I wanted to make a stir fry this week because they're just so quick, easy and packed with goodness. This is one of those cases where it was actually less expensive to buy the frozen, pre-chopped mix of vegetables than to buy each vegetable fresh. Red peppers alone were $2.50 each and I got a whole bag of vegetables for $1.94. Plus, this way I won't have tons of left overs. Frozen vegetables are a wonderful asset to those eating on a budget. They don't go bad quickly in the refrigerator, there are a ton of varieties and most don't contain any added salt or preservatives (check the label to be sure). Sure, the frozen weren't as crunchy as fresh would have been but the dish was so good over all that I didn't care.
I added soba noodles (buckwheat noodles) to the stir fry for bulk and fiber. I paid $3.94 for 8 oz. of soba noodles and I'm quite sure they can be purchased for far less else where, probably even at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to drive across town that day. Check ethnic markets for an even lower price. Oh, AND my hoisin sauce was organic so I'm sure you could get that for less too. Moral of the story: you can probably make this recipe for a few dollars less than I did.
Total Recipe cost: $8.57
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Cost per serving: $1.43
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 25 min.
|2 inches||fresh ginger||$0.20|
|1/2 cup||natural peanut butter||$0.66|
|1/2 cup||hoisin sauce||$1.20|
|1/3 cup||hot water||$0.00|
|1/2 tsp||sriracha hot sauce||$0.04|
|2 Tbsp||vegetable oil||$0.06|
|1 lb.||frozen stir fry vegetables||$1.94|
|8 oz.||soba noodles||$3.94|
|2 sliced||green onions (optional)||$0.36|
STEP 1: Prepare the sauce first. Peel and grate one inch of ginger into a bowl. Add the peanut butter, hoisin sauce and sriracha hot sauce, and 1/3 cup of hot water. Stir or whisk until smooth. Set the sauce aside until it is needed.
STEP 2: Prepare a very large skillet or wok with 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Grate another inch of ginger into the oil. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the oil as well. Turn the heat up to medium high and saute for 1-2 minutes.
STEP 3: Add the bag of frozen vegetables and cook until heated through. Use as large of a skillet as possible so that the residual moisture from the vegetables will evaporate quickly. Over crowding the skillet will leave you with a soupy mess. Frozen vegetables are blanched prior to freezing so they will already be slightly cooked and soft. Stir fry vegetables should still have a slight crunch and vibrant color. Do not cook them until they are very soft and dull in color.
STEP 4: While the vegetables are cooking, bring a medium pot of water up to a rolling boil. Add the soba noodles and cook until soft (5-6 minutes). Drain the noodles in a colander.
STEP 5: Once the vegetables have cooked, add the drained noodles and peanut sauce. Stir until everything is combined and coated with sauce. Garnish with sliced green onions if desired.
Step By Step Photos
I find the easiest way to prepare ginger is to peel it with a vegetable peeler and then grate it using a small cheese grater. A microplane would probably be too small and get clogged easily.
Grate about one inch of the peeled ginger into a bowl and add the hoisin sauce, peanut butter and sriracha hot sauce.
Add 1/3 cup of hot water and stir or whisk until smooth.
Add 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil to a very large skillet and add 2 cloves of minced garlic and another inch of grated or minced ginger. Turn the heat up to medium/high and cook the garlic and ginger for about 1-2 minutes (after the pan is fully heated).
Buying a bag of the frozen stir fry mix was far less expensive than buying each vegetable, and I won't be left with a bunch of leftovers. The mix contains nothing but broccoli, onions, red bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots and water chestnuts. No salt, no preservatives, just yummy veggies.
Add the frozen veggies to the skillet and cook just until warmed. Using frozen vegetables does not give a nice crunchy end product like fresh vegetables do, but it is still really tasty and worth the savings to me (money and time).
This is the package of soba noodles that I bought. It was a really small package (8 oz.) and I didn't think it was going to be enough, but the noodles expanded quite a bit during cooking.
Cook the soba noodles in boiling water until soft (5-6 minutes). This can be done as the vegetables are cooking. Drain the noodles in a colander when finished.
Add the drained noodles to the cooked vegetables...
Then add the peanut sauce...
Stir it all together and you're good to go!
You can garnish with green onions or cilantro if desired.
This recipe was so seriously delicious and filling... I know I'll be making it often. Because I used pre-cut frozen veggies, this recipe took less than 30 minutes to make! If you have ginger paste or a jar of minced garlic, it'll go even faster!