Monday, September 02, 2013

Review: "Beyond Meat", and Easy Sweet & Sour Chicken

"So, are you dreading turning the 'big five-oh'?"
"Aren't you depressed about another birthday?"
"Don't you hate getting OLD?"

The few people who actually KNOW I'm turning 50 seem intent on transferring their negative thoughts and assumptions about this particular milestone off on me, but I have to say - I'm not buying it.
I understand it's different for everyone, but I really am NOT dreading it. I'm not depressed. And I don't know why getting older - ANY age older - is viewed as a BAD thing in our culture.
How can surviving this long, acquiring this much life experience and knowledge, participating in this much living... how can that be bad?

One of the things I've learned, (if I've learned anything) in my years on the planet is that you learn new things each and every day. You're only as old as your mind - so keep it active and busy, and OPEN! Sure it sounds cliche, but it's true. Look for new things to learn, be open to them, embrace the new that comes your way. And don't EVER be afraid to try something new, acquire a new skill, learn a new language or dance or sport or card trick or food (you knew I'd get around to that) or cuisine or recipe.

So. That brings me to today's recipe.
Basic, Easy, Sweet-and-Sour Chicken.

It's definitely NOT a "new" recipe for me, but an old favorite that vegan and meat-eating type folks ALL rave over.

And it's a PERFECT NEW recipe for people who are transitioning, questioning, exploring, skeptical, or just curious enough to try something new! It's also a huge favorite because it's SUPER fast and easy!! Anyone can cook this!!

I recently tried this "old favorite" recipe with a new (to me) faux chicken product sent to me by the fine folks at Beyond Meat. I'm probably the last person on the planet to have sampled this product, so you've probably heard all the other rave reviews, and how it's very similar to "real" chicken in taste and texture. Those reviews are correct. Simply put, EVERYONE loved the sweet-and-sour and LOVED the "Beyond Meat"; chicken-eaters and vegetable-eaters alike.

I was pleasantly surprised too, as I'm not a huge fan of all prepackaged faux chicken products; but this is definitely going to be a new favorite.
I wasn't put off by the "real" factor at all, enjoyed the ease of preparation and versatility of the different flavors (Beyond Meat currently comes in "Lightly Seasoned", "Grilled" and "SouthWest" flavors/styles). I can think of hundreds of uses for my NEW find!
Also, I'm not a fan of having to "fuss" much with preparing my veggie products, or buying them swimming in premade sauces; so that was another plus. Except for the sad fact that it's not available anywhere near me, I'll definitely be adding it to my menu when I can!

That said, expand your mind a little and try something new!
Like, maybe, my Sweet-and-Sour-Chicken!!

Quick and Easy, Sweet and Sour
'Chicken' and Veggies

  • 1 package Beyond Meat chicken-style strips (or other faux chicken of your choice - even breaded nuggets work well here!)
  • oil
  • 1 red bell pepper- cut in chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper - cut in chunks
  • 2 plum tomatoes- cut in chunks
  • 1/2 sweet onion - cut in chunks
  • 1 12 oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 cup of your favorite bottled sweet-and-sour sauce (Trader Joe's is good; YES, maybe this is cheating, but this is a FAST and EASY recipe. Make your own sauce if you like, I won't tell!)
  • steamed rice

Thaw the "chicken". (Leave package at room temperature a 1/2 hour or so.)
Cut strips in thirds (or if using "nuggets" cut into into quarters.)
Stir-fry chicken strips in non-stick pan with a teaspoon of oil until warmed through and starting to brown just a bit.
Remove from pan. Set aside.
In the same pan, with a bit more oil if needed, stir fry peppers and onion until tender-crisp.
Add tomatoes, pineapple, water and sweet-and-sour sauce.
Simmer for 5 - 10 min until sauce is hot. If there doesn't seem to be enough sauce, add a little of the pineapple juice you drained from the can.
Add "chicken" chunks, simmer another 2- 3 minutes until warmed through. Serve over hot rice.

This also works great with cubes of browned tofu or tempeh, they simply take a bit longer to brown.


janessa said...

I LOVE Beyond Meat chicken. This recipe looks awesome. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Birthdays are awesome; the fact that we're another year old older and (hopefully) wiser and have more laugh lines is a great milestone. Way to go for embracing it, you're an inspiration!

Carolyn said...

Happy Birthday to you TM! I have some Beyond Meat in the fridge now waiting for a recipe to jump into, so this is it! Have tried it in stir fries before and loved it. I don't have any problem at all using plant meats, but I also don't think they have to taste exactly like chicken, beef, or whatever. They just need to have a good texture, firm enough to hold up to cooking, and taste mild enough to take on the flavors of the dish, and this one does the trick.