For our Thanksgiving dinner I had to make mashed potatoes for twenty of my nearest and dearest. 45 potatoes, 4 sticks of butter, 3 pounds of cream cheese, 2 pints of half-and-half, 1 1/2 hours and 1 million dirty dishes later, I never wanted to look at another potato again.
That’s why when it came time to throw together a little dinner yesterday, I wanted something easier and…lighter. You may have picked up by now that I’m not the healthiest cook, so when I want to make something low calorie, you know I’ve seriously overdosed on rich food. Like hospital-grade I-need-an-IV-of-vegetables overdose.
But I’m not the kind of gal who can take her veggies blended up with yogurt and wheatgrass. I still need them to be incredibly tasty. So I decided that husband and I needed a nice hefty dose of one of my favorite stand by-dishes: veggie stir-fry.
It’s fresh, healthy, and best of all, the complete antithesis of mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re O.D.’d on Thanksgiving fare like I am, this dish is for you.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Carrots. Fresh from the bag. Because I’m lazy.
Spinach. A couple of big handfuls, or one pre-washed and stemmed bag. Again, because I’m lazy.
An onion. I used a nice sweet one, but any kind would do.
Broccoli. It must be the vegetable of the gods. I love it so.
Mushrooms. Pre-cleaned. Noticing a pattern here?
Asian sauces. My favorite combo is hot chili, stir-fry, and oyster. But you could use anything you’ve got in your fridge: teriyaki, hoisin, soy, garlic–whatever.
Alrightie. Let’s get stir-fryin.
First, grab that beautiful Popeye-food and stick it in a big bowl. A really big one.
You must trust me. It’s another dish to dirty but it’s waaaaay worth it.
Now, chop up them ‘shrooms…
…and throw ‘em on top of the spinach.
Chop up the onion. No need to separate all the layers. They’ll do it all by themselves in the pan.
Throw them on top of the mushrooms.
Choppin’ broccoli….(10 points if you can identify that reference).
And toss those gorgeous green crowns right on top of the onion.
Top the whole thing off with some carrots. I leave ‘em whole because I dig the crunch. But you could chop them up if you’re feeling ambitious.
Okie dokie. Now you have a big ‘ol bowl of layered veggies. Set it right next to your pan on the stove.
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
Toss in the carrots and saute for a few minutes. (If you’ve got garlic, by all means throw in a couple of diced cloves with the oil. My garlic mysteriously disappeared from my fridge this week, or else I would have added some myself).
Next, toss in (you guessed it) the broccoli. Stir it around for a minute or two.
Next, add the onion…
…and the mushrooms, stirring well and waiting a few minutes after each addition.
By now, the broccoli should be bright green. Bee-youtiful.
Now toss in those lovely leafy greens. You should now see the empty bottom of that huge bowl, and be thanking Rainy Day Gal for teaching you such handy kitchen shortcuts for veggies with different cooking times.
Immediately after you add the spinach, pour 1/4 cup of water into the pan.
Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
While the veggies are steaming, let’s throw together our sauce.
I use 1 part hot chili sauce, 2 parts stir-fry, and 3 parts oyster. You only need a total of about 1/4 cup of sauce to coat all the veggies.
Go ahead and pour in the sauce mixture, stir well and let it hang out with the veggies for a few minutes.
Veggies never looked this good.
If you like your sauce a little thicker, or if not enough of the steaming water evaporated, you can always use this little trick: combine 2 tablespoons flour with 3 tablespoons water and stir it into the sauce.
Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.
I like to serve it over brown rice, but a simple white rice or yakisoba noodles would work nicely too.
Come to mama.
Make this dish for your family tonight. Their overindulged Thanksgiving tummies (and yours!) will thank you.