healthier than take out.

I just got home from teaching. Ravished, I ran to the pantry, grabbed two fairly large handfuls of chocolate chips, and proceeded to eat. Ever seen a dog eat? Yeah, it was kind of like that. I didn’t really enjoy the chocolate chips so much as I inhaled them. After a day of being too busy to eat anything substantial, the quickly consumed chocolate chips were a sad precursor to the healthy stir fry I’m about to whip up.

How was your day, readers? Despite being tired and hungry most of the day, I had a great day. I taught the students about Ida B. Wells (seriously, look here if you aren’t sure who she is; she was incredible) and discussed non-fiction reading strategies. Though we’ll need to revisit comprehension strategies in the future, it excites me that kids learned something about civil rights and are now familiar with a too-often-forgotten woman’s significant contribution to the movement.

And now it’s time to think about dinner…

Here’s are two stir fry recipes that I make when I’m tempted to pick up take-out but think better of it. I believe the first came from Martha Stewart, though I’ve probably adapted it (and you should too! the beauty of stir-fries!). The second was adapted from a recipe in Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook World Of The East: Vegetarian Cooking. I hope you enjoy these healthy, straightforward dinners, especially when you’re craving takeout but prefer to be in charge of the fat and sodium content. lv, molly

Tofu + Vegetable Stir Fry

Serves 2

1/2 pound firm tofu
1 Tbl reduced-sodium soy sauce, plus more for serving
1/2 Tbl rice vinegar
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 Tbl canola oil
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 large red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1-inch squares
3/4 pounds bok choy, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, stem and green pieces separated
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
5 paper-thin slices fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tsp cold water
Lime wedges, for serving (optional)

Squeeze tofu to remove any excess liquid. (Or press it using a more effective method.) Cut tofu into 1″ squares and place in a shallow dish.
In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil with 1/2 tbl water; pour over tofu. Marinate 5 minutes (reserve marinade).
Heat canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Cook tofu until golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Set tofu aside.
Stirring constantly, cook onions in skillet over high heat until browned, 5 minutes. Add red pepper and bok choy stems; cook 3 minutes. Add peas and ginger; cook 1 minute. Add marinade, cornstarch mixture, bok choy greens, and tofu. Cook until heated through. Season with soy sauce as desired. Serve with limes and brown rice or buckwheat soba noodles.

Vegetable Lo Mein

Serves 4-6

1/2 pound fresh Chinese lo mein egg noodles
5 medium-sized dried black mushrooms (or whatever variety you have on hand)
1/4 – 1/2 head of cabbage
1 hot green chili
2 scallions
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 C bean sprouts, well-rinsed
1/4 C soy sauce
1 Tbl sesame oil
2 1/2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper + salt
6 Tbl vegetable oil
1/2 C stock
1/4 C chives

Cook noodles according to directions; rinse under cold water.
Soak the mushrooms.
Core the cabbage, and cut into long, thin strips. Cut the chili into thin strips. Seed if you don’t want it to be too hot. Cut the scallions into long, thin strips. Mince the garlic.
Mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, 2 tsp. sugar, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
Heat 3 Tbl vegetable oil in a large wok. Add garlic and cook for 1 min. Add green chili and mushrooms. Now add the cabbage, scallions, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp sugar. Stir-fry for about 3 minutes or until vegetables wilt. Remove vegetables and put in a bowl.
Add another 3 Tbl oil to wok, and add the drained noodles. Let them sit for a few seconds before stirring. Add the stock, and turn up the heat. Cook until liquid seems absorbed, and then add the soy-sauce mixture and stir. Return the vegetables to the wok. Toss to mix. Add bean sprouts and chives; cook for another 2 minutes. Then serve!

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One thought on “healthier than take out.

  1. yum, lo mein is my favorite chinese take out! Except it always seems to be so greasy, which is odd for just noodles and veggies. Your recipes look amazing!

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