One of the quickest, healthiest, and budget friendly meals at our house are stir-fry’s. So simple to pull together with ingredients you have on hand and budget friendly enough to plan a couple stir-fry nights per week. It’s also a way to sneak those vegetables in on unsuspecting picky eaters. Ideas for stir fry meals can be limitless…… from elaborate sauces with way too many ingredients and multiple steps that require a lot of time to a simple medley of meat and vegetables with little to no sauce. Most of the time, a simple stir-fry can be made with what you already have in your pantry.
The basic ingredients for a stir fry are a meat, vegetables, sauce of some sort, and either pasta or rice to serve it over.
Meat is the most expensive part of any meal. By slicing meat for stir fry it’s a lot easier to make a small amount of meat go further. For example: instead of cooking 4 chicken breasts for dinner you will be able to use 2 if sliced for stir fry. Or slice 2 pork chops instead of cooking 4. 1 sirloin steak will make due for the whole family and not break the bank. Tip- it will be easier and make cleaner slices if the piece of meat is partially frozen.
Season the meat however you like or if you coat it in cornstarch you will have a crispy meat when it’s cooked.
Open season!! You can go elaborate with a ton of different kind of vegetables or keep it simple with something green and some onions. I do suggest keeping vegetables separate and adding to the stir-fry at different times. It takes longer to cook broccoli than it does shredded cabbage. Be adventurous, if you have a hankering for something sweet use pineapple as well.
Basically a concoction you can make with what’s in your pantry. Think soy sauce, Worcestershire, honey, hoisin sauce or maybe even some hot chilli sauce. Italian dressing can also be added to the mix. If you like a thicker sauce blend a little cornstartch with a water and add to your sauce, it will thicken when it cooks.
It’s really never the same sauce twice in our house. Whatever flavors we feel like throwing in the bowl at the moment is how we do it. True it does make it more difficult to exactly duplicate, but what’s the fun in cooking the same thing over and over…. This way it keeps our taste buds on their toes.
There are many ways to break up the same old stir-fry meal. You can use white rice, brown rice, cooked top ramen noodles, angel hair pasta or skip the starchy carbs all together and serve as is or over a bed of shredded cabbage. The cabbage will mostly stay crunchy but it will start to soften with the hot meal on top of it. Mmm talk about healthy!
Nuts or crunchy Asian noodles as a nice flavor as a garnish.
In a large skillet or wok heat your choice of oil. Whatever is in your cupboard will be fine you don’t need to go out and purchase something fancy. Cook meat in batches so not to crown the pan and set aside when done.
Add vegetables to skillet and cook. Start with the vegetables that take a bit longer and go from there.
Example: layer the broccoli first, then the peppers, onions, water chestnuts, and garlic. Let it cook for a minute or two then stir.
When vegetables are done add the meat back into the skillet.
Next, pour in the sauce and stir to combine and make sure it’s all heated through.
Gather the clan at the table and enjoy a home cooked, healthy, low cost meal. Start a discussion on what you could do with the meal next time. You’ll find everyone has their own idea of what might make a good addition next time.