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Zesty Vegetable Stir-Fry with Almonds or Cashews

Asian dishes often use nuts as one of the ingredients. This is a great way to enjoy the taste and nutrition of nuts without overindulging in their goodness; snacking on them by the handful just might add more fat and calories to your diet than you want or need. Try this tasty nutrient dense stir-fry recipe, using either almonds or cashews. Just pick your favorite combination of vegetables and you will be well on your way to getting the recommended 5-a-day of fruits and vegetables. And if you aren't in the mood to go vegetarian for the meal, stir-fry cut up chicken, shrimp or scallops with the olive oil and garlic. Increase your fiber and nutrients a little bit more by serving with brown rice instead of white. Recipe makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons Olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, halved
1/4 cup Whole blanched* almonds or cashews
8 cups Vegetables, thinly sliced (choose from carrots, green pepper, mushrooms, snow peas, celery, broccoli florets, cauliflower, or green beans)
1/3 cup Water
3 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons Cornstarch
1 - 2 teaspoons Hot chili sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the garlic in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds or cashews; cook and toss about 8 minutes until lightly browned, removing garlic after 4 minutes. Remove nuts with slotted spoon; set aside. Add the remaining oil to skillet; increase heat to high and add vegetables. Stir-fry, tossing often, about 5 minutes until crisp-tender. Reduce heat to medium. In a small bowl combine the water, soy sauce, cornstarch and chili sauce; mix thoroughly. Add soy sauce mixture; cook about 2 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in nuts. Serve with steamed rice.

*How to blanche nuts: Cover shelled nuts with boiling water and let stand 3 to 5 minutes to loosen skins. Drain off water, and the skins will slide right off.

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