Monday, June 25, 2012

What's for dinner? Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry & Vegan Banana Bread

It's been one of those weeks, and it's only Monday. Two days of torrential rain from a tropical storm. A child with stomach troubles all last week, and several nights with only 5 hours or less sleep. I've been determined to redouble my efforts to make as much healthy food for my family as possible. I was planning to make a stir fry to use up some leftover cut vegetables we had in the fridge, and I came across this recipe, which called for ingredients I had on hand. Then I noticed that the bananas I had were starting to overripen, so I Googled recipes for healthy banana bread. I do this kind of thing all the time, to mixed results, but this time, both recipes were winners. Both recipes are easy, healthy and delicious - the stir fry satisfies the urge for take out but is much healthier, while the banana bread satisfies the sweet tooth, only without added sugar. I plan to make them again.

I have to also say how impressed I am that cooks have modified classic recipes to make them vegan, gluten free, etc. so you can barely tell the difference. This delicious banana bread tastes, well, like banana bread.

Here's how I modified the chicken with broccoli:

1 Tblsp vegetable oil
1 Tblsp sesame oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups vegetables of your choice (I used a mix of broccoli florets, sliced carrots, peas in the pod, and baby bella mushrooms)


1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch

First, assemble sauce ingredients, mixing ingredients in a bowl.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Saute chicken about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add onion and other vegetables, stir and fry another 5 minutes. Add sauce ingredients, put lid over all, bring to simmer then turn heat to low, cook five minutes, stirring occasionally. Enjoy over brown rice for maximum healthiness.

Awesome Vegan, No Addded Sugar Banana Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups mashed banana (preferably overripe)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped dates
2 tbsp ground flax seed + 6 tbsp water
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

Did you know that flax seed and water act as an egg substitute? In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seed and water, setting aside until it thickens slightly.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and dates. Add banana and flax seed mixture, mixing until flour is integrated. Place in an oiled bread loaf pan, bake 50-60 minutes until golden brown, and toothpick inserted in bread comes out clean.