Thursday, May 29, 2014

Light Chicken Fried Rice

On my work days I want to get dinner made in the shortest amount of time with minimal dishes.  This recipe is perfect for that because it is a one-pot meal that includes protein (chicken), vegetables (peas and carrots), and a grain (rice).  You make the rice in advance because cold rice absorbs the flavors better so you can have dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes.  When I make this I use a big cutting board so I can dice up my carrots, ginger, garlic, and shallot before I start anything else.  Then I just add in each pile as I need it.

This has all of the yummy flavors of chicken fried rice but with brown rice, bigger chunks of chicken, and minimal oil so it is healthier for you.  Years ago I saw a recipe for chicken fried rice with bok choy in cooking light magazine.  I adapted it back then to be more in line with my picky husband's tastes and a little bit more streamlined.  Over the years, I've tweaked it here or there and now it is one of those recipes I keep in the back of my mind and can throw together when I need a quick meal.

During naptime (or even the day before) make 4 servings of brown rice according to the package instructions.  I use Uncle Ben's Fast & Natural instant brown rice.  Then put it in the fridge until you are ready to make dinner.

Cut some boneless, skinless chicken into bite-size chunks.  I use chicken breast tenders.  Toss the chicken with 1 tbls. of soy sauce to coat.  Then set it aside.

Dice up some carrots, put them in a microwave safe bowl with a few tablespoons of water, and microwave covered for about 6 minutes.  You can use frozen carrots instead, but we always have carrots around for snack-time so I just use fresh.

In a skillet large enough to make the whole meal, heat some vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Then add some chopped shallots, garlic, and fresh ginger.  If you don't have any shallots, I've added extra garlic and some onion powder in a pinch and it was still really good.  You can also use a few generous shakes of powdered ginger if you don't have fresh.  The fresh is better, but sometimes I think I have some in my freezer and it turns out I don't so powdered it is.

Saute this for a few seconds until it starts to be fragrant then add in the chicken.  Saute the chicken for about 4 minutes, flipping it around so that it cooks on all sides.

Then add in your rice, the rest of the soy sauce, and a little sesame oil.  Cook for about 1 minute stirring constantly.

Add in some frozen peas and the carrots you microwaved earlier.  Stir frequently and cook for about 2 minutes.

Push the rice mixture to one side of the pan and crack an egg into the empty side of the pan, quickly scrambling it.  Let the egg cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute or until almost set, then stir it in to the rice mixture.

Dinner is ready.  I serve this with extra soy sauce on the side.  If you're lucky and have any leftovers, this is really good reheated for lunch the next day.  We usually devour this though so I almost never get to pack it for lunch.

Light Chicken Fried Rice
Loosely Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size chunks
  • 3 tbls. low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 1 tbls. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 4 servings cooked, cooled brown rice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 large carrots, chopped 
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 egg
  1. Toss the chicken with 1 tbls. soy sauce to coat.
  2. Put carrots in a small microwave-safe bowl with a few tbls. of water and microwave, covered, on high for 5 - 6 minutes.
  3. In a large, deep skillet heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.  Then add the shallots, garlic and ginger and saute for about 10 seconds.
  4. Add in chicken and saute for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add rice, the rest of the soy sauce, and the sesame oil to the chicken mixture and stir constantly for about 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the frozen peas and the microwaved carrots and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
  7. Push the rice mixture to one side of the pan and crack the egg into the empty space, quickly scrambling it.  Cook for about 1 minute, or until almost set, stirring constantly, then mix into rice mixture.
  8. Serve with extra soy sauce on the side if desired. 

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