Saturday, August 4, 2012

Can I Make a Boring Stir-Fry?

leftover pork and vegetable stir fry
“ one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” ― Julia Child, My Life in France

Once you have been in college without knowing how to cook and all you can make is mac 'n cheese or ramen, you gain a whole new appreciation for the simple stir-fry. This is a dish that simply does not get old because you can make it so many different ways. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be and it can hold a variety of different flavors. Best of all, depending on how you make it, it can be perfect for calorie counters.

However, there will come a time where you can just get in a rut with stir-fry. You will become comfortable using certain things in certain places. When the last five you made ended up having the same base of onion while having the second main ingredient as rice, you might be stuck in a rut. That was where I was a few days ago. I wasn't sure how to go about changing my stir-fry into something just as tasty as the ones I have made and still have a good flavor. So, I turned to the internet for some inspiration.

My favorite base to use in a stir-fry is onion, but it never crossed my mind that there might be more than one way to cook an onion. I would normally grease my pan up with some Pam and then throw the onion in with some green bell pepper and cook them until the onion was translucent. With the help of Simply Recipes, I figured out how to caramelize an onion. I always thought that caramelizing was an advanced cooking technique, but that post made it simple to understand just how it was done.

For lunch that day I prepared all of the ingredients I wanted with some minor changes. I used a whole onion because I knew that the onion would cook down during the caramelizing process. I kept my green bell pepper because I wasn't tired of it yet. I left out the rice and put in some leftover green beans and a carrot. Then I threw in a handful of sliced almonds with the leftover cooked pork. Finally I used low sodium soy sauce with ground mustard instead of my usual orange ginger stir-fry sauce. I also used olive oil to start the stir-fry.

Best of all, the entire plate was a reasonable 582 calories*. The only reason the calorie count was so high was because of the olive oil to start the process out with and the pork has a higher calorie count than the rest of the veggies combined. But when I compare that amount to the dinner I had that day (McDonalds) I would say that 582 calories is much better than 900 calories. (and that isn't even including the drink I had!)

It was just the right amount and filled me up for the rest of the day until dinner. I consider that a very tasty and interesting success.

*calorie counts according to

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