Weeknight Fried Rice

Updated: Jul 17


I know how it is — you got home late from work, the kids are hungry, and everybody's tired. It's the kind of night when pizza delivery seems like the only option — but there is another way, I promise. Sometimes it's actually faster to round up a bunch of leftovers from the fridge and repurpose them into something new. For this dish, I'm starting with leftover rice — in fact, the next time you make rice or get Chinese take-out, double the amount and then put the extras in a freezer bag and tuck it away in your freezer for up to three months. You will be so glad you did this! Then grab all those leftover vegetables in the bottom of the crisper -- half a bell pepper, a handful of mushrooms, those last few baby carrots and broccoli florets — and chop them up; you can also add leftover chicken, tofu, even meatloaf. Top the whole thing off with a fried egg and you have a complete meal in a bowl, all in less than ten minutes.

This is also a great idea for college kids like my stepson Noah who live in apartment-style dorms on campus, often with a refrigerator full of odds and ends. Pretty much everything tastes good when you toss it into a hot pan with rice and soy sauce, and this will work really well with frozen peas, cauliflower and corn!

Serves 2

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)

1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen vegetables, like bell pepper, snow peas, broccoli and carrots

1/2 cup chopped cooked chicken, fish, beef or tofu

1/4 cup frozen green peas

1 - 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 - 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus extra for garnish

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (optional)

2 eggs

Heat a non-stick sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the rice and stir quickly to coat in the oil. Add the vegetables and protein and mix together quickly with the rice, then add the soy sauce, hot sauce, black pepper, and Chinese five-spice powder, continuing to stir quickly. Divide the fried rice between two plates or bowls, then fry the eggs, turning once so they are lightly crispy on both sides but the yolk is still runny. Place an egg on top of each serving of rice, top with a little freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately.

Fiesta tableware provided by Homer Laughlin China Company.

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