Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry (& planning)

I bought a planner. It’s pink with gold embossing and a thin ribbon to mark the page. It’s got a monthly overview and a weekly to-do. Very chic, very millennial.

I also got the color-coded pens – blue, black, red, green, pink, orange. All assigned to a specific sector of my life – finance, work, Ernessi, social.

It’s my hope/belief/misguided delusion that by making lists and filling out schedules and trying to be a better planner that I will somehow get my life in order.

And yet…I’ve missed weeks, I’ve missed paying bills, I’ve missed opportunities to get posts up in a timely manner.

There’s a small bit of solace in knowing that this isn’t uncommon for creative types. There’s some reassurance that my spastic scheduling and mediocre time management are byproducts of the artistic juices flowing through my veins! See? It’s not that I’m a bad person – I’m a great person – I just didn’t respond to an email for two weeks because I’m an artiste! I can’t help it, it’s how I’m wired. I can’t be expected to create masterpieces under the shackles of a schedule!

At least, that’s what I tell myself so I don’t dissolve into a heap of tears over not meeting the actual deadlines created by credit card companies or the personal ones I’ve set for myself. In reality, I know it’s a load of bull and I have to really commit to and work on sticking to a schedule if I’m ever going to get where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing.

Meal prepping is one of the easiest tricks I’ve come to rely on to encourage and continue my project of planning. Sitting down and figuring out what I will eat for the week helps me focus on the days ahead – what needs to be done and what I’ll actually be able to accomplish. There’s nothing like marking things off the to-do list at the beginning of the week to feel like I can accomplish anything else that may cross my path – planned or not.

I love to make a big batch of this stir fry on Tuesday night (a bartender’s Sunday), having a big bowl for dinner, and they taking the rest to work with me for lunches the rest of the week. The sauce is my favorite – a little sweet, a little spicy – and the perfect compliment to the moist chicken and crispy vegetables. It’s fabulously filling and decidedly healthy.

Plan on making it, you’ll be glad you did.

Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry

For the marinade/sauce:

½ cup soy sauce

¼ cup brown sugar

2 TBSP rice wine vinegar

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 TBSP honey

1 tsp. grated ginger

2 tsp. minced garlic

Whisk all ingredients in a large glass bowl and set aside.

For the stir fry:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 cups broccoli florets

1 large carrot, peeled and sliced thin

½ small red onion, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 cup fresh snow peas

4 cups cooked white (or brown, if you’re feeling it) rice

Add chicken to marinade and stir to coat, cover with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes. (I like to chop all my veggies while the chicken hangs out.)

Meanwhile, heat 2 TBSP of your preferred cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in broccoli and cook for 1 – 2 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables. Cook for an additional 5 – 7 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from pan to a large bowl and add an additional TBSP of oil to the pan. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from marinade and cook in pan for 7 – 9 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in the same bowl with the veggies.

Reduce heat to medium and pour remaining sauce in pan, simmering until reduced by a little more than half or until desired thickness is reached. Pour warm sauce over chicken and veggies and stir to coat. Serve with prepared rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

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