Friday, April 20, 2012

Stir It Up - Chicken Stir-Fry

I know in some households trying to get your kids to eat vegetables can be a challenge.  Mine included.  I do acknowledge that each of my children have their own "tastes" and that could be a result of their development or just what they like and don't like.  BUT, I am not one of those parents that will make separate meals to satisfy each of my children.  

I think it is important that mealtime be a family event, where we all eat together, at the dinner table and we eat the same thing.  One eating rule we have when there is something that they don't like or are unfamiliar with, is that they must have one try-it bite.  If it is a vegetable that they don't care for, like broccoli or brussel sprouts, they have to eat at least two.  To avoid any unnecessary tension at the table, I tend to make meals where the veggies are not the main attraction or are disguised in a broth or sauce.  I have tried stir-fry's in the past, but it was such a struggle to get them to eat it.  Until recently!   I made up this recipe, as I remembered that kids tend to favor food that is on the sweeter side.  To my amazement there were requests for seconds!

Chicken Stir-Fry

1 cup

Chicken Broth ½ for sauce, ½ for steaming
2 tbsp ea

plum or apricot jam, reduced-sodium soy sauce (I use Braggs Liquid Soy Seasoning)
1 tbsp ea

hoisin Sauce, grated gingerroot, and cornstarch
1 tsp

sesame oil

clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp

crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp


boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut either in strips or cubes
1 cup

red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup ea

broccoli and cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 cup

carrots, diced, sliced on the diagonal or match-sticks
½ cup

purple onion, slice finely
¾ cup

celery, sliced on the diagonal
½ cup

mushrooms, sliced

Note regarding the Veggies:  the grocer where I purchase my produce makes up packages of pre-cut veggies for stir-frying.  I tend to buy this, as it is convenient.  Each package is about 4 cups worth of veggies, including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and onions.  I then would add peppers, celery and mushrooms (not my kids favorite, but easy to pick out).  The great thing about this recipe is that you can modify it based on your kids likes.

  • To make sauce, combine ½ cup broth, jam, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, gingerroot, cornstarch, sesame oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large non-stick frying pan (or any large frying pan that you would cook chicken in that doesn't stick).  Add your chicken.  Cook and stir until no longer pink inside.  Chicken can be tested by lightly pressing on it and if it is still spongy then it needs a bit more time -
  • Remove chicken to a plate and cover to keep in the heat
  • Add your cut veggies to the wok/pan.  You may need to add a little bit more oil.  This is the stir-fry part.  Over medium high heat, keep the veggies moving until they are tender crisp.  Just remember, the longer you cook veggies, the more nutrients are lost.  Now comes the steaming part...just for a minute or two.  Add the remaining ½ cup of broth and cover the pan.  Note:  I learned this trick by watching a Japanese chef at a restaurant called KOBE's where they cook right in front of you!  Yum!
  • Remove the lid and add the sauce.  Cook and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium and add back the chicken.  Stir until the chicken is coated with the sauce.
  • Serve with brown rice (or whatever rice your kids like.  We also eat this with Jasmine and Basmati rice or Soba Noodles)
Enjoy and let me know of any feedback!

Forever (Yours) In the Kitchen,


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