We all have those dinners we make when we are in a bind. Stir-Frys tend to be something that I come back to pretty much every week. It’s almost as frequent in my dinner plans as tacos/burritos are, and honestly, they are just as satisfying.
I think as humans, we tend to like bold flavors. Especially when we are trying to eat healthy! I notice that when I am eating well one day, and I have a meal with some bold flavor to it, it helps me enjoy the food without remembering that it’s ‘healthy food’ with less sugar and chemical crap in it. That’s why I like to use these Teriyaki sauces! Oh my gosh, you guys, they are so incredible. And the flavor is so powerful, you don’t need a lot.
I have two that I switch between- the Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki Less Sodium Marinade or the Trader Joe’s Soyaki Sauce. Honestly, I feel like they are pretty much the same. But regardless, they are two incredible options for you to try out, and they totally make this meal! If you are looking for something a little different, both of these brands have an Island version! It has a little more sweet to it with some ginger taste, and I love using it with stir-frys with pineapple and bell pepper. Oh, how I wish I could live on an island sometimes… This is the Soy Vay Island Teriyaki and this is the Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki. But again, feel free to experiment with some sauces to see what you might like best!
One of the reasons I like this most (other than the taste and simplicity!) is that I can use a huge variety of mix-ins to make whatever I want! The way I approach this meal the most is usually by looking at the fridge to see what vegetables we haven’t used yet that we need to use! You could also have some vegetables on hand in the freezer so you know you always have things that you can make this with. Local grocery stores always have a variety of frozen vegetable bags to choose from- pick some of your favorites to use when you need a quick-fix for a meal!
The Stir-Fry Recipe Formula
So hold on to your hats, folks, because this is how you do it! First, start by choosing what you want to put in the stir fry. Pick a meat, find some veggies, decide whether or not you want some additional grains, and pick some sweet toppings or add-ons. This is all pretty forgiving, so don’t be afraid to be a little adventurous with your combinations! The more the merrier, but simple is delicious too.
- Bell pepper (any color)
- Snow Peas
- Snap Peas
- Yellow onion
- Red onion
- Baby corn
- Mandarin oranges
- Bean sprouts
- Crushed red pepper
- Sesame seeds
- Serrano pepper
- Basil leaves
- Green onion
Seriously, the options are endless!
Next, if you are making some grains, get those started. Otherwise, cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and start cooking in a skillet. I will usually cook chicken with either olive oil or coconut oil (coconut oil is probably my favorite). Prepare the vegetables into bite-sized pieces, or julienne them into little sticks. However you choose to cut the meat and the veggies, try to keep them a similar shape/size to help the dish be harmonious. Then, add those to the meat once the meat is mostly cooked through. I find that I like the vegetables to be cooked a little, but still be fresh enough to add a crunch. After the vegetables are done, I’ll add any canned items or nuts (i.e. pineapple, water chestnuts, or cashews). Then, simply turn the heat down, drizzle with some of the amazing Teriyaki sauces I listed above, and serve immediately!
If you are still a little intimidated by this whole idea, no fear! Here are some examples that might help you get your brain juices flowing a little bit:
This is the stir-fry I am shown making above. It has chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow onion, cauliflower, carrot, snow peas, and pineapple with the Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce.
The chicken in this dish (as with most) was made from frozen chicken breasts. The vegetables in this dish (not as with most) were purchased pre-prepared from my local grocer. I don’t usually purchase those, but they were on sale, used the same vegetables I would use anyway, and it made preparing dinner even faster!
This stir-fry was made with shredded chicken, broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, and noodles.
I made the chicken from a crockpot teriyaki recipe I found online, which is why it is shredded (it was suuuuper done by the time I got home from school! haha). But the vegetables required minimal preparation and were done and cooked by the time the noodles were boiled.
I don’t know if I would necessarily call this dish a stir-fry, but it follows the same general idea above of choosing random things, throwing them together, and creating delicious, healthy, and easy dinners. Voila!
This meal was made with salmon, yellow squash, broccoli, carrot, bell pepper, pineapple, and rice. And it is delicious- we would make this about every other Sunday for a more special dinner 🙂
For this one, I marinaded the salmon in the Soy Vay Island Teriyaki sauce, foil-wrapped it, then cooked it in the oven. The salmon cooks pretty quickly, so it was done by the time the vegetables were done and prepared. The vegetables were prepared as described above, in a skillet with coconut oil. The whole thing was then served over rice and drizzled with some of the Teriyaki juices left with the salmon.
This stir-fry is very simply made with chicken, snow peas, pineapple, bell pepper, and cashews. We topped it with the Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce and ate it without any added grains.
Because I didn’t have additional grains to go with the recipe, I did have to make more vegetables and chicken. But it was still incredibly satisfying anyway.
I am fully aware that these are not legit stir-fry recipes. Kind of, but not really. It’s like the Asian version of Tex-Mex, where it’s really Americanized. But honestly, who cares?? It’s delicious, healthy, quick, and offers an incredible last-minute dinner alternative for those of us just wanting a satisfying meal for us and our loved ones.
So I want to hear- what combinations do you like to use? What sauces have you liked using in the past? You all have some great ideas and experience, and I want to be able to hear what you like!