It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. My son starts school this week and it’s making me feel a little crazy! I’m super excited to have more of a routine, but I will certainly miss our lazy mornings and late afternoons at the pool.
One thing I’ve learned about this transition back to school is that school makes my kids HUNGRY. Maybe it’s the strain of staying focused all day or the inability for my kids to have a snack whenever they want, but come dinnertime, they are starving! All the more reason to focus on finding quick, delicious and satisfying meals for the family.
This week we made Cashew Chicken with Broccoli. The sweet and savory flavors of the chicken’s sauce was a huge hit with my family. And naturally they are always fond of white rice (especially with soy sauce!). I can always count on my kids eating broccoli, so this was our vegetable of choice for this dish. But of course, you can swap the broccoli for any veggie your family desires.
While there are a lot of steps with this cashew chicken meal, the actual cooking time is minimal. If you buy thinly sliced chicken tenders, the chicken cooks in no time. We also use this instant rice which makes the rice-prep way easier. So, the majority of your time will likely be spent on mixing and stirring ingredients. These also happen to be tasks that kids can totally help out with!
Some notes about cashews
First of all, BUY EXTRA CASHEWS! Not only did we snack on cashews while we were cooking; our corresponding Homemade Trail Mix Craft calls for cashews, as well!
The cashews added a crunchy, sweet deliciousness to the dish that we all loved. Because of the growing prevalence of nut allergies, all forms of nuts are pretty much off limits at school. So, we thought it would be safe and nice to incorporate cashews into our dinner. Cashew chicken for the win! Our family has been blessed to be free of nut allergies (at least so far!). Of course, if someone in your family does have a cashew allergy, there are lots of possible substitutions for the cashews. You can either omit them entirely or swap them for something else that is tasty, like sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or raisins.
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈
🍅Rice on the side! Some kids might want their chicken and rice separate.
🍅Add soy sauce! My kids liked to add soy sauce to the rice. I bought the low sodium Kikkoman, so their salt intake wasn’t through the roof.
🍅Customize veggies! Our family loves broccoli, but you can add or swap any other veggie of choice! Snow peas, carrots, or peppers would be delicious.
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴
🍅Try Tamari! Replace the 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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- 3 cups Instant Rice (uncooked)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t pepper
- 1-1.5 lbs chicken tenders (chopped into 1" pieces)
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 3 T soy sauce
- 1 T rice vinegar
- 2 T brown sugar
- 1 T corn starch
- 1/2 t sesame oil
- 1/4 t garlic powder
- 1/4 t ginger powder
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup cashews (dry roasted, unsalted)
- 1 head broccoli florets cut into small bite sized pieces
Cook rice according to instructions on package.
Place the flour, salt & pepper in a bowl, mix together and toss with in the chicken. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on each side for about 2-4 mins.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine all sauce ingredients (except the cashews). Stir until ingredients are evenly mixed. Pour over the chicken in the skillet and turn the heat to low-medium. Cook chicken in sauce 2-3 mins, until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through. Stir in cashews. Turn off heat when sauce is as thick as you like.
In a separate pot, bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil. Add in broccoli, cover and simmer for 3-4 mins. Strain broccoli and set aside.
Serve chicken and its sauce over rice, with broccoli on the side.
We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.
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