I remember it like it was yesterday. It was middle school, I had braces, dreamed of someday being a concert musician, and was trying to fudge my way through French class with Mrs. Hales. During middle school, I felt like we had zero freedom with what classes we could take, so I was more than a little cranky when we were required to take a sewing & food class.
I suck at sewing. I will super glue things together to this day if I have to.
The food part of the class, though? It was like a dream come true for me. I'd already learned so much about cooking and food by watching my Mom in the kitchen growing up, so I felt like I totally had this class down pat. Well, our first dish to make in "foods" was a simple fried rice dish. I thought it was lame and easy at first, but it ended up tasting so good after a full morning of boring-as-death classes. I was immediately hooked. It probably didn't taste all that awesome back then, but getting to cook food and eat it for a grade in school - I was 100% in with this scene.
Fast forward many years later, when I'm in a pinch for dinner, and we have these ingredients on hand (especially leftover brown rice), guaranteed this dish is on our table for dinnertime. Adding chicken into the classic fried rice makes it a meal, for us, and we've never had problems polishing off our plates!
The dish comes together so quickly, and the ingredients are very, very, simple. We decided to go with the brown rice because that's what we had leftovers from. Ryan prefers it with white rice, but I really just love how much further the brown rice goes. If you cook it right at first (with a little butter and chicken stock if you'd like), it tastes amazing. I think most people just throw the brown rice in the slow cooker and get cranky when it tastes bland and weird. Season it up, friends!
I'm a huge believer in using what you already have in the kitchen to make your dinners. Don't have chicken but there's a little ham leftover from lunches? Great. Use it! Still a few pieces of pork leftover from some tacos the night before? Seasoning contrast, maybe, but use it! This fried rice recipe is a great way to use up whatever extra veggies and meat leftovers you may have in the fridge from previous meals. Don't you dare waste it, man.
Lastly, this really makes a good "make-a-huge-batch-and-then-take-to-work-for-lunches" meal. It's simple, easy, and re-heats like a dream. Plus, it keeps it's freshness for a few days, so no need to worry about it tasting funky after a couple days. It's amazing! For a couple other yummy Chinese-style dinners, check out my Honey Sesame Baked Chicken , Better-Than-Takeout-Chow-Mein, & Orange Chicken. Happy Wednesday! Go outside and enjoy some of that Springtime goodness!
Chicken Fried Rice
makes 4 small servings
3 C cooked long-grain brown rice
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 t sesame oil, divided
2 T vegetable oil, divided
1 1/2 C frozen peas & carrots
4 green onions, chopped
1 t minced garlic
2 large eggs
3 T soy sauce
salt and pepper
1. In a large wok or skillet, heat 1/2 t sesame oil and 1 T veggie oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, and saute until golden brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a separate plate and set aside.
2. Add the rest of the sesame and veggie oil to the pan. Add peas and carrots, and green onions, and saute for a minute. Toss in garlic and saute for a minute longer. Make a well in the middle of the pan by pushing the veggies to the side, and crack eggs in the center of the pan. Cook and scramble, then stir in with the rest of the veggies.
3. Add chicken back into the skillet, and toss in the rice, too. Add in soy sauce and stir, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot as an entree or side dish.
Recipe adapted from: Cooking Classy