Dinner in an Outline: Homemade Fried Rice

Ever since morning sickness kicked in back in November, I’ve been really turned off of cooking.

Hence, the lack of posting going on.

Lately, I’ve definitely turned a corner and have been in the kitchen almost every night, but there has definitely been something lacking in my meals.  I’ve been making recipes straight out of cookbooks (not like me at all, I usually use recipes as guides) or really bland protein + vegetable + grain combinations that I’ve been too bored with to share with the rest of the world.

I used to get my cooking inspirations from other food blogs and my little library of cookbooks., but since looking at pictures and even reading descriptions of food is still a major turn off, I usually draw a huge blank when “what’s for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch)?” is uttered.

My savior lately has been the book Every Woman’s Guide to Eating During Pregnancy. The recipes are all healthy, quick and have a short list of whole-food ingredients; everything I look for in a good meal. Everything I’ve made from the book so far has WOW-ed the husband, so I know it’s not just the baby talking! I would really suggest this book to anyone, even if they are not pregnant.

On Saturday night I had a crazy craving for shrimp fried rice (I can’t remember the last time that I ate this dish…it is so weird where cravings come from!) and Every Woman’s Guide had a great recipe. It was so simple that I realized this would be a great meal no matter what protein, vegetable  or grain you happen to have on hand. I decided to store this add this one to the files for How to Make a Health Quick-Fix Dinner.

Ingredients
-2 cups of any vegetable, fresh or frozen (I used fresh broccoli)
-2 cups of protein (I used fresh shrimp, you could use chicken, tofu, beef, etc.)
-2 tbsp oil (I used coconut)
-1 cup chopped onion (I used yellow onion, but scallions would be more             traditional)
-2 tsp ginger
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2 eggs, beaten
-3 cups cooked grain (I used brown rice)
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (I used parsley)

1. Steam or lightly saute your vegetables until tender.  Set aside.

2. Cook your protein and set aside.

3. Heat the oil on medium high in a large frying pan and saute your onions until tender, for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, stir, and saute for another minute.

4. Add vegetables in with the onions and garlic and stir together. Add eggs and let them just begin to firm up.

5. Quickly add rice, soy sauce, and protein. Mix together so that everything is thoroughly combined and eggs are fully cooked.

6. Take pan off the heat and add the herbs. You can serve this dish immediately, but it also makes wonderful leftovers.

Remember that the possibilities are endless with this recipe and you can basically whip it up with anything you have laying around the kitchen!


Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Corn Risotto

So, I actually made this dish back when corn was in season. Due to my little monster, I’m just now getting around to posting it for your eyes. If you don’t want to wait until the summer rolls around again to test this one out (and you shouldn’t!), try it with some frozen roasted corn. I’ve seen bags recently at Trader Joe’s, so I’m sure you can find them everywhere.

Even though it was so long ago, I remember that this risotto was DELICIOUS. One of those dishes where the husband and I took our first bites, looked at each other, and were speechless. It’s always wonderful when such a simple dish turns out to be such a flavorful masterpiece!

Ingredients
6 cups  broth or water
1.5 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, roasted then roughly chopped
2 ears corn, gently roasted. Remove kernels from the ear and set aside.
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, warm up the broth and let it sit over low heat while you are cooking.
2.  In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent (about 3-4 minutes).

3. Add rice and saute until slightly darkened in color (3-4 minutes). Make sure to stir the rice constantly so that it does not burn.

4. Add white wine and cook until the rice has fully absorbed the liquid.
5. Add 1/2 cup of the broth in with the rice, cooking until it is fully absorbed. Watch carefully and stir very frequently to avoid burning. Keep adding broth a 1/2 cup at a time, only adding more after the rice has absorbed the other liquid. This process will take about 20 minutes to half an hour. Be patient and make sure to keep stirring…this is not a dish you can multitask with!!

6. When you add your last 1/2 cup of broth, also add in the corn kernels, peppers, spinach and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. When rice has absorbed the broth, remove from heat.

7.  Place risotto on plates and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Eat immediately.

I decided to top ours with a little grilled chicken sausage for a little more sustenance.  Totally not necessary, but it was a great addition.

Don’t let this dish scare you away because of the constant attention you have to give it with all the stirring. You’re going to have to open a bottle of white wine for the beginning of the recipe….no one is going to notice if you have a glass (or two) while you watch your rice…I won’t tell a soul!