Weeknight Cooking: Down-and-Dirty Chicken Stir Fry and (Leftover) Fried Rice

A few weeks ago, my parents went on a weekend jaunt to Pennsylvania.  They had a grand time and brought back some neat swag, while my sister and I minded the house and the animals like the good offspring we are.

Or something similar.

When they got back, as is tradition, we got the rundown of the trip’s events.  Last year, when they went to Chicago, my mom opened up the map of the L and pointed out all the stations they’d stopped at; no luck this time, since PA’s not so big into mass transit.

(Damn.)

It’s all really interesting, really.  Case in point, I learned that the Yuengling brewery has always been family-run, and rather than just passing the company from generation to generation, anyone who wants to take over has to buy it at full market value.

Also that their current brewmaster is a lady; props to ladybrewers.  (Soon, I will join your ranks.  Soon.)

Also that during Prohibition, they kind of just said “fuck it” and made ice cream.

(See!  You just learned three things about Yuengling that you didn’t know when you started reading this post.  How do you feel?)

But for all that their stories are interesting, and that I like hearing about the things they ate and the places they went and the things they did, every time they get home I’m just sitting there, trying to be excited about all of these things, and thinking “goddamn it, why don’t I get to go anywhere fun?”  They’ve been taking these little weekend trips since like my sophomore year of college, with increasing frequency in the past few years, and goddamn it I’m jealous.  I want to take time off and go do fun things just because I can.

My dad said “so…do it?  Just go somewhere for the day.  Nobody’s saying you can’t.”

Fine.  Touché, papabear.

There’s an interesting downturn to the trip; when my mom got back to work on Monday, she learned that Stephen King had flown out of the airport on one of the days she took off.  And she tried the leftovers of this stir fry; taste-bud-lust ensued.

Down-and-Dirty Stir Fry and (Leftover) Fried Rice

Ooh! A recipe two-fer!

Quick Chicken Stir Fry

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound thawed frozen vegetables (plus whatever you have leftover in the crisper)

Cooking Directions

  1. Thaw your chicken and cut it into 3/4″ chunks. Toss it in a large bowl with the flour, ginger, garlic, salt, and sesame seeds.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the soy sauce, sriracha, hoisin, sesame and chili oils, lemon juice, and remaining salt and ginger.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for just under thirty seconds, then add about two tablespoons of the sauce mixture. Toss to coat, then cook two to three minutes more.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add the vegetables plus another tablespoon of the sauce. Let cook until the vegetables have heated through and gotten a good sauce coating. The remaining sauce can be served on the side for anyone who wants a little extra.

Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leftover cooked white rice
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • cooking oil

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery, and carrots; cook until just softened, about four minutes.
  2. Push the vegetables to the side and add another teaspoon of oil to the center of the pan, then add the rice and ginger. Stir to combine.
  3. As the rice browns, keep stirring and adding oil as necessary to keep it from sticking or going soft. When the rice has just started to brown, kick the heat up to high and add the soy sauce; stir, and once the sizzling has gone down reduce the heat to medium. Cook until crisp.  (Note: you’ll need way more oil than you ever thought you would, so be prepared.)


Eating around the Web This Week:

What’s cookin’ in all y’all’s kitchens this week?

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Friday Five: April 5th

HAPPY FRIDAY!

HAPPY FRIDAY!

So, let’s be real: I’ve kind of sucked this week when it comes to making contributions to the blogosphere.  It’s not because I don’t love you guys (because I love you guys a whole lot!); it’s not because I didn’t plan (oooh, did I plan); and it’s not because I got side tracked with easier distractions (puhleze, AC3 has been sitting on my game shelf since December.  I just don’t have enough time).

What happened was a result of two things: firstly, my epic fail and ensuing injury left the middle finger of my left hand wrapped in masking tape until about Tuesday, which made it seriously hard to type.  I was reduced to hunt-and-peck, where I hunted all of the letters but still managed to only peck “r”.  But after my redneck dressing was cleared to be removed, things…

..well.  Things just got real busy.  So I thought I’d take this week’s Friday Five to tell you about them (because some of them were kind of neat!) and leave you with very non-empty promises to be back next week in full force with all of the recipes.

1. I got halfway cleared for an ambulance ride-along!

..in this fat bastard. I probably shouldn’t call it that to anyone’s face, though.

The ambulances my sister works on are really, really hard up for volunteers, and I’m…curiously, very tentatively entertaining the idea.  Very, very tentatively.  But concretely enough to take the bloodborne/airborne pathogens class (Monday night) and get CPR certification (tomorrow) so that I can ride along in the rig with her for a day and hope something gory happens.

And then hope I don’t puke.  But if I do, now I’ll know what to do about it.

2. We got chicks!

They're so sweet. I can't even.

They’re so sweet. I can’t even.

We used to be better about keeping chickens at my house, because fresh eggs rock.  But after a rash of brutal slaughters-by-coyote (that ended with me making friends with a dead shecoyote that I decided to name Bob (don’t ask, I was an odd ten year old)) we gave it a rest for about ten years.

The chick-draught is finally over!  We have three little chirping darlings in the kitchen right now; since I’m the only one who cares enough to name them and be clever, they’re called Violet, Sunny, and SheKlaus.

I’m hoping their lives go better than those of the Baudelaires, though.

3. I joined a book club!

Well.  Technically I joined a few weeks ago, but the book club met, which was great.  The girls all seem really sweet so far, and I’m so excited to have somewhere I can read and just be silly with actual people my age for an hour every now and again.  I got home and my mom was like “did you make any friends?”

I am not the speed-friender, mama.  An hour is a little short.  But I made contacts with ladyfolk, so at least there’s that.

Plus, the book suggestions.  They are so far off from my norm, but I’m loving them so far.  My to-read list just like doubled.

4. I cooked, honest!

I don’t have pictures of any of it, or instructions or thoughts or all those nifty things you get when I post something in long-form.  But what I do have are some recipes, so I’ll share those with you since I’m in suck-mode right now and it’s the best I can do.

  • Chicken with Kalamata Olives and Artichokes – Food Network Mag March 2013.  I can’t find the recipe to share, but if you have the mag try it!  Either use a little less liquid, though, or reduce it down a bit more; ours was a little too sloppy for us.
  • Chicken and Broccoli adapted off of this recipe with cauliflower fried rice – so good!  The chicken cooked to the perfect texture; I’m not sure if that’s due to the quick marinade or the cornstarch, but either way it was so perfectly reminiscent of takeout and  couldn’t believe it.  

5. I planned for next week!  

I hate (we’re talking a special level of hate here, the kind generally reserved for Subarus) that I’ve been so bad about posting this past two weeks, and I’m going to make every effort I have to turn that around.  I have a plan for next week, posts to write over the weekend, and things to do to fill the week after!  Kind of a crummy start for April, but there’s nowhere to go but up?

Something like that.

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!  Doing anything special to revel in the nice(ish) weather?

(For me?  Sitting outside in shorts reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.  I can’t wait.)