Pinchin' Pennie$ in the Kitchen: 7 Steps to Creating a Stir-fry

(FN1649 Reviewed, Jan. 2023)
Publication File:

You don’t have to eat at a restaurant to enjoy a delicious stir-fry. Try making your own stir-fry using the foods in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer. You can start with fresh foods or use frozen vegetables.

Lead Author
Lead Author:
Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist
Web only
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Stir Fry
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  1. Choose a protein.• 1 pound chicken, beef or pork cut in small, bite-sized pieces, OR one package of firm tofu cut into ½-inch cubes. • For uniform cooking, cut the protein into similar-sized pieces.
  2. Marinate protein in one of the following:
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce or teriyaki sauce, reduced-sodium
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons chicken broth
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons apple juice
  3. Prepare produce.
    • 1 onion, cut into wedges
    • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups fresh vegetables (shredded carrots, shredded cabbage, sliced mushrooms, sliced celery, sliced peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, etc.) or substitute frozen stir-fry vegetables
  4. Make a sauce and a glaze.
    • Sauce: ¼ cup chicken broth, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 to 4 teaspoons vinegar
    • Glaze: 2 teaspoons cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons water or chicken broth
  5. Cook the meat.
    • Turn skillet on high, add 1 tablespoon oil and half of the protein. Stir-fry until fully cooked, about two to three minutes. Transfer to bowl and cover. Stir-fry the remaining protein.
  6. Cook the veggies.
    • Add 2 tablespoons oil. Stir-fry onion until tender, add garlic and then remaining vegetables. Cook the vegetables to the desired tenderness.
  7. Combine the ingredients.
    • Return the meat to the pan with the veggies. Add sauce and stir gently until everything is coated evenly.
    • Stir in “glaze” and stir-fry until the sauce in the pan is glossy and thickened.
    • Serve immediately over rice or noodles.

Menu idea: Stir-fry beef and broccoli over brown rice, fresh or canned pineapple and fat-free or low-fat milk

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Source: Adapted with permission from Utah State University.

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pan with vegetables and a wooden spoon

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