Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cashew Chicken


This stir fry is simple to put together, yet blends all of its flavors beautifully. The colors can be as bright and varied as you choose. Cooked quickly then eaten immediately, it features a crunch from the individual vegetables, offset by tender chunks of chicken. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, and the melding of flavors offers another rendition - tender vegetables and chicken, softened in their sweetened tangy sauce. Either way, it's a keeper. I served this with a side of steamed brown rice, but tender rice noodles or buckwheat soba would serve equally well.

Ingredients:

1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. grated ginger
2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly across the grain
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped red pepper
1-1/2 cups snap peas
2 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (or regular cabbage)

1 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs. hoisin sauce
2 Tbs. seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. salt, if needed

1/4 cup roasted cashews
sprinkle of sesame seeds


Directions: Heat the olive oil in a non stick skillet, or a seasoned wok. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring until they sizzle. Add the sliced chicken. Stir until the chicken is brown and mostly cooked, about 3 minutes. Move the chicken to the sides of the pan. Add the onion and peppers into the center of the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Add the cabbage and cook for an additional minute. Add the soy sauce, hoisin, sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and stir everything to combine. Let cook for about 1 minute, just long enough to heat all of the sauces. Add the cashews and stir. Taste, adding salt, if needed. Serve over, or next to, rice or noodles. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top before serving.

Serves 4

Stealthy Cooking Tip: I like to use Napa cabbage, but find that many times the heads of cabbage are too large. If you find the same thing at your market, feel free to substitute regular cabbage. This dish is even faster to prepare if you purchase the pre-sliced cabbage. In addition to speed, you can sometimes find cabbage slaw with several colors of cabbage, or cabbage and carrots. Make mealtime fun by using (or trying to use) chopsticks!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy Caprese


One of my daughters shared a wonderful story. She regularly makes caprese salad for dinner. Sometimes she substitutes red peppers for the tomato, or adds some cucumber. She uses whatever is on hand. The important parts are the balsamic dressing and the fresh basil. If there's any leftover salad, it appears in lunches for her kids. Some of the kids friends have asked her how she makes her tasty lunch dish. Wow, is that impressive. This is an extremely easy version of a caprese salad, one that even kids can make.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped tomatoes, use 2 heirloom tomatoes, or 12 cherry tomatoes
          (you can substitute red peppers, cucumbers, or use part tomatoes and part peppers)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
8 leaves fresh basil
2 low fat string cheese (mozzarella)
1-1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinaigrette


Directions:  Chop the tomatoes, or halve the cherry tomatoes, or chop the peppers. If using cucumbers, peel them, then chop. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the sea salt. Chop the basil leaves, cut the string cheese into 1/2 inch lengths. Mix all the vegetables together, and toss with the vinaigrette.

Stealthy Cooking Tip: Use the vegetables your kids love, and they'll love this salad!