Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

This week, it’s all about getting dinner on the table fast. 

I’m often asked what my favorite go-to meal is when I’m short on time. Without fail I always respond with the same answer- stir-fry. I think it’s my go-to because you can make it as simple or complicated as you’d like. 

Stir-fry is one of my go-to choices because not only is it fast, but it’s delicious and healthy. You can add as many vegetables as you can fit in the wok and within 10-15 minutes have a fantastic and flavorful dish. What more could you ask? If you aren’t short on time, you could make it a little more complex by slowly layering in flavors or cooking a more complex protein. But, the point of a stir-fry is to really just add whatever you have on hand. For this particular recipe, I used skinless boneless chicken thighs, but chicken breasts, ground meat, shrimp or even salmon would all work well. The best part about stir-fry is the ability to ad lib. Forgot garlic, don’t have a leafy green? No problem. In fact, one of my favorite stir-fry recipes is the one I use the day after Thanksgiving. I use leftover turkey and cranberry relish and while it’s a different spin and doesn’t contain my usual stir-fry ingredients, that’s completely okay. It’s the perfect utilization of stir-fry because you are using up fantastic ingredients that were cooked perfectly the day before and reinventing them into a new dish the next day. Talk about a win-win situation. 

This particular stir-fry recipe contains dark meat chicken, baby kale, red and orange bell peppers, broccoli and house rice. What is house rice you might ask? When opening Blue Ginger almost 20 years ago, I decided that I didn’t want to use white rice as our plain starch. I loved the texture and added nutrition benefit from brown rice so I decided our “house rice” would be half white rice and half brown rice. It’s a great way to introduce brown rice to kids and most often even those that don’t love brown rice will enjoy it. The sauce here is super simple with a little kick to add some flavor. I use a touch of lemon juice to swap out some of the salt from the soy sauce but it also adds another layer flavor wise. Becca, my PR/Marketing guru and Registered Dietitian loves this trick as well and has a few more tricks up her sleeve on how to add nutrition without sacrificing flavor. 

Notes from Becca-
Thanks Chef! I love this fast stir-fry because it’s so deliciously simple. Talk about a great one-wok meal. I know we talk all the time about adding nutrition without sacrificing flavor and this house rice is the perfect example. Though I do prefer brown rice, I know many people don’t love it because of the added texture. Combining it with white rice provides the added fiber, which on a nutrition level helps slow the release of broken down carbs into your blood sugar. I also love that this dish is packed with vegetables, but doesn’t sacrifice flavor. The sauce is so simple and the lemon juice and sriracha provide a bright kick without packing in a ton of sodium. Another great trick is utilizing orange juice and zest instead of adding extra sugar to something like a teriyaki sauce. The orange juice is often sweet enough that you don’t need the sugar to help bring the sauce together!

Eat Well With Ming Cooking Tip: The recommended daily intake for sodium is about 2,325mg per day. Did you know by substituting just 1 teaspoon of salt for 1 teaspoon of lemon juice you can reduce your sodium intake in a dish by an entire day’s worth of salt? Talk about making a big difference without affecting flavor! 

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Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry on House Rice
Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Sriracha to taste
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups baby kale (or another dark leafy green)
Canola oil to cook
House rice, recipe below 

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. 
2. In a wok, add enough oil to coat the bottom and heat on medium heat. Add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. 
3. Remove the chicken and set aside. 
4. If you need more oil, add a touch more to the wok and add the garlic and ginger. On medium heat, sauté until the aromatics start to become fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. 
5. Add the broccoli florets and peppers and sauté until they start to soften, 2-4 minutes. 
6. Meanwhile, mix the lemon juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey and sriracha to taste together. Add more honey or sriaracha depending on your taste preferences. 
7. Carefully add the chicken back to the wok along with the sauce and sauté until everything is well combined. About 1 minute prior to serving, add the kale and gently mix in, you want to just barely wilt it. 
8. Place the house rice on a platter and top with the stir-fry. Serve hot and enjoy.  

House Rice 
Makes 6 cups

1 ½ cups brown rice
1 ½ cups white rice 

1. Rinse 1 ½ cups brown rice and soak it in fresh cold water to cover for 1 hour. Transfer the rice to a medium saucepan. 
2. Put 1 ½ cups white rice in a large bowl in the sink. Rinse the rice by filling the bowl with cold water and stirring the rice with your hand. Drain and repeat until the water in the bowl is clean. Transfer the rice to the same saucepan. 
3. Flatten the rice with your palm and without removing it, add water until it touches the highest knuckle of your middle finger. Cover and boil over high heat for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. 
4. Turn off the heat and let the rice stand, covered, to plump, for 20 minutes. 
5. Stir gently and serve. 

Rebecca Noren