Thursday, August 3, 2017

Repurpose leftovers: Easy Fried Rice

As a busy mom, fried rice has become one of my go to recipes. I love it because it's quick, most of the steps can be prepared in advance, and it is a meal in a bowl containing protein, grains, and vegetables. I try to bulk of the dish with my son's favored vegetable of the week (Last week it was asparagus, but any mom of a toddler knows that could change at any second!). I also make it because it is a great way to use up leftover rice, vegetables and proteins instead of forgetting about them in the back of my refrigerator until I start to wonder where all of my Tupperware have disappeared to...

I remember when I was a newlywed, we spent a weekend with my husband's family out of state. His aunt is an amazing cook, and I always look forward to spending time with her in the kitchen observing her recipes and techniques. When we arrived, I asked her if she needed any help with preparing dinner. She said she just needed to throw together a quick side dish. She pulled out a container of leftover rice, chopped a few vegetables, and tossed it all together in a wok. The end result was nothing short of spectacular. Over time, I have developed my own version of this tasty and super easy dish.

I like to use this dish to utilize any leftovers in my refrigerator, which saves both money and time. You can use leftover chicken, or beef, and any leftover vegetables you have on hand. This dish is also a great way to use leftover raw vegetables that are on the verge of going bad.

If you don't have a protein already prepared, you can marinate cubed raw chicken, pepper steak, or tofu. I like to start my meal by marinating my protein and letting it soak up as much flavor as possible. It is best if the marinade sits overnight, but we all know that sometimes life gets in the way of that. I used marinated tofu, but you can easily substitute cubed chicken or pepper steaks, just adjust your cooking time accordingly.
 First, I created the marinade for my tofu. In a large bowl, I combined 1 frozen garlic cube (or 1 minced garlic clove), 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon agave syrup, 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha, and 1 tablespoon chopped onion. I whisked all of the ingredients together and tossed in one package of cubed, extra firm tofu. I recommend refrigerating this for a minimum of 15 minutes. When you are ready, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sear the tofu on all sides (approximately 2 minutes per side). If you are pressed for time, you can also heat the tofu in a pan, mixing occasionally until it reaches your desired temperature.

Next, I heated a wok (if you don't own one, you can use a large frying pan. However, I like the wok because it has lots of room for mixing and also makes for a fun presentation! They are pretty affordable, check out this one) over medium  heat and added 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, one cube of frozen garlic, and 1 cup of cubed carrots. I cooked the carrots until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Then I added leftover brown rice from my "No Fuss Taco Bar" and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

My favorite part of fried rice has always been the egg. Growing up, I remember thinking that scrambled eggs in rice was like having breakfast with my dinner, so fun! Now, as a mom, I am so happy to have found another way to pack more protein into a dish. To make the egg, push the contents of the pan to one side (this is where the benefit of owning a wok pays off!) and crack in two eggs. Mix and scrape the eggs until they have reached your desired consistency. Mix everything together, top with the tofu and chopped scallions. Dinner is served!

Easy Fried Rice


Marinated tofu
1 frozen garlic cube (or 1 minced garlic clove)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon agave syrup
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 container extra firm tofu, cubed
Fried Rice
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 cube frozen garlic
1 cup cubed carrots
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 eggs
1 bunch of scallions, chopped


Add all of the ingredients except the tofu to a large bowl. Whisk until combined. Add the cubed tofu and mix gently. Refrigerate a minimum of 15 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sear the tofu on all sides (approx. 5 minutes)
Fried Rice:
Heat a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sesame oil, garlic, and carrots. Cook until the carrots are tender (about 5-7 minutes). Add brown rice and one tablespoon of soy sauce. Cook, while stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Push the contents of the pan to one side and add the two eggs to the open space. Mix and scrape the eggs until cooked (about 1 minute). Mix everything together, top with tofu and scallions and enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time:20 Total time: 30Yield: 4 Servings 

So good we all had seconds! 

I hope you enjoyed this fast and easy recipe! How do you repurpose your leftovers?

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