Broccoli Stir-Fry

I’m crazy about broccoli. And that’s why this time of the year is so exciting to me.

Just this week, I’ve been overrun with broccoli from my garden. I gave my mom the first head, but now, there are several more just waiting to be devoured. But don’t worry. None of it will go to waste. For starters, Therese is planning on making a broccoli salad, which includes sunflower seeds and raisins. It’s one of my favorite.

But my favorite way to have broccoli is in a stir-fry. (For more stir-fry recipes, go to Whenever I go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant, broccoli usually is my first food of choice. I love broccoli in Mongolian-type stir-fries and in dishes with beef, shrimp and chicken.

I‘m hoping to put together a broccoli stir-fry in the next day or two with a bit of elk meat that’s been thinly sliced and a few other veggies, including bell pepper, onion and celery. In anticipation of that, I’ve looked at a few recipes in an attempt to come up with something unique. Here is what has caught my eye so far.

Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
1½ pounds beef sirloin tip, thinly sliced
1 egg white
¼ cup rice wine
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 to 6 cups small broccoli florets, about ¾ pound
½ cup water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Place beef slices in a large food storage bag. Whisk together the egg white, rice wine, 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl; pour over beef. Seal; turn bag to coat beef with marinade. Refrigerate 1 to 3 hours.
Heat a large saucepan of water to a boil; add broccoli. Cook 30 seconds; drain. Set aside. Mix remaining teaspoon cornstarch, ½ cup water, oyster sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, sugar and pepper to taste in a bowl; set aside.
Heat wok over high heat. Add oil; heat until very hot. Add beef in batches; stir-fry until meat is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to bowl.
Discard all but 2 teaspoons of the oil; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 30 seconds. Stir in the water-oyster sauce mixture. Add to wok, heat to a boil; cook 1 minute. Stir beef and broccoli back into wok. Cook to heat through, about 1 minute.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 317 calories, 38 percent of calories from fat, 13 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 73 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 40 grams protein, 635 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry
1 pound uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
1 medium onion
½ cup sugar snap pea pods
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
½ teaspoon salt (for cooking pasta)
8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1½ teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning
Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Peel onion and cut into 8 wedges. Snap-off the stem end of each pea pod, then pull string across pea pod to remove it. Cut tomatoes in half.
Fill a 4-quart Dutch oven about half full of water. Add ½ teaspoon salt. Cover with lid; heat over high heat until water is boiling rapidly. Add pasta. Heat to boiling again. Boil uncovered 3 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender but still firm to the bite.
While pasta is cooking, in a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; stir-fry 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is brown.
Add broccoli and pea pods to chicken mixture. Cook over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together broth, thyme, lemon peel, cornstarch and lemon-pepper seasoning; stir into chicken mixture. Cook over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and vegetables are coated.
Stir in tomatoes; cook until thoroughly heated. Place a strainer or colander in the sink. Pour pasta in the strainer to drain. Serve chicken mixture over pasta.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 440 calories, 6 grams fat, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 530 milligrams sodium, 61 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams dietary fiber, 37 grams protein.

Szechuan Beef Stir-Fry
10-ounce package fresh vegetable stir-fry blend
3 tablespoons water
2 beef shoulder center steaks (ranch steaks), cut ¾-inch thick (about 8 ounces each)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup prepared sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups hot cooked rice or brown rice, prepared without butter or salt
¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts
Combine vegetables and water in large non-stick skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain vegetables. Set aside. Meanwhile cut beef steaks into ¼-inch thick strips.
Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half the beef and half the garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.
Return all beef and vegetables to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 351 calories, 11 grams fat, 64 milligrams cholesterol, 1,147 milligrams sodium, 29 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 32 grams protein.



Sweet Peppers — A Stir-fry Must

There’s no comparison between sweet bell peppers from the garden and those you buy at the supermarket, and that is why I always make a point of planting at least a dozen plants in my garden each spring.

I was pretty disappointed with the production of my  peppers last summer, but it looks like this year will be a different story. My pepper plants have been thriving in the recent hot spell. In fact, several have tiny peppers already forming on them.

While I like to eat peppers raw — perhaps dipped in a little ranch dressing — or in a nice salad, my preference is in stir-fries. I can’t imagine a stir-fry without sweet peppers. The red ones make dishes especially colorful.

One food I particularly like to pair with the peppers in a stir-fry is shrimp. I like to use medium-sized shrimp because they take about the same time to cook as vegetables such as peppers.

A favorite Web site of mine to find healthy eating tips and tasty dishes, the American Institute for Cancer Research (, recently featured a stir-fry recipe (which follows) that stars shrimp and bell peppers, both green and red. I plan on tucking it away and using it when the first peppers from my garden are big and ripe.

Teriyaki Shrimp Stir-fry with Pineapple and Peppers
¾ cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons lite Teriyaki sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
¾ pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon grated or minced ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
8 large white mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup fresh pineapple, in 1-inch cubes
Cooked brown rice
Pour ¼ cup of broth into small bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk to blend. Add remaining broth, Teriyaki sauce and ground pepper. Set seasoning sauce aside.
In wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add shrimp and stir-fry until they look pink, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn shrimp out into bowl.
Add remaining oil to wok. Stir-fry ginger and garlic until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and peppers and stir-fry until mushrooms look moist, 2 minutes. Add pineapple and return shrimp to wok. Stir seasoning sauce and pour it into pan. Stir-fry until the sauce thickens and boils, about 2 minutes. The shrimp should be white in the center. Serve immediately, accompanied by cooked brown rice.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 200 calories, 9 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 13 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 290 milligrams sodium.