Struggle Meals by Frankie Celenza: How to Make Vegetable Stir Fry With Peanut Sauce

Happy New Year! Year 2021 is here and we’re still living in a COVID world. Some individuals may be looking for ways to start the New Year off by eating better, and better often starts with eating . . . MORE VEGETABLES!

Frankie Celenza is the star of the cooking show titled, “Struggle Meals.” It’s a TV show focused on using every edible item in your kitchen to ensure there’s no waste, meals prepared are nutritious without sacrificing flavor! Celenza hits on many imaginable narratives surrounding everyday individuals from using food commonly found in pantries, shopping for produce that’s in-season, or having as little as $3 to make a lunch for the afternoon.

For those looking to start the New Year off eating more vegetables and trying something different, this episode of Struggle Meals should help kick the New Year off saving money and trying new things!


  1. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 head of broccoli
  3. 1 onion, sliced
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 carrot, sliced
  6. 1 red pepper, sliced
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. 1/3 creamy peanut butter
  9. 3 soy sauce packets
  10. 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  11. 1 honey packet
  12. 1 red pepper flake packet
  13. 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  14. 2 scallions, chopped
  15. 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  16. 4 cups cooked rice for serving


  1. First prep the broccoli. Cut off the florets into small pieces.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the broccoli stalk to remove the tough outer skin. Slice the broccoli stalk into pieces similar in size to the florets.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the onion, garlic, carrots and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli florets and stalks and saute for another 5 minutes, then add a few tablespoons of water and cover.
  4. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until broccoli is bright green and tender but still crisp.
  5. Whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes. Toss the warm stir fry with peanut sauce.
  6. Serve over rice garnished with chopped peanuts, cilantro and scallions.


Governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration extended a version of the statewide ban on residential evictions until January 9, 2021. 

Here are a few immediate takeaways:

Landlords must give tenants an opportunity to demonstrate that they meet this four-part test. Specifically, landlords must provide a Declaration form to the resident or tenant at least five days prior to the notice of termination of tenancy.  If the tenant can establish that he/she/they meet all four requirements of the Covered Person test, the eviction case will fail unless the “person poses a direct threat to the health and safety of other tenants or an immediate and severe risk to property.”

What is a Covered Person?

The Order defines “covered person” as any tenant, lessee, sub-lessee, or resident of a residential property who provides to their landlord, the owner of the residential property, or other person or entity with a legal right to pursue an eviction or possessory action, a Declaration under penalty of perjury indicating that:

  1. the individual either (i) expects to earn no more than $99,000 in annual income for Calendar Year 2020 (or no more than $198,000 if filing a joint tax return), (ii) was not required to report any income in 2019 to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or (iii) received an Economic Impact Payment pursuant to Section 2001 of the CARES Act;
  2. the individual is unable to make a full rent or housing payment due to a COVID-19 related hardship, including, but not limited to, substantial loss of income, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, or an increase in out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. the individual is using best efforts to make timely partial payments that are as close to the full payment as the individual’s circumstances may permit, taking into account other Non-Discretionary Expenses; and
  4. eviction would likely render the individual homeless—or force the individual to move into and live in close quarters in a new congregate or shared living setting—because the individual has no other available housing options.

When will eviction resume in Illinois? January 9, 2021

Have you filled out, made a copy, and turned in your Declaration?

Volunteer opportunities!

Summer is coming, and anyone who’s lived in Chicago for a while knows that means festivals and fairs and block parties galore! The Northwest Food Partners Network will be working with THREE amazing summer festivals this year, all of which have promised to donate money to our work in exchange for help at the festival gates! Donations from summer festivals go straight into the NFPN Grantmaking Fund, which supports our member food pantries & meal programs purchase equipment and event supplies that increase their capacity to feed their neighbors and improve their quality of life.

Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities

Wells Street Art Festival (Old Town): Saturday, June 10th

Roscoe Village Burger Fest (Roscoe Village): Sunday, July 9th

Logan Square Food Truck Festival: August 25-27 (exact dates TBD)

Want to volunteer for a shift at one of these festivals? Let us know! Contact Rachel at Happy Spring!

2016 Holiday Drive

Our Holiday Food & Household Items Drive is well underway for 2016! This year, consider donating nontraditional, high need items from our wishlist. Canned goods are in abundance, but these items are not! Contact for more information.

Toiletries (tooth brush/paste, deodorant, soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner etc.)
Disposable Kitchen Goods (Plates, Cups, Bowls, Napkins, Utensils etc)
Trash Bags, Toilet Paper, Paper Towels
Laundry Detergent
Feminine Products
Cleaning Supplies (Lysol, spray, bleach etc.)
Diapers (both child and adult) and Baby Wipes
Kitchen Items New or Used (Can Openers, Pots, Pans, Spoons, Spatulas etc)
Pet Food (for service animals)

Cooking Oil (olive, canola, vegetable etc)
Salt/ Pepper
Dry Spices (oregano, thyme, basil etc)
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Marinades (powder or bottled)
Seasoning Packets
Condiments (ketchup, bbq sauce, mustard, teriyaki, balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, mayonnaise)
Bouillon Cubes and Stock
Cooking Sprays

Beans (Dry or Can)
Pasta and Pasta Sauce
Tomato Sauces and Diced Tomatoes
Canned Meats (Tuna, Chicken etc)
Cereal Bars
Pull Top Canned Items
Baby Formula

Back to School 2016

Hello, Northwest Side! As the school year quickly approaches, here’s a roundup of some community resources for free backpack and school supplies.

