Spiffed Up College Stir-Fry

stir fryI’ve decided to spiff up a college classic with the hope that chicken stir fry will sound fun! And exciting! And delicious! And other adjectives like that instead of lame…and boring… and blah…that is typical for our kind to cook. I always try to get the seal of approval from those closest to me when I make things like this, so I’m hoping I never dish out (hehe) a horrible recipe.  In my mind there are 4 main components to chicken stir fry: the rice, the vegetables, the chicken, and the sauce.

Rice!

I always make a rice pilaf when I’m making stir fry. It’s so incredibly delicious and unfortunately I can’t take credit for the recipe I use. Tyler Florence is the genius behind these grains. Most of his recipes taste as amazing as he looks on TV (oops, am I allowed to say that?) and his pilaf is no exception. Here’s the link.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/rice-pilaf-recipe/index.html

If you don’t feel like going to the trouble of sautéing a shallot (which you should really try at some point because it adds a great depth of flavor) then at least go to the Asian isle in Kroger, or your grocer of choice, and buy a bag of basmati rice. Put a cup of that over the stove with two cups of chicken stock and you’ll never make instant rice again. Seriously.

Vegetables!

This part is really the paint for your cooking canvas. In my medley I enjoy using bright colored ingredients to make it look pretty like green pepper, red onion, pineapple chunks, and water chestnuts but you can add whatever you like. The key here is to make sure you don’t just throw everything in at once. Your separate ingredients will take varying amounts of time to cook so for instance if you throw all of the above in the skillet at the same time, your pineapple will be a burned mess by the time the peppers have a soft but firm bite to them.  Sauteeing basics 101: put a skillet on a cold stove and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. With a microplane grater (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/cw368/?pkey=x|4|1||4|microplane%20grate||0&cm_src=SCH), grate in some garlic and ginger. Turn the stove top on medium high heat and wait until the oil’s consistency gets thinner and the garlic and ginger start to pop but not burn. Then toss in the vegetables and cook until they’re ready!

Chicken!

What I usually do for one serving is take a single chicken breast and cut it into inch thick cubes. Sprinkle those with kosher salt and ground black pepper. If you’re ever in doubt about how much salt to add, just add more. Trust me. Then take some dried rosemary, basil and parsley (equal amounts of each) and sprinkle those liberally on the chicken as well. Those three herbs in dried form will last you a long time and they’re incredibly versatile. Drizzle a heated skillet or grill pan with olive oil so it doesn’t stick and then put your chicken in until it’s finished.

Sauce!

Since I enjoy a good bit of seared pineapple in my stir frys, I’m always left with that ambrosia like juice left in the container they come in. I’m not sure there’s anything in liquid form that’s more delicious than pineapple juice. Anyways…I don’t like wasting things so I make my sauce with a tablespoon of pineapple juice and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce mixed together. Really easy. Another one you can make if you’re feeling extra dedicated that day is three tablespoons soy sauce, one fourth tablespoon sesame oil, one tablespoon rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar and a drizzle of honey all whisked together (and it will take some serious whisking to incorporate that honey, but it’s worth it).

Combine all of the above and you’ve got one nutritious and delicious meal, courtesy of Tyler Florence and yours truly.

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