by Chrysa Smith

With 95 degree temperatures last week, eating was a challenge. Add to this my boredom serving the same old meat-based meals and the obscene prices at the grocery store and I came to my breaking point. I had no choice but to pull out the big guns: old recipes with less meat; more grain.
I began a few days ago, looking through my old recipe box for meals that revolve around rice or pasta. I knew I had an old stir-fry recipe my family enjoyed long before my rusted out wok found its way into the trash. But you hardly need a wok to prepare tasty Asian stir-fry’s. They work just as well in a deep fry pan.
So back up one day, when I found some good buys on meat at the grocery store. I purchased a pack of thin pork chops, which I haven’t done in well over a decade (I generally prefer to buy pork loin). I figured I could whip up a tasty stir-fry, but when I found that old beloved recipe, it called for beef and peaches—and I had pork, a can of Mandarin oranges and some fresh pineapple.
So, I figured what the heck. I’ve done pork with oranges before, and pineapple is also a light citrus companion. The pork & Mandarin oranges are marinating right now. I’ll be back right after dinner to report on my experiment.
Yum! Of course, tonight, my son was home for dinner. He and my husband loved it and were looking for more. While I usually make more of any dish than I think I need, I didn’t count on my college boy, who I rarely see for more than 15 minute intervals since he’s been home this summer, being there for dinner. And I surely didn’t count on him enjoying a meal that contained fruit.
So it’s a keeper all around. I’ll share it with you here, since I do believe that the base ingredients in this recipe can make it a winning dish with pork, beef cubes or strips, chicken, shrimp, scallops. Just change up the fruit as you like it, serve it with enough rice to stretch it a bit, and find out in advance, just how many mouths you will be feeding.
1/2 c. peach nectar (or other fruit nectar)
2 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce (Asian section of grocery)
1 Tbsp. sesame oil (Asian section)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 Tbsp. veggie oil
1 leek
2 garlic cloves
1 cup canned peaches (or other fruit)
1 tsp. corn starch
1/2 c. cold water
Marinate meat in sesame oil, Hoisin, ginger, garlic, fruit nectar and brown sugar. I like to do this for at least one hour.
Slice leek thin (just green section), brown in veggie oil, add meat and add all the liquids. Dilute corn starch in water. Move meat mixture toward the sides of your pan, allowing for a ‘well’ of liquid in the center. Add diluted corn starch into the center and let it thicken the juices. When it’s the consistency that works for you, add your fruit and serve over rice.
Watch for next money-saving meal: pasta.