Cooking a Healthy Stir Fry

Cooking a Healthy Stir FryStir-fry makes for a complete meal that can be made in a short time when you are famished. The majority of kids, including the picky eaters, will be happy with a colorful stir-fry for dinner.

Let’s discuss the items you will need for your stir-fry, such as the cookware to use. What cooking oil is best, and also the vegetables and the use of protein in your stir-fry’s.

Cooking Stir-Fry

Types of woks for Cooking a Healthy Stir Fry Stir-fry can be made in a Wok, which is a great cooking method as it cooks this food properly without having to add a lot of oil. A wok is built to heat up in such a way that food cooks fast, meats get a nice sear and vegetables cook quickly so they are not overcooked and retain their nutrients.

But, if you don’t have a Wok, you can use a cast iron skillet, hard anodized or ceramic coated cookware, but make sure they are really hot before adding the ingredients.

Healthy Oil

To cook your stir fry for heart health, you need to choose cooking oil that has a high smoking point because of the high temperature of frying.

Chinese cooks normally use peanut oil, which has a high smoke point and a pleasant nutty flavor, for stir-frying (and deep-frying). The Peanut Institute states that highly refined peanut oil does not contain allergen-containing proteins and is safe for people with even severe peanut allergies.

Keep in mind that peanut oil is 18% saturated fat, not a healthy fat for the heart, according to the medical community.

Almond oil is suitable to stir-fry with as it has a smoke point of 420 degrees. Almond oil contains the second highest percentage of monosaturated fats, behind olive oil. This type of fat has a number of potential health benefits including lowering total cholesterol, normalizing blood clotting and controlling blood sugar.

Olive oil is also suitable to stir-fry with, but only when using extra light olive oil, because it has a higher smoke point at 468 degrees over EVO oil which is 350 degrees.

Avocado OilAvocado oil has many uses and is great for lowering blood pressure. Avocado oil has a smoke point to 500 degrees. This oil is great for searing meats and frying vegetables. When the food hits the hot oil, the sugar content in the food caramelizes and proteins will be denatured and form a thin coating. This allows the food not to soak up any oil. Also because it is thicker than olive oil, you will find yourself using less of it in the pan. In the USA, if you live near a Costco, the price of the avocado oil for 1 litter is about $10.99 (2014). It isn’t certified organic, but it does state non-gmo avocados used.

The flesh of an avocado, including its oil have 20 vitamins and minerals, which include B-6, an essential B-vitamin for healthy red blood cells, nervous system, gums and teeth. Other nutrients include iron, potassium, lutein and folate. Avocado oil also contains potassium, pantothenic acid, copper and the phytonutrient lutein, which helps boost eye health as we age.

Each serving of avocado oil, 1 tablespoon contains about 1.6 grams of saturated fat, with no omega-6 fatty acids, which cause inflammation in the body.

Vegetables – Low in Calories and Fat

vegetables for stir-fryOne of the best things about a stir fry is the variety of vegetables you can use, such as cabbage, broccoli, peas, green beans, mushrooms and peppers. Most vegetables are high in fiber, keeping you full for long periods of time. Vegetables are low in calories as well and have no fat and so they can be eaten in abundance.

Protein in Your Stir-Fry

You can choose to use meat, like pork, beef, or chicken. But if you want an all vegetarian stir-fry, you can still have protein as well, by adding nuts or seeds.

Peanut sauce is a high-protein food offering 8 grams per 2 tablespoons. Also 1/4 cup of slivered almonds adds 6 grams of protein or 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds adds 7 grams of protein.

However you choose your protein, make sure to add it to your stir-fry. Protein is an essential building block for healthy tissue and muscles in the body.

Enjoying a good stir-fry also ensures you are getting your daily need of vegetables that provide all of the amino acids you need plus fiber and phytonutrients for a long healthy life.

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Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

We went shopping for some fruits and vegetables and I found a good watermelon. The batch of melons we were examining were from Mexico. The watermelons were all little girl enjoying a sweet watermelonthe same weight and the same shape. If your asking how is that possible, it is because we bought it at Cost Co. All of the fruits and vegetables they stock have to be to their standards, that is shape, size, and weight. Especially if the produce is sold in singles, like watermelons. As they have no scales to weigh the produce, they need to be the same weight.

With that said, you may think that every watermelon in the bunch is equally as ripe and sweet. But not so. How is one able to choose the right melon?

I found this image on-line that is self explanatory. It shows how you can select the right melon, so when you cut it up and take your first bit, you won’t be dissatisfied with a non-sweet, pithy watermelon.

choosing a rip watermelon

Once you have your rip, sweet watermelon, you need to try this wonderful salad: Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad.

Here is what you will need:

chopped watermelon

Wow, doesn’t that melon look rip and juicy. You need  1 ripe and sweet watermelon, cubed at desired size, 5-7 pieces per salad plate. You will use between 1/4 and 1/2 of the melon. It all depends on how many plates you will be serving.

ingredients both for the Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad and the vinaigrette

In addition you will need:

1 shaved fennel bulb set in ice water to crisp

1/8 cup toasted hazelnuts, broken into small pieces

1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled into small pieces

1 cup Tender Greens lettuce mix (variety of lettuce and greens)

1/2 shallot, minced

The shallot will be used in the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette.

ingredients for Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

Along with the shallots you will need the following to make the Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette to mix with the leafy greens:

5 chive stems, finely chopped

3 basil leaves, finely sliced (I forgot to mark that on the image. That is what is in the jar in the back ground)

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¾ cup olive oil

 Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette

 

Whisk together shallots, chives, basil, honey and balsamic; slowly add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

preparing hazel nuts, and anise for the Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

Next remove the green top from the fennel and shave the bulb allowing the shaved parts to fall into a pie plate full of  ice water to crisp the shavings. What ever method you want to use, chop the hazel nuts. I have a Progress-o Chopper in among my kitchen arsenal.

 

mixing salad, adding vinaigrette

 

In a large bowl gently toss tender greens, crisp fennel, toasted hazelnut, add some salt and pepper to taste. Next add 2 tbsp. of the vinaigrette together with the leafy greens and incorporate well.

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

 

Plate the leafy greens mixture. Place cubed watermelon on salad mix, about 5 to 7 cubed pieces. Crumble goat cheese on top. Finish with drizzled vinaigrette around salad.

If you desire to add meat to this salad, cook up 12 to 16 oz. of pork bacon; but not crispy. Cut each strip into 5 or 6 slices. Top the bacon after adding watermelon and then top with goat cheese.

Take this salad to your next Pot Luck or Summer Picnic in the Park and nobody will stop talking about the person who brought that tasty and delectable salad.

This recipe adopted from: Tender Greens 

 

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