To be honest with you, I have been having a lot of trouble coming up with things to eat. I have no explanation for this because I have an entire list of 200 something recipes here on this site, many of which are actual things I could make for dinner. But so often I have a hard time sorting through all of that to find exactly what I want. I pulled up a random number generator last week along with the spreadsheet I have of every post I’ve ever had here in an attempt to find something for dinner. #152: Chicken Stock. Not exactly dinner fare. #73 Nut Clusters. Again, not for dinner. #196: Rosemary Roasted Leg of Lamb. Delicious for a special occasion, but not practical for a weeknight dinner.
This all seems a little daunting to me, because really, how can I already be feeling this way after only being an adult cooking regular dinners for a handful of years? I have years and years of this in front of me. I will have children and this will get even tougher I’m sure. I asked Gerrit to stop by the store on Tuesday for some bread because I had already been on Monday and was tired of feeling like I was there all the time. After the month of August feeling so exciting food-wise (so many things to try and replicate from Italy…and don’t worry, I’m still working on some of those dishes), without realizing it I fell into a rut in September and all of a sudden dinner has felt more like a burden than an adventure.
And I want it to feel like an adventure. I want to make new things on a regular basis and remember some of our old favorites and feel excited about them all afternoon because they are just. that. good.
I’m working on a little something that will hopefully show up here in the next few weeks to a month that will help both me and you with this problem. And in the meantime I am thinking about dinner a lot. I am thinking about what recipes make for easy dinner prep and what recipes make for easy grocery lists and I’m trying to find new things that will satisfy such requirements and become new favorites.
And this is one of those. Fried rice has been on my to-make list for awhile now, but I didn’t know where to turn with figuring out the basics. So many recipes call for various flavorings and various vegetables, and how do you know, really, what makes the best combination? And what I’ve figured out is this: to make fried rice, you really just need to fry your rice and at least add some soy sauce, and from there you can go anywhere. Whatever vegetables you use can be rearranged. You can add more flavorings, but just the soy sauce seemed perfectly sufficient to me and prevented me from having to buy an ingredient whose further use in my kitchen would be doubtful. I used carrots and edamame, which was the perfect combination: the sweetness of the carrot, the saltiness of the soy sauce, the fresh but never too strong taste of the edamame. It all make for a balanced bite. And this made for a new favorite (and quick) dinner.
Simple Fried Rice
adapted from How to Cook Everything
This is such a basic recipe, but add to it as you’d like. Change the vegetables up, add some leftover rotisserie chicken, etc. The measurements here are flexible because the recipe is flexible. Also, one note about the rice: I tend to like my rice on the wetter side, but making your rice a little dryer here works better.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
2-3 tablespoons neutral oil (peanut, vegetable, etc.)
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 cups cooked, leftover rice (or chilled at least a couple of hours)*
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add the edamame and cook until tender, 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, let the edamame sit for about 2 minutes, and then drain it and set aside.
2. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the carrots are just tender, 5-6 minutes.
3. Increase the heat slightly and add the rice, breaking up any clumps. Season with just a small pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is just beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the edamame and the soy sauce and stir together. Serve warm.
*I used about 1 cup of rice and 1 1/4 cup water.