Smashed, crispy-edged patties, American cheese, homemade secret sauce, and all the fixings are topped on an onion bun to make the best burgers ever. Inspired by The Little Nugget Casino’s Awful Awful in Reno, Nevada, this step-by-step recipe will teach you how to make the perfect diner-style burger!Continue reading “The Best Burgers Ever (a.k.a. The Awful Awful)”
Baked birthday cake donuts with vanilla, sprinkles, and a simple glaze! Perfectly rich, delicious, and simple to make, these donuts are a unique twist on the traditional birthday cake. 🎉Continue reading “Birthday Cake Donuts with Vanilla Glaze”
This watermelon gin fizz is perfect for summertime sipping! Pureed watermelon is muddled with fresh mint, floral gin, lime, and seltzer. Served on the rocks for the perfect summer cocktail.Continue reading “Watermelon Gin Fizz with Mint”
White peaches roasted in the oven with fresh ginger, honey, and vanilla. Serve baked peaches with plain Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream.Continue reading “Baked Peaches with Honey & Ginger”
A PERFECT BLUEBERRY GALETTE WITH TENDER, BUTTERY CRUST, LEMONY, SPICED BLUEBERRY FILLING, AND HOMEMADE HAZELNUT FRANGIPANE!Continue reading “Blueberry Galette with Hazelnut Frangipane”
HOMEMADE FUNFETTI CUPCAKES WITH LOTS OF RAINBOW SPRINKLES AND A CREAMY MARSHMALLOW BUTTERCREAM! THIS IS A HIGH-ALTITUDE CAKE RECIPE WITH SEA-LEVEL INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDED!Continue reading “Funfetti Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream”
ONE WEEK OF PANTRY STAPLE MEALS THAT ARE MOSTLY HEALTHY AND USE LESS THAN TEN INGREDIENTS. ALSO INCLUDES A SHOPPING LIST TO MAKE DINNER PLANS EVEN EASIER!Continue reading “7 Pantry Staple Meals with 10 Ingredients or Less!”
VEGETABLE FRIED RICE WITH BROWN RICE, SOY-BASED SAUCE, FROZEN VEGGIES, AND RUNNY EGGS. A DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY DINNER WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE COOKING OR HAVE MINIMAL INGREDIENTS!
Back in college, I went through a major Chinese food obsession. I still do occasionally, but I would say my peak happened sometime around late freshman/early sophomore year. When I felt like taking myself on a date, I would get cute, go to a coffee shop, visit my favorite local book store, and finish the day with Chinese food at one of my two favorite spots. I would always end up ordering way too much food and wanting to roll my ass out of the restaurant. But, under no circumstances could I leave without ordering egg drop soup (with lots of Sambal Oelek!) and a side of fried rice. At the very least, those leftovers fed me for a solid three days.
Anyways, I miss my college-era metabolism, but I still get hard cravings for fried rice. As much as I prefer it in my usual takeout order, unfortunately Marc likes steamed rice better than fried rice (which ???). But, he still loves my homemade version as a meal, and with it being so easy, we have it quite often! It’s not my go-to greasy version with BBQ pork, but it’s soooo good for a healthy weeknight dinner!
Some key details about this vegetable fried rice
Vegetable fried rice is a meal I make when I have no ingredients and no patience. It’s my “I don’t feel like cooking” meal or my “I forgot to buy three ingredients for dinner tonight that I swore we had in the cabinet” back-up dinner. It requires only basic pantry ingredients by using rice, frozen veggies, and basic condiments from the Asian aisle at the grocery store! Oh, and eggs, because that’s the best part of fried rice!
To make it a bit healthier, I swapped brown rice for white and added a ton of extra veggies. I like runny eggs on top, but you could always scramble them as well! And the best part is that the dish takes thirty minutes to make from start-to-end. (I know a million recipes say they take “30 minutes”, but it’s actually true in this case).
These are the ingredients you’ll need
Hopefully, you have most of these ingredients on hand, but if not, I would highly recommend stocking up! This is the perfect meal to have as a back-up, and almost all of the ingredients will last in the pantry or freezer. Make sure you have:
- Brown Rice: White also works. Just make sure it’s long grain, such as jasmine. You will want this pre-cooked and cooled, preferably overnight. I usually always have leftover brown rice in the fridge which is perfect. We’ll discuss what to do if you don’t have leftovers/pre-cooked rice!
- Frozen Broccoli: Fresh would work as well but it will take longer to cook.
- Frozen Mixed Vegetables: I use the frozen veg with carrots, peas, corn, and green beans. Whatever you like (or have in your freezer) will work.
