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Mealtime with Meredith: 10-minute General Tso’s Stir-Fry

This General Tso’s Stir-Fry is a perfect alternate to ordering takeout and can be made with very few ingredients.
This General Tso’s Stir-Fry is a perfect alternate to ordering takeout and can be made with very few ingredients.

Hello, chefs.

With all the chaos of starting a new semester, few students want to devote an hour of their night to experimenting with a new recipe.

Sometimes, it feels like students have to choose between having a ‘real’ dinner and getting assignments done. 

With my chicken and vegetable stir-fry recipe, you don’t have to choose: You can make a hearty, delicious meal in just 10 minutes.

I love this stir-fry recipe because I can get a serving of protein, starch and vegetables in the same amount of time it would take to make a pot of simple boxed mac and cheese.

To create this recipe, all you need is a box of rice noodles, some chicken breasts, some General Tso’s sauce and any blend of vegetables you prefer.

Photo by Meredith Perkins | The Miami Student
Featured are the ingredients Perkins used to prepare this quick meal.

I enjoy adding honey and sesame oil to my General Tso’s sauce to sweeten and deepen the flavor, but if you don’t have these pantry staples on-hand, simple salt and pepper will be fine.

For my vegetable blend, I use Kroger’s stir-fry starter pack. I like this frozen blend of peppers, mushrooms, onions, snap sugar peas, broccoli, carrots and celery because it is cheap and ensures I have a diversity of vegetables in my meal without having to prep and cut each individual vegetable. 

I typically use three pots for this recipe: one for the veggies, one for pan-searing the chicken and one for boiling the rice noodles. It creates more dishes, but it cuts the cooking time.

Because rice noodles cook very quickly, I recommend cooking them last: Overcooking rice noodles isn’t tragic, but often results in a mushy, sticky texture.

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I start with getting the chicken pan-searing and my noodle water boiling. Pan-searing is my favorite method for cooking chicken because it gives chicken a crispy, flavorful exterior and a juicy interior if prepared correctly.

To pan-sear chicken, coat the bottom of a pot (I prefer a pot to a skillet to not get oil splatters on my stovetop) with oil until the oil is hot. Salt the chicken on each side, then set in the pan. 

It is best to not add every seasoning immediately, as they can burn in the oil. To season my chicken, I add Kick’n Chicken, which goes well with a variety of different cuisines. 

After the chicken sears for 90 seconds, I flip it and add seasoning to the seared side. About 90 seconds later, I flip it again and add seasoning to the unseasoned seared side. 

While my chicken continues to cook, I drizzle some oil in my vegetable pot and pour my full bag of frozen stir-fry starters in. 

I let the frozen vegetables thaw for a little bit, then add a teaspoon of sesame oil, two tablespoons of General Tso’s sauce and a drizzle of honey.

I let my chicken cook to an internal temperature of 155 degrees and then remove from the pan, as the chicken continues to cook internally after being removed. Removing it slightly earlier than 165 degrees can preserve juiciness. 

Once my chicken is done, I toss my container of rice noodles in the boiling water, letting them cook for three minutes. If you are only cooking one portion, use  half of your container of rice noodles and cook the other half on the day you eat your leftovers. 

I cut my chicken into bite-sized pieces and mix them into my vegetable pot, letting the chicken soak in General Tso’s sauce.

When the noodles are done, you can serve them on the side or swirl them into your vegetable pot to coat in the sauce.

When it is time to serve, plate the stir-fry in a bowl. I enjoy giving the chicken and vegetable blend a light drizzle of sesame oil. 

If you haven’t invested in a bottle of sesame oil, seriously do it. It’s $5 and elevates the umami taste of any rice or noodle bowl magnificently.

And, there you go chefs: after 10 minutes, you have freshly grilled chicken, freshly sautéed vegetables and delicious rice noodles in a beautiful bowl of stir-fry.