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Chicken & Aspargus Stir Fry

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This chicken and asparagus stir fry is an excellent weeknight meal. It has a (fairly) short ingredient list and takes under 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish. Served with some brown rice or quinoa it is a healthy, well balanced meal, and it doesn’t sacrifice any flavor!

Why do kids hate to eat vegetables?

As I’ve been writing up this recipe and looking through the photos I keep thinking of the dichotomy of my eating life. As a child I hated vegetables. Like, really, really hated. I had some awful (well, awful in the mind of an 8 year old) dinners when my Dad decided to pull out his wok and do some stir frying.

My Dad, like me, enjoys to cook and bake. He used to have this bright red electric wok and boy was I unhappy when it came out of the cupboard. It usually meant I was going to be served up a big plate of veggies, and, like I said, I really hated veggies.

Now, I’m pretty good about eating my vegetables! I think this healthy stir fry recipe is a total winner. I can imagine though, that if my Mom found this recipe 20 years ago she probably would have been thinking “Yeah right, that’s not going to fly with my kids”.

I hope this is a meal your family would enjoy. If not, here’s to hoping your children end up like me and come around to vegetables eventually!

Chicken & Asparagus Stir Fry

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce (or Bragg’s Amino Acids)
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, slice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbs sesame oil
  • sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Directions
  1. Before you start cooking cut the chicken and asparagus into bite sized pieces, mince the garlic and ginger, and slice the green onions.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix the soy sauce, honey, and sriracha. Add the chicken to the bowl and stir until the chicken is coated with the sauce.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the asparagus to the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes (or until the asparagus reaches the desired level of tenderness), stirring frequently so that the asparagus does not burn. Remove cooked asparagus from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add the chicken to the same skillet, along with any sauce left in the bottom on the bowl. Cook the chicken for 3 – 4 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through.
  5. Push the chicken off to one side of the skillet. Put the garlic, ginger, and green onions in the empty space in the skillet and stir it around a bit so that everything gets coated with the sauce, then stir into the chicken.
  6. Stir the asparagus into the skillet again, and cook just a minute or two more, until the asparagus has heated up.
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired. I serve this with rice or quinoa.
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Not Pad Thai Noodles

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This is not Pad Thai. I’m not sure what it is! I created this meal out of a concoction of several other recipes, mainly to satisfy my cravings for both soft and spicy foods. Each time I make it, though, my husband refers to it as Pad Thai. While this dish does have some of the same flavors as Pad Thai, a few of the important ingredients in Pad Thai are missing; peanut and bean sprouts. So, I’ve named it “NOT Pad Thai”. At least if I don’t know what it is I can tell you what it is not.

Similar to Pad Thai or other Thai noodle dishes, this recipe suits rice noodles very well. If you’ve ever cooked with rice noodles before you know that they do not behave like any normal wheat pasta. They tend to stick together immediately once they have finished cooking and are drained. The sauce and the butter are really the key ingredients to making this recipe a success. Combined, they have a smooth, slippery texture that coats all of the noodles and meat evenly and easily. No piles of rice noodles stuck to each other (I happen to love noodles stuck together, actually, especially fettuccine!) or tasteless portions of food. Another way I combat the sticky noodles is by breaking the noodles up before cooking them. This makes it much easier to stir in the sauce.

 

Now, a warning about this sauce. It is yummy, but IT’S SPICY, clear out your sinuses spicy! I’ve included the measurements I use when I make this and a toned back version. The key players in the spiciness are the crushed red pepper and sriracha, so just start with a bit of each of these if you are nervous about the heat level. You can always add more, but you can’t take spice out!

I’ve also written this recipe to include beef. Chicken works, too! Or try the noodles alone! If you want to get closer to that Pad Thai taste, try adding some chopped peanuts or serving with bean sprouts. I think you will find that whatever the heck this noodle stir fry is, you’ll get your fill of spice without sacrificing on taste.

 

Not Pad Thai Noodles

 

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Ingredients
  • 1/3lb wide rice noodles broken into pieces
  • 3/4 lb thin sliced beef in 1 inch strips 
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (1/4 tsp or less for toned down version)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbs brown sugar 
  • 3 tbs soy sauce/Bragg’s Amino Acids (2 tsp for toned down version)
  • 2.5 tbs sriracha (2 tbs for toned down version)
  • 1/4c chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
Cooking Directions
  1. Make the sauce by mixing brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha.
  2. Boil water for noodles in a medium pot. Cook noodles until al dente (check often – the noodles will get soggy easily).
  3. When the water nears boiling, heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat.
  4. When oil in skillet is hot and rippling and beef strips. Cook, stirring often, until no pink is visible.
  5. Remove beef to a plate and melt butter in the skillet the beef was in.
  6. When butter is melted, add the crushed red pepper.
  7. Add the eggs into the pan and scramble them. A few stirs is all it will take.
  8. When everything is done – eggs, beef, and noodles – combine it all in the skillet with the eggs. Add the sauce and stir to coat. This may take a few minutes.
  9. Top with cilantro and green onions.
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