Thursday, February 12, 2015

Italian Stir-Fry

Ever since I began eating a more low-carb diet, I have tried to turn all the comfort food I love into a recipe that fits my lifestyle.  Case in point; pasta.  I love it almost more than anything, but when I really started thinking about it, what I enjoy the most is the sauce or toppings part, the noodles are just filler, (if I just keep telling myself that, eventually I'll believe it).  So I decided to use some of my favorite veggies that I usually pair with pasta and chicken and make what I like to call my Italian Stir-Fry.  It has common Italian flavors from the fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan Cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.  I use the the ever versatile and healthy chicken breast, but beef or shrimp would be fabulous too.  For the veggies, I love to use broccolini, which is actually more closely related to kale and bok choy than broccoli.  It is a bit sweet and you can eat the whole vegetable, it is super delicious. I also use  mushrooms and leeks, which are really just a milder, sweeter version of an onion.  Honestly though, any vegetables you like and have on hand will work here.  I use a dry white wine to make a little sauce and give the whole dish flavor and moisture.  Everything is cooked over high heat to keep the veggies tender-crisp and lock in the taste, which is where the Stir-Fry portion of this recipe comes in.  This dish is so healthy, flavorful and beautiful to look at and is also easy and fast to prepare.  You could certainly serve this to guests as is, or serve over pasta, rice or quinoa.  The possibilities are endless. 

This is what you need:

1-1.5 lbs of Chicken Breast -cubed (Chicken thighs, beef or shrimp would be delicious too)
2 cups Broccolini  - chopped (Broccoli or asparagus would be great too)
2 cups Mushrooms -sliced
2 Leeks - sliced (Onions would work perfectly too)
1/2 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes packed in Oil
3 cloves of Garlic -minced
1/2 cup dry White Wine (Chicken Stock is a good substitute here)
2 tbsp of the Sun-Dried Tomato Oil
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt -divided
1 tsp Black Pepper -divided
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Parmesan Cheese (optional)

This is what you do:
Cube and season the chicken.  Pour the sun-dried tomato and olive oil in a big pan or wok and heat over medium-high  heat.  Add the chicken and cook through  Remove the chicken and leave all the oil in the pan.  Add the broccolini and cook through, remove that as well.  Next add the leeks, onions, garlic and wine and cook through, making sure to reduce the wine.  Then add the sun-dried tomatoes, chicken and broccolini.  Heat through and add the basil.  Taste and season as needed.  Serve and top with Parmesan.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

First thing to do is cube and season the chicken.  I cut mine in bite size pieces so it is easy to eat and they cook fast.  Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper each.

Heat your pan or wok over medium high heat and add 2 tbsp of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the chicken when pan is hot and cook for about 7 minutes or until cooked through.
 This is the oil I am talking about from the sun-dried tomatoes.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the broccolini in about 1.5 inch long pieces.

Remove chicken when cooked until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and set aside in a bowl.  Save all the cooking juices and add the broccolini right in the pan.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Chicken is out.
There is a lot of flavorings in this.  You definitely want to use this.

Broccolini is in.  This will cook fairly quickly.  You will see the green color deepen and a bit of color appear on the leaves.  Remove after 2-3 minutes and place in the bowl with the chicken.

While the broccolini is cooking, slice the leeks and mince the garlic.  Slice the mushrooms if you are not lazy like me and buy them pre-sliced.

Once the broccolini is out of the pan, add the leeks, garlic and mushrooms.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.  

Add 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock.
Obviously, I went with the wine, because I have it on hand at all times.
This will cook through and reduce for about 5-7 minutes.

While this is cooking down, slice your basil.  I chiffonade the leaves, which means I roll them up into a cigar shape and slice them thinly to make pretty curly strips.

When the wine has been reduced, add the sun-dried tomatoes and heat through for a minute.
 This what the mushrooms and leeks will look like.

Add the chicken and broccolini and heat through for a couple minutes, then add the basil.
I mean, Noodle who at this point, right?

Serve and add Parmesan if you like, and I obviously do.

So delicious, filling and comforting.  This is a healthy, vibrant dish that you can customize however you like by switching the meat or the veggies.  If you are not watching your carb intake, you could add pasta and it would feed an army, at least 8 servings.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family and friends do!