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When I cook from a recipe book, I want to create that person’s vision of the meal before tampering with the ingredient list. That is time consuming. The other night I was hungry! I needed some things at Trader Joe’s before dinner and grabbed a bag of “Trader Ming’s” Kung Pao Chicken” on impulse (after reading the label) intending to “wok” a fast meal, and was it fast!
I had purchased a Whole Foods in-store-pre-cut veggie mixture the day before and got that out. After heating my wok the frozen pre-cooked chicken chunks hit the oil. When it looked thawed and somewhat heated I dumped in the large package of fresh pre-cut veggies, plus the palm-sized frozen packet of veggies that came with the mix. I stirred until the veggies were nearly cooked then added one of the two packets of frozen Kung Pao sauce. Voila! A meal in 5 minutes. No chopping. No cutting. No measuring. No waiting. I have a better 5-minute-meal idea for next time, so come back and see, but this was delicious!
The “Trader Mings” Kung Pao Chicken Stir Fry ingredients are real food: chicken dark meat chunks, whole eggs, soy bean oil, water, cornstarch, chili powder, salt, white pepper in the meat chunks. Frozen veggies were ginger, garlic, green onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, brown onion, fried dried chili, water chestnut, peanuts. Sauce was water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, lime juice, ginger, garlic, green onion.
The veggie combo cut for me by Whole Foods included fresh zucchini chunks, snow peas, summer squash, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, red onion, cauliflower, broccoli, all as fresh as if I had cut them myself.
Without the time-saving ingredients I bought, I would have ended up eating something much less fresh and healthy.