Stir-fried Chicken with Cashews – Cooking with Kids

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

September is National Chicken Month so I wanted to share Manitoba Chicken’s Stir-fried Chicken with Cashews recipe. It is flexible, quick and easy to prepare and that your kids can even help prepare it.

a bowl of rice topped with stir-fried chicken, cashews and vegetables.

Prepping this stir-fry

There are so many meal prep strategies that you can apply to this meal, to get it on the table in 15 minutes or less. A great tip for when you bring chicken home from the grocery store is to slice it up before you freeze it. This saves you a step on a busy weeknight and you can simply take the bag of sliced chicken out of the freezer the night before, thaw in the fridge and start cooking! Sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used in stir-fries like this one, sheet pan meals or fajitas.

Recipe tip: Did you know that you can find recipes for any cut of chicken you have, at manitobachicken.ca? Click the link and select the cut you’d like under the CUT menu.

This stir-fry recipe calls for carrots, snap peas, peppers and onions. You can swap them for other vegetables that you prefer. Snap peas are what I like to call a no-prep veggie, so they don’t require chopping. Other no-prep vegetables you can use to serve this stir-fry up quickly are frozen vegetables or pre-cut carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower from the grocery store.

Did you know that you can cook and freeze rice? You can! This is one of my favorite meal prep tips for reducing the cooking time of my weeknight meals. I always make a double batch and freeze half for a future meal. You can reheat frozen rice in the microwave in two minutes. You can also serve this stir-fry over noodles.

a child pouring cooked rice from a bag into a dish
Cooking with kids can be a bit messy but it’s all in the name of connection and skill development!

Preparing the stir-fry sauce

I love this sauce because it contains ingredients that I usually have on hand, like chicken broth, soy sauce, sugar and red chili flakes. Other ingredients like oyster sauce and Chinese hot sauce can be used in many other recipes like these Ginger Chicken Wonton Cups and this Sesame Chicken with Black Bean and Ginger Stir-Fry. Once you have the sauce ingredients, you can use them in a variety of recipes for weeks to come.

a child mixing ingredients in a bowl

Cooking with kids

Depending on how old your kids are, they can help prepare this recipe! Some kids might be reluctant to try a stir-fry because it is saucy and different ingredients are touching. Getting the kids to help prepare the stir-fry with you provides exposure to new foods and teaches them valuable cooking skills. Here are a few things they can do to help:

  • Measure out rice
  • Fill a pot with water
  • Pour cashews in a bowl for garnish
  • Wash vegetables
  • Slice chicken and vegetables (older kids)
  • Combine the sauce ingredients
  • Set the table

There is a complete list of ways that kids can help out in the kitchen on page 32 of the Ultimate Guide.

a child's hand picking up a snap pea from a plate of vegetables.
Setting aside some of the vegetables raw or serving the chicken without sauce is an easy way to ease kids into eventually enjoying a stir-fry.

Deconstructing this stir-fry

Some of my kids are reluctant to try stir-fry for a few reasons: different ingredients are touching, vegetables are cooked and there is a sauce! Here’s how I handle it without making them a separate meal. Serve the same vegetables on the side, raw, if they’re not into cooked vegetables. Before adding the sauce, you can set some stir-fry aside so they can enjoy the chicken and vegetables plain. Serve the cashews on the side as a garnish. My kids love adding toppings to their meals and self-serving helps them eat intuitively and develop their independence. We always serve meals family style so kids can practice good manners and interact as they pass and share dishes around the table.

a bowl of rice topped with chicken, cashews and vegetables

Try this stir-fry and let us know how you (and your kids) enjoyed it on our Instagram pages @manitobachicken @toobusylivin204.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Just because fall in creeping in, it doesn’t mean fresh summer flavors have to disappear. One of my favorite summer treats is an orange creamsicle, so I decided to replicate those creamy, juicy flavors in a cupcake! This weekend, I turn 41, while I also celebrate Too Busy Livin’s first official year in business.

Photos by: Gabrielle Touchette Photography, Food styling by: Josée Trudeau
Jump to Recipe

Making the cupcakes

These orange creamsicle cupcakes are light and fluffy with a pop of citrus flavor. Whipping up the egg whites and folding them in at the end creates that fluffiness.

Getting help from the kids

There are quite a few jobs that kids can do to help out with this recipe. Younger kids can help with pouring, dumping, stirring and placing cupcake liners in muffin tins, while older kids can squeeze the oranges, crack eggs and practice using measuring cups and spoons.

Substitutions

If your oranges aren’t very juicy, you can definitely use orange juice from concentrate. You can even make lime or lemon flavored cupcakes by replacing the orange juice with either lemonade or limeade, and the zest with either lemon or lime zest.

Frosting the orange creamsicle cupcakes

I love a great store-bought shortcut, especially if it is as creamy and delicious as this frosting! To make this frosting, all you have to do is use a package of vanilla pudding, and replace the milk with 35% whipping cream. The frosting recipe comes from Two Sisters blog. They use white chocolate pudding, but you can use this method with any pudding flavor. Whip it up into a thick, creamy frosting and slather it on the cupcake with a spatula, or pipe it on like I did here. Be sure to store frosted cupcakes in the fridge so the icing stays firm and doesn’t spoil.

