A stir fry recipe is so easy to find, and sooooo easy to make. I feel like what makes one recipe stand apart from another is (a) the sauce, and (b) meat that isn’t dry and actually has flavor.
Now, it’s tough to get a strong marinade going when you only have 28 minutes to prep and cook your meal. However, just letting the meat sit in the sauce for 5-10 minutes, and browning the meat with a bit of sauce makes a big difference.
A couple notes on the sauce. (a) The recipe calls for sherry wine. If you personally don’t want alcohol in your food or if you’re worried not enough of it will cook off appropriately for serving kids, you can use apple juice instead. It actually doesn’t change the flavor much. (b) I didn’t feel there was enough sauce for leftovers, so I made a second batch the next night and heated it up in a pot on the stove for 5-10 minutes before having the leftovers. The kids really dug the sauce and so, they wanted extra on their rice.
For whatever reason, kids always love bread, pasta, and rice. So, the bonus element to choosing this stir fry is the guarantee that kids will eat something on the plate. And you can make negotiations on the veggie consumption, as needed.
Final note: both my kids whined and complained when they looked at the dish. They were convinced stir fries were the worst. BUT, both completely changed their minds when they tasted it. The meat and sauce were the winners, for sure. And because they loved the sauce, they were more apt to eat the veggies in the dish. Double final note: I myself have eaten the leftovers going on 3 days now (currently eating leftovers as I type this!) AND I’m terrible about eating leftovers AND I’m still not tired of the stir fry. I feel like that’s a true testament 🙂 Enjoy!
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈
🍅Rice on the side. This is an easy fix. My kids don’t like anything on their rice except for soy sauce. So, I put their rice on the side of the stir fry.
🍅Don’t cook the veggies. Some kids may not like the texture of soft, cooked veggies. And some kids don’t like their veggies mixed into a sauce. If this sounds like your kids, skip the drama and set aside some raw veggies before cooking. My kids only wanted to eat the snow peas raw. And, of course, they didn’t eat the pods…just the tiny peas inside. Weirdos 🙂
🍅Swap out the veggies. You can totally swap out the veggies if your kids don’t like them. Or increase/decrease veggies in the recipe. Good alternatives are: bell peppers, broccoli, & carrots.
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴
🍅Replace Soy Sauce with Tamari. The soy sauce you’re used to seeing on the shelf contains wheat, but nowadays you can find gluten-free soy sauce at the market. The product I always see is San-J’s Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce. In fact, I’m not gluten-intolerant and I always buy the San-J brand anyway. Kikkoman also now makes a gluten-free soy sauce, but I haven’t seen this one around quite as much.
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- 2 large garlic cloves (minced)
- 1/2 - 1 T ginger (minced, grated or finely chopped) (or 1/8 - 1/4 t ground ginger)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup sherry wine or apple juice
- 2 T brown sugar
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1 - 1 1/2 lb skirt steak beef or flat iron steak (cut into strips or bite sized pieces)
- 4 T sesame oil (or another cooking oil)
- 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts (drained)
- 15 oz can cut baby corns (drained)
- 1/2 - 1 medium zucchini (sliced or cut into quarter rounds)
- 1 cup mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 cup snow peas
- instant rice (brown or white, you choose your serving size)
First, make your sauce. With a whisk or fork, combine garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sherry wine (or apple juice), brown sugar and cornstarch in a bowl or Pyrex Measuring Cup.
Place your beef in a separate bowl and pour 3-5 T of sauce on top of the beef and stir. Put aside and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, start cooking the veggies. Heat a large pan on medium heat and add 2 T of the cooking oil. Add water chestnuts, baby corns, zucchini and mushrooms. Let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring a couple times. Add remaining sauce to the veggies, stir in snow peas and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring a couple times. Remove from heat.
Make the instant rice according to directions on box.
While the veggies and rice are cooking, start cooking the meat. Heat a large pan or wok on high heat. Once heated, add the remaining 2 T cooking oil and the beef, with its sauce. Cook beef for 3-5 minutes on each side.
Once beef is browned, turn heat down to low and stir in the veggie mix. Cook all together for a minute or so. Remove from heat.
Serve stir fry mix atop rice.
We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.