I have a secret. Ok, it's more of a strategy. I make Chinese food once a week! I know, now you are thinking - how is that a strategy? Well, I use up whatever veggies are left in my fridge before my next grocery shopping trip and usually it involves some sort of assorted vegetables; snap peas, broccoli, corn or sweet bell peppers along with carrots, onion and garlic that are always in my fridge. So, no waste, no tossing any overlooked fridge produce. I've done a "what's in my pantry" post but, I guess I should update that with a "what's in my fridge/freezer" post. I keep the staples that probably everyone else keeps with some things added that some might not but, they help in creating quick, beautiful and tasty meals. My best "time=saver" is taking chicken breast meat, cleaning and cutting it up into either strips or chunks (adding salt & pepeper) and oven roasting it all on a sheet-pan which I then cool and food-vac into 2-3 cup portions and freeze. Talk about a tasty time saver!! I can add the chicken to ANY dish and it tastes so much better then cooking fresh chicken in the dish (I know, you're shaking your head in disbelief) but, I get MORE compliments on my meals/dishes when I've added in the already cooked chicken! What's not to love about being about to make ANY meal not only faster but, tastier too! Today I am also sharing my 'secret weapon!" I use it in my Szechuan Chicken recipe...you can modify this to suit your families taste. This is one of my favorite dishes because of the use of Heavenly Chef Red Hot Chili Oil. Have you ever tried HCRHC Oil? It's got this GREAT kick of heat but, the burn doesn't last - it dissipates fast (quicker then the burn from say - a jalapeno) I am NOT a "spicy" food person but, I LOVE cooking with Red Hot Chili Oil. I use it as a replacement for Tabasco and other 'hot sauces' - it's that good! If you "over-use" the oil in a dish you can always temper the dish by adding some splashes of white or rice wine vinegar to tone the heat back down. Who doesn't love that?! I will share a photo (look at very bottom of this post) of that I am talking about - because it is a bit hard to find but, it does last long! and worth every shake too!! ~Enjoy! Diane
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup onions, julienne
1 cup carrot rounds, sliced thin
3/4 cup sweet bell peppers (red, yellow, orange or green), julienne
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced *optional
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup dry sherry
1-2 teaspoons red chili oil, to suit your taste
1 cup peanuts
salt & pepper
Season the chicken with salt & ground pepper set aside. Heat a large wok or large non-stick skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the canola oil. Add in the ginger, garlic, onions and carrots. Stir fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, sherry and chile oil. Stir fry until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are cooked, but al dente, about 5 minutes. Add the peanuts and stir fry for 2 more minutes.
Short cut: want to speed things up even more? no time to mince ginger, garlic and pour the sherry and soy sauce? Use 2-3 Tbs of 'Kikkomans Stir Fry Sauce' in place of those items...add the stir fry sauce in when you toss in the peanuts...it's flavor-filled and compliments this dish.
Serve over steamed/cooked rice *hint, I use chicken broth to steam/cook my rice in for added flavor.
Recipe & Photos by: Diane Baker for Canning and Cooking at Home