Who doesn't love a good stir fry?
The stir fry is the ultimate meal for many reasons, and here' why! It's simple, easy, delicious, and nutritious!
Simple: Preparing a stir fry doesn't require much work or equipment! Just a few simple essentials and that's it!
Easy: They are quick to make and are not difficult to put together. Perfect for the beginner home chef!
Delicious: They are packed with flavor, a good stir fry is sure to satisfy any taste bud. They can be sweet and or savory.
Nutrition: Loaded with veggies and proteins, a stir fry will help fuel the body with essential micro and macronutrients!
A recent article of Linked Fit's was all about meal prepping, and the article briefly mentions how great stir fry's are for meal prepping. Here is how to meal prep for a basic stir fry using the 5 step process. Refer back to Meal Prepping: The beginners Guide for more information on meal prepping.
Plan: Take a look at the calendar and determine what days and meals need to be prepped for ahead of time. For example, the next four days dinners need to be prepped ahead of time, due to working later nights.
Develop: With a stir fry being the intended meal to prep for dinner, it's time to put together the grocery list. For this example, the grocery haul is going to only purchase the ingredients necessary to make the stir fry. When developing a grocery list, first think about what essentials and ingredients may already be in the kitchen. Look for meats and veggies that still need to be used (fresh or frozen), maybe there's random veggie or protein leftovers from a previous meal, these items are great for stir fry's! Also, look for essentials such as rice or noodles to pair with the stir fry, as well as sauces. A good questions to ask it, will the sauce be made from scratch or using a pre-made sauce? These are important factors to consider in order to determine necessary items to purchase and to help eliminate waste. At Linked Fit we recommend purchasing 3-5 different veggies and 1-2 proteins. Once it's been determined what is already to go in the kitchen make a list of all the other ingredients to complete the meal. What other veggies, proteins, sauces or add-ins need to be acquired.
Shop: Head to a local grocery to purchase the remaining ingredients. Grocery stores can be intimating, but it doesn't have to be. Check out our article Grocery Haul to get the best grocery shopping practices. Fresh and or frozen ingredients can used. Really depends on how quickly the the veggies and protein will be consumed. Also, consider how many people this meal is being prepared for, this will help to determine the quantity of ingredients.
Schedule: Set some time aside to prep the veggies, protein, and sauce for the stir fry. Stir fries in general don't take a lot time to make. Depending on how the ingredients were purchased, fresh or frozen., will help to determine how much time might be needed to prepare. To help save time, look for veggies and proteins that are pre chopped. Resort back to the two main meal prep strategies: the "Sunday" routine or the daily routine.
Prep: Finally prepare all the necessary ingredients to put this stir fry together! If you are doing the "Sunday" routine, it is helpful to prep in batch. Using a large sheet pan either mix all veggies together or individually sections them in columns on the pan. The sauce can be added to the veggies and or protein while they are cooking. This way everything is cooking at once and can easily be sectioned intro portions for later meals. While the proteins and veggies are cooking, prepare the side, whether that is rice or noodles. Another way, could be to cook everything in batch, leave the sauce off and place it in a container for later use, and individually section out meals once everything is cooked. When it's time to eat, grab the individual container heat it up over the stove top and then add sauce, for a day of routine. Lastly, use the day of or night before routine to solely prepare individual meals. Here just enough ingredients will be used to make one meal.
The do's and do not's
Do prep all ingredients before starting to cook.
Do chop veggies in similar sizes. This is to make sure veggies cook evenly.
Do cook veggies in batches, if possible. This is a time saver!
Do utilize leftover veggies and proteins.
Do try a variety of veggies, and mix and match them.
Do prepare rice or noodles ahead of time, or while batch cooking veggies.
Do prepare sauce ahead of time, if making from scratch.
Do make extra sauce to have on hand.
Do heat up oil first, if cooking on the stove top.
Do add ingredients to a hot pan, if cooking on the stove top.
Don't over crowd the pan or sheet pan. This will help to make sure everything is cooked evenly!
Don't over cook the veggies, still want to have a nice bite to them.
What is also great about a stir fry is that it can be accommodating to any dietary needs. Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, lower calorie, and much more. Essentially, all that is need is a protein or two and some veggies. Looking for vegan or vegetarian options, opt for edamame or tofu. If using edamame, add and cook last, this prevents overcooking. Eggs can also be added as the protein or in addition to another protein. For lower calorie, options opt to serve with riced cauliflower or 50/50 (half rice, half riced cauliflower). Another option could be zucchini noodles.
Additionally, stir fries can be prepared in batch or single serving. Batch is the perfect way to go when cooking for a family or meal prepping. When cooking in batch load a sheet pan with all the veggies, now this can be done with loads of veggies for multiple meals or just enough for one. Roast the veggies at 400F for 20-30 minutes, or until they develop a nice roasted look to them. Sauces can be added before or after roasting. Definitely make more sauce! If cooking in batch it's nice to have more when needed for each meal, or just to have extra on hand when wanting more at anytime. The protein can also be added to the oven or cooked on the stove top. Take advantage of multitasking here.
If cooking for a single serving, a stove top works perfectly fine. Section out the appropriate amount of sauce, veggies, and protein. Here are some fun oils that can be used for cooking the stir fry: peanut, grape-seed, and avocado oil. If possible, purchase higher quality oils that are in metal and glass containers. If possible avoid plastic bottles. Also, look for dark or tinted bottles. This helps to preserve the oil. Start by heating up the oil in a frying pan or wok. Next add the proteins, cook, remove and set aside. Add the veggies, make sure they are dry, if wet they start to steam and not get as crispy. When veggies are almost done add the protein back in. Finally add the sauce! When adding the sauce, add it in a circular motion, to keep pan hot and everything gets coated.
Happy sit fry making!
Here is one of Linked Fit's favorite stir fry recipes! This sweet and spicy combo is loaded with veggies and packed with flavor.