Saturday, August 13th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Humboldt Park1st Ward Back to School Fair
Moos Elementary, 1711 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Saturday, August 13th, 10am – 2pm
Belmont Cragin/Logan Kelvyn Park High School
4343 W Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL

Saturday, August 20th, 2016, 12-4pm
West Humboldt Park Kelly Hall YMCA Back to School Fair
824 N Hamlin Ave, Chicago, IL

Monday, August 22nd, 2016, 4-6pm
Belmont Cragin/Logan Square McDonalds Back to School Fair
McDonalds, 4601 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016, 4-6pm
Humboldt Park McDonalds Back to School Fair
McDonalds, 3241 W North Ave, Chicago, IL

Saturday, August 27th, 2016, 9am- 1pm
Logan Square
New Community Covenant Church
2649 N Francisco Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Building our Capacity

The last couple months have been exciting for the Northwest Food Partners Network. After releasing our new strategic plan in February, our member agencies focused significant attention on capacity-building projects, which were identified as the #1 need for our programs. Here are some of our recent updates & upcoming events!

May 13th, 2016: “Eat for a Cause” fundraiser at Panda Express in Bucktown

May-June 2016: “Penny Wars” fundraiser at Polaris Charter Academy

June 4th, 2016: “Canned Food Challenge” outreach & fundraiser booth at the 606 Anniversary Party

606 Block party Pic 2606 Block Party Pic

June 9th, 2016: Pantry Open House at European American Association, a chance for any local agencies to visit a member food pantry to swap ideas and information (1:15pm, 2827 W Division St, contact us to RSVP)

June 11th, 2016: Beer Tent Fundraiser at the “Remix Chicago” festival in Logan Square. 12-10pm,

June 25th, 2016: Annual Hunger Walk at Jackson Park, for all agencies involved with the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Additionally, in the months of May and June, network leaders La Casa Norte & West Humboldt Park Development Council (WHPDC) have been leading a gardening & education project called Growing Gourmet. Local youth experiencing homelessness were trained to create portable container gardens full of plants like tomatoes, bell peppers and basil. During weekly workshops at Ujima Community Garden that educate community members on gardening techniques, nutrition facts and physical exercise, we have been giving away these gardens to residents living in a community with limited access to fresh food. Our last workshop will be this Thursday, June 9th from 11-1pm at Ujima Community Garden, 549 N Central Park Ave.

Pic1Container Picture

Panda Express Fundraiser!

On Friday, May 13th, from 12 noon to 10 PM…

The Panda Express in Bucktown/Lincoln Park will donate 20% of the proceeds from your purchase of any item to the Northwest Food Partners Network! (NFPN)

Guests will receive credit for their meals whether they dine in, take food to go or pick up a Panda Express catering order.


That’s right! When you present this flyer (click that link) or show it on a mobile device, 20% of your purchase will help to feed someone in need in your neighborhood. Please note that this offer is valid ONLY at the Panda Express location at Clybourn & Fullerton.

Don’t miss out on your chance to make a difference!  

** Proceeds from this event will be used to purchase supplemental items for NFPN member food pantries and hot meal programs. Supplemental supplies are items that are rarely donated, but extremely necessary, such as: cooking oil, spices and seasonings, rice and beans, baby formula, paper goods, granola bars and snacks for kids. **

Upcoming Meeting Dates

Happy holidays, all! Here are some important dates to know in 2016.

Strategic Planning Retreat
Friday, January 29th from 9:30am – 2:30pm
It’s time to decide on new projects and directions for the Northwest Food Partners Network. Join us as we discuss what our communities need, and what we want to accomplish by working as a coalition. The plan we create will inform our work for the next 2-3 years. Lunch will be served. RSVP required.

Upcoming Monthly Meeting Dates
Thursday, January 14th, 10-11:30AM
Tuesday, February 23rd, 10-11:30AM
Thursday, March 24th, 10-11:30AM
Tuesday, April 26th, 10-11:30AM

Locations of these meetings are TBD. Please contact if your agency would like to host.

Donation Drive Results

The results of our Holiday Donation Drive are in! We were able to gather OVER 3,200 POUNDS of donated food and household essentials for families in need this holiday season! That was almost twice our goal.

We received a ton of individual donations (in-kind and monetary), and worked with some fabulous business and school partners, including: Dill Pickle Food Co-op, Market Fresh, Rowe-Clark School, Darwin Elementary, Juvenile Justice, Reinberg Elementary, Ballin Pharmacy, Credit Union 1- Caballeros Branch, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

This donation drive benefited the emergency food programs at: Turkey Chop Restaurant, European American Association, New Life’s Chicago Dream Center, La Casa Norte, Chicago Hope at Armitage Baptist, Mission of Christ Church, Iglesia Evangelica Emanuel, Northwestern Settlement, and Community Dinners at New Community Covenant Church.

Thank you to all, and looking forward to our next projects! Stay tuned!