Craving a Quick, Delicious Weeknight Meal? My Garlic Chicken Stir Fry Never Fails
As a parent juggling a full-time job, errands and keeping kids fed, I’m constantly on the lookout for tasty, simple meals I can whip up with minimal effort on hectic weeknights. Like most families, we tend to fall into a dinner routine rut of the same boring dishes. I recently discovered an amazing garlic chicken stir fry recipe that not only breaks us out of that rut with its fresh, delicious flavors – it has become my new favorite for lightning-fast, stress-free cooking.
This stir fry is a total game changer! Juicy chicken breast pieces cook up lightning fast then get tossed with the most delightful mix of crisp, fresh veggies in a rich garlic sauce that comes together in just minutes. Thanks to a few easy pantry staples and prepped ingredients, you’re never more than 20 minutes away from sitting down to enjoy a nutritious meal packed with lean protein, antioxidants and fiber.
As soon as that savory garlic and sweet brown sugar hit the hot pan and mix with salty soy sauce and toasty sesame oil, the most mouthwatering aromas fill the kitchen. One whiff, and the whole family comes running! The best part is that you likely have all the ingredients on hand for this any night of the week.
Now Weeknight Dinners Are a Breeze!
Between work, school projects, practices and errands, our family’s schedule leaves little time for complex cooking. Like most parents, I used to dread the daily “what’s for dinner” question. My uninspired dishes barely got eaten. Ever since adding this quick and delicious Garlic Chicken Stir Fry into my regular rotation, weeknight meals have become so much easier!
The beauty lies in the simple preparation, minimal ingredient list and quick stove-to-table timing. While the chicken cooks, I can throw the vegetables and simple sauce together in just minutes. Customizing each family member’s plate with their favorite veggies also makes everyone feel special. Even my pickiest eaters devour this dish and go back for seconds!
With such little time and effort, a balanced meal packed with nutrition suddenly appears. This flavorful chicken stir fry will surely become a staple in your weekly menus too! The versatility also lends itself nicely to adapting with seasonal produce or using up veggie leftovers.
Why does this recipe call for boneless, skinless chicken breasts?
Chicken breasts cook quicker than thighs and provide a leaner protein option. Skipping the skin also reduces overall fat and calories.
Can I substitute or add different vegetables?
Absolutely! This flexible stir fry takes well to any of your family’s favorite veggies. Try bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, spinach or bean sprouts.
Do I really need sesame oil?
The sesame oil gives an authentic, nutty aroma and flavor. If you don’t have it, substitute vegetable or peanut oil.
What if my stir fry sauce thickens too much?
No worries! Just thin it out with a splash of vegetable broth, water or rice vinegar as needed.
Can I prepare the protein and veggies ahead of time?
Yes! Chop everything in advance and store separately. Cook fresh for best texture and flavor.
What sides go well with this chicken stir fry?
It’s delicious with steamed rice, lo mein noodles or even stuffed in a whole wheat pita pocket.
How long does leftover stir fry keep?
Store leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat gently before serving again.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1⁄2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into 1⁄2-inch wide strips
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 cups sliced bok choy
1⁄4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 green onions, chopped for garnish
Start by slicing 1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts lengthwise first into 1-inch strips before cutting crosswise into bite-sized 1/2-inch pieces. This intentional cutting method allows the chicken to cook fast while soaking up the maximum amount of sauce. Pat dry chicken strips thoroughly with paper towels because any excess moisture will cause splattering. Have chicken pieces measured out and ready before heating up the wok.
To sear, add 1 tablespoon high-heat oil like avocado or grapeseed to a large nonstick wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Test oil temp by adding a small piece of chicken. It should sizzle vigorously showing oil is ready but not smoking. This indicates optimal 350-450°F temperature to brown, not burn. Evenly spread chicken pieces in a single layer. Resist stirring for 3 full minutes allowing the deep golden sear to develop and delicious fond to form on bottom.
Once chicken releases easily with light scraping, turn pieces and repeat searing on second side while pieces begin cooking through, about 2 minutes more. Transfer perfectly browned chicken batch to a holding plate and set aside, reserving flavorful brown bits stuck on bottom later for building the sauce.
Return pan to heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon high-heat oil. Sizzle minced garlic for just 30 seconds before it burns then mix in sliced carrots, mushrooms, onions and peppers. Stirring frequently, cook veggies for 2-3 minutes until they begin softening while gaining some charred edges but still retaining crunch at centers.
While veggies cook, combine sauce ingredients of soy sauce, stock, sesame oil and brown sugar in a small bowl, blending well with a fork. Once veggies start releasing moisture, pour this straight into the pan, allowing the sauce to simmer vigorously for 1-2 minutes. Scrape up all the flavorful fond off the bottom as sauce bubbles.
Make cornstarch slurry by mixing with water until dissolved. Swirl into sauce, stirring constantly until desired consistency is reached that lightly coats back of spoon. Add reserved chicken and sliced bok choy back to pan. Gently toss together just until bok choy wilts but still retains vibrant color, about 1 minute max.
Quickly transfer stir fry to serving plates, drizzling any extra sauce over top. Make it pop by sprinkling chopped green onions and sesame seeds over before rushing the fresh, hot plates to your lucky guests! Enjoy this quick and tasty Garlic Chicken Stir Fry over steamed Jasmine rice or rice noodles.
Use chicken thigh or breast meat for best results. Lean meat like breasts cook quickest.
Slice veggies and meat uniformly so they cook at the same rate.
Add a splash more soy sauce to taste if sauce seems too sweet.
Substitute broccoli, snap peas or baby spinach for the bok choy.
For spicy garlic chicken, add dried red chili flakes or a diced jalapeño with the garlic.
Cook and stir ingredients in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds when serving for extra flavor.