These are what my summer meals look like.
Piles of veggies and rice, plus a little chicken for the boys because God forbid they might have to eat a meatless meal.
I mean, yikes!
Actually, from what I hear they all miss me back at home. I am not one to talk myself up, but I told them getting dinner on the table every single night was not going to be easy.
One night I got a text from my older brother saying “We’re having potato skins for dinner… that’s it… and we have not eaten yet (it was 10:01pm their time)…I miss you”.
Apparently it’s been a lot of beef, tacos, steak and chicken on the grill. My dad is ready for all the fruit salsa and summer sauces to enter back into his life.
Kind of makes me feel good though! It’s why I love to cook. It makes my family happy and I love that feeling I get of knowing that I made a good meal for dinner. Although, I do love potato skins, those sound like good food to me!
So…I am definitely ready to get home. I did not actually think it would ever be possible that I would be, but I have to say I miss my daily grind and I miss cooking and photographing, and I kind of miss my family too!
It all drives me crazy at times, but I oddly miss it. Weird.
Anyway, back before I took over all the cooking, my dad made dinner every night. Dad did dinner, mom did dessert. It is just how it went in my family. I do think that when my older brothers we younger, before my time, that my mom made dinners. But somewhere down the line and too many kids later my dad became “dinner guy” and mom, who was always more of a “dessert girl” anyway, officially accepted her title. It just worked for us.
Well sort of, we’ve always eaten super late because my dad would play handball after work (since we moved to CO he lifts weights), but really everyone was busy anyway. It seems we’re meant to be a late night eating family, we can’t break the habit for the life of us. Every once in a while someone will complain and say that we’ve got to eat earlier. We will give it a shot but no one can make it to the table, including the complainer. I think it’s just that we all try to fit too much into one day, especially in the summer because it stays light till almost 9:00pm (love that!). No one ever complains about late dinners in the summer.
So… stir fry’s like this were a summer dinner staple when I was growing up.
This dish was always one of my favorites because I loved the soy sauce coated veggies. Mmm best part!
Growing up our stir fry probably didn’t have things like pineapple, bok choy or caramelized cashews, but they should have!!
We did always have toasted sesame seeds, cashews and a big ol side of rice. Rice is a Gerard staple as I am sure you are aware of by now.
Stir fry is great for any night because one, it’s on the table in thirty minutes or less, and two, it’s typically pretty healthy. If our family will eat it, I am guessing most of your family members will eat it as well.
I always keep the chicken and veggies separate so the boys can get all their chicken and no veggies and the rest of us can choose what we want. It works pretty well and makes it a customizable meal, which I am also guessing might be nice for a few of you out there as well.
Oh, and you can really use whatever veggies you have on hand, it does not matter. I will say though, the pineapple is an awesome addition. You can use canned if that’s all you have, but I much prefer fresh. It’s so much better. Oh, and mango would be great as well!
One last thing, don’t skip the cashews. I honestly feel no stir fry is complete without a little toasted sesame seeds and cashews. You can use peanuts too, but I love cashews!
- In a bowl or large glass measuring cup combine the ingredients for the sauce. Whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar, warmed creamy peanut butter (if using), hot chili sesame oil, honey, sesame seeds, ginger and garlic.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and once hot add the cashews along with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes or until the cashews are lightly toasted and caramelized. Remove the cashews to a plate.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Once hot add the chicken. Stir fry the chicken for 5-8 minutes or until cooked through. Add a little of the stir fry sauce (maybe 1/2 a cup) and bring it to a boil, cook until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken. Slide the chicken out of the skillet and onto a plate.
- Return the skillet to the heat and add another tablespoon of sesame oil. Once hot add the bok choy and sear on one side for 2-3 minutes. Drizzle with a little sauce and remove from the skillet and set with the chicken. Add the peppers and broccoli. Stir fry the veggies for 5 minutes then add the carrots, zucchini and pineapple. Add a little of the sauce (again maybe 1/2 cup) and cook until the sauce thickens and coats the veggies and the pineapple is beginning to caramelize, about 3 minutes.
- Place some rice in a bowl or plate and top with the veggies. Add the chicken and drizzle with some of the sauce to taste. Sprinkle with cashews and green onions.
And really, don’t those veggies look soo good. Love them!