CSA Vegetable Chicken Stir-fry

I’ll admit that I’m not the wok-master of the house. DH makes some great stir-fry, and when we got this week’s veggie box, I knew that he was going to have a fun assignment. The funny part was trying to convince him of what needed to go in the wok.Throw in the peas! And carrots! And OMG slice the kale thinly and it’ll be awesome! I’m such a backseat chef sometimes.

Needless to say, he made this fantastic stir-fry and the instant reaction was that it was a total winner. We used the sugar snap peas, carrots, green onions and kale from this week’s CSA box, and it was all just heavenly. Better still, after two adult portions (and small amounts siphoned off by the kiddos), we had two nice lunch portions.

And before anybody gets crabby about this being on white rice, I’ll have you know that dh made sushi rice in the Zojirushi, and OMG was that awesome, too. It was just one of those dinners where it all came together perfectly, and the only thing we were wishing we could do differently is not have eaten all day so we could just stuff completely. Another positive side-effect of loading up on the CSA veg is that it enabled us to be completely full from just under 4oz chicken each. That totally works, too. Not that I don’t love my poultry and all, but there was something insanely fun about just piling the veg high on the counter and watching dh go to town with the wok.

Note: if you don’t have a wok, I recommend that you try this type of recipe in a large, high-sided skillet. The wok is still the best starting place, but a large skillet that allows you to stir a serious quantity of food without spilling will work in a pinch.

Note, pt. 2: don’t feel compelled to make this with chicken. Make it vegan by ditching the chicken and either upping the veg or throwing some firm tofu in there. Just remember that the tofu shouldn’t need anywhere near the same cook time as the chicken. The point is that veg + wok = heaven.

Note, pt. 3: also, don’t feel compelled to use canned mushrooms. This was a nod to “it’s a weeknight and the kids are chafing at being in the grocery store when they’re hungry and I need to get them home so dinner can be made and BLARGHWHERETHE$*%&ISACANOFSHROOMSSOICANGOALREADY?!”


CSA Vegetable Chicken Stir-Fry



Prep Time: 30 mins

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4



1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut in 3/4″ cubes)

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 Tb canola oil

2/3 lb snow peas, washed, stemmed and stringed

1/2 lb carrots, washed and cut into 1/4″ rounds

15 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained

8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup green onions, washed and chopped

4 oz kale, washed, stems removed, and cut into 1/4-1/2″ strips

1 Tb cornstarch

2 Tb water


Make it Happen

1. Heat the canola oil in a wok over high heat until the oil smokes.

2. Add the chicken and hoisin sauce; stir frequently until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

3. Simultaneously, steam sugar snap peas and carrots. Steam for 3-5 minutes, until they just start to lose their crispness.

4. Once the chicken is cooked, add to the wok the mushrooms, water chestnuts, the steamed sugar snap peas and carrots, and teriyaki sauce. Stir to combine.

5. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, then add green onions and kale; stir to combine.

6. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water. Stir until the cornstarch is fully dissolved, then add this mixture to the wok and stir to combine thoroughly. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Rethinking Cheese Ravioli

The funny thing about trying to cook things from scratch is that you start to understand why “convenience foods” are just that – they’re convenient. There are certain things that just take so much longer when you try to make them by hand, and then it comes down to a desire to eat things you made yourself, or trying to omit/control certain ingredients, etc. Having two small kiddos and being in a household where both parents work, it really is tough to make a ton of stuff from scratch. I need a housespouse.

But, last weekend, I decided to make lasagna. And, since it was on sale, I purchased the MEGA container of ricotta. Silly me. Then again, at the time, I was thinking that I’d use the remainder to make cannoli…oh wait – I had some in my cart already. *facepalm*

So, confronted with ALL of that ricotta, I did what any other ambitious person might do: I decided to make my own ravioli. Now, I could have decided to make the pasta from scratch, too, but BABY STEPS, PEOPLE. BABY STEPS. Instead of the fresh pasta, I reached into the tofu area of the produce section and pulled out a neat package of Nasoya Wonton Wraps (wonton skins). These things have seemingly unlimited potential: ravioli, wontons, rangoons…lots of options for pockety things that taste good.

The next thing I had to consider was how on earth to manage this. After all, you can either use the approximately 2″x2″ skins to make VERY LARGE ravioli, or you can fold them to make triangles or rectangles. Not being sure of the best course of action, I did all three. I also wasn’t sure how best to seal these suckers up, and I have to say that I was really pleased to see how many of them survived. Naturally, being of the geekish sort, as I was putting them together, I told dh I wasn’t sure how many might survive the carbon freezing process…(His response: “Get out of my head”).

My first attempt at this turned up a total of 16 rectangles, 16 triangles, and 8 large square ravioli. I also had a small amount of leftover cheese mixture (no more than 2-3oz). If you can get your hands on some more wonton skins easily enough, this is a good time to apply them. Otherwise, you can save this mixture to stuff some shells with. Assume that, like anything else, you wouldn’t want to keep it more than a couple of days in the fridge.

This recipe seems more complicated than it really is; all the lettering is just my way of trying to help explain the slight variation that comes from making them in one shape versus another. The majority of the prep time in this, as with stuffed grape leaves (another favorite of mine), is in the lather-rinse-repeat action. If you make only the square raviolis, your prep time will be shorter.