- Neutral Oil: I use grapeseed.
- Garlic: Fresh is best but ground will do in a pinch.
- Brown Sugar: You only need a little, but you can sub with honey or maple syrup if you prefer.
- Ginger: Again, fresh is best but ground will do.
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce: Regular would probably be fine, just expect a saltier flavor.
- Sesame Oil: Toasted or un-toasted both work!
- Rice Vinegar: I use unseasoned.
- Scallions/Chives: I usually use chives, because I almost always have them either fresh or dried. However, scallions are also great!
- Eggs: At least one per person.
- Salt and Pepper: To taste, always.
Now let’s make vegetable fried rice!
To start, make sure that you have cooked + cooled the brown (or white) rice and defrosted the frozen veggies! I just microwave the frozen broccoli for two minutes and drain out extra water. Then, I repeat these steps with the frozen veggie mix.
Next, you’ll whisk together some brown sugar, low sodium soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat a few tablespoons of neutral oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and let it cook undisturbed until the broccoli is slightly charred and crispy on the edges, about 4-5 minutes. Do not stir! You want everything to get brown and charred.
When the broccoli is nice and brown, add the mixed veggies cooking until warm, about another 2-3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
Next, add the rice and the sauce, stirring until everything is well mixed. Taste, and add salt if necessary. Press the rice into an even layer, and let cook another 5 minutes, until the rice is crispy. If the pan seems a bit dry, you can add a little more oil. Either way, the rice may stick a little, and that’s ok! More crunchies for you.
While the rice gets crispy, fry your eggs however you like. I recommend sunny side up or over easy!
When the rice is crispy, divide between four bowls, and top with scallions and an egg. Enjoy yolk-y, crispy rice bliss forever.
Um, I don’t just have cooked + cooled rice laying around?
On one hand, I don’t understand because I almost always have a tub of rice in the fridge. On the other hand, I totally understand because I almost never have cooked rice when I actually need it. Here’s what I do in those cases:
- Microwave Rice: Ok, I know microwave rice isn’t the best thing in the world, and I hate that the containers are not recyclable. But, if there’s one thing that microwavable rice does really well, it’s being too dry. Which, coincidentally is what we need for fried rice! So, if you’re in need of a quick fix, just use two packets of microwavable brown rice and everything will be A-ok.
- Quick Cooled Rice: Just make rice as usual, spread it around on a sheet pan in an even layer, and place it in the freezer until it’s cold and dried out (about 10-15 minutes). You can also place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Fresh Rice: Worst case scenario, you can just make fried rice with fresh, hot rice. It might get a bit mushy since it has extra moisture. But, if the craving is real, it will still work.
Use long grain instead of short grain rice
For vegetable fried rice, or any fried rice for that matter, you should go with long grain! Short grain rice has a lot of extra starch, which will make the rice a bit more sticky and mushy when you mix it with other things. However, long grain rice doesn’t have quite as much starch, so it will dry out nicely and keep the vegetable fried rice from getting mushy. Rinsing the rice with cold water prior to cooking will also help keep the rice from getting sticky by removing extra starch.
Making a perfect sunny side up egg
I finally learned the secret to a perfect sunny side up egg, and I am pleased to discuss it here today. It’s actually v easy! First, heat a little oil in a non-stick pan. Olive oil or grapeseed oil are both great choices. Crack the egg in the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cover the pan with a lid (preferably glass so you can see what’s going on). Let the egg cook until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny. Remove with a spatula. The bottom will be nice and crispy, and the yolk will be perfectly runny!
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. When reheating, add a little water to the rice, stir, and microwave for a minute or so. I would not recommend storing leftover eggs, because they get a little weird in the fridge, and they’re hard to reheat. Just make as many as you plan on eating, and make eggs fresh if you have leftovers!
However, if you cannot make fresh eggs, go the scrambled route. Just make a few scrambled eggs like you usually would, stir them into the rice, and enjoy the leftovers later!
Vegetable fried rice variations
Vegetable fried rice is completely customizable, so you can pretty much use whatever you have in your fridge. Here are a few variations that would be delicious:
- Scrambled eggs instead of fried
- Adding protein such as chicken, beef, pork, or prawns
- Switching up the veggies with cauliflower, asparagus, peppers, or bean sprouts
- Adding hot sauce such as Sriracha!
- Mixing in some sliced kimchi
- Adding a bit of diced pineapple
- If you’re going for a no-rice route, you can always use cauliflower rice instead!
