Friday, May 13, 2016

The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! - Pantry Pollo Stir Fry

Really, I don't get it.

What particular interest does the former USSR have in my little blog? This isn't the first time my blog statistics have revealed the Russian adoration for a blog that is usually seen by maybe 35 people on a good day. Right now the Russians are beating the Americans, which is never a good sign. Any techie-type folks out there who might have an answer? Please send me a clue, because I clearly don't have one.

Today is Tuesday and it promises to be as painful as the four immediately preceding it. Forget laundry, unpacking, cleaning up after the pets, or even knitting; all I can think about is whether I have the energy to get into the shower. Yeah, it's that bad. My mood is in the dumpster.  

My arms don't have the strength to hold knitting needles, but even if they did, my hands are shaking too badly to even attempt it. With a lacy-type pattern, that's an invitation to hysteria, wherein I melt down faster than eighties-style cheap acrylic yarn near a cigarette lighter.

I still can't contemplate cooking and I fear I am getting to the point where my family may just starve. It's true that I can live on soup from Wawa and Little Debbie's cakes, but my two martial artists need a little bit more than that, and the rotisserie chicken from Publix is just a fond memory. Good thing I had some beef stew in the freezer, but even my frozen stores are winding down.

Wednesday isn't shaping up to be any better. I have no choice but to leave my house today, which is both good and bad. Bad because my entire body hurts and all I want to do is head back to bed. Good because I have a necessary appointment with the individual who has been helping me keep my head attached for the past 18 years, and because I have to pick up a chicken if my family is ever going to eat again.

I've decided to throw together a chicken stir fry for my Hungry Men, "throw together" being the operative phrase. I tried to find an actual recipe to follow, but my eyes are playing tricks on me and my brain is stuck in neutral. In other words, I left my ability to comprehend the written word back on the cruise ship. I'll certainly be contacting Carnival's lost and found department but until then I'm going to wing it. That means no shopping list - too stressful - with the majority of the ingredients coming from the depths of my pantry. I have a rather impressive collection of Chinese-type ingredients stored there, and now would be a really good time to dig them out.

And now it's Thursday, and I did cook last night and it has cost me dearly. My head, neck, and shoulders are not responding to the Advil, and my rheumatologist doesn't want me taking the Advil anyway (because of my gastric bypass) so my pain-killer options have been reduced to zero. The rest of me hurts also, but not quite to the same degree. Just enough that getting out of bed to use the bathroom was a tough choice, and walking downstairs to get some coffee took an act of will on par with sitting for the bar exam.

Lately I've been super hypersensitive to heat and cold and sound. I happen to live on a somewhat noisy corner, but that has never bothered me in the past. I've almost always lived in very close proximity to an airport, including 17 years right next to JFK - now that's noisy! - and then there were those years I lived in my parent's house fronting Kings Highway. Noisy city buses, belching smoke and squealing brakes, and of course there was a stop on the corner closest our house. Trust me, my current location doesn't even come close, but because of the fibromyalgia everything is unreasonably amplified, and that includes voices, television, and the sounds normally associated with dogs and cats. You know, woof and meow and incessant scratching. Doors being opened and closed; remember, part of this building is an office and there is a lot of door repositioning, as it were. Audible pain, it sucks.

Here is the recipe and it turns out I didn't use a darn thing from my pantry. Frankly, I couldn't have opened any cans or sliced my own vegetables if my life depended on it. Bad enough I had to cut the chicken. Just so you know, I used an electric wok, which has a nonstick interior and comes with a lid. The boys report that this turned out rather tasty. I wouldn't know, I'm still subsisting on Wawa soup.

Cooking oil (canola, vegetable, peanut, corn)
1 bottle or jar pre-chopped garlic
Salt, pepper, granulated garlic, ground ginger
2 pounds chicken tenderloins, crosscut into squares
2 - 8.8 oz. bag a Uncle Ben's Ready Rice, Teriyaki Style
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 - 12 oz. bag Pero brand Fajita Mix
1 - 12 oz. bag Eat Smart brand Vegetable Stir Fry
1 - 20.75 oz. bottle Panda Express Orange Sauce (available in supermarkets)

Season the cut-up chicken with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic and ground ginger and set aside. Add a few tablespoons of the oil to a very hot wok, and then add the rice. Stir fry for several minutes to get rid of excess moisture and until the rice is lightly browned. Remove it to a serving dish and keep warm. Add a little bit more oil to the wok and cook the egg, stirring constantly while spreading it out so the pieces are somewhat thin. Break up the cooked egg into small pieces and scoop them on top of the fried rice.

Add several tablespoons oil and a tablespoon (or more) of the chopped garlic. Cook for just a few seconds then add the contents of the vegetable stir fry bag. You put this in first because the broccoli takes a little longer to cook. Stir fry for several minutes, then add the fajita mix. Continue to stir fry together until the vegetables are as tender or crisp as you like them. Because I like even my stir fry vegetables to be more tender, I added about 1/4 bottle of the orange sauce and put the lid on the wok for a few minutes more. When the vegetables are done to your liking, remove them from the wok, either to a separate serving dish or on top of the rice.

Finally, heat a little more oil in the wok and add the seasoned chicken. Stir fry until chicken is cooked through and browned slightly. Add the remaining orange sauce and cook until the sauce reduces a bit and the chicken has a glossy appearance. You may want to cover the wok for just a few minutes at some point near the end of cooking to ensure that the chicken is completely cooked but tender. Add the finished chicken and all of the sauce to the vegetables. Serve and enjoy immediately.

It looks to me like this can serve six to eight.  And although it was ridiculously easy as wok cooking goes, you've got all fresh vegetables and chicken in there, and the prepared ingredients are good quality additions. I do think this dish lends itself to personalization - a handful of cashews, a small can of well-drained pineapple tidbits, some slices of jalapeƱo or another hot pepper, the smallest grape tomatoes you can find. You get the idea.

P.S.: Something has gone terribly wrong with either my iPad or Blogger or Safari, and I am unable to establish a link to my photos to insert them here. Will work on it, ha.

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