I can’t think of a time when I’m not craving the comfort of takeout food. I don’t even have a particular cuisine that I’m devoted to or anything. Pretty much anything ethnic in nature hits the spot from Chinese stir fries, Vietnamese anything, to a little Indian Butter Chicken in moments of deepest comfort needs.
The thing about takeout food though is it’s usually so heavy it’s really hard to recover my appetite, and I usually don’t feel stellar after eating it. Some takeout foods are obviously better than others, but nothing beats the flavor of homemade. Plus when you make your favorite dishes at home, you can add loads of veggies which rounds out the meal in the nutrition department.
One of the things I always notice when we’re on a road trip is the sheer lack of vegetables in almost every restaurant we eat in. But on our last road trip a couple months ago, I started cooking on the road which was more fun than I expected. I pre-cooked some chicken and stir fried a mix of veggies before we left. Then when we were on the road, I used a mix and match system to have something different every night. We bought all sorts of stir fry sauces, some Indian sauces, and we did takeout on the road. Literally we were actually cooking on the side of the road sometimes while the camera was set up to do timelapse photography!
So many great dishes came out of that trip, and one by one I’m getting them written down into actual measurements so that you can have the recipes too. This Cashew Chicken actually came from an idea I had on that trip based off a store bought sauce we used with chicken, veggies, and rice noodles. (Seriously rice noodles are a lifesaver on the road, but buy the thin vermicelli ones that only need 3 minutes to cook because they work better for camp cooking.)
Anyways… while it might seem like I’m getting way off track like usual, my point is that I had an easier time cooking out of a small cooler on the side of the road than I do at home sometimes. The reason for this is because I actually simplified for once in my life and prepped ahead, and if you’re interested I’d love to do a some batch cooking recipes where I’ll show you how we cooked just a couple of things ahead, and had healthy takeout type themed dinners for a whole week.
For this recipe you can use any type of onion, I just used a red onion because that’s what I had. To finely dice an onion, start by slicing off both ends and cut the onion in half from the top to the bottom. Next make 2 slices from the top almost all the way to the bottom but not cutting through the core. Lay each onion half flat side down on the cutting board, and make slices across the rounded top every 1/4″. And finally cut crosswise to the slices creating a fine dice.
For the celery, make sure that you slice it thinly so that it cooks at the same rate as the rest of the veggies. If you don’t like celery, you can sub zucchini or broccoli.
For the bell pepper, after you remove the core and seeds slice it lengthwise into 1/4″ strips, and then cut crosswise into rough 1/4″ cubes.
For any stir fry, you always have a little bowl with your aromatics in it because they’re added in at a separate time from the veggies. For this stir fry I used garlic and ginger, and a garlic press makes quick work of the garlic. For the ginger, try using the edge of a spoon to peel the ginger before mincing it. I bought a set of 4 really cheap spoons to use for peeling ginger, scooping out avocado, and all sorts of kitchen tasks. I keep them in my tool drawer, and I use them all the time. It’s important that they be cheap and not good quality silverware because cheep spoons have a sharper edge which makes them great for peeling ginger.
Once you have all your ingredients prepped, mix up the sauce and set it aside until the end of the cooking time.
You can serve this stir fry with any starch/side dish of choice, I’ve tried it with white rice and zucchini noodles, and both were great. The next time I’m making this with Roasted Sweet Potato Noodles for something fun and different.
- 1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 1½ pounds
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 medium onion, 10 ounces, finely diced
- 5 large stalks of celery, 10 ounces, thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, 10 ounces, cut into ¼" cubes
- 8 crimini mushrooms, 6 ounces, washed and sliced
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 3 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon tapioca starch
- 2 Tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Teaspoon rice wine, optional
- 6 drops toasted sesame oil, about ¼ Teaspoon
- ⅛ Teaspoon white pepper
- 1 bunch green onions, green part thinly sliced
- 1 cup toasted cashews, 4 ounces
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces about ½" by ½". Make sure all the remaining ingredients are prepped before starting the cooking process.
- For the sauce, mix together the tapioca starch and soy sauce until the tapioca is thoroughly mixed in with no remaining lumps. Mix in the rest of the sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Preheat a very large skillet, (15") over medium high heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking add 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil, and sauté the chicken until browned and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of avocado oil to the pan along with the onion, celery, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until the veggies are crisp tender. Then add the ginger and garlic sautéing for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
- Add the chicken back into the pan along with the stir fry sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened and combined.
- Remove from the heat and add the green onions and cashews.
- Serve immediately with your choice of side dish. If you happen have any leftovers, they keep well for lunches.
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