Three-Dinner, Low-Cal Stir Fry

imagesToday, I want to tell you the story of a stir fry.

When I started this stir fry, I had no idea that it would be ongoing and evolving, providing dinners for two people for three nights. Without going limp! Without losing its flavour! Without a photograph! It was just a simple stir-fry. Who knew?

imagesI am likely a latecomer to what I’ll call the “add-on” cooking method, but being a blog writer means I can’t wait to share it with you anyway.

Now, like most stir fry dishes, this one was easy. The two tricks that kept it going and going were the following:

  1. COOKING ONLY UNTIL CRUNCHY
  2. ADDING FRESH INGREDIENTS

green-onionsNow, for the sake of the story, I’m going to assume that you know how to make a stir-fry with very little or no oil. (See Quinoa Vegetable Stir-Fry if you’re not sure about the no-oil method.) Secondly, your favourite vegetables and condiments may differ from ours so substitute to your heart’s content. And thirdly, your quantities may vary because the spouse and I don’t eat large dinners or meat portions.

So here goes! Once upon a time there were some vegetables…

Dinner #1: Just Veggies

images-3To cook only until crunchy means starting with the vegetables which will take the longest to cook and adding the faster-cooking ingredients at the end. Hence, put ingredients #1 to #6 in a heated pot:

  1. 2 zucchinis, sliced
  2. 20 pea pods (roughly, I wasn’t counting) with the tips trimmed off and halved
  3. 1 leek, sliced thin
  4. 1 bunch green onions, sliced
  5. ½ bag broccoli slaw
  6. 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  7. ½ head of Savoy cabbage, chopped
  8. 1 bag of sprouts

leekCover the pot, wait 1-2 minutes, stir, and repeat the sequence until the zucchinis are just starting to look translucent but are not fully cooked. (5-7 minutes? Unfortunately, I wasn’t watching the clock.)

recipe-4359Add #7 and #8 and cover the pot, etc., until the sprouts are warm but still firm and barely cooked. (2 minutes?) Everything should be crunchy except for the cabbage which wilts quickly (Savoy cabbage leaves are thinner than regular cabbage and cook faster).

We served this initial stir fry over rice as an accompaniment for fish.

Important tip: After cooking, remove the pot immediately from the heat and leave it uncovered. If you put the cover on while eating, the vegetables will continue to steam-cook.

Dinner #2: Chicken Breast and Shirataki Noodles

“Beef up” the vegetables with chicken and noodles:

  1. Sautée 1 chicken breast, cut into cubes, with 1 tbsp. minced garlic and 1 tsp. minced ginger.
  2. shiratakiAdd the leftover veggies from Dinner #1 into the pan with the chicken, turn off the heat, and stir. (If your pan doesn’t hold heat well, cook as little as you can.)
  3. Mix in 1 bag of Shirataki noodles, rinsed well with hot water so they don’t require heating. (Learn more about Shirataki noodles if you’ve never used or heard about them before.)

peasDinner #3: Last But Not Least

Cook more veggies to “crunch” status and then add the leftovers from Dinner #2, turning off the heat and mixing.

  • images-22 leeks, sliced thin
  • 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

And the moral of the story? Eat your leftovers! Bon appetit!

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Sweet and Spicy Roasted Carrots

IMGP1894I admit it: I’m recycling. If you follow this blog, you know I write about roasted root vegetables ad nauseum* because I consider them a dieter’s best friends.

Then, to add insult to injury, I am also recycling a spice mix from Spiced Sweet Potato Round and (A Little Bit of) Squash Heaven.

It happened this way: I was staring at a 3 lb. bag of carrots and asked myself, “If that spice mix is so great with sweet potatoes and squash, why wouldn’t it be equally great with carrots?” Yes, such are the profound, metaphysical questions that mark my days.

And, happily, the universe went along because the answer was a resounding “Yes,” not only from the spouse, but also from two grandchildren (aged 13 and 14) who gave it a definitive thumbs up.

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Chicken/Turkey Barbecue Bake with Vegetables

Back from our vacation in the Dutch Antilles and back in my kitchen where I almost kissed every appliance. The kitchen in our Bonaire apartment was smaller than most bathrooms, not air-conditioned, and lacking basics, like an oven!

And as for gluten-free products? I found one natural food store with hardly anything to sell and sky-high prices. A small bag of red quinoa was $18.00!!!

But the snorkelling and scuba-diving were great, we missed a major snowstorm in Ottawa, and I (seeking sloth) and my new e-reader bonded together spectacularly.

I also took a shine to the name of the local supermarket—so much more interesting than “Safeway” (US) or “Metro” (Canada), don’t you think?

Once back home, I was determined to make the perfect gluten-free angel food cake. I had tried this three times already, and had gotten a fairly decent rise but was still working on the taste. This time, the dratted thing collapsed entirely. Blessings on the head of my sweet 13-year-old granddaughter and sous-chef, Adesia, who declared it still delicious and took it home for school lunches.

So…instead, today, I bring you a no-fail, cinch-to-make, reminiscent-of-summer Barbecue Bake that I’ve used for both chicken and turkey breasts. (It would also be great for thighs and legs.)

This photo is of last night’s dinner—a turkey breast, this time, baked with potatoes and vegetables to make a complete meal. The spicy sauce helps the meat stay moist during baking and provides a delicious grace note of taste to the entire meal.

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Brussel Sprout Bake with Leek and Sage

In a recent post on the food possibilities for roasted vegetables, I listed 16 different types of vegetables.  Now, I’m not a math person in the slightest, but a bit of Internet research suggests that the total number of veggie combos (from any 2 to all 16) would be “factorial 16” or approximately 21 trillion different dishes!  To put it mildly, we’ve got plenty of scope to experiment.

I’ve certainly been on a roasted-vegetable roll and suspect it will go on all winter.  First, these vegetables are easier on my wallet; they tend to be plentiful and cheaper in the winter.  Second, they’re good for me, being full of super-healthy nutrients.  And, finally, I can just about  eat them to my heart’s content.  Ever heard of anyone overdosing or gaining weight on brussel sprouts?  Me neither.

This recipe came about because I thought brussel sprouts would be delicious with leeks, which are sweeter than regular onions, and that fresh sage, which I love, would suit the combination.  So I just threw them all together and then decided to sprinkle on some grated sheep romano cheese.  Yum!

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Carrot Soup with Leek, Ginger, and Garlic

This puréed soup is easy to make, thick, mild, sweet, and beautiful; it’s good enough for a dinner party.  I discovered it several years ago when I took advantage of the seasonal prices on carrots and bought 10 lbs. worth.  My husband looked askance at the two huge bags and asked, “What are you going to do with all those carrots?” 

That was a good question.  I began to research carrot recipes and discovered many for carrot soup.  I took ideas from several recipes and made a soup using large Spanish onions.  The soup was good but not great.  That’s when I switched to leeks and discovered that they were key to a great flavour.

This soup also appeals to children.  My grandchildren (ages 9-11 when I started making this soup) like this soup best of all the soups I make—even the granddaughter doesn’t like cooked carrots enjoys a bowl of it.

Printer-friendly recipe

Ingredients

    • 6-8 cups of carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
    • 3-4 leeks, cleaned and the whites chopped into chunks
    • 8-10 cups chicken broth, enough to barely cover the vegetables
    • 1½ tbsp. garlic
    • 1 tbsp. ginger

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into one large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Vegetables should be very tender.
  4. Purée with hand blender or in a processor.

 

For Weight Watchers: 0 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plans.