Simplify With Stir-Fry for Quick, Healthy Meals

Man adding ingredients to wok

Sometimes there’s just not enough time in a day. When I get home late from a long work day and need to create dinner, I have a few easy favorites that will save the day. Here’s my go-to solution for a quick, delicious and healthy meal — don’t go stir crazy — go stir-fry!

Usually associated with Asian cuisines, stir-frying involves small pieces of meat or seafood and vegetables stirred rapidly in a large skillet or wok with a bit of oil and high heat. Once you’ve sliced and diced the ingredients, everyone had better be sitting at the table, because the cooking takes just a few minutes.

You’ll find several tempting stir-fry recipes in my cookbooks, The Age GRACEfully Cookbook and the new The AGE BEAUTIFULLY Cookbook, both available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. A recipe for a Korean-inspired stir-fry is found in the appetizers section of Age Beautifully, but it also makes a satisfying entrée. The recipe’s a bit long, but fear not! It’s simple to put together.

Stir-Fry Korean Glass Noodles

hot-korean-noodlesServes 4

Korean glass noodles are made from sweet potato starch. Gluten-free and low-calorie, they have a springy texture and a neutral flavor. In Korean BBQ restaurants, this dish is known as Jap Chae or sometimes Chap Chae. In this recipe, I jazz them up with marinated meat, stir-fry vegetables, eggs, and a sesame sauce. By cooking and assembling the noodles, meat, vegetables, and eggs, this becomes a perfect party dish: your guests can toss together exactly what they want. Traditionally, these noodles are served with a scrambled egg on top, but you can omit it. You can use chicken or tofu instead of the beef. This dish can also be served as a main course.

What are the age-fighting benefits?

Sweet potatoes are full of carotenoids, antioxidants that produce vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A supports the immune system and keeps eyes healthy. Shiitake mushrooms contain selenium, an antioxidant mineral that also strengthens immune response. Mushrooms and beef both contain protein for building muscles.

Ingredients

Noodles

1 cup Korean sweet potato glass noodles

Noodle Seasonings

1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
¼ cup water
2 Tbs. raw or turbinado sugar
1 Tbs. sesame oil
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Meat

1 cup thinly sliced beef tenderloin
1 Tbs. raw or turbinado sugar
2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari sauce
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. sesame oil

Vegetables

¼ cup julienned white onion
2 Tbs. sesame oil
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. peeled and chopped ginger
½ cup julienned shiitake mushrooms
½ cup julienned carrots
½ cup firmly packed whole baby spinach leaves, without stems
¼ cup julienned green onion
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Egg topping

1 tsp. olive oil
1 egg (organic, free-range, or Omega-3-enriched), beaten
Salt or salt substitute and freshly ground black pepper to taste

hot-korean-noodle-ingredientsProcedure

  1. Make the noodles: Cook according to package directions and drain; place in a serving bowl, and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Boil the noodle seasoning ingredients in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Pour over the noodles, toss, and set aside.
  2. Make the meat: Combine the meat and its seasoning ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 10–15 minutes. Stir-fry in a wok or skillet over medium heat for 5–7 minutes or until well done. Set aside.
  3. Make the vegetables: Stir-fry the white onions, garlic, and ginger in the oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook another 1–2 minutes. Add the carrots and cook another 1–2 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through and the carrots are crisp-tender. Remove from the heat. Stir in the spinach leaves and green onions and allow them to wilt. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Make the topping: In a nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beaten egg and season with the salt and pepper. Cook through, omelet-style, for 2–3 minutes without folding or turning. Turn onto a cutting board and slice into strips. Set aside in a bowl.
  5. To serve, combine all of the ingredients in a large serving dish.

 

FoodTrients

  Ao– Antioxidant – Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals

IB Immunity Booster – Supports the body’s resistance to infection and strengthens immune vigilance and response

 

For a meatless, but protein and FoodTrient-packed stir fry dish, try my Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry from my first cookbook, Age Gracefully. It’s loaded with broccoli, which is full of lutein that is great for eye sight, plus superfoods cauliflower and kale, which contain phytonutrients that can help protect against cancer. The carrots in the dish provide carotenoids, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers while supporting the immune system.

annatto-noodles-chopsticksIn the new Age Beautifully cookbook, there’s a slightly unusual but delicious recipe for Vegetarian Stir-Fry Noodles with Annatto. If you like mushrooms, this one’s for you because shiitake and wood ear mushrooms figure prominently in this recipe. Mushrooms are good sources of selenium, which can lower cancer risk and boosts immunity. Annatto is derived from achiote seeds. Besides adding distinctive flavor to certain Latin dishes, annatto/achiote is used commercially as a natural way to give foods like cheddar cheese and butter an appealing golden color. Annatto contains good amounts of vitamin C, which helps fight infection; vitamin E, good for hair, nails and skin; immunity-boosting carotenoids, as well as vitamins B2 and B3 and helpful phytochemicals. Annatto also contains compounds that are antimicrobial. To make this dish even heartier, you can add a cup of organic, free-ranch chicken breast cut into strips to the pan when you cook the mushrooms.  Key to annatto-flavored dishes are Annatto Oil and Annatto Water. Here are the recipes:

Annatto Oil

Yield: ½ cup

Ingredients

½ cup annatto or achiote seeds (whole, not ground)
½ cup olive oil

Procedure

1.      Heat the seeds and oil in a pan over low heat for about 5-7 minutes or until the oil turns bright reddish-orange. The seeds will sizzle and turn dark, but do not let them turn black and burn.
2.      Strain to remove seeds.

Chef’s note: You can store Annatto Oil in the refrigerator for up to a month and Annatto Water for up to a week.

Annatto Water

Yield: ½ cup

Ingredients

½ cup annatto or achiote seeds (whole, not ground)
½ cup warm water

Procedure

1.      Add the seeds to the water and let soak for 5 minutes.
2.      Work the seeds with your hands for a couple of minutes until the water turns orange.
3.      Strain to remove the seeds.

So enjoy these very different but equally delicious and FoodTrient-rich stir fry dishes!

About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that. foodtrients.com
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.