The verdict on this was highly positive. Everybody went for second helpings, and the lighter nature of the wonton skins versus the standard pasta didn’t leave us with the usual Titanic-at-the-bottom-of-your-stomach feeling that can often come from additional helpings of pasta. We’re definitely making these again (perhaps adding in variations with herbed cheese, lobster meat or ground turkey).

Lastly, I made a lot. If you make the recipe as-is, you will have a ton of ravioli on your hands. It’s easily enough for 4-5 people. If you have a smaller crowd and/or don’t want to have leftovers, just halve the recipe and assume your prep time will be cut in half, as well.

Cheese Raviolis

Cheese Ravs - three ways

Prep Time: 45-90 mins, depending upon shape

Cooking Time: 5 mins, once the water is boiling

Serves: 4-5



15 or 16 oz part-skim ricotta cheese (whatever size you can get that’s closest)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 pkg Nasoya wonton wraps (~48 individual skins)


olive oil


Make it Happen

1. In a medium bowl, stir to combine the cheeses.

2. Place water in a small bowl (such as a finger bowl) and set to the side.

3. Tear off several sheets of waxed paper and place them to the side.

4. Put a wonton skin on a plate or other clean, dry, flat surface.

a) For triangles or rectangles, put 1/2 Tb of the cheese mixture in the center of the skin.

a1) Dab a finger in the water and lightly trace the water along the edges of the wonton skin.

a2) Fold the wonton skin over in the desired direction, then press lightly to seal the ravioli and remove as much air as possible.

b) For large square ravioli, put 1 Tb of the cheese mixture in the center of the skin.

b1) Dab a finger in the water and lightly trace the water along the edges of the wonton skin.

b2) Place another wonton skin on top, then press lightly around the cheese to seal the ravioli and remove as much air as possible.

5. Using a small fork (I used a dessert/salad fork), press down on the sealed edges to crimp and tighten the seal on the ravioli, taking care not to puncture the wonton skin. When you have crimped all of the edges, flip the ravioli over and repeat the process on the other side. (Then repeat the appropriate steps for 4a/b, as you desire, until you’ve made all of the raviolis you have skins for. If making triangles or rectangles, you should be able to make 48 small raviolis. If making large raviolis, you should be able to make 24 large raviolis instead. You can also make any combination thereof, as you choose.)

6. Place the raviolis on a plate, on waxed paper. Use single sheets of waxed paper in between layers of ravioli to keep them from sticking together before cooking. If you want to cook them later, cover the plate with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. (I made mine a few hours ahead of cooking, and that worked fine. I would guess they could probably keep overnight, too, if necessary, but I wouldn’t prepare them more than one night in advance.)

7. To cook, add as many as will reasonably fit in a large pot of boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes.

8. Remove raviolis from the pot with a slotted spoon and toss lightly with a small amount of olive oil, to prevent sticking. Serve with your preferred sauce.

One-offs: the glue to hold together a meal plan

Typically, when we do our meal plan on Saturday (or Sunday morning, right before going grocery shopping), we plan as follows:

  • Sunday – some form of fresh fish
  • Monday – crock pot #1
  • Tuesday – crock pot #2
  • Wednesday – one-off
  • Thursday – crock pot #1 leftovers
  • Friday – crock pot #2 leftovers
  • Saturday – meal to be determined that day

It’s not that we can’t make something on Sunday that lasts into the week; we occasionally do that just to relieve some of the tedium that can set in from keeping to a fairly set routine. Still, this is our most common/standard meal plan template. We then fill in with these “one-off” meals (ones that are designed to fill a single night and are not expected to generate leftovers). DH and I had identified a bunch of these before we had kids, since leftovers were never really as big of a deal in our pre-kiddo days, and our list has had to change substantially in the last few years, to accommodate the toddler/preschooler palate.

Our typical go-to one-off meals these days are those that cost very little to prepare, can be made with items that are easy to stockpile/maintain on hand, and that typically take no more than about 30-40 mins to prepare (often with very little “active” cooking time).

The list includes:

  • Turkey tacos
  • “Brinner” (breakfast for dinner)
  • Fish and chips (where fish can be sticks/squares and chips can include fries or tater tots)
  • Pasta (dried pasta or ravioli/tortellini)
  • Homemade pizza
  • Quesadillas
  • Faux Chinese (assortment of frozen Chinese food items, like dumplings, Gen. Tso’s Chicken, and egg rolls)

I’m curious as to any other one-offs that work for others. Feel free to post any in the comments section. We’re always on the lookout for new ideas, especially those that may be kid-friendly.

The other thing I’d be interested in hearing is any tips on how to get a fast one-off that’s short on active time but that doesn’t lean heavily on prepared foods. I suppose that we could manage to get some of the prepared foods out of our diet (or at least reduce the reliance on them) if I made things in advance and either refrigerated or froze them for later reheating. It’s all a matter of planning. And, since our schedule is still fairly dependent upon meal planning, I’m fine with that.

We do lean on lower-sodium, lower-fat options, when available – but all of these meals rely on some measure of convenience/prepared items. Knowing that we may have no more than 30-40 minutes to prepare a meal, it feels so daunting trying to push these prepared items out of the pantry. Somehow, I doubt that we’re the only ones fighting this battle. Or at least I’d like to hope that we’re not alone out there.