Quick and Easy Chicken and Black Bean Stir Fry

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 I will turn 56 next month, and I am still learning how to eat vegetables.

What???

Yes, that’s right.  My father was a carnivore who ate nothing but meat and desserts.  That’s only one sad part of my nutritional journey, so I’ll spare you the rest for now.  Like father, like daughter.  Poor eating habits are hard to break, but any bad habit can be broken.  It takes determination and putting your goal into practice.  So far, so good.  These things don’t happen overnight.  

Stir fry is a great way to get your vegetables, and as a home cook, I can easily prep and stir fry a meal in less than half an hour.  We have not gone to our favorite Chinese restaurant in months because Chinese food can have ingredients that me and Mister Jack don’t need.  MSG, excessive sugar in sauces and fat are a start. 

I am retired, and I have time to shop and cook.  I no longer want or need to go to a restaurant or some fast food joint because I am on a medical diet.  There’s food that I cannot eat, so by making our meals at home, I can pick my recipes, control the ingredients and the way the dish is prepared.  I know what’s in our meals, but you are not totally sure of what’s in your food (or how it’s prepared) when you eat out.       

Since I’ve been cooking and baking since I was four, I don’t really measure.  Most people who are used to cooking usually tweak recipes to make them their own. I cook with what I have, and I don’t need to rush to the store for missing ingredients.  I either substitute or do without.  Depending on what you have around the house and what your family likes to eat, you can use one or more vegetables to go with the chicken.  As you can see, I happen to be a big fan of sugar snap peas, but I didn’t have mushrooms available.  Maybe next time.  

Easy Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients

Stir Fry Base

Two chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (or smaller)

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon garlic

1 onion, sliced

3 or more cups vegetables (your choice).  The more color, the better.  Use bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots, celery, cabbage, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts, etc.  Think of your favorite stir fry dish and go from there.  

Cornstarch

1 -2 teaspoons oil

Salt

Pepper

Black Bean Sauce

2 heaping teaspoons black bean sauce

1/2 cup water

Siracha (optional)

You can do without the cornstarch in the stir fry base and the black bean sauce.  A lot of stir fry dishes include a thick gravy, but I am beginning to appreciate the taste and the crunch of certain vegetables.  Black bean sauce and Siracha are both common ingredients, and can be found in Asian markets, your favorite supermarket or any supermarket that specializes in international food.  I use the black bean and Siracha sauce for flavor.

Instructions 

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1.  Get all of your vegetables together.  Wash thoroughly and chop into pieces.  Set aside until ready to stir fry.

2.   Make sauce by mixing black bean sauce and water in a small bowl.  Add Siracha if desired.  Set aside.Image

3.  Roll chicken pieces in a small amount of cornstarch.

4.  Add oil to skillet or wok. 

5.  Fry chicken pieces until brown, using salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.   

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6.  Scrape and remove brown bits from skillet.  Add more oil if needed.

7.  Add ginger, garlic and onions to skillet.  Stir over medium high heat until onions soften.

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6.  Add vegetables.  Stir constantly over high heat until the firmer vegetables (like carrots and celery) are slightly softened.

7.  Add chicken to vegetables.  Add sauce to stir fry mixture.  Stir until chicken meat and vegetables are coated in sauce.

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8.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.  You can serve stir fry by itself or in lettuce cups.  Or with rice or noodles.

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4 comments

  1. ChgoJohn · April 9, 2014

    The best part of making your own stir fries is the aroma. It makes cooking your dinner so much more enjoyable when the aroma is mouth-watering good. I bet your kitchen smelled wonderful, Arlene.

    • Arlene Poma · April 9, 2014

      John, you are truly one of my food blogger heroes! I love following your blog and hearing from you. I know how to cook, but laziness in the kitchen leads to convenience food and drink that will put the pounds on you. I have come to my senses. I am back to preparing most of our meals at home. Oh, what a ride!

  2. marlenebertrand · April 10, 2014

    Stir fry is one of my favorite “go-to” meals. My husband does the cooking 99% of the time, but when he needs a break, I do stir fry. It’s kind of fun because I also bring out the wok. It smells so good while it’s cooking and the flavor can’t be beat, even without the sauce. The sauce just takes it over the top. And, to me, it’s just not stir fry without Siracha. So, now that I have seen your yummy photos, I want to make stir-fry tonight. I guess that means the hubby gets a break.

    • Arlene Poma · April 11, 2014

      Marlene, you lucky girl! You have a man who cooks! All these years, I’ve been whining to people that Mister Jack only did barbecue (don’t all men do???), Kraft macaroni boxed dinners and hot dogs boiled in beer. Now, I never complain about his lack of skills in the kitchen because he took family leave and cared for me–eight weeks after my surgery. He did all the laundry, cleaning and cooking. He shopped and took me to my appointments and made sure I took my required medication. He even spray Lysol on everything and made sure my visitors didn’t have colds or cough. And all of them were required to use hand sanitizer before they set foot in our home! Now that he’s back to work, I make sure he has a good meal when he comes home. If you really want to know, he’s a better “wife” than me when it comes to keeping house! At the same time, I am a recipe junkie. Always looking for ideas on something healthy to cook.

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