A few tips and tricks
This is truly a basic recipe, but there are a few things you can do to make sure it tastes just like fried rice from the hibachi instead of fried rice that has been sitting in a condensation-infiltrated takeout container!
- Rinse the rice with cold water prior to cooking to make sure that there’s no extra starch! The rice is properly rinsed when the water runs clear and no longer looks murky.
- For perfect fried rice, always use cold rice. Hot rice will get sticky and clumpy when it hits the pan.
- Don’t be afraid of high heat. The high heat will crisp everything up and make sure the ingredients don’t simply steam together.
- Fresh ingredients are always best, of course, but dried spices and herbs always work! Garlic powder, ground ginger, and dried chives are always great subs in a pinch.
- I use frozen veggies, but fresh is always good too! You will just have to saute the veggies until they are completely cooked, which will likely take 10-15 extra minutes.
- Don’t be afraid to let things char/crisp up. Letting the rice get crispy is what will help vegetable fried rice taste like it came straight off the hibachi!
Dishes To serve with Vegetable Fried Rice!
Vegetable Fried Rice with Runny Eggs
Vegetable Fried Rice with Runny Eggs
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp ginger, grated
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 cup frozen broccoli
- 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of choice
- 3 tbsp neutral oil (I use grapeseed) + more as needed
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cup cooked brown rice, cooled and chilled (preferably overnight)
- 2 tbsp scallions (or chives), sliced
- 4 eggs
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, ginger, low sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar until combined. Set aside.
- Next, defrost the broccoli by microwaving it in a heat-safe bowl for two minutes. Drain any water, and set aside. Repeat these steps with the frozen vegetable mix.
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the broccoli, and cook undisturbed (seriously, don’t touch!), for about 3-4 minutes. The bottom of the broccoli will be slightly charred and crispy on the edges. Stir, and add the vegetable mix, cooking another minute or two until the veggies are all warm. Next, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds (add more oil if necessary).
- Add the rice to the vegetable mix, and stir. Pour the sauce over the rice, and fold everything together until nice and mixed. Press the mixture until it’s flat, and let cook undisturbed (again, don’t touch!) for about 5 minutes, until the bottom of the rice is crispy. (You may have to scrape the bottom of the pan a bit to get everything off, but don’t worry. Crispies are a good thing).
- While the rice gets crispy, cook your eggs as desired. I like sunny side up or over easy!
- To serve, divide the rice between four bowls. Top with the scallions or chives and a runny egg. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Rainy Days by Culture Abuse
SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN BOWLS WITH KALE, SEEDS, AVOCADO, AND LEMON-TAHINI SAUCE. A LIGHT BUT FILLING SHEET PAN DINNER THAT ALSO HAPPENS TO BE VEGAN!
In case you’re getting to a point where you can’t stand to eat one more damn cookie from the batch that you thought would be a good idea to freeze in case you got snacky and sad, here’s some vegetables and super foods! When I said in my blog post last week that I meal prepped, I meant it! I threw together these sweet potato and black bean bowls early last week, and they lasted so long, that Marc and I definitely won’t be eating them again for at least two more months. But, it was fun while it lasted, and I learned how to switch up veggie bowls so that I don’t get entirely too sick of them!
On top of feeding us for lunch and dinner for a few days, these bowls also happened to make a great breakfast! Rice is unnecessary when you go the breakfast route, because you can just plop the veggie mixture on a plate, top with a runny egg, and voilà, it’s suddenly a hash.
Here’s what you’ll need for sweet potato black bean bowls
The best part of these bowls is that they require mostly basic pantry staples + a few things from the produce aisle! While the lemon-tahini sauce is optional, I would highly recommend making it! It adds so much delicious, nutty flavor to the dish. However, if you can’t find tahini, no worries. We’ll talk about it later.
Also, I realize this looks like a ton of ingredients, but a lot of it is spices and other typical things you probably already have in your kitchen. You can mix up the ingredients if you want to customize your bowls, but here’s what I used:
- Sweet Potatoes: I use jewel sweet potatoes, but any are ok!
- Olive Oil: Or whatever oil you like to use for roasting.
- Chili Powder: For spice.
- Smoked Paprika: Or regular!
- Cayenne: For more spice.
- Salt and Pepper: Always.
- Garlic: A necessary component of any savory dish.
- Rosemary: Fresh or dried is fine!
- Kale: I use curly, but get whatever you can find.
- Red Bell Pepper: Or pepper of choice.
- Black Beans: Just one can.
- Tahini: See substitutions below!
- Lemon: Goes perfectly with tahini.
- Brown Rice: Or any grain you like.
