Tonight while I was diving home from the butcher shop, I heard an ad on the radio about not “losing money” to fast food restaraunts during the hectic holiday season. Excited, I turned it up. I was thinking it would be a nice ad for a local business or a healthy tip. Nope. It was instead an ad for brand specific products at Walmart. I was a bit disasppointed.
However, in my freezer at home, I have my own versions of the meals suggested by the announcer. My favorite is Sweet and Sour Chicken. The recipe below is for a double recipe. I generally freeze both meals, but you could make one and freeze one. Whatever suits your schedule!
Sweet and Sour Chicken Freezer Packs
- 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 4 tsp. soy sauce
- 6 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 lbs. chicken
- 5-6 cups vegetables
- 2 cup brown rice
Thinly slice the chicken. Place it uncooked in a quart-sized freezer bag. In another freezer bag, place the vegetables. Using a large mixing cup, heat the chicken broth in the microwave until it’s almost boiling. Carefully whisk in the rest of the sauce ingredients. Divide the sauce in half. (I used a tall measuring cup to hold the freezer bag upright while I added in the sauce.) Put all 3 bags in a large, gallon sized freezer bag. I also add in 1 cup of uncooked rice per bag, but it’s not necessary.
When you are ready to cook, put the rice in a saucepan with 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and 1 tsp. butter. Bring the rice to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, covered until the water is absorbed; about half an hour. In the meantime, add some oil to a large skillet and cook the chicken. Add in the vegetables (Note: I used an assortment of frozen “Asian vegetables”) and stir. While it is easy to cook this with the meat and vegetables frozen, the sauce needs to be thawed out before it is added. I thawed mine in the microwaved while the chicken was cooking. Then, pour it into the pan and let it simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are warmed through. (I know that there will be some gripe about the cornstarch, but I’ve tried this recipe with various flours in an attempt to thicken the sauce and while they did thicken it, they altered the flavor. So, cornstarch won.)
|Who want to eat rice cereal when Mama lets you eat off her plate?!
When the sauce has thickened and the chicken and vegetables are cooked, serve over the cooked rice. And with a side of homemade eggrolls!
I’m going to be honest and tell you that cooking is not top priority for me these last few weeks. I made and froze several meals, we’ve eaten sandwiches and I’ve been playing around with a master recipe for homemade hamburger helper. You’ll notice on the counter at the bottom of this page that I’m 4 days overdue with Baby #2. I refuse to dig into the freezer stash too early so I posted a plea on facebook to ask people for suggestions for meals that wouldn’t take too much effort. One such suggestion was this website, Give Every Night New Flavor
. I’ve played around with it a lot and it’s a good resource for those nights when you have absolutely no inspiration and no plan. This meal right here was inspired by one of the suggestions that came up when I searched under half an hour. I was a little hesitant to serve this to my toddler, but he gobbled it right down and my husband even said that I “finally” got the peanut sauce right. Success! Not bad for the giant pregnant lady, right?
Simple Thai Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 pound chicken
- 2 cups broccoli, chopped
- 3 small carrots, matchstick chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (I had JIF natural in the cupboard)
- 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- red pepper flakes
- 1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
Cook the chicken until tender over medium heat in an oiled skillet. I had chicken tenders on hand so it just took a few moments and I diced the chicken after it was cooked. If you are using chicken breasts, I’d dice them before cooking. Remove the meat from the pan and replace with the vegetables and more oil if necessary. When the onions are translucent and the carrots are just becoming tender, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, garlic powder and a few red pepper flakes, and then add the sauce to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, add in the chicken, and allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes. If you haven’t already cooked your pasta, now is the time to do it! To serve, pour the sauce with the meat and vegetables over the pasta and garnish with red pepper flakes to taste.