In an effort to hang on to water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and a host of B
vitamins, it’s recommended that vegetables be cooked quickly and in a small amount of liquid. The longer vegetables cook, the more nutrients they lose.
Some nutrients leach out into the cooking liquid, and if you use that liquid to make a soup or sauce, you recapture the lost nutrients. Exposure to air can also accelerate nutrient loss. For example, once you cut up vegetables containing vitamin C and expose them to air, you reduce the vitamin content.
For maximum nutrient retention when cooking vegetables, try the following.
- When appropriate, leave the skin on. Many nutrients are found in and just beneath the skin.
- Because nutrients dissolve in water, do not presoak vegetables.
- Cook vegetables quickly and with as little water as possible. Vegetables are done when they are slightly crisp.
- To reduce cooking time, cover vegetables when cooking them.
Stir-frying is a great quick-cooking method for vegetables. It quickly cooks uniform-sized vegetables, meat, seafood or tofu in a small amount of oil over very high heat. If you don’t have a wok, a large, high-rimmed skillet will do.
Because stir-frying involves high heat, select an oil that performs well at high
temperatures. Good stir-frying oils include avocado, almond, canola, grapeseed, peanut, safflower and sunflower.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular
Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
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Bourbon Chicken Stir-fry
Serves: 4 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 45 minutes (plus marinating time)
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¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup bourbon
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, divided
1 cup snow peas, cut in half
¾ cup onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
½ cup red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ cup sliced celery
2 cups cooked brown rice, prepared without salt or fat
3 scallions, sliced, green parts only (optional garnish)
In a small bowl, prepare marinade by whisking together brown sugar, broth, bourbon, soy sauce, garlic and ginger until sugar dissolves. Reserve 2/3 cup marinade in a separate container and refrigerate. Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in a resealable bag. Add remaining marinade to bag and toss to coat chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to prepare the stir-fry, mix refrigerated, reserved marinade with cornstarch; set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken to wok and stir-fry 3 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken from wok and add remaining tablespoon of oil to wok. Add snow peas, onion, red pepper and celery and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes. Return chicken to wok and continue cooking 3 to 4 minutes. Add reserved marinade and continue stirring until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Each serving consists of about 1 cup stir fry over ½ cup cooked brown rice. Garnish each serving with sliced green onion if desired.
From Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD for Heart Smart and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.
436 calories (23% from fat), 11 grams fat (2 grams sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 44 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 367 mg sodium, 72 mg cholesterol, 49 mg calcium, 3 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 starch, 3 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 1 fat.
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