Brian and I both love to cook. I think if we ever won the lottery and didn’t have to work, we’d both probably go to culinary school and open our own restaurant/bakery. That’s seeming pretty unlikely, so we just have fun experimenting in our kitchen.
In our city, we have a decent amount of Asian restaurant options, but none that we’re in love with. I’ve wished for a long time that we would get a Pei Wei – one of our favorite places to go when we visit the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Their Kung Pao chicken is amazing… I’ve actually got to quit writing about it because I’m getting hungry for it now, and it’ll probably be a month or two before I get access to it again!
All that being said, we try making Asian food at home pretty often. We’ve never found a recipe that replicates Pei Wei (I’ve looked, though!) but we have a couple of staple favorites. One is chicken teriyaki. I love it because I almost always have the ingredients on hand, and it’s an inexpensive meal that makes plenty of leftovers.
We usually make our chicken teriyaki with white rice, but last night we were at Target and happened to notice a deal on Uncle Ben’s 90-second brown rice – it was on sale, and some kind soul left a coupon right beside it for another 50 cents off. Score! So, not only was it cheap, but it knocked a good 14-18 minutes off of the time it took to make dinner.
I’ve figured out that we don’t need a lot of chicken in this recipe – a little goes a long way, especially if you include a lot of veggies. What we made last night gave us four servings. J, our two year old, won’t eat it (yayyy for picky toddlers) so this means we’re having it for dinner again tonight, too. We can get by with using 4 chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-size pieces. I’ll list the recipe we used last night below:
Uncle Ben’s 90-second brown rice (80 cents after sale price & coupon)
Teriyaki Sauce (we use Veri Veri Teriyaki) ($4.00 for a bottle, about 50 cents for this meal)
Kikkoman Soy Sauce ($2.00 for a bottle, about 20 cents for this meal)
Chicken Tenderloin Pieces ($8.00 for a bag, about $1.60 for this meal)
1-3 Eggs (depending on how much you like in your fried rice) ($1.60/dozen, about 40 cents for this meal)
Zucchini (40 cents)
Onion (35 cents)
Red Bell Pepper (89 cents)
Butter ($3.29 for four sticks, about 30 cents for this meal)
Olive Oil ($3.89 for a bottle, about 19 cents for this meal)
Ingredient total cost for this meal: $6.92 ($1.73/serving)
1. Scramble eggs in a large saute pan. Once they’re cooked, remove them and set them aside in a bowl. In the same pan, use 2 teaspoons of olive oil (I just eyeball it) to saute diced zucchini (I cut it into half-moon shapes), onion, bell pepper, and carrots. While the veggies are cooking, follow instructions on the Uncle Ben’s rice to cook it in the microwave.
2. While your veggies and rice are cooking, you can also work on the chicken. In a small saute pan, cook your chicken in a very small amount of olive oil. I begin cooking my chicken as whole tenderloin strips, and then as it cooks I use the spatula to cut it into bite-size pieces. I only do this because it saves me the clean-up of utensils gross with raw chicken germs! I digress. After the chicken has cooked until it is no longer pink, add two tablespoons of teriyaki sauce, moving the chicken around to coat evenly. I cook it on medium because I like how the sugar in the sauce kind of caramelizes on the chicken – yum!
3. Add the rice, and 2-3 tablespoons of butter, to your veggies. Stir to mix, and let the rice and veggies cook in the butter for several minutes. Then add soy sauce to taste. I didn’t measure this at all, but probably added a tablespoon at first, and then a little more until it had the flavor I wanted. Cook this mixture a little like you would hash browns – leave it alone for a little while to let the bottom layer “crisp” a little, then mix up and do it again. This gives the rice a nice texture.
4. Add the chicken and egg to your rice & veggies, and combine the elements until the chicken and egg are distributed pretty evenly among the mix.
5. Serve & enjoy! We have some bowls with spots for chop sticks, so I always serve Asian food in these. Here’s the final product:
Ok, now I’m hungry again – Off to heat up our leftovers. Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!