Basil chicken stir-fry

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First appeared in the Seward Journal Newspaper 02/22/2017

If I had my way, I would literally eat every meal directly from a can.
As much as I love good food, I hate dishes. This is even more true
when I’ve spent 8 hours working, 4 hours caught in traffic, an hour
cajoling the children into finishing homework and entirely too much
time shoveling the driveway, which still has me concerned
archeologists might very well find my desiccated remains at the bottom
of a glacier in a thousand years. Rather than giving in and having
‘everything from a can’ tacos, I rely heavily on stir-fry to keep
dishes to a minimum while still providing something vaguely like a
nourishing meal. That said, I can only get away with tossing the very
nearly expired vegetables with tofu and chicken with some some
‘stir-fry sauce’ from the bottle about once every other week. In order
to combat this prohibition, which my wife assures me is, in fact,
enshrined in our wedding vows, I have to get creative with the stir
fry. It turns out that if the flavor profile is different enough, even
if the ingredients really aren’t, it doesn’t count against the
stir-fry limit. So, here was this week’s version of stir-fry.

What you need:
Main dish:

  • 2Tbsp oil
  • 2Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1Tsp Rosemary
  • 1/2 Tsp Sage
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped – separate green tops from the white bottoms.
  • 1/4 Cup white wine
  • 2 Tbsp Lime juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 Chicken breasts chopped into 1/2” – 3/4” cubes.
  • 2-3 Cups thawed or fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 small yellow squash

Rice:

  • 2 Cups jasmine rice
  • 1 Can of chicken broth
  • 1 C Water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:
Cook the rice as you normally would in a pot by bringing the rice,
chicken broth, water, and parsley to a boil. Once the rice is cooked,
add the oil, mixing it in well. You can use 1-2 Tbsp or so of butter
instead of olive oil, but we’ve got food allergies to contend with so
this is what I use, it still gave a buttery taste.

Pour a couple of tablespoons into a 14” wok and brown the chicken,
garlic and the white parts of the onion. Once the chicken is browned,
add everything else, holding back only the green parts of the onion –
add those right near the end. Cook over high heat stirring frequently.
The goal is to cook down the water. There will be a lot of water
because a lot of water will come out of the veggies. Once the
vegetables are cooked through serve over the rice.

Super awesome Steak and Potatoes

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A few years ago, which my belt insists was far too long ago, my family staged an intervention on my blood-pressure and Cholesterol. For a good long while after that, I exercised a lot and cut 90% of the red meat out of my diet. Hell, I cut out 100% of beer and even got close to being able to run a half-marathon. It was awesome. I felt good, my clothes fit nicely and I had lots of energy. Of course, what I didn’t have was much time. Fast forward to today, I killed my gym membership because I couldn’t make time to get down there and am struggling to get my ass out of the chair and, if nothing else, keep my weight from getting even worse.

The one change I made that I’m holding pretty well too is the near complete elimination of red meats and far more careful intake of unhealthy foods. I’ve been slipping on he unhealthy food front, but I’m holding firm on red-meat. Of course, this is super easy to do when I walk into the grocery store and peruse the meat section. I just can’t justify spending $20 for a meal of red meat. I mean, hell, who can afford that shit? (If you happen to be one of those people, I don’t want to hear it.)

Anyhow, when we do eat steak, I generally don’t, except for Christmas dinner, in which I eat a 4oz portion. I even get turkey burger when we grill in the summer. It’s seems pretty unfair for my family to have to adhere to the same standards of food intake because they don’t have problems with high-blood pressure. That’s sort of a ‘me’ issue. A good work around thus far that minimizes my intake of red-meat, reduces the cost of red, meat AND gets my family a tasty steak and potatoes meal, PLUS (and this is the real bonus) It’s a one pan meal ONE PAN. One pan means less dishes, which, you know, my wife gets stuck with most of the time, but you know, I’m looking out for her too.

What you need:

  • 4-8 Potatoes, depending on size. I like the smaller Yukon gold, you’ll want to use upward of 8 of them.
  • 1 – 1 ¼lb Steak chopped into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh Parsley
  • ½ Large yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp dill weed
  • 4Tbsp olive oil (or 2 Tbsp olive oil 2Tbsp lard)
  • 1/2Tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2Tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 C. Red wine
  • 1 12-oz bottle Stout beer
  • 1 8oz package sliced mushrooms
  • Montreal steak seasoning (it’s got salt, pepper, dill seeds, and some other stuff in it.)

Directions

Rub the Montreal steak seasoning into the diced meat and brown in a well-seasoned 14” iron skillet with 2 Tbsp of olive oil or 2 Tbsp lard. Pull the meat off the skillet and set aside.

Dice the potatoes into relatively small pieces, roughly ½” or smaller. This will help them cook faster. Put them into a large covered bowl with onions, 2 tbsp oil, salt, pepper, and the dill. Mix well and put into the Iron skillet. Cook until the onions start to get a bit translucent. Add the Beer, red wine, Worcestershire sauce. Allow that to bubble off and once it’s cooking well again, add in the rest of the ingredients. Cook until the potatoes are soft, but not mushy, and the sauce has thickened into a gravy.