Friday, April 29, 2011

Fried Rice Hash

Kyle has been going through an eating phase. He's not (eating). It's completely a stubbornness issue, and it's beginning to annoy us. He eats a healthy lunch, and if I give him a healthy snack (fruit or veggies), he'll eat that, but when it comes to dinner, he's being picky. And we've tried all the tricks: no after school snack, since he gets home after 4 and we eat anywhere between 4:45 and 7:00 pm. The early end is when we get to run around to our evening activities that don't bring us home until 7:30 or later. The late end is when we are waiting for Terry. Gotta love this American dream, right??

But I digress.

When we sat down to dinner tonight, Kyle took a bite, and said "This is good!" He then proceeded to eat the whole plate (with just a little nudging to finish up). Amanda ate a whole plate, too, except for what amounted to the onions that she couldn't eat around.

I had made this creation before, and I thought I remembered it going over well (I knew I liked it at least), but the fact that everyone ate it isn't the only reason I liked it. The other reason -- it uses leftovers! You could certainly make it "fresh," but here's how this menu came together:

  1. Last weekend we grilled steak. I'm not much of a steak eater, and so we actually ended up with a whole steak leftover.  Leftover steak isn't really the kind of thing Terry wants to eat reheated for lunch.  I have a few ways I've used it successfully in a second offering, and I had this in mind for this week.
  2. We eat a lot of rice around here.  Terry loves it, the kids eat it, and it's cheap, so it probably shows up on at least half of our meals.  I had a fair bit leftover one night, and then I intentionally made some extra two more times to save.  I stashed it in the refrigerator in a freezer bag.
    • Rice tip: Supposedly leftover rice doesn't keep very long. I will say that we've eaten rice at least 4 or 5 days old as leftovers. But the secret to fried rice is that the rice should be COLD. So, if you are making fried rice, cook the rice beforehand and put it in the fridge. That makes this dish ideal for using leftover rice.
  3. Protein: Anything goes here.  I used the steak and also some leftover rotisserie chicken that I diced.  You could also use barbecue (imagine the delicious sweetness when you order pork fried rice -- it's a type of barbecued pork).  You could use a stir-fried chicken dish from another time, or any chicken off the bone.
    • Steak tip: I diced the steak earlier in the day, along with the chicken, and poured this sauce over it, and refrigerated it for a few hours.  I have been loving this in my stir-fries and meat/chicken/fish marinades (in fact, I've almost used a whole bottle).  It's called Kikkoman Teriyaki Garlic and Green Onion sauce.  Serious yum.
  4. Veggies --Since I was already working, I went ahead and chopped my veggies.  I diced an onion, sliced baby carrots into tiny rounds, tore the last of some broccoli into tiny florets, and chopped up some fresh snap peas I had (I usually use frozen, NOT canned, green peas -- you can leave them frozen and just stir fry them right up), and put them in the fridge.  Another reason I was loving this meal tonight -- I did all the prep earlier and just had to throw it together.
  5. Putting it all together: 
    • First I used a skillet and a fair bit of oil to saute the broccoli and the carrot.  At the very end, I added the snap peas (because we don't really like them overcooked).  I put those on a plate, and set them aside.
    • Then I used a very large skillet (or a wok if you have one) and fried the onions in a fair bit of oil. I added some garlic towards the end of the cooking. I scraped the onions onto the plate with the other veggies, trying to leave as much of the oil as possible. I think that the onion is KEY to the flavor. I wanted to cook the onions in the same skillet I cooked the rice, so that it would pick up the flavor. If your kids would really object, you could just saute a little onion, and then toss it.
    • Then I heated/stir-fried the meat mixture in the small skillet. When it was warm, I added it to the plate with all the other cooked veggies.
    • At the same time the meat was heating, I added a lot of oil and a couple tablespoons of butter to a wide, large, pan. I added the cold rice, breaking up any clumps, and stir fried. As it's cooking, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder. When it's warmed and has absorbed the oil and rice, add the veggie mixture back in.
    • Theoretically, you could do this all in one pan, just adding the rice to the veggies, and not reserving them. You just want to be sure that you have enough surface area to keep everything touching the surface, or you'll end up with it steamed.

      I had a LOT of rice (I sort of overestimated my need), and actually ended up using the small pan and the large one to cook the rice. The picture above is after 3 of us had already eaten.
Unlike steak, this also is good reheated.  Terry takes leftovers for lunch, and I eat them when I'm eating at home, so we like to have leftovers.

And that's it.  I hope you liked this long, wordy convoluted attempt to share a successful dinner that I basically copied from the Hibachi people (oh yeah--I forgot egg, you can add fried egg or leftover scrambled eggs) -- successful because everyone ate it and liked it, and bonus points for using leftovers and being fairly healthy (if you overlook all the times I said "use a fair amount of oil," which you could possibly avoid if you have a truly good nonstick skillet).

The subtitle of this post is "Why I don't have a cooking blog," or feel free to share your own (like "Are you sure you don't need to tell us how to turn on a stove - We aren't idiots!").

1 comment:

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Looks like something I'd enjoy. My four-year-old on the other hand, has decided he doesn't like "mixed" food. Even something supposedly kid-friendly like Hamburger Helper. He prefers pot roast and potatoes and carrots -- all in their own portion of the plate. :)