Stir-Fry Garlic Chicken & Vegetables

1½ to 1¾ lb. chicken 2 breasts
     or  4 thighs, skinned and boned
1 medium zucchini and/or
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
6-10 garlic cloves, minced salt, pepper
olive oil Italian seasoning
1 small acorn squash, chopped soy sauce and/or Balsamic vinegar
4 medium carrots, sliced 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 small cabbage, chopped 1 crown broccoli, chopped
2 large onions, chopped dry roasted peanuts (optional)
cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (optional)

Slice all the fat off of the chicken, and then slice it into bite-sized chunks.  Put the mound of chicken chunks into a large bowl and salt lightly.  Spoon in all of the minced garlic.  If desired, pour on a little soy sauce and/or Balamic vinegar.  Mix all of this together thoroughly and let it set for a few minutes.

Pour about 5 Tblsps. of olive oil into a large, deep wok (13½" across and 3½-4" deep).  Heat the oil on a medium setting until it just begins to make a crackling sound (watch it carefully so that it does not burn).  Carefully spoon in all of the chicken/garlic mixture, making sure not to splash any oil out of the wok.  Sauté the chicken and garlic, separating and turning over the mixture every few minutes with a plastic pancake turner, until the chicken pieces lose their pink color.  Once cooked, scoop out this mixture into a bowl and cover it until later.

Pour another 5 Tblsps. of olive oil into the wok and heat on a medium setting until it begins to crackle.  The firmer vegetables will need to be sautéed longer than the softer vegetables.  Also, the food will cook faster and more evenly if it has a lid over it while being heated.  Spoon in the acorn squash and cook for 2-3 minutes, turning and mixing frequently (removing the lid each time this is done, then replacing the lid).  Then add the carrots and cabbage and cook for another 2-3 minutes, turning and mixing frequently.

Next, add the onions, zucchini and/or yellow squash, and about 1½-2 heaping Tblsps. salt (more or less to taste), about 1 tsp. pepper, and about 4 Tblsps. Italian seasoning.  Add a few dashes of soy sauce and/or Balsamic vinegar.  Sauté all of these ingredients together, turning and mixing all of them every couple of minutes, for about 12-15 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, broccoli, and the bowl of pre-cooked chicken pieces.  Continue turning, every minute or two, for 5-7 more minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and all vegetables are al dente (or more done, if preferred).  Sprinkle on 1-2 handfuls of peanuts (optional) and mix them in.

Serve hot.  Optionally, spoon everything into a large (12½"×9"×2½" or bigger) rectangular pan.  (If it overflows, place the extra amount into a smaller pan.)  Sprinkle grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese evenly on top.  Place into a preheated 350° oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese melts.  If desired, broil for up to 10 minutes to brown the cheese, but watch it carefully so that it does not burn.


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