Easy Fried Rice

There is not a lot that intimidates me, especially with cooking.  I view life as a “roll-up your sleeves and give it a try” ride.  This has translated very well to my cooking.  Sure, I’ve had my major flubs (#thoseareNOTsnickerdoodles, #omgthatshorrible), but it doesn’t stop me from trying new things or rejected things over again.  And then we come to fried rice.  I know, I know.  Fried rice?!?!  Really?  Fried rice??  You don’t say.  But, I come by my intimidation quite easily, I simply adore fried rice.  You know how you set someone up in your mind as just the end-all, be-all of X (insert talent here).  But you don’t want to actually meet Said Talent of X because what if they turn out to be a real jerk and forever change your opinion of them?  Well, that’s kind of how I feel about fried rice.  Now, before you attempt to cart me off in a straight jacket for a padded cell, let me explain.  I so adore fried rice that I was terrified of messing it up SO bad that it would be forever etched on my brain.  And I would never be able to go to OIC Bowl again and stare lovingly at my bowl of fried rice without images of how badly I ruined it.  So there you have it, rational or not.  This attempt, however, has turned it around for me.  I’ve concurred fried rice, and still love it!

Ingredients:

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded (uncooked) carrots
1 cup sliced green onions, divided
3 cups cooked rice
½ cup thawed frozen peas
¼ low sodium soy sauce

Preparation:

Spritz a large nonstick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Add eggs, making sure to cover the bottom of the pan with the eggs.  When eggs start to set, break them into pieces and cook about 1 more minute, until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Spritz pan 1 more time; when re-warmed, add carrots and all but 2 Tbs of green onions; sauté until carrots are crisp-tender; about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in cooked rice, peas and soy cause; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute.  Gently stir in cooked egg and remaining scallions; heat through.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Grüner Veltliner
Gewürztraminer
Riesling

Serves 6

Total time: 30 minutes

East Fried Rice

Easy Fried Rice

*Derived from Weight Watchers

Orzo “Paella”

There is something about orzo.  The texture.  The size. It’s just the most amazing little cross between rice and pasta.  A rice / pasta cross-over!  This recipe calls itself a “paella” and it makes for a wonderful “when I grow up I want to be a paella” dish.  The flavors come together really nicely and are a great compliment to each other.  I was able to use left over chicken, which is always a plus for me, and it had shrimp.  As most people know, we are a big shrimp eating family.  The peas were a “no go” for the kiddos, but that was no surprise.  This got a big thumps-up and was wonderfully quick to make!

Ingredients:

¾ lb large frozen shrimp; cleaned, shelled, thawed with tails on (I used what I had in the freezer, which were medium, and they worked just fine)
Juice of ½ a lemon
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
1 Tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil
3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
¼ tsp turmeric
1 lb orzo (can sub whole wheat for a healthier meal)
½ cup frozen peas
½ small onion, finely chopped (time-saving tip: buy pre-chopped either in the freezer section or fresh in produce)
2-4 cooked chicken thighs cut into 1″ chunks
¼ cup roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips (I bought the jarred version, though you could roast your own)
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.  Place first four ingredients and 1 tbs of olive oil in large zip-lock bag.  In medium pot, bring chicken broth and 2 cups water to boil.  Add turmeric and orzo; boil for 6 minutes.  Drain, reserving ¾ cup of cooking liquid.  Place frozen peas in the broth and let sit.

Heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil in a large pan.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes; flip halfway through.  Add chicken thighs; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add drained orzo to pan.  Pour peas and reserved liquid over orzo and stir.  Finally, stir in red pepper.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Top with parsley and serve.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Beaujolais
Chianti
Garmay
Grüner Veltliner
Sangiovese

Serves 6 (and probably some left for lunch)

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 22 minutes

Orzo "Paella

Orzo “Paella

*Derived from Fitness Magazine

Pancetta Risotto with Truffle Oil

There are two things always welcome in my home, risotto and pancetta.  Ok, there are a whole lot more than that, but for the purposes of this post, let’s just go with it.  Now that we are fully ensconced in the comfort food time of year, I just naturally gravitate towards risotto.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be making spring risotto, too!  But the pancetta and the rosemary in this one screams comfort.  With the first bite you feel as if you are being lovingly  wrapped in a cozy blanket.  Nothing beats that feeling on a cold night after a long day!

Ingredients:

5 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 Tbs olive oil
3 oz chopped pancetta (you can often find it already chopped and packaged in the deli section of national grocery stores)
½ cup minced shallots
1½ cups Arborio rice
1½ tsp chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine (might as well pour a glass for yourself, too!)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white truffle oil
½ tsp kosher salt

Preparation:

Bring stock to simmer in small saucepan.  Keep warm over low heat

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add olive oil, swirl to coat.  Add pancetta; sauté 6 minutes, or until crisp.  Remove pancetta from pan and drain on a paper towel.  Add shallots to pan drippings and cook 2 minutes (being careful not to brown), stirring frequently.  Stir in rice, rosemary, and garlic.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add wine and cook for 2 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Stir in 1½ cups of stock; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add remaining stock, ¾ cup at a time (reserve 1/3 cup for end), until each portion of stock is absorbed, stirring near constantly (it will take about 20 minutes).  Stir in pepper, truffle oil, and salt.  Remove from heat and stir in reserved 1/3 cup broth.  Top with pancetta.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Grüner
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio

Serves 5
Total time: 40 minutes

Pancetta Risotto with Truffle Oil

Pancetta Risotto with Truffle Oil

*From Cooking Light