Home Again & Healthy Chicken Stir-Fry

boston in snow

Ahhh, there is nothing better than the feeling of arriving home after a long journey in the economy section of a packed jet, is there?  We arrived home on Saturday to a foot of snow in Boston.  But we arrived on-time and without any major hassles with security, so we were psyched.

Madrid was awesome, despite the rain which persisted all. week. long.  It was dismal, but we managed to squeeze out a lot of fun and make some great memories.  Not the least of which was meeting and loving up my new niece, Baby A., and visiting with my sister and brother-in-law.  And the food - sigh.  When we asked L. what she liked most about our vacation in Madrid, she said "I liked all the ham and the roasted chickens."  Guess what?  Mama liked 'em too.  And mama also enjoyed herself a box of marzipan, churros y chocolate, Spanish tortilla, myriad pinchos (anchovies & manchego, anyone??), chorizo, fried eggs atop fried potatoes with various amenities (roasted peppers and jamon Iberico, slightly stinky cheese), a wide variety of croquettes, empanadas . . . oh, the list goes on and on.  I need to peruse the La Tienda site more thoroughly, and order myself up some authentic tastes of Spain more often, I think.

I also read some food-related books on my week off.  I polished off The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee.  It's a super book that traces the history of fortune cookies along with America's passion for Chinese food.  Lots of cocktail party trivia in there, for you.  I also started Julie & Julia, by Julie Powell - it's good, but she might be a bit too much of a whiner for me.  It is, however, a book that any lover of food who happens to be a food blogger must read, so I will soldier on and let you know what I think in the end.  

And now, we're back to reality.   My first workout of 2010 was good, but tough - felt like I had Marshmallow Fluff running through my veins instead of blood.  And the gym was, of course, crowded.  I hate the crowds, but for the better health of Metro-Bostonians, I suppose I hope everyone sticks around.

I'm ratcheting back the sugar/starch/fat again and I'm happy to take you with me.  Last night I whipped up this little stir-fry - it's full of fiber and packed with protein, so it's satisfying.  Best of all, it'll take you 30 minutes to get it on the table.  Healthy and fast - welcome to 2010, peeps!

Chicken, Edamame & Red Pepper Stir-Fry With Hoisin

1 c. uncooked rice (brown is better!)
1/4 c. water
2 T. low-sodium soy sauce
2 T. hoisin sauce
2 t. rice vinegar
1/2 t. cornstarch
1 t. sesame oil
1 t. peanut oil
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 c. frozen shelled edamame, thawed


Cook the rice according to package directions - remember, I love the frozen brown rice available from Whole Foods - it's very quick.

Combine the water, soy sauce, hoisin, vinegar and cornstarch in a small bowl or jar with a lid and either whisk or shake to combine thoroughly.

Heat the oils in a large skillet (or a wok, if you've got one) over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until browned, stirring frequently.  Add the pepper and edamame; cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are crisp-tender.  Add the soy sauce mixture; cook for one or two minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce gets very thick and bubbly and coats the chicken and vegetables.  Remove from the heat.  Serve the chicken mixture over rice.  Serves 4.

A couple of notes on this recipe:  The cooking here is fast - so get all your ingredients cut up and lined up before you heat your skillet.  Next:  Heat is your friend here - don't be shy about cooking this over medium-high to high heat - your chicken will get nice and brown, your veggies will cook super-fast (about 2 minutes), and your sauce will get all thick and bubbly and any taste of cornstarch will disappear as it boils.  Last:  Remember, a cast-iron skillet is virtually non-stick if you heat it enough before putting in your protein.  So the two teaspoons of oil here are plenty.