In school, I never enjoyed nor did well in Art class. Color inside the lines or follow a paint-by-number? Sure, I can do that. But draw or paint something new? No way, no how. From sketching to painting, pottery and graphics, I've always appreciated art, but every time I was pushed to create something new in art class, I just wanted the directions, the instructions, the clear method spelled out for how exactly to complete the work. I wanted the recipe.
It's ironic because inside the kitchen, I don't want to follow instructions. I don't want to measure. I don't want to be limited to certain ingredients. I don't want to feel like I can't add my own colors and textures. Perhaps it's because I feel more comfortable in the kitchen than I once did in art class. Perhaps the kitchen is my art studio - the place where I can let my imagination do its wonderful thing.
Admittedly, not all of my work is a winner (yep, because sometimes breaking the recipe rules means less than satisfactory results), but sometimes - like in this Simple Stir Fry - I totally crush it. And by crushing it I mean meeting all of my requirements for delicious flavor, complementary textures, family favorite dishes, time-friendly recipes, and satisfying nutrition (that's Registered Dietitian approved!) too.
The best part about this Simple Stir Fry? If you like clear instructions and methods, you can follow the recipe precisely and get a delicious, healthy dinner. Or, if the kitchen is your canvas, you can freely adjust - adding in your favorite vegetables, swapping out the chicken (my husband's go-to!) for plant-based proteins like beans or quinoa or cashews overtop. What works so well here is the homemade stir fry sauce with simple ingredients and LOT of flavor!
So just give it a try - follow the recipe exact or add in your own flair - and let me know what you think!
Simple Stir Fry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- Your favorite protein (I used 3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks)
- 5-6 cups of chopped fresh vegetables of choice (broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, sugar snap peas, and carrots make for a great combo!)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- Dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon flour
- In a large wok, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil.
- When warm, add your favorite protein and cook through.
- Add your favorite chopped vegetables to the wok.
- Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, tossing occasionally.
- While the vegetables are sautéing, make the stir-fry sauce by mixing together the brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ground ginger, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Add flour to this combination to thicken.
- Once vegetables are tender, pour over the stir-fry sauce and stir together. Serve alone or with your favorite cooked grain, like rice or quinoa.