Friday, March 25, 2011

Frozen (plus a giveaway!)


Did you know March is National Frozen Food Month?

I know that most of us, given the choice, would choose fresh over frozen.  I know I do, but there are exceptions.  More often than not I buy already frozen poultry and seafood (gasp!) because it’s convenient to have on hand, I can buy in bulk, and it’s cheaper.  And unless I know there’s going to be a huge quality difference, no harm done, right?

So when Smart & Final asked for recipes using food from their freezer section, I was happy to participate. I’d never really shopped at Smart & Final for food before, and was quite pleased with the selection and prices.  I got some steals on frozen chicken, tilapia, and salmon, plus some veggie mixes and brown rice.  My goal was to create a recipe for when using frozen food was all you had time for - a quick weeknight dish; but at the same time hopefully disproving the myth that frozen food is all just pre-made convenience items and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

Here’s what I came up with:


Quick Chicken Stir-Fry with Spicy Sauce

Serves 2

1 package frozen vegetable mix (broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts)
1 package frozen whole grain brown rice
3 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins, thawed and sliced
canola oil
pepper

Sauce:
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (or more to taste)

For the sauce, heat sesame oil in a small saucepan and quickly sauté the garlic, ginger and sambal oelek.  Add the soy sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar and lemon juice and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes for the flavors to combine. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch into the white wine, then stir mixture into sauce.  Let simmer until the sauce thickens a bit, then add rice wine vinegar.  (Depending on the saltiness of the soy sauce and chicken broth and how much the sauce has reduced, you may need to add more vinegar to offset the saltiness.)  Remove from heat and reserve.

Microwave rice as directed and reserve.

Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a wok and add chicken. Cook until chicken is almost done, then add vegetable mix and season with pepper.  Stir-fry until vegetables and chicken are cooked through. Add desired amount of sauce to taste, heat through, and serve over rice.


This recipe was perfect for what we needed: a quick dinner after a busy day.  The sauce takes only a few extra minutes to turn a standard (dare I say boring?) stir-fry into something really special.  Spicy and flavorful, the sauce gives the vegetables and chicken that extra boost they need.  And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the frozen brown rice. It was nutty and chewy and just right for this dish, and best of all, fast and easy.

I was glad to have experimented with a (mostly) all frozen food meal, and was very happy with the result. Andy has already requested that this dish be on the menu again soon, so it must have been good, right?

(Collective Bias compensated me for my time, but all opinions are my own.)



But wait…there’s more!  The giveaway!

This weekend, March 26-27, is the HSN Cooks Spring Weekend Event presented by Bon Appétit.  Check it out here. They will be featuring celebrity chefs, food, kitchenware, and much more.

HSN has kindly provided me with a $10 gift card (good for anything on their site, expires 4/30/11) to pass on to one of my readers.  To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment. Follow me if you like what you see around here…I won’t force you. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Saturday, 4/2/11, so enter by midnight PST, Friday 4/1/11. Happy shopping!    

31 comments:

  1. That is a great meal for those weeknights when you don't have time to make a complex meal. Looks great & I'm looking forward to trying it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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  2. Ohh your stir-fry looks wonderful!!Love all the flavors and so pretty and colorful! Nicely done!

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  3. Oh how lovely! So pretty and flavorful. I am definitely saving this one :)

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  4. yummy looks colourful
    lovely giveaway

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  5. Your stir fry looks wonderful. I like making stir fry, like you, when I'm short on time, and I have used frozen veggies that are so colorful and tasty with minimal cooking.

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  6. Stir fry looks great...i admit i usually make one the same way, but i cheat even further and use a jarred sauce!

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  7. the stir fry looks awesome and delish---my secret ingredient is oyster sauce to my stir fry
    Thanks for this splendid giveaway
    anashct [at] yahoo [dot] com

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  8. This looks so yummy and so easy!
    Bunny

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  9. I definitely cook and eat more fresh vegetables during the summer but I rely on frozen veggies to get me through the winter. You're right, they're cheaper and convenient. I use them for stir-fries all the time!

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  10. Love this stir fry Karen:)I didn't know it was national frozen food month. I always have a bag of organic frozen veggies from Costco in the freezer to use for quick meals :)

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  11. I've been celebrating frozen foods month without even knowing it! Thanks heavens spring is finally here and its time for fresh veggies! Great post.

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  12. Yummy stir fry! Didn't know about frozen food month :) but I always have some frozen veggies in the freezer :)

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  13. Nice! yummy easy quick and all in .... I like this

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  14. I am wishing that the yummy bowl up there was in front of me right about now... that sauce is making my mouth water! Delicious!

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  15. We'll try this stir fry next time. Looks fast and flavorful.

    Frankie

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  16. Thanks for the chance.

    lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Karen, I'm one of those people who does prefer fresh veggies when available. That's not to say that I don't use frozen peas and very rarey frozen spinach and beans. The truth is that the fresh veggies taste better and don't take more time to prepare and cook. Having said that, in winter I do keep the frozen stuff because there are days when I simply don't have the time to shop and there's nothing to pick from the vegetable garden, but still need to produce dinner:). I also do use frozen fish from time to time ... if you can't get it really fresh then frozen is actually better. Your dish looks lovely!

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  18. I love healthy food and yours looks amazingly fresh and delicious great photo's~

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  19. Love your tips on frozen food. I like to have prawns (shrimp) in the freezer It's great to be able to pull out and thaw quickly for a mid week pasta or chop up for some prawn dumplings as I made the other day!

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  20. Didn't know it was Frozen food month. I always have frozen vegetables in my freezer that I use when needed. Those oriental pack are so handy; love your post.
    Rita

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  21. Forgot to tell you Karen that I love a blogger that does not have word verification.
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  22. Mmmm! Thanks for the add on Foodbuzz!

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  23. I did know it was national frozen food month - I heard it on the radio! Love it - who makes this stuff up?! LOL! This dish looks DEEELICIOUS! I'm a follower :)

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  24. Your stir-fry looks great. There are certain things that I always have in my freezer, like corn, peas and chicken breast, I wouldn't know how to survive without those things :o) So hurray for National Frozen Food Month!

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  25. This looks great! I definitely don't shy away from certain frozen products... sometimes you just need 'easy'!

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  26. This looks like the perfect weeknight meal!I love stir-fry! I always keep some frozen veggies in the freezer for a quick fix!

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  27. What a great idea! I always keep frozen veggies on hand. Thanks for sharing!

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  28. This sounds like a perfect, quick meal. I always have frozen veggies in the house, I could make this up tonight!

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  29. This one looks so simple and yet delicious. I wish a had a bite...

    ReplyDelete
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