Written By: M.
New Year’s Day has once again come and gone, and inside sources have assured me that with it came many repeated resolutions of eating healthier.
Wanting to eat healthier is a fantastic goal and we wholeheartedly support it. However, as with all goals, sometimes we are forced to prioritize other needs. Maybe work or school got a little too intense or maybe you had to be there for a loved one going through a tough time.
These scenarios are inevitable and it’s understandable why sometimes they get the better of us and break our goals. We don’t think the solution here is “toughing it out” or “just stick to it, trust me” . Sometimes, external circumstances are enough to cause some internal changes.
That’s why Shortcut Cooking is so great. It’s what we do when things get hectic and we can’t spend as much to prepping and cooking.
The priority here is to spend as little time cooking and cleaning as possible while still eating good food. This means that any shortcut that we are allotted, we use. It means instead of fresh vegetables, we eat frozen vegetables and instead of mincing garlic, we use a garlic paste. The goal is to make a home cooked meal faster that ordering fast food, regardless of your cooking skill.
Today, we cooked One Pot Veggie Stir Fry. It was done in under 10 minutes.
Time to cook: 8 minutes (8 active minutes, 0 passive minutes)
Serves: 3 – 4 people.
Frying pan (Or a wok if you have one. If you do, you’re better than us and you should feel proud.)
Items to clean: (5 Total, about 2 minutes)
- 1 pan
- 1 bowl
- 1 set of tongs
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
- Instant Rice Noodles
- Package of Frozen vegetables
- Often times, grocery stores will sell prepackaged frozen vegetables for stir fry.
- 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
- 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tbsp of Garlic-Ginger Paste (optional)
- Sesame Seeds (optional)
- Pour some vegetable oil in a pan and turn the heat on high.
- Cube some tofu.
- When the oil begins to smoke, put in the tofu cubes. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally so that all sides get lightly browned.
- Throw in the frozen veggies! Stir until cooked. This should take about 6-8 minutes.
- If you have Garlic-Ginger paste, add it here. Be sure to stir well to distribute the paste.
- In a separate bowl, pour some boiling water onto the rice noodles. Cooking instructions should be on your packet. For the packet we used, it only took 2 minutes. Strain when done.
- Once the veggies and noodles are cooked, add the noodles into the pan and stir well.
- Add Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil and a splash of Sriracha.
- When you add it, give it a quick stir to coat all the noodles. Then give one of them a taste. If it’s missing something or you think the ratio is off, feel free to make some adjustments here!
- Serve! If you have some sesame seeds, sprinkling some atop your meal provides for a nice visual flair.
- Assuming you already have multi-use ingredients (such as oil or soy sauce), this recipe only costs about $6.
- Furthermore, there were only three ingredients specific to this recipe (tofu, frozen vegetable mix and instant rice noodles.) Express lane, here we come!
Pillars of Edibility Rating:
Confused on what’s going on in this section? Find out more here.
Taste: 3/5. This could compete against most run of the mill take out orders for veggie stir fry. The taste alone won’t rock your senses or change your world view, but at this price and speed, it’s very difficult to beat.
Easiness: 5/5. This recipe requires only the ability to use a stove. Its’ knife requirements are to cut tofu, something that can literally be done with a butterknife. In terms of skills, it cannot be much simpler.
Affordability: 5/5. Six dollars was enough to create about 4 servings.
Speed: 5/5: Easily done in under 10 minutes. Cleaning time can also be easily kept under 1 minute. It is very difficult to find home cooked meals that can be completed this quickly.
Nutrition: 3/5. It’s not the greatest. If you’re not careful with how much soy sauce you put in, this could be very rich in sodium. There is also a decent amount of oil, so it’s not ideal. However, the goal of this recipe was to be as fast and easy as possible. This recipe was able to accomplish that on the scale of a Big Mac at McDonalds, yet it was significantly healthier.
Ways to Improve This Recipe:
- Use fresh vegetables
- Improves: Taste, Nutrition, Affordability
- Penalizes: Speed, Easiness
- The purpose of this recipe is to maximize speed and simplicity. However, if you are willing to spend 20 minutes cooking and cleaning instead of 10, the improvements in taste will be easily noticeable.
- If you are not vegetarian/vegan, you can easily replace the tofu with some meats.
- Greater Garnish
- Ideas include green onions and cilantro
Tried this recipe? Let us know if you liked it!
How would you improve this recipe?
What are your go-to tricks when cooking in a hurry?