We’ve all been there before. After a long day of work and a trip to the gym, time seems to have just slipped away. With your stomach growling and your brain fried, you stand in front of the fridge wondering what concoction of food can be pulled together the fastest and still resemble a meal. It’s times like these when I tend to reach for the bag of Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable gyoza or box of veggie burgers. I’ll whip up a side of vegetables to go along with our pre-prepared entrée and call it dinner.
We definitely have a special place in our hearts (and freezer) for our pre-prepared entrée standbys but, as we will talk about in an upcoming post on the meaning of healthy food, Graham and I are trying to decrease our dependency on processed foods. In future posts we will explore different ways to do this and still keep it simple enough for those nights when cooking is just not a top priority. Occasionally we’ll post specially tagged “Easy” recipes that are convenient, limit prep time, use easy-to-find ingredients, are easy on the wallet – and taste good too!
Anyway, getting to our recipe for today…I came home the other night after one of those days mentioned above, to find that Graham had already started to make dinner. Now what could make preparing dinner easier than someone else doing it for you? Well, in all seriousness, even if you don’t have someone preparing it for you, stir-fry can be a very quick and easy dinner option. It’s also a handy way to use up any vegetables you might have lying around in your fridge.
While Graham’s cooking repertoire would probably be self-described as somewhat limited (“quality over quantity,” he says), he does make a nice stir-fry. In fact, the first time he cooked for me, back when we were dating, he made a stir-fry that won him big points with me. The stir-fry he made the other night consisted roughly of the following ingredients:
Graham’s Easy Stir-Fry
½ an onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
5-6 baby carrots
2 small red bell peppers
1 package baked tofu
5 basil leaves (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s General Tsao’s sauce*
2 tablespoons water
1-2 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (depending on how spicy you like it)
Mix together soy sauce, General Tsao’s sauce, water and chili garlic sauce and set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, heat olive oil. Add diced onions and cook until they are almost transparent. Add cut up vegetables and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes. Vegetables should still be crisp. Add tofu and cook until heated through. Pour in sauce and sprinkle with chopped basil leaves. Cook for one more minute and serve over a bed of brown rice.
*The sauce for stir-fry can be made out of a variety of ingredients. We just happened to have Trader Joe’s General Tsao’s sauce on hand at the time. We’ve doctored up a whole host of other prepared sauces like peanut sauce and Hoisin sauce. We’ve also made sauces from scratch and will plan to share those recipes in future posts.