Garnishing the orange creamsicle cupcakes

I chose to garnish these with gummy orange slices, but you can also use:

  • Orange ju-jubes
  • Jelly beans
  • Sanding sugar or sprinkles
  • Dehydrated orange slices
  • Fresh mandarin orange segments

If you’re want to try another delicious cupcake recipe full of summer flavors, these S’more Stout Cupcakes are reminiscent of eating s’mores around a summer bonfire.

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

A fresh citrusy cupcake with a thick and creamy frosting

Course Dessert, Snack
Keyword citrus, creamsicle, cupcake, orange, whipping cream
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar Use 1/2 cup for whipping the egg whites.
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 zest of one large orange
  • 3/4 cup orange juice freshly squeezed or from concentrate
  • 3/4 cup milk

Creamy Vanilla Frosting

  • 4 cups 35% Whipping Cream
  • 2 102g boxes instant vanilla pudding

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 4 egg whites.

  4. Using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they begin to foam.

  5. Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, while continuing to whip. The egg whites should be opaque white and form soft peaks.

  6. Transfer whipped egg whites to another bowl and set aside.

  7. In the bowl of the stand mixer, add 1 cup of sugar and butter.

  8. Use the paddle attachment until the sugar and butter are combined.

  9. Add the orange zest and vanilla. Continue mixing until combined.

  10. Alternately add some of the flour mixture, the orange juice and milk, mixing constantly until a uniform consistency is achieved.

  11. Fold in the egg whites using the paddle attachment at the lowest speed, or by hand with a spatula.

  12. Use a large, triggered ice cream scoop to portion out the cupcakes into liners. If you prefer to skip the liners, grease the muffin tins with cooking spray.

  13. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes. They are ready when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting

  1. Combine pudding mix and whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. Using the whish attachment, whip until the pudding mix and cream are fully combined and you have a fluffy, spreadable frosting. If you mix it too much, you will end up with butter, so watch it closely.

  3. If you like a thinner frosting, you can add more whipping cream to thin it out.

Recipe Notes

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting them. 

Frosted cupcakes must be refrigerated. 

Simple Slow Cooker Applesauce

It’s always nice to know people who have apple trees in their yards who are willing to share! My grandma and my friend give me apples every summer so I make applesauce to use in my baking year-round.

This recipe is so easy to make because you don’t have to peel the apples. Simply cut around the core, fill your slow cooker, add a bit of water, and let it cook on low for 4-6 hours. Puree the sauce once the apples have softened. The peels give it a peachy-pink color and the applesauce doesn’t have any added sugar. You can of course add sugar and cinnamon to taste if you plan on eating the applesauce as-is.

How to store your applesauce

I like to freeze it in 1-cup portions in small freezer bags. One batch of applesauce will yield about 9-10 cups of applesauce, depending on the size of your apples. Let the sauce cool completely before portioning it into freezer bags. Lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet before freezing to save space. I like to portion in one cup portions because I mostly use this apple sauce in these Healthy Banana Muffins with Applesauce, or these Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins.

If you have some time on your hands, you can also can it to make it shelf-stable. The National Centre for Home Food Preservation is a great resource for safe canning practices. Follow the instructions for canning applesauce here.

How to use your applesauce

As I mentioned, I like to use mine mostly in baking. There are a few of my go-to muffin recipes on my Tried & True Pinterest Board. You can modify most muffin or cake recipes to use applesauce as a substitute for butter or margarine. For one cup of butter, use 3/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup canola oil. Using applesauce makes cakes moist and more cost-effective, as the price of butter is rising by the day. You could also use it as a topping for oatmeal or as a substitution for an egg in your favorite muffin or cake. If using as an egg substitute, use 1/4 cup applesauce for one egg.

Preventing food waste

Even if you don’t get a load of apples from a tree, you can set aside bruised apples from the store and freeze them until you’re ready to make a full batch. Again, slice around the core and place in a freezer bag. Keep adding to the bag until you have enough to make a batch of sauce. For more tips on preventing food waste for a variety of ingredients, see page 64 of your Ultimate Guide.

Simple Slow Cooker Applesauce

This three-step recipe is easy to execute and virtually hands-free.

Course Breakfast
Keyword apples, applesauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Servings 9 cups

Ingredients

  • Apples
  • 1/2 cup Water optional

Instructions

  1. Cut around the core of the apples and fill your slow cooker.

  2. Add 1/2 cup water to large slow cookers, and 1/4 cup to smaller slow cookers.

  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until apples break apart when you stir them.

  4. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender.

  5. Cool completely before portioning and freezing in bags.

Recipe Notes

Adding water creates steam and helps speed up the process but is not necessary. 

If you are canning the sauce, fill hot, sterilized jars with hot applesauce and follow the guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for safe canning practices.