So simple you’ll be mad that you haven’t been making this one for years!
My mom learned to make fried rice because it was a great way to feed a family of four with 2 pork chops and it still is. While mom was making this to reduce her grocery expenses, I make this to reduce my kitchen waste.
Here’s the basic recipe for fried rice:
- Leftover rice
- Meat and/or veggies
- Soy sauce
No, I’m not joking.
You know how you wind up with those random odds and ends of leftovers… not enough to make another dish, don’t want throw it out and chances are no one will eat it for lunch? That’s the perfect set up for fried rice! What you’re seeing in that bowl is left over veggies, leftover pork chops and chicken, a couple of scrambled eggs, rice and soy sauce. That’s it.
If you remember my post last week called Restaurant Night, you’ll recall the pork chops in the picture. There were two left. When I was cleaning up from dinner, I trimmed the fat off the pork chops and diced them into small pieces. (The fat scraps went to the dog, no waste with him around!)
I mixed up a little barbecue sauce, soy sauce and ground ginger and tossed the pork chop pieces in it, then put it in a ziploc bag and threw it in the freezer.
A few nights ago, Bestie made dinner and as a side she made a bag of frozen peas with diced carrots. She saved me a little over a half cup of the frozen veggies and I put that bag together with the pork. I kept them together so I wouldn’t have to go looking later.
Then yesterday while I was making dinner I got the rice cooker out and made about 4 cups of steamed rice. I was already in the kitchen cooking so it wasn’t any extra work except for washing the rice. The key to fried rice is that the rice needs to be cold, preferably day old so it has time to really firm up.
If you’re using rice that was just cooked, it’s just going to keep on cooking and you’re going to wind up with mush. Blech! So as soon as it’s done cooking and cooled, put it in the refrigerator overnight so it’s ready to use. If you’re a meal planner, try making a rice dish a few days ahead and just make extra rice and stick in the fridge or freezer (just be sure to thaw it before you use it).
So today, I got out my pork and set it out to thaw. As I was getting ready to make dinner, I found a leftover chicken thigh from the other day that no one had eaten. So while I was getting ready, Bestie took the meat off the bone for me and cut it up into small pieces.
I put my big skillet on the stove and when it was hot I added some extra virgin olive oil and some diced celery (already diced & bagged in the freezer) along with some diced onion and let it saute for a few minutes before adding the pork & chicken. For the last minute of cooking I added a couple of minced garlic cloves.
When the meat was heated through, I put the frozen carrots & peas in, stirred it well and I pushed it to the side. I then put the rice in the pan and immediately added the soy sauce and tossed it well. I didn’t want it soaking into the rice, I wanted it well distributed.
I then folded all the ingredients together to distribute them evenly. Then I made a “hole” in the center of the pan and dropped in two beaten eggs. Once they were cooked completely and mixed them in with everything else and took it off the heat.
10 minutes and we had a really great dinner!
The best part is you can use really whatever you want. I wish we would have had some mushrooms and bean sprouts, maybe next time. I think next time too I would prefer 3 eggs instead of two. (I like scrambled eggs) Although I must say, I saw someone make fried rice on Food Network and they served it with a fried egg on top so that you could have the yolk in with it. I’m thinking that’s what I’m going to do with the leftovers when I heat them up. (Mmmm… I love research.)
Consider keeping a bag of diced cooked meats in your freezer. When you have a leftover pork chop, piece of chicken, or even that half a steak that you don’t want to give the dog because it cost too much but you can’t eat another bite… dice it up and put it in the freezer. When you get about 2 cups of meat in your bag, make a pot of rice and put it in the fridge for the next days meal. Remember that that’s what the restaurants do when they make theirs. It’s all the trimmings, rather than the big pretty slices of meat you see in the other dishes; the pork is usually from the spare ribs.
Actually come to think of it, I had a half bag of coleslaw mix (chopped green & red cabbage with shredded carrots) that would have been amazing in that fried rice! I love how this pops in my head now that I’m typing to you. Now I really need to get busy researching!
Oh, before I forget… my hubby used to make Hawaiian fried rice that was out of this world! Diced ham, crushed pineapple, onion and soy sauce; He’d also mix cinnamon in with the rice when he cooked it the day before. Amazing! You’ve got to try making it sometime. So good. (Just between you and me, it would be great with some toasted slivered almonds as well.)
So let your leftovers work for you! Save money, eat well and get out of the kitchen and off your feet! I’m off to do research.
I stir fried the coleslaw mix and added the leftover fried rice to it once it was soft. Yum! It tasted similar to having bok choy in the dish. There was too much cabbage for the amount of fried rice that I had leftover, but I wanted to use it up so this was a great way to do it. I also enjoy cooked cabbage so I’m not put off by it as others might be. Bestie who is not a cabbage fan actually liked it too.
I also made a fried egg and put it on top. I’ve never done this before but I think this is how I’m making it from now on! There’s something about a warm, runny egg yolk that makes anything a comfort food. The richness of the egg yolk paired really well with the saltiness of the soy sauce. So good.
Give it a try and tell me what you think. Enjoy!