It's nearly impossible to screw up a stir-fry: You throw some veggies, a protein, and a grain like rice or noodles in a hot pan, then move them around with a flavoring agent until they’re cooked through. The ease alone makes the stir-fry a no-brainer if you're not keen to cook in the kitchen or you don't have a lot of time. But best of all, stir-frying can be really healthy.

With the right ingredients, you can assemble a powerful arsenal of meals that build muscle and burn fat. What's more, you can make almost any ethnic food in a pan—and in less than 30 minutes. Enjoy the following recipes and never fail to eat right again.

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stir fry

Hawaiian Pork Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

6 oz pork tenderloin, cut into strips
A few pinches Chinese Five Spice powder
Salt to taste
1 1⁄2 cups red cabbage, slivered
Olive oil spray
1⁄2 cup red bell pepper, sliced
1⁄2 cup red onion, sliced
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 cup pineapple, cubed
2 tbsp teriyaki glaze*

*Find a teriyaki glaze that has as few sugars as possible—but be sure it’s actually a glaze. Thick teriyaki sauce won’t provide the richness intended in this dish. 

Directions:
1) Season pork with Chinese Five spice and salt. Place cabbage evenly over dinner plate.
2) Heat large nonstick stir-fry pan or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Spray pan, then add peppers, onion, garlic, and pineapple. Cook until peppers are lightly browned on outside and almost tender. Remove veggies from pan. Re-spray pan and add pork in a single layer. Cook until just barely pink, about 1–2 minutes per side.
3) Return veggies and pineapple mixture to pan. Spoon glaze on top and toss. When warm, serve stir-fry over cabbage. Enjoy immediately.

Serves: 1

Nutrition: 403 calories, 41g protein, 50g carbs, 5g fat

Goal: Muscle gain

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Chili, Garlic & Basil Chicken

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked rice udon noodles*
1 1⁄2 tsp toasted sesame oil, divided
21⁄2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1⁄2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
6 oz chicken breast, cut into strips
Olive oil spray
1⁄2 cup red onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 medium fresh basil leaves, or to taste, slivered

*You can swap in spelt, kamut, or other whole-grain udon, if you prefer. 

Directions:

1) Cook the noodles while you prepare the other ingredients.
2) Mix 1⁄2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp chili garlic sauce, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside. Toss chicken in remaining 1⁄2 tsp chili garlic sauce.
3) When the noodles are cooked, rinse in cold water, then in hot. Drain. Pour 1 tsp sesame oil into the bottom of a salad bowl and spread evenly. Toss noodles on top.
4) Heat large nonstick stir-fry pan or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Spray pan with oil spray. Add onion, garlic, and asparagus. Cook until onions are crisp-tender and asparagus is bright green and warmed. Push veggies to edges of pan.
5) Re-spray center of frying pan and add chicken in a single layer. Cook until no longer pink inside, about 1–2 minutes per side. Push veggies back into center, mixing them with chicken. Toss in sauce mixture. Spoon the chicken and veggies over the noodles and top with basil. Enjoy immediately.

Serves: 1

Nutrition: 518 calories,52g protein, 54g carbs, 11g fat

Goal: Muscle gain

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stir fry

Steak Fajitas

Ingredients:

6 oz trimmed top round steak, cut into strips
1 tsp salt-free Mexican seasoning
Salt to taste
Olive oil spray
1⁄2 cup red onion, sliced
1⁄2 cup yellow bell pepper, sliced
1⁄2 cup poblano pepper, sliced*
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup red enchilada sauce
2 corn tortillas
2 tbsp fat-free greek yogurt
1 tbsp Fresno chilies, finely chopped, or to taste**
Fresh cilantro leaves to taste

*It’s likely you’ll find poblanos in your grocery store. They are a very dark green pepper about the size of a bell pepper and pretty mild. If you can’t find them, swap in green bell peppers instead.
**Fresno chilies look like jalapeños but are bright red. They’re more mild than jalapeños. You can use any spicy pepper you like. Seed them if you want the fish to be even more mild; don’t if you like the extra kick.

Directions:

1) Toss steak in seasoning and salt. Heat large nonstick stir-fry pan or wok over medium-high heat until hot.
2) Spray pan then add onions, yellow and poblano peppers, and garlic. Cook until veggies are crisp-tender. Push to edges of pan. Re-spray center of pan and add steak in single layer. Cook until meat is lightly browned on outside and pink inside, about 1 minute per side. Push veggies back to center. Spoon sauce over the steak and veggies and toss.
3) Warm tortillas and place on dinner plate. Top tortillas with stir-fry to make fajitas. Spoon on yogurt, then sprinkle chilies and cilantro over top. Enjoy immediately.

Serves: 1

Nutrition: 282 calories, 45g protein, 45g carbs, 9g fat

Goal: Fat loss

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Buffalo Shrimp

Ingredients:

3⁄4 cup white rice 
Olive oil spray
1⁄2 cup snap peas, trimmed*
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
Garlic powder to taste
6 oz large (16–20 count), peeled raw shrimp
1⁄2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp hot wing sauce, divided

*Trim peas by breaking off the tip and pulling out the string that runs the length of the pod. 

Directions:

1) Cook rice according to package instructions.
2) Heat large nonstick stir-fry pan or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Spray pan, then add peas and carrots. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook until peas are bright green and warmed. Push to edges of pan. Re-spray center of pan and add shrimp in single layer. Cook until bright pink, about 1–2 minutes per side. Add tomatoes. Push peas and carrots back to center, mixing them with shrimp and tomatoes. Spoon 2 tbsp hot wing sauce over the shrimp and veggies and toss. Spread cooked rice evenly over bottom of salad bowl or over dinner plate. Carefully mound the stir-fry on top. Drizzle remaining tbsp of hot wing sauce over top. Enjoy immediately.

Serves: 1

Nutrition: 541 calories, 43g protein, 63g carbs, 12g fat

Goal: Muscle gain

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stir fry

Chicken Pesto

Ingredients:

2 tbsp jarred pesto sauce
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 cups mixed baby greens
6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
Salt to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Olive oil spray
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1⁄2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1 tsp fresh garlic, minced

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Directions:

1) Mix pesto with vinegar and set aside. Place baby greens in a small mixing bowl. Season chicken with salt and garlic powder.
2) Heat large nonstick stir-fry pan or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Spray pan, then add chicken in a single layer. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 1–2 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan and place on a plate. Re-spray pan and add broccoli, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook until broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender, about 2–3 minutes. Add chicken back to pan. Spoon 2 tbsp sauce over chicken and toss. Remove from heat.
3) Toss greens in remaining pesto–balsamic mixture. Spread tossed greens along the outer edge of a dinner plate. Mound stir-fry in center of plate. Serve as is, or toss for a salad-like presentation. Enjoy immediately.

Serves: 1

Nutrition: 380 calories, 47g protein, 17g carb, 13g fat

Goal: Fat loss

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