When I want a quick and easy lunch, I sometimes make a stir-fry. This meal-in-a-skillet is an excellent way to use any meats and fresh vegetables you have on hand.
The specialty pan for a stir-fry is the Chinese wok, but it isn’t necessary to have one. You can achieve the same results with a large skillet. I usually put my electric skillet to work when I want stir-fry.
Stir-fry is finished very quickly, so all food should be at your fingertips, chopped and ready for cooking. This prep work can be done the night before and stored in zip-top bags in the refrigerator.
When cutting vegetables, use the straight-cut method for tender vegetables such as zucchini. Harder vegetables, such as carrots, should be cut diagonally, so that more of the vegetable will touch the cooking surface.
When making the following Beef and Veggie Stir-fry, I have found that the steak will slice much easier if it has been partially frozen. Remember it is important that the steak be sliced across the grain. I like to use very thin slices of beef in this recipe. This stir-fry is equally as good when made with chicken.
If you like shrimp, try the Shrimp and Asparagus Stir-fry. This is a more elegant version of stir-fry, and is a great dish to serve when you have special guests.
Stir-fry is also great for vegetarians. In addition to your favorite vegetables, you might want to try adding some chopped or sliced portabella mushrooms.
BEEF AND VEGGIE STIR-FRY
- 6 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped onions
- ¾ cup chopped bell pepper (red bell pepper, if available; if not, use green)
- ¾ cup sliced celery
- ¾ cup sliced zucchini
- ¾ cup sliced yellow squash
- ¾ cup sliced carrots
- ¼ pound sirloin steak (about 1/2 inch thick), sliced paper thin
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 to 4 cups cooked rice
In wok or skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil to approximately 375 degrees. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté just until tender, stirring constantly. Remove to a plate using a slotted spoon. Add 2 more tablespoons oil and the celery, zucchini, yellow squash and carrots and cook just until crisp-tender. Remove to plate with slotted spoon. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the wok or skillet and sauté the steak just until it begins to change color. Add the vegetables back to the skillet. Add the soy sauce and stir. Serve immediately over rice.
SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS STIR-FRY
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ pound tender fresh pencil-size asparagus, cut into short pieces
- ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- Salt to taste
- ½ pound shelled and de-veined small shrimp
- 2 tablespoons Hollandaise sauce mix
- 2 teaspoons lite soy sauce
- Cooked rice
Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet. Add asparagus, bell pepper and mushrooms. Sauté until tender crisp. Add salt, if needed. Add shrimp and stir-fry until shrimp turns pink. Sprinkle with sauce mix and soy sauce. Mix well. Serve over rice.
Contact Prudence Hilburn at email@example.com. This column was previously published in The Anniston Star.