If you ever get stuck thinking of what to make for dinner, one option that’s sure to satisfy the whole family is always stir fry. You could make stir fry every day of the year and never eat the same meal twice. That’s the beauty of cooking stir fries at home: every time you make it, it tastes different. The only limitations are the ingredients you have in your kitchen and your imagination. Before exploring the endless variety of this amazing dish, there are a few tips and tricks you should know.
1. Prepare All Your Ingredients Early
Chop up all your veggies and store them in the fridge up to two days before making your stir fry. Andrea from Loubies and Lulu makes a Teriyaki Chicken Skillet with Pure Flavor® Sweet Bell Peppers. To save time on busy weeknights, not to mention clean up, all you need to do is slice them and put them in a reusable Tupperware container in your fridge. Make sure to chop up some extra Sweet Bell Peppers, though, because they make great healthy snacks for kids to enjoy after school.
2. Prepare Your Cooking Space
Just as you prepared your ingredients, you should always try to prepare your cooking space. First of all, you’ll be cooking at a very high heat and need to be stirring constantly to prevent burning and cook all your ingredients quickly and evenly. You don’t want to be searching through cupboards, so make sure to have your plates and utensils set before heating up the stove. Secondly, with all the action it can be really easy to make a mess if you’re not prepared.
3. Preheat Your Skillet
This is very important for getting a good, even sear on all your ingredients – especially when using a cast iron skillet. Once it’s heated up, add oil with a high smoke point. You don’t want olive oil for this job. Pick either avocado oil, like Andrea does for her Teriyaki Chicken Skillet, canola oil, safflower oil or sesame oil. To make sure your oil is hot enough before adding your first ingredients, flick one drop of water into the pan. If it sizzles, you’re ready!
4. Swap Out Ingredients
You can make a totally different stir fry every night by just swapping out a couple ingredients here and there. Switch between different proteins like beef, chicken, shrimp, pork and tofu, or you could even combine two of them. Instead of broccoli and Sweet Bell Peppers, you could mix in some mushrooms and Craft House Shishito Peppers. You can also change which carb or grain accompanies your dish by opting for noodles instead of rice. Finally, you get to choose what sauce you use. Andrea uses Teriyaki, but you can flavor your dish with Szechuan or Thai-style sauces.
5. Think About Color
Andrea’s Teriyaki Chicken Skillet is a beautiful example of how color can create a better eating experience. She uses complementary colors with Red, Yellow and Orange Sweet Bell Peppers and bright green broccoli to make her dish pop! On another night, you can pair Shishito Peppers with a beef and a darker hoisin sauce to achieve a bold palette.
6. Pick Your Battles
Some nights, you won’t want to fuss over preparing and cooking every ingredient. On busy nights, Andrea uses premade teriyaki sauce, frozen cauliflower and precooked chicken with very tasty results. You want to avoid using frozen peppers at all costs because they always end up being soggy. Remember: for peppers, fresh is best!
7. Some Like it Hot – But Some Don’t!
You don’t want to spice up your stir fry too much and make an unpleasant experience for anyone at the dinner table. You can incorporate Shishito Peppers for the occasional flare – 1 in 10 have heat! – or Stingrays™ Pencil Hot Peppers for a blazing experience. Then, on the side, you can always have your choice of hot sauce to spice things up even more.
8. Cook in Batches
If you’re making a large stir fry, you need to ensure everything is heated evenly to avoid burning or undercooking. The best way to do that is to cook in batches. You might think this would take longer, but it will cook more quickly if all your ingredients have contact with the skillet and aren’t layered. Before serving, you can combine the batches and mix with a final dash of sauce.
9. Simple Choices Make a Difference
Simple choices like adding sesame seeds or sliced green onions as a garnish can really elevate your dish in only a few seconds. It’s these little stylistic tricks that can make your stir fry look like something you’d order at a restaurant!
10. Make Extra
Your family is going to love this, so make an extra batch so they can enjoy it for lunch tomorrow. Not only will it ensure they get a healthy meal during the day, but this small extra step will also save you time when it comes to preparing lunches for the next day.
Now that you have everything you need to make a great stir fry, check out Andrea’s Teriyaki Chicken Skillet recipe by clicking here.
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