There is a very simple “trick” to ensure that your pan-fried vegetables don’t end up all soggy. You can keep them crisp and delicious by following a few simple tips.
Preheat Your Oil
When frying your vegetables in a pan the most important thing to do is make sure you give your oil enough time to pre-heat. Regardless of what kind of oil you are using, if you add the vegetables before it is hot enough to “spit,” then you’re going to end up with soggy vegetables.
If you’re not sure if you’ve given your oil long enough to preheat, give it longer. You’ll get a sense for how hot is hot enough over time. This is the most important thing you can do to end up with properly fried vegetables.
Cut Your Vegetables Evenly
Another thing you can do to ensure your fried vegetables come out perfect every time is to cut them at reasonably even sizes. Even if you’re frying multiple types of vegetables, if you keep them at fairly uniform sizes, you won’t end up with randomly under-cooked or over-cooked pieces.
Certain Vegetables Have Different Cooking Times
Onions and mushrooms take less time to fry than most other vegetables. Carrots or large pieces of broccoli or cauliflower take longer.
If you’re going to be frying multiple types of vegetables in one pan, add carrots or broccoli first, and add onions last. Almost always. Specific recipes may have reasons for exceptions to this specific rule, but the first two tips will always apply.
This simple recipe for sweet and sour chicken doesn’t use any crazy Chinese ingredients. It’s basically the american-ized version of the dish. It’s also very delicious.
This recipe is intended to be served with rice, but there is no rice in the recipe. Serve it with rice anyways.
This sweet and sour chicken recipe uses this simple sweet and sour sauce recipe. An abridged version will be included below to keep everything on one page, but the sauce can be used for many other dishes as well.
Ingredients for Sweet and Sour Chicken
For this recipe, you will need:
- Four boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- One red pepper
- One green pepper
- Some finely chopped ginger
- Five to seven garlic cloves, depending on how much you love garlic
- A couple of onions
- Some pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Sweet and sour sauce
- Optional: some sliced pineapple (usually from a can)
How to Make Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken
Bring a frying pan to medium heat and start cooking your chicken.
While your chicken is cooking, chop your red peppers, green peppers and onions into fairly large pieces. Big chunks of each is the general standard for sweet and sour chicken.
Finely chop your garlic cloves and your ginger.
While your chicken is (probably) still cooking, start preparing the sweet and sour sauce.
- Three quarters of a cup of sugar
- Two thirds of a cup of water
- A third of a cup of white vinegar
- A quarter cup of soy sauce
- About a tablespoon of ketchup
- And about two tablespoons of corn starch
In a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
With your chicken (probably) about cooked, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to a frying pan and begin cooking your peppers, your garlic, and your ginger. Once the peppers have started to soften, add your onions. Cube up your chicken breasts and add those as well.
Pour your sweet and sour sauce overtop and allow to simmer for a few more minutes, and you’re done.
Tips for Making Sweet and Sour Chicken
- This recipe is written in an order that allows for the cooking times to align with your prep time. You can pre-make the sweet and sour sauce if you consider it simpler.
- If you choose to use the pineapple, add it at the same time you re-add the chicken.
- Some recipes suggest you cook the chicken along with the peppers. This one doesn’t. It’s for health reasons and for simplicity’s sake. Do what you will.
- Serve with rice.
This easy recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup can easily be prepared almost as quickly as the packaged stuff, and is actually made with real chicken.
Ingredients for an Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
You will need:
- Chicken broth (homemade or from a can)
- Chicken breasts
- Egg noodles
- Sliced carrots
- Basil, oregano, salt and pepper
How to Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
Before you do anything, you need to fry up roughly half a pound of chicken breast. Your chicken should be thoroughly cooked before using it for this soup recipe.
Chop up your celery and onion. You will need about a half cup of each. Add more or use less depending on your opinion of sort-of-crunchy things.
Bring a large pot to medium heat and add a tablespoon or two of butter. Cook your celery and onion in the butter for between 5 and 10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
Once the celery and onion begin to soften you can pour in your chicken broth. You should add about six to eight cups of broth. More broth would just give you more soup but unless you balance out the broth with more soup-stuff then it probably isn’t worth it.
Now you can add your (already cooked and cut) chicken, about a cup and a half of egg noodles, some chopped carrots, and your spices. You should use a teaspoon or less of both oregano and basil, and as with anything else, you can add salt and pepper to taste.
Once you have everything combined in the pot, bring the soup to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and let your chicken noodle soup simmer for about twenty minutes.
Tips for Making Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Basil, oregano, salt and pepper are just recommendations. This is an area where you can easily experiment or just use something you like better.
- Homemade chicken broth is an obviously better choice than the canned stuff but for the purposes of this simple recipe, the canned stuff is probably more reasonable.
- As with most soups and stews, letting this chicken noodle soup simmer longer will result in an overall better soup. Beyond twenty minutes you will see diminishing returns, though.
Beef broth (also known as beef stock) is a simple additive that you can use in soups, stews, gravies, and sauces that will add a lot of great flavor for very little cost.
This recipe for homemade beef broth makes quite a bit, so make sure you’re prepared to store it before you get started.
Beer fills out the flavor of a stew. Unless you want to risk overspicing, the easiest way to flavor a beef stew is adding a can of beer. Make sure you don’t skimp on the other ingredients, though. If you just want beer, just have a beer.
For a beef stew recipe without beer, check out this recipe for a traditional beef stew.
This is a simple recipe for sweet homemade salsa. While less popular than a good spicy salsa, a sweetened salsa can be a nice variation.
This homemade jalapeno hot sauce is a very basic hot sauce recipe that you can make on the stove-top.
This recipe is fairly similar to this habanero hot sauce recipe, but jalapenos are much milder and easier to eat in greater quantities.
You will need a food processor.
Hot Sauce Ingredients
For this recipe you will need about twenty fresh jalapeno peppers.
You will also need fresh garlic and onion. A little bit of salt and vinegar will be required as well.
You will also need vegetable oil for preparation, and some water. Hopefully you know where to find water.
How to Make Hot Sauce
Chop up about twenty fresh jalapeno peppers. You can slice them, dice them, whatever you’d like. They will be run through a food processor later, anyways.
Chop up three to four garlic cloves and a medium onion as well.
Coat a medium saucepan with a bit of vegetable oil and heat over high heat.
Combine the sliced peppers, garlic, and onion and saute for four or five minutes. Add about three quarters of a teaspoon of salt while sauteeing.
Add two cups of water and cook the mixture, stirring often. After about twenty minutes, remove from heat.
Once the mixture cools to room temperature, pour everything into a food processor and puree. Slowly add one cup of white vinegar during the pureeing process.
And you’re left with a delicious jalapeno pepper spicy hot sauce.
Tips for Preparing and Using Hot Sauce
- If you pour the mixture into a sterilized jar it can be kept in the fridge for four to six months.
- For a thicker sauce, process less. For a runnier sauce, increase the amounts of water and vinegar slightly.
- For a spicier hot sauce, try out this habanero hot sauce recipe instead.
- For something more “mass-market” approved you can check out our knock-off recipe for Frank’s Red Hot.