Welcome to the lab, please watch your step...

Welcome to the lab, please watch your step.... I'm a busy young zombie just trying to balance writing, food and life. I love to cook and love to eat even more! And I promise I won't eat your brains—unless they are made from cake, then I can make no promises.
This is where I run my experiments and post the results for your enjoyment. I have a weird sense of humor, so bare with me, I promise the food will be good ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Thrifty Dinner: Stir Fry

We've all had those days. The ones when you haven't been to the store in days and you've got limited ingredients and a hungry family (or in my case, a hungry hubby and pregnant self). Cobbling together something cohesive to eat can seem a daunting task.

This was the conundrum I was faced with tonight. How to feed 2 (and a half, if you include the baby belly) on one pork chop. And this wasn't a nice thick cut chop that I could butterfly and pound out. It was a thin chop.

So what do you do?

Well I took stock of what other ingredients I had on hand: half a head of broccoli, a handful of baby carrots, a packet of ramen noodles, and a myriad of spices and sauces.

One of the staple sauces I like to keep in my pantry is ready-made teriyaki sauce (I know, I know, homemade is better—but seriously, who has the time!?).

Stir-fry is one of those dishes you can't really mess up. You just throw whatever you have on hand into a wok, toss on a sauce and put it over rice or noodles. It's extremely economical because rice and noodles are cheap ($0.15/pack of ramen feeds 2 people) and you don't need a lot of protein (or any) to make a hearty meal.

Stir Fry is more a formula than a recipe.
Protein (or extra Veg) + 2(or more) vegetables + Sauce + Rice/Noodle + High Heat = Yummy

For example, my dinner tonight read as follows:
Pork chop + (Broccoli + Carrots) + Teriyaki + Ramen

Each element can be substituted or replaced according to what you have on hand.

The HOW is the real important point here.
When it comes to your proteins, quick, hot cooking is key. I like to slice my meats into thin strips, this provides maximum surface area for quick browning and flavor development. I have found that I can feed 4 people with 1 chicken breast (always buy the ones with rib meat. They are cheaper and more meat!).

Next I season my meat (salt, pepper, garlic seasoning if you like) and then dredge it in corn starch. The cornstarch will create a great crispy exterior.

Make sure all your veg are prepped and sliced in bite size pieces.

Next get your rice and or noodles cooking.

Heat your wok super hot (med-high heat) with a little cooking oil. Once the oil shimmers, add your meat. Once you've got it nice and brown, add the heartier veggies (broccoli, carrots, squashes) and cook till tender/crisp. Add sauce, heat through and serve.

((EDIT: I apologize for the lack of pictures. I had taken a great one—I swear—but my cellphone corrupted the picture >.<))

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