Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shiny Happy Food

"Put down the phone." We are tired, home later than expected and wondering what's for dinner. Mr. Lemon is ready to order in.

And some delivery guy has kindly pushed a bunch of suggestions under our apartment door. Thanks, delivery guy! Way to help us stay focused on healthy eating.

My favorite take-out menus feature pictures of the food, which are invariably kind of shiny. Now that I'm photographing what I cook with somewhat shiny results, I totally relate to the photos and love them a little bit more. Maybe there's a career move here. See below:

But I don't love blowing money on take-out. Not anymore. And there's no telling how much fat and salt we're getting with each slug of noodles or General Tso's. So we'll be doing Fake Out, not Take-Out.

Sweet & Sour Chicken Stir Fry
Serves 4 or 2 very-hungry people

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 c. baby carrots or 1-2 regular carrots peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/3 c. water
1 c. shredded cooked chicken (Sunday's roast chicken, take 3: the dark meat)**
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons Grapefruit Ginger Preserves (leftovers...) or sweet marmalade + 1 T. honey
1 c. brown rice

Get the brown rice into the microwave. I just follow the instructions on the box and it comes out ok. It's not sticky or as tasty, but it's fiber-licious. And it's done in about 30 minutes, right in time for your stir fry.

In a large saute pan over high heat, heat oil, grated ginger and garlic. While that's getting soft and making the kitchen smell good, slice onions and celery and add to pan. Toss in the baby carrots. (My street fruit vendor has these for $1 and honestly I use carrots more when they are already peeled and so cute.)

Toss the mixture around and let it cook for a couple minutes. Then add water to keep the veggies from drying out as they continue to cook. Cook until veggies are tender--about 8 minutes. The water should evaporate. If there's a little extra it will combine into the sauce.

Add in the chicken, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and preserves. I had some more of my Grapefruit-Ginger Preserve left over from the weekend, so I threw that into the mix.

Allow mixture to cook for several minutes, turning back the heat. Serve hot over brown rice.

**You can use more meat -- didn't mean to look chintzy. While dark meat is nutritious, it also has more fat, so I split the difference. 2-3 cups of white meat would be perfect and healthy, too.

Healthy cheap Chinese food. Shiny happy husband.
Reusing my standard veggie supply for new flavors
Fiber-licious whole grains covered in tasty sauce
Leftover chicken, leftover preserves, more room in the fridge

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