Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fast Dinners that were family hits- Mongolian Beef and Broccoli, Chicken Fried Rice, Thai Chicken Stir-Fry

 The end of the school year is upon us! While I have been criticized for being excited because it apparently takes away from my enthusiasm in the classroom I beg to differ. Wouldn't you be excited to spend the summer with your own child instead of 160 of other people's children every day? The same people that criticize me and my profession will be the ones celebrating when they send their kids back to me in the Fall... just saying. Oh you don't want to spend all day with them but you want me to? Awesome. :) In all seriousness I do love my job or else I wouldn't do it- especially with the pay/benefit cuts I have taken, pension issues, increasing class sizes and demands on me, etc.- it is just time to re-group and re-charge, focus on my family, take a break and come back ready to go again. Charlie and I started celebrating early by eating all the cookies in the house.... :) 

My food prep on Sundays is coming to an end with the school year and it has become incredible simple. Wondering how to start or how I do it? I make a list with Matt either Saturday night or Sunday morning- what are the 3-4-ish things we making for dinners/lunches? What needs replacing in the pantry? Etc. I grocery shop early on Sunday, 7-8am, because there are no crowds and we are awake anyway. 

The actual prepping takes 1-3 hours depending on what's being made- and that's not all hands on time. Matt usually mans the grill and will cook all of the meat, I throw things in the crockpot, get things in the oven and set timers. Charlie can easily help with this process, even though it makes things slower. Then lunches go in portions and containers as stuff is ready, dinners get put tupperware to be heated later and we are done!

Carrot Cake Muffins- this week's sweet treat

Staples made every week- roasted sweet potatoes for lunch and breakfast, rice, grilled chicken (8+ breasts)

Dinners this week I decided to make at night and they were hits with Matt and Charlie. She pretty much likes anything with soy sauce and rice so that's a great place to start for us. 

Chicken Fried Rice

Lots of options here- the quickest thing is to not cut more than you have to- so chicken prepped for cooking on your prep day and omitting everything else or using dried/powdered spices. Charlie loves peas and corn so we add a lot of that- if your family doesn't, then omit them... this is also fantastic with pineapple tid-bits if you have those in the pantry! 

- 2 Tbsp Oil (I recommend Sesame or Avocado)
- 3 Cups Cooked Rice, using day-old+, cold rice is best
- 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 Sweet Onion, minced (Charlie HATES onion so we leave it out)
- 1/2-1 Cup Frozen Peas
- 2 Carrots, peeled and small dice
- 1/2-1 Cup Frozen Corn
- 2 Eggs
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
- 1/2 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger (optional)
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced (optional)
- Siracha (optional)
- 2 Green Onions (optional)

1. In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken and cook through. Remove from the pan. 
2. Add the remaining oil, onion (if using) and carrot. Saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir frequently. Make a "well" and add the eggs. Once the eggs are cooked, stir everything together, add the chicken back, the soy sauce, peas and corn (and anything else you are adding). Toss. 
When everything is combined and heated through, turn off the heat and enjoy. :)  

Mongolian Beef and Broccoli 

-2 teaspoons + 2 tablespoons oil (sesame or olive)
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 cup Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce low sodium is best)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1.5 lb flank steak (or skirt steak)
- 1/3 cup Arrowroot Powder (or cornstarch)
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 Cups Broccoli Crowns
- 2 Carrots, peeled with a vegetable peeler* optional                     
- 1 Small Onion, thinly sliced* optional 

1. Slice the flank steak into 1/4" slices, against the grain, and toss with arrowroot (or cornstarch). Gently shake off any excess.
2. Place 1 tablespoon at a time of oil in a pan or wok and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in small batches for about 2 minutes until browned (It doesn't need to cook all of the way through, it will cook completely when combined with the sauce). Remove the steak from the pan.                      

3. Heat remaining oil over medium low. Add ginger and garlic and stir just until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the vegetables and turn the heat back up to medium high. Cook 3-5. Add soy sauce, water and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Let boil 3-5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
4. Add the beef back and toss to combine with the sauce and heat over medium until hot and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in green onions. Serve over rice. 

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry 

Not the prettiest, but it sure was tasty! This was the only one Charlie was not a fan of, too spicy and she hates noodles... but Matt and I liked it! 

- 1 Package Pad-Thai Noodles (usually 12-14oz)
- 1/4 Cup Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 2 Tbsp Honey
- 3 tsp Red Curry Paste
- 1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (or Apple Cider or White)
- 1 tsp Fresh, Grated Ginger
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 Small, Sweet Onion Finely Diced
- 12-oz Button Mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 Carrots, chopped in a small dice
- 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Siracha* optional
- Green Onion* optional 

1. Cook the noodle according to their directions. Whisk the coconut aminos, vinegar, water, ginger, and honey together. Set aside. 
2. In a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add a drizzle of oil and cook the onion, garlic and carrots until they start to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes until they soften. 
3. Add the chicken and cook through. Add the noodles and sauce, toss to combine. Turn off the heat and add the green onions and a drizzle of siracha- enjoy! 

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