In the most recent issue of Prevention magazine there's an article with short suggestions on how to create less stress and more happiness in your life. One of the tips was to have a tried-and-true quick and easy meal in your arsenal. Keep the ingredients on hand and be able to create it in a short amount of time. I'll bet they'd be pretty excited to know that one of my go-to meals is from their very own magazine.
The recipe is a 5-ingredient Instant Teriyaki Chicken. Most people have the ingredients in their cupboards right now. To go with it, I made Fried Vegetable Brown Rice, which is more than likely also ingredients you have in your kitchen, too.
Chinese food is one of my favorites. I'd get Chinese take out at least once a week, but unfortunately, my husband is not a big fan. It's not so much the food itself but the restaurants. The majority of Chinese places are what he calls a "sticky" restaurant. You know when you go into a small place that fries a lot of its food? Years of grease accumulation starts to find it's way onto the tables, chairs and walls. It's not full-0n dirty; the place won't get shut down by the Board of Health. But it's never going to get a Michelin star, either. That's a sticky place and my husband is not a fan. So to make decent take out at home, which is also much healthier, is right up my alley.
Instant Teriyaki Chicken
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1. Heat the oven broiler to high. Put soy sauce, honey and tomato paste in medium bowl and stir together.
2. Add chicken and turn to coat all surfaces.
3. Put chicken in an ovenproof pan under the broiler.
4. Cook chicken until well browned, about 10 minutes. Flip and brown the second side until cooked through, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using).
A nice part of this recipe is that you can get your toddler in on the action. Instead of putting the chicken into the sauce, I put the sauce on the chicken with a pastry brush. Amir really loves this job. In addition, I put the sesame seeds on before I cook the chicken which is another fun toddler cooking opportunity.
Another option is to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. This recipe turned me onto chicken thighs in general. Who knew that a cut of chicken could be so cheap and tasty? This is especially advantageous when buying organic and free range chicken, which is pricier than regular chicken--but in my opinion, worth the extra money.
Vegetable Fried Brown Rice
4 cups cooked, cold brown rice
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 eggs, beaten
5 tbsp soy sauce
1. Place a wok over medium-high heat and add one tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Cook onion and carrots until slightly browned, around 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, thaw peas. Drain and set aside.
2. Add the second tablespoon of oil then the two beaten eggs. Cook through and remove from heat; chopping the egg into rough bits.
3. Add the final tablespoon of oil into the wok and add the rice. Stir-fry for about two minutes, adding the soy sauce. Add more or less, depending on your taste.
4. Return all ingredients to the wok. Stir together and serve immediately.
The key to good fried rice is using old rice. Sounds weird, but make sure that you cooked the rice a day in advance. It's even OK to use rice that is two or three days old. Great recipe for leftover rice; it's also good if you're cooking rice for one dish to make extra to make this one later in the week. With four cups of rice, it makes quite a few main dish portions. As a side, you've got plenty for lunch for the days to come.
The Verdict: Loved it. Everyone cleaned their plate.