken Breasts — the featured ingredient this week in the Meal Maker Challenge). As for how you serve the finished stir-fry, it’s up to you! Eat it “as-is” for a grain-free option … or use it atop brown rice, jasmine rice, or even udon noodles.
Regardless of the “starch or no starch” debate … it’s a dish that’s meant to be gobbled up.
Nope — you just can’t beat (healthy) comfort food.
- 1 12-oz Package of Fresh Stir-fry Veggies*
- Medium Red Bell Pepper
- 1 lb Package H-E-B Natural Chicken Breasts
- 2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Mirin
- 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
- 3 Teaspoons of Minced Garlic (if you are not using prepared garlic, mince approximately 3 cloves)
- ½ - 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper
- 3 Green Onions, finely chopped (optional)
- In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce and mirin. Set aside.
- Pat dry the chicken breasts, slice each breast into 1-inch thick strips and then cut each strip in half.
- Chop any large stir-fry vegetables to ensure all vegetables are uniformly sized. Chop the pepper into sizes similar to stir-fry vegetables. Mix the vegetables and pepper together and set aside.
- Place a large wok or frying/saute pan over high heat. When water droplets evaporate within 1-2 seconds of contact, the pan is ready to stir-fry.
- Remove the wok from the stove-top. Swirl the Sesame Oil in the wok to coat the interior surface. (NOTE: if the oil immediately begins to smoke, the pan is too hot. Wipe out the pan, allow to cool, then return to the stove and begin again.)
- Put the oil-coated wok back over the heat and immediately add the garlic. Stir for a few seconds until fragrant and then push it up the sides of the wok where it is cooler.
- Pour the soy sauce/mirin along the interior sides of the wok so the liquid doesn't lower the temp of the wok. Then, add the cut chicken to the bottom of the wok in a single layer to ensure even cooking. Let sit undisturbed for 1-2 minutes until the bottom of the chicken has a nice light golden sear. Quickly flip the pieces over and allow the chicken to finish cooking.
- When the chicken is no longer pink, move it to the sides of the wok and add the chopped vegetables to the center of the wok. Add a dash of black pepper. Allow the vegetables to stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, gently stirring once or twice, until they are bright in color. Carefully push the chicken back into the center of the pan and quickly fold the vegetables and chicken together.
- Remove the wok/pan from the heat source and pour the stir-fry into a serving dish. Serve immediately over white or brown rice, quinoa or udon noodles; may garnish with chopped green onion.
p.s. Help a Girl Out … and (maybe) Win!
If you like my Third Recipe in the Meal Maker Challenge (or, you just like me!), you can “vote” for it in this challenge … simply by repinning it! Yes, it really is that easy and you don’t have to live near an H-E-B to pin my recipe!
(if you don’t want to enter the sweepstakes through the H-E-B site, you can repin the pin shown above simply by clicking on it)
[exceptional-citing quoted=”rachel” template=”bubble-gray-round” date=”” ]Head over to the Meal Maker Challenge page to get all the details on voting for this recipe, to check out all of the H-E-B Natural Chicken recipes in this week’s challenge, and to learn how — if you live in Texas — you can enter to win your share of $1500 in prizes.[/exceptional-citing]
disclosure: I have been compensated for my participation in this Meal Maker Challenge for H-E-B.