Monday, April 15, 2013

Leftover Stir Fry

We (and by "we" I mean "I") waste so many leftovers. I just don't usually want to eat the same thing two nights in a row. And I enjoy leaving the office for lunch, so I don't bring my leftovers for lunch. I'm working to only cook the amounts we need for one meal, but sometimes that doesn't happen. 
Tonight's dinner inspiration came from restaurant leftovers. My husband and I had sauteed mushrooms, grilled shrimp, and steamed vegetables left after combining what was left when we ate at Longhorn last night. Since I also had a few small pieces of pork tenderloin in the refrigerator from a couple of nights ago, I decided to make a stir fry for supper tonight.

When I got home from work, I put 2 servings of brown rice on to cook. The package called for 1/2 cup of rice and 1 1/3 cups water. I added salt but omitted the butter. I used a nonstick pot, which I always use when cooking starchy stuff. I'm not a fan of scrubbing pots!

Then I chopped half a sweet onion and diced the leftover pork tenderloin into 1/2-inch cubes. I also diced the Longhorn vegetables: broccoli, carrot and squash. To my Southern palate, they needed more cooking anyway! Then I removed the tails from the shrimp (so much better than trying to eat them!) and cut each shrimp into about 4 pieces.

When I looked at my ingredients, I thought I could use more veggies. On my last grocery run I had bought a microwave pack of fresh French green beans. I didn't need them all, but I took a good handful, chopped off and discarded the ends, and cut the beans into small pieces.
I put a large saute pan over medium heat, added a drizzle of olive oil, and added the onion and carrot. I added a little salt and let them saute a couple of minutes until they softened some. 

A couple of days ago I put two small frozen chicken breasts in the refrigerator to thaw. I needed to cook the chicken, so I cut it into to small bite-sized pieces on a separate, dishwasher-safe cutting board.

I added the chicken to the center of the pan, then added the green bean pieces as well.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I added about a teaspoon of ginger to the pan. I like this ginger-in-a-tube I found in the produce department. I've bought, peeled, and frozen countless pieces of fresh ginger only to have them wither away before I use them. This stuff works great for me.

I also added a clove of garlic, minced.

Once that was combined well, I added the remaining veggies, the pork, and the shrimp. See how pretty?

Here's a close-up:

 Meanwhile, the rice had cooked long enough so all the moisture was gone. I let it cook a minute or two more and a cool thing happened: it started to stick a little to the bottom of the pan and some of the pieces were crispy. The texture was similar to fried rice without any added fat. Yeah!

I added the rice to the pan and stirred it in, along with a tablespoon or two of soy sauce, and about 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil. I tasted it as I went and added from there.

The finished result was pretty darned tasty! The great thing about this dinner is that it can be made with lots of different proteins and vegetables. I plan to make this again when I have random leftovers in amounts too small to make meals of their own.

(P.S. If you noticed that the mushrooms from the restaurant leftovers were not included in the stir fry, there is a very good reason for that. My husband does not like mushrooms. I made a great sacrifice and ate them as I cooked dinner. Sometimes you've just got to take one for the team.)