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A Quick Dinner Recipe Frees You From the Kitchen Faster

Stir Fry is the best way to create your own quick dinner recipe using ingredients you have on hand. It’s also a great way to create healthy meals using fresh ingredients and free yourself from the kitchen faster than following a written recipe would ever allow.

In the video that accompanies this recipe, you’re able to look directly over my shoulder as I create Chicken Stir Fry Over Quinoa, using just two pans, one for the quinoa and another to steam and then stir fry the ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to follow along:
(I don’t believe in measurements, cook for your taste and number of guests)

1 cup chicken broth or water for steaming
carrots, bias sliced
Asparagus
Sesame oil
Onions, sliced for stir fry
Chicken breast, cut into strips
Shitake mushrooms, sliced
Soy sauce
Fresh or dried ginger
White pepper

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup quinoa or rice or pasta or beans

My ManPans wok has a steamer insert, so with some chicken broth simmering below, I can add carrots and asparagus, to par-cook them in a moist fashion and later return to the stir fry.

Stir Fry uses direct, conductive heat, and simply stir-frying the carrots and asparagus won’t cook them all the way through before they burn on the outside. So, to assure everything is cooked to the same doneness, the hardest items are cooked under steam first.

Steaming uses indirect, convective heat and is the best way to treat vegetables. Obviously, cooking in a moist fashion will not dry items out like the direct heat of stir fry. When the items are softened, but still firm to the touch or bite, I can remove the steamer insert and prepare the pan for direct heat.

Asian Stir Fry is pretty much the same as French sauté, it begins with heating the pan and adding some kind of fat. In this case, the flavor profile calls for sesame oil. Whether stir fry or sauté, this direct heat method of cooking is the best way to creating a quick dinner recipe for yourself.

After adding a tablespoon or two of sesame oil to the hot pan, tilt the pan to cover the bottom with oil, and now the ingredients are up to you. Your quick dinner recipe hasn’t been written yet. You can choose any combination of fresh or canned ingredients you have on hand. I’ll use onions that have been stir-fry sliced and continue to cook until they begin to sweat, or get translucent.

To the sesame/onion flavor in the pan, I’ll add my chicken breast, sliced in the same fashion as the onions to keep the eye appeal, and sauté them in the wok as well.

Sliced Shitake mushrooms are much more delicate than onions, chicken, asparagus and carrots, so they can be added directly to the stir fry to add their flavor. They don’t need to be par-cooked.

Now I can add the previously steamed asparagus and carrots because they are already cooked and just need to be warmed and combined with the rest of the dish.

A little bit of soy sauce to deglaze the pan and add some moisture. Dried ginger goes with the Asian stir fry flavor profile, and some white pepper for contrast on the palate

Now I want to switch from the direct source, conductive heat coming from the bottom of the pan, to moist convective heat circulating within the pan by putting the lid on for a few minutes to soy-sauce steam the rest of the items.

Quinoa can be cooked like pasta or like rice. This quick dinner recipe could also be served over either of those two. But a simple simmer of 2 cups liquid to 1 cup quinoa in a covered pan will give consistent results. I always soak the quinoa for 1 hour in water prior to cooking to remove a bitter flavor that quinoa can give.

Plating is simple, a portion of quinoa or rice or noodles or beans, and a portion of the chicken stir fry with asparagus and carrots.

Some black sesame seeds for garnish and this quick dinner recipe is complete in less than 20 minutes from beginning to end. If I were to publish this exact same Chicken Stir Fry Over Quinoa in a cookbook, it would probably take twice as long to prepare it, just for having to follow the directions.

Create your own recipes and you’ll enjoy the kitchen more plus eat better, healthier meals in less time. Perhaps you don’t need freedom from cooking. What if the time you spent in preparing meals was fun because everything was consistently great? Stir Fry is a great method to accomplish this.

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Tags: quick dinner recipe

Leave A Reply (22 comments so far)


  1. Wayne

    So simple and easy to do !! And the fact that you can use several different ingredients as the base (rice,pasta,beans) makes this a versitile way to prepare a wonderful dinner.


    • Chef Todd

      Hey Wayne!
      YES! That’s what WebCookingClasses is all about. I show the method, you bring the ingredients. Then, you’ll never need another recipe.


  2. Carol

    Thank you for the great Tip! Just a quick question… you mention Dried Ginger – would Fresh Ginger change the dish much? I know it’s a bit stronger, but I grow my own and seldom have any ‘Dried’ about. :)


    • Chef Todd

      Hi Carol!
      Yes, fresh ginger has the oils in it that dried ginger does not, so it will change the flavor of the dish.
      Dried ginger is a lot more “mellow”, fresh ginger is more aromatic and pungent.
      Fresh ginger is always preferred, but it I don’t use it often and it goes bad quickly. So, dried ginger is what I use.

  3. Ward
    Ward

    This is my “go to” cooking method when I just can’t come up with a meal idea. Probably 75% of my meals are made in this manner, with 15% being more thought out, and 10% being exotic.
    For breakfast, lunch, or dinner this method is a real time-saver and is so much better tasting than a box of something tossed in the oven on a baking sheet. The time involved, the fresh flavors and aroma throughout the house, the money you save… it can’t be beat.

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