- Toppings: Avocado, seeds (I like pumpkin, chia, and flax), cheese, eggs, etc.
Time to make sweet potato black bean bowls!
Before you begin, remember to start your rice! How many times have you forgotten to start the rice and then dinner is half an hour late? The woooorst.
Next, spread the sweet potatoes on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Toss with the chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper and bake at 400°F for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop up the pepper and tear the kale. Toss with more olive oil, salt, and pepper, and add to the sheet pan. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the kale is crispy. Sprinkle the black beans over the sheet pan, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, just until the beans are warmed.
While everything is baking, you’ll want to prepare your rice, any toppings, and the sauce! If you’re making the lemon-tahini sauce, just whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, some water, a clove of garlic, and a pinch of salt. It will seize and get clumpy, but just keep going! If it’s thick, continue adding water or lemon juice until it’s nice and saucy.
Serve the veggies over rice with sauce, seeds, avocado, and other toppings of choice!
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowl Toppings
These bowls are customizable, which is the best part! You can use different veggies, different grains, whatever you like. As for toppings, I like to add avocado, a squeeze of lemon, and lots of seeds to my bowls! (Seeds are basically savory sprinkles, yeah?) However, if you’re feeling a little ambitious, there are lots of other fun things you can add to round out the meal:
- Fried Eggs: Obviously not vegan, but so delicious!
- Feta Cheese: Parmesan or queso fresco are great too if you can’t find feta.
- Pickled Onions: Anything pickled, really.
- Fresh Herbs: There’s never a bad time for fresh herbs. Try chives or cilantro!
- Greek Yogurt: I’ll put plain Greek yogurt on anything.
- Chicken: If you need some meat, grilled or sauteed chicken would be delicious.
What if I can’t find tahini?
I’m lucky that tahini just sits on the shelves in my grocery store. However, I know that’s not the case for everyone. If you can’t find tahini, but you still want to make a sauce, try plain Greek yogurt! As much as I love tahini, I will never say no to garlicky, lemony yogurt sauce. Or, you can always order tahini online!
Bonus: Sweet potato black bean bowls are vegan!
If vegan is your thing, then these bowls are for you! Obviously, if you add eggs and cheese and yogurt, that will not be the case. But, they will still be vegetarian! They also happen to be gluten free. So, you can pretty much make these bowls for anyone which is gr8.
How to meal prep sweet potato black bean bowls
These are my perfect meal prep situtation! Once you get all of the ingredients prepped, all you have to do is layer the bowls together into six airtight containers however you please. Top with a lid, and store them in the fridge for up to one week. I would recommend adding seeds right before you eat, or they may get soggy in the fridge. Also, maybe add avocado last-minute, or it’ll get brown and funky.
A few tips and tricks
- Make sure not to crowd the veggies, or they will steam rather than bake. If necessary, use two sheet pans so that the veggies get nice and crisp.
- Double the tahini dressing if you have no self control (hi, me).
- The veggies may get a bit soggy in the fridge. To crisp them back up, reheat them at 350°F just until they are warm.
Other delicious veggie recipes!
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp rosemary, chopped (fresh or dried)
- 1 head kale, ribs removed, leaves torn
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Brown rice (or another grain), for serving
- Avocado, seeds, feta cheese, fried egg, etc., for serving
Lemon-Tahini Dressing (Optional but Highly Recommended)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
- Salt, to taste
Sweet Potato Black Bean Bowls
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a sheet pan. Spread the diced sweet potatoes on the sheet pan, and drizzle with 2 Tbs. olive oil. Sprinkle with chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss the kale and bell pepper with the remaining olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the mixture with the semi-cooked sweet potatoes, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the kale is crispy.
- Stir the can of black beans into the veggie mixture and bake for 3-5 minutes, just until the beans are warmed through. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the veggie mixture over rice with avocado, seeds, tahini sauce, and/or other toppings of choice.
- While the veggies are baking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and a pinch of salt. It will seize, but just keep whisking until it’s smooth. Add more lemon juice or water to get a saucy texture. Drizzle over bowls!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: What Would I Do? by Strawberry Guy
THAI CHICKEN AND RICE SOUP IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE COZY, ONE-POT WEEKNIGHT DINNERS THAT WE USUALLY MAKE ONCE A MONTH, REGARDLESS OF THE SEASON. WITH LIME JUICE, FISH SAUCE, SOY SAUCE, AND FRESH HERBS, IT’S SPICY, FRESH, AND PERFECTLY SALTY!Continue reading “Thai Chicken and Rice Soup”