Over the years I’ve picked up a few fun interests and hobbies that have stood the test of time, such as blogging, cooking, running, photography, collecting Starbucks mugs, and over-hugging Ben in the mornings when he’s trying to leave for work, for example.
Others hobbies not so much…
The breadth of my Japanese vocabulary has remained unchanged since receiving the Rosetta Stone kit I just had to have for my birthday nearly three years ago. Kanashii!
The knitting needles and 5 balls of yarn I purchased during the particularly cold and boring winter of ’10 have yet to even LEAVE THE BAG.
The yoga mat, along with my upper body strength, disappeared after a few short months when sleeping in an extra 20 minutes began to sound more enticing than squeezing in an early morning workout.
It’s not that I lost interest in these things – I mean, how cool would it to be to be a Japanese speaking yogi wearing hand-knitted leg warmers?! – it’s just that, things happen, motivation wanes, and eventually so too do the number of downward facing dogs one performs before sunrise.
Unfortunately kitchen gadgets are not spared from temporary infatuation either. The donut pan I used allthetime last year to make luscious goodies like Baked Chocolate Donuts has been relegated to the back of the cupboard. The yard-o-beer glasses Ben and I had big plans for when scanning them onto our wedding registry sit untouched in the box 4 years later. And lets not forget about my poor, sweet electric wok!
Every 4 months or so I go through a phase where I want to stir fry like there’s no tomorrow, but just as soon as the craving hits, it seems to disappear again. Well, the wok has been patient enough, so yesterday I busted it out of its hiding spot to make quick & healthy Easy Chicken Lo Mein for dinner!
Fresh veggies including broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, celery & green onion, are stir fried with slurp-worthy noodles then infused with a savory, mouthwatering sauce. This is way better than takeout!
Stir frying in a non-stick electric wok is a super healthy way to make dinner since you only need to use a little bit of oil to cook all the ingredients, plus it gets rip roarin’ hot in under a minute which means dinner will be on the table in a jif. I’ll show ya’!
Now, before we jump right into stir frying the Chicken Lo Mein, we’ve got to pump the brakes and do a bit of prep work first. After that’s done though, dinner will be ready in under 10 minutes. Cool? Cool.
Start by cooking 4oz spaghetti in salted, boiling water to al dente. Drain then set aside. I like this Barilla Plus pasta for this dish, btw, as it’s a bit more hearty and holds up better to stir frying than regular white pasta, but it’s not as in your face as whole wheat pasta.
Next, prep the veg. I like how professional chefs always call chopped veggies “veg”. Right?
Anyways, chop up the veg including carrots, celery, mushrooms, broccoli, and green onions. (PS ignore the garlic in these pics – I forgot to add it during cooking, but neither Ben nor I missed it in the end!)
Next, slice up a large chicken breast into thin strips, and season the strips with salt & pepper. One of my favorite stir fry joints in town (Wok in Motion) does a great job of seasoning their meat before stir frying, which I appreciate. You really can taste a difference!
Now make a slurp-worthy sauce that will coat the Chicken Lo Mein. Begin by pouring 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce into a bowl. Oyster sauce does NOT taste fishy or funky at all. Promise! It’s thick, salty, sweet and wonderful.
As I mentioned the last time I used oyster sauce – you might be annoyed at having to buy an entire bottle just to use 1 Tablespoon in this recipe, so here are a couple more dishes you can use it in. Totally worth it!
To the oyster sauce, add 2 Tablespoons soy sauce. Regular or reduced sodium – whatever you’ve already got on hand.
Finally add 1/4 cup chicken broth,
and a pinch or two of red chili pepper flakes. Totally up to you as to how spicy you want the final product.
Prep work = OVER. Time to stir fry! Begin by heating 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large electric wok heated to 375 degrees. If you don’t have an electric wok, a regular wok (like the one I humiliated myself in front of Curtis Stone for) or very large skillet heated over high heat on the stove will be just fine. Here’s the one I use – it’s GREAT! Heats up in seconds, and is dishwasher safe. What more could you ask for?
Add the chicken and stir fry until it’s cooked all the way through, then remove to a plate and set aside.
Now heat another teaspoon of oil in the wok and gently add the carrots and celery and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until they’re slightly softened. I add these first because I HATE CRUNCHY CARROTS AND CELERY in, well anything, so I give them a little more time to cook.
Next add the rest of the veg – mushrooms, broccoli, and green onions – and stir fry until they’re tender.
This only takes a few minutes!
Finally, add the cooked chicken, pasta, and sauce into the wok, then mix everything together.
Less than 10 minutes, I’m tellin’ ya’!
Easy Chicken Lo Mein
Slightly adapted from Elly Says Opa
4oz dry spaghetti
1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 large chicken breast, cut into strips
salt & pepper
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 large celery stalk, thinly sliced
4oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli florets
2 green onions, chopped
- Cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain then set aside. Combine oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken broth, and red chili pepper flakes in a small bowl then set aside. Season chicken strips with salt & pepper then set aside.
- Heat an electric wok to 375 degrees, or a very large skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil then add chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside. Heat another teaspoon of oil in the wok then add carrots and celery. Cook until slightly tender. Add remaining teaspoon of oil then add mushrooms, broccoli, and green onion. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add cooked chicken and noodles back into the wok. Pour in sauce, then mix together well, and serve.
I love how the noodles and veggies soak up the quick sauce, which infuses every bite with flavor.
I used this combo of veggies because it’s what we had in the house, but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand – bell peppers, snow peas, bok choy, zuccini, etc. The sky’s the limit here!
Ben made fun of me for eating my ‘mein with chopsticks – Came back from Napa all fancy, did we? – but sorry, it’s fun! Plus they make you eat slower, allowing you to realize when you’re full and stop eating before your plate is licked clean. I wouldn’t know anything about that, but, it’s a theory.
Have you ever had an interest or hobby that died as quickly as it started?