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Weeknight Chicken Stirfry

Once a week, usually on a Thursday before I do my weekly grocery haul the next day, I go through my fridge and stirfry everything in sight. I have a habit of buying carrots, broccoli, and peppers every single week, convincing myself that I’ll make a crudite platter to snack on or that I’ll bring fresh veggies for lunch..but inevitably,  at the end of every week they are still there in the crisper, begging to be eaten. I almost always have frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, since I like to buy them in bulk from Costco or Safeway and then freeze them in bags of 3. All you need to remember is to put some chicken breasts to defrost in the fridge the night before and you can whip up this stirfry in under 30 minutes.

You can basically use any vegetable you want in this stirfry (except for cucumbers, zucchini, mushrooms or tomatoes – those have too high of a water content). I consistently use onions, peppers and carrots, and for the green vegetable I’ve used broccoli before and I used asparagus in the pictures you see in this post. You could substitute snow peas as well for the green vegetable.

Served with some hot jasmine rice, it makes for a filling and satisfying meal. My husband and I devour this stirfry and there are never any leftovers so I’m going to say that this recipe makes enough for 2 hungry people, maybe 3 people.

Give this recipe a try the next time you are looking for a quick weeknight meal!

Weeknight Chicken Stirfry

Print Recipe
Serves: 2-3 Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (on the diagonal if you're feeling fancy)
  • small broccoli crown, chopped into small florets (or substitute any hearty green vegetable - in my pics, I used asparagus)
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 sweet pepper (any colour), sliced into strips
  • a handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or mirin)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

1

In a wok or a deep frying pan over high heat, add a small amount of oil and brown the chicken in batches, sprinkling with a little soy sauce as they brown. Remove each batch of brown chicken from the wok and set aside.

2

Add a bit more oil to the wok and saute the ginger, carrots, broccoli (or asparagus), and onion for 3 minutes. Add the pepper strips, spinach leaves and chicken (along with any chicken juices).

3

In a measuring cup, whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Pour over the vegetables.

4

Add the oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.

5

Sprinkle the sesame oil over top.

6

Serve over hot jasmine rice and enjoy!

 

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Overnight Eggnog French Toast Casserole

I am rapidly getting into the Christmas spirit here in our household. Our tree and decorations are up, I’ve begun my Christmas shopping, I’ve wrapped some of the presents that I’ve purchased ages ago, and I’m starting to dig up some holiday recipes. I made my ginger molasses cookies the other day to fill up our cookie jar, and the flavours of ginger, cinnamon, and molasses totally reminded me of Christmas!

We’ll be visiting some family this Christmas out of town, but we are also expecting some family to come to us in Regina since being pregnant with a toddler makes travelling super exhausting for me. In anticipation of overnight guests, I wanted to find a breakfast recipe that was Christmas-y but also didn’t require me to be in the kitchen away from all the visiting and opening of  presents in the morning. I started experimenting with some overnight recipes and I’ve tweaked the perfect overnight eggnog french toast casserole recipe. It takes some prep the night before, but in the morning, all you have to do is pop it in the oven for 40-50 minutes. Perfect amount of time for visiting over coffee and opening presents!

I served mine with some blueberries on top and a side of bacon (because my husband loves bacon!). This french toast casserole is pretty sweet, so you do not need any syrup on top. A sprinkling of icing sugar might make it prettier but trust me, it is plenty sweet on its own. This recipe would easily serve 6 people. We had four big pieces left over, so I heated a piece up this morning for a quick breakfast before work and it was delicious!

Give this recipe a try for your Christmas morning!

Overnight Eggnog French Toast Casserole

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 50

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 loaf French bread, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

1

Grease a 9x13 baking dish with a little bit of melted butter.

2

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into the baking dish.

3

Arrange the cubed bread over the brown sugar mixture.

4

Sprinkle the bread cubes with cinnamon and nutmeg.

5

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, eggnog and vanilla together. Pour this custard mixture evenly over the bread cubes. Press down on the bread cubes to make sure every piece is soaked.

6

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

7

In the morning, place the baking dish in a preheated 325 degree oven and bake covered for 40 minutes.

8

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees, remove foil, and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

9

The casserole is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is a golden brown.

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Orecchiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Upon review of my recent posts, I have come to realize that I have a pasta problem. My last five posts have all been pasta recipes. Pasta is such a crowd-pleaser in our home that it’s my go-to meal for most weekdays. If both my husband and I are working, then I will whip up a pasta dish when I come home from work. If my husband is on days off and I’m working, then he’ll BBQ steaks or kebabs (is it kebabs or kabobs?) with grilled veggies and potatoes. On weekends when I’m off work I do more involved recipes, such as something Vietnamese or roast beef or roasted chicken or I experiment with new recipes for content on this blog.

Since we are eating so much pasta, I like trying different types of pasta to mix things up a bit. My favourite is the mafalda corta that I mentioned in my bolognese recipe.  Penne and bowtie are okay, but I’m not a fan of spaghetti or linguine. If a recipe calls for a longer strand type of pasta, then my absolute favourite is pappardelle. For this recipe, I decided to try orecchiette because I like the way it sounds and because I found a bag of it at Save-On Foods one day. (I’ve never seen orecchiette at Safeway).  Orechiette comes from the Italian word ‘orecchia’ meaning ‘ear’ and ‘etta’ meaning small because ,well, the pasta is shaped like small ears.

I added broccolini to this recipe because like most moms, I’m trying to get my toddler to eat more vegetables. It didn’t work, by the way. She just picked out the pasta and sausage bits and left all the broccolini on her plate. Oh well, at least I got more vegetables in my diet. Broccolini is similar to broccoli, but it has smaller florets and long thin stalks. It’s almost like a broccoli / asparagus hybrid. It has a sweeter flavour than broccoli, is super high in Vitamin C, and is so versatile in recipes. I’ve sauteed broccolini with beef or chicken in an Asian stirfry before, but this time, I decided to boil them and add them to this pasta. You can find broccolini in the produce aisle of your grocery store, and they are often packaged in a tray and wrapped in plastic, like this:

broccolini

For some added protein and flavour, I used a package of Johnsonville mild Italian sausage. If you aren’t feeding your kid this, I would recommend buying the Johnsonville hot Italian sausage. I think that would add more flavour to it.

And as always, remember to use real Parmesan cheese and grate it yourself!

 

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Orechiette with broccolini and Italian sausage

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Johnsonville Italian sausages (I bought the mild flavour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 - 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 500 g bag of orecchiette pasta
  • 1 package of broccolini, trimmed and cut into small florets and 2-inch stalk pieces.
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, with extra for serving

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the Italian sausages with a fork (so that they won't explode!) and place them on a foiled sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven, turning once, until just cooked through. Slice them into 1/2 inch coins and set aside.

2

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven). Add the sausage slices and saute for 5 minutes until the pieces are browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, red wine, tomato paste and salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer on low heat while you prepare the pasta and broccolini.

3

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

4

In the last 3 minutes of the pasta cook time, add the broccolini pieces in with the pasta and finish off cooking for 3 minutes.

5

Drain the pasta and broccolini and add to the tomato and sausage mixture.

6

Stir in the Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.