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
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Rainy Days by Culture Abuse
Make ahead breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, vegetables, beans, cheese, and hash browns, rolled up in a whole wheat flour tortilla!
A few years ago, when I was in college, I spent one whole day making freezer meals, and as luck would have it, my fucking freezer broke overnight. I was devastated and haven’t really gotten back into the whole “make ahead meals” things ever since. But, with lots of craziness in the world, having some frozen meals on hand isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Especially when I can eat said meals in the car with one hand in the form of make ahead breakfast burritos!
I have been planning on making some freezer breakfast burritos for a while, but this past weekend was finally the time I decided to get my ish together and actually do it. I was looking for a burrito that tasted like the greasy hangover breakfast burritos I ate in college but had the nutritional benefits of a kale smoothie. Turns out, that’s impossible! But, I still think I got pretty close thanks to a few healthier swaps like turkey sausage and whole wheat tortillas. 😛
A few Details
These breakfast burritos are perfect for anyone who forgets about breakfast almost every single day (hi) and resorts to eating a salad or Greek yogurt or a chocolate bar just to get something in their belly. But, we all know that breakfast can be so much better. And wholesome. And well-rounded. Which is where make-ahead breakfast burritos come into play.
This recipe has scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, peppers, potatoes, black beans, and cheese stuffed into a whole wheat flour tortilla. Marc insisted on the potatoes, but if you’re going for an extra boost of health, you could always throw in a few handfuls of spinach or arugula instead! I like serving the burritos with guac, salsa, and fresh fruit to complete the whole meal.
Ingredients you’ll need for make ahead breakfast burritos
The beauty of breakfast burritos is that you can pretty much put anything in them. They’re so easy to make vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. However, I eat pretty much all things, so mine just requires basic ingredients you can find in any grocery store. You’ll need:
- Turkey Sausage: The turkey gives us some protein and is a bit healthier than pork sausage! Chicken sausage would work as well.
- Shredded Potatoes: We just used regular potatoes from the freezer aisle, but I also love breakfast burritos with shredded or cubed sweet potatoes!
- Bell Pepper: I use one green and one red pepper for some extra veggies!
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs are a must in breakfast burritos!
- Milk: Makes the eggs a little creamier, but not necessary if you don’t have it around.
- Black Beans: Another source of protein and veggies!
- Shredded Cheese: All burritos need cheese, yes?
- Whole Wheat Tortillas: Regular, spinach, and gluten-free tortillas would all work great.
- Sides of Choice: Guac, salsa, hot sauce, etc. (This is one of my favorite store-bought salsas but I usually try to find one that’s spicier and fresh!)
How to make freezer breakfast burritos
First, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper until combined. Set aside.
Next, heat a pan over medium-high heat and cook your sausage until it’s no longer pink and cooked-through. Drain any fat, and place the sausage in a bowl. Set aside.
Then, add the shredded potatoes and bell peppers to the pan with a little oil, and cook until the potatoes are crispy and the peppers have softened. Add to the bowl with the sausage.
After, pour the egg mixture into the pan, and cook until they are softly scrambled and fluffy. Add the sausage-veggie mixture to the eggs, and then mix in a can of drained black beans. Season with salt and pepper.
Next, divide the mixture between eight whole wheat tortillas. Sprinkle each with a little cheese, roll up, and they’re ready to freeze or serve! You can either warm them in the oven if you’re serving burritos to a crowd, or you can pan fry the burritos to get a crispy outside. Even better, use a panini press if you have one!
How to roll a breakfast burrito
I’m pretty bad at rolling breakfast burritos, and it’s usually Marc’s job any time we make them. But, it’s actually really easy, and I’m just incompetent apparently. All you have to do is place some filling on your tortilla (try to place it more toward the side you’re rolling up so it’s easy to roll).
Next, fold in the shorter sides to make sure the filling stays in place. Then, take the end of the tortilla closest to you, fold it over, and tuck under the filling a bit to keep everything in place. Roll it up, and place the burritos seam-side down!
Serving make ahead breakfast burritos
We like to eat these burritos with salsa, guacamole, and hot sauce! Greek yogurt or sour cream is great too. If we eat them for breakfast, we usually have a little fresh fruit on the side. Or, if we’re eating them for dinner, we like brown rice and grilled/sauteed veggies!
storing/freezing breakfast burritos
To freeze the burritos, wrap them with beeswax/plastic wrap/tinfoil, and keep them in an airtight container for up to two months. The filling will also last in the fridge for up to one week. If you store the filling in the fridge, I would assemble the burritos right before you eat them, or they will get soggy!
Reheating frozen make ahead breakfast burritos
To reheat, unwrap the burrito and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, until they’re warmed through. If the middle won’t warm up all the way, cut the burrito in half and microwave it in 30-second increments until warm!
You can also warm the burritos in an oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes.
To take the burritos *up a notch*, heat a skillet with a small amount of neutral cooking oil, and grill the burrito on each side until it’s nice and crispy. If you have a panini press, you can grill burritos that way too!
What other fillings can I use to make breakfast burritos?
These burritos can be made with pretty much anything you have on hand. Try:
- Bacon, eggs, beans, veggies, + cheese
- Eggs, sweet potatoes, black beans, veggies, + cheese (vegetarian!)
- “Scrambled” tofu, vegetables, + beans (vegan!)
Other easy breakfast recipes you might like!
Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Plants by Crumb
Chilaquiles verdes made with homemade Roasted tomatillo salsa, fried tortillas, and baked in mini cocottes.Continue reading “Mini Chilaquiles Verdes with Roasted Tomatillo Salsa”
Spring panzanella salad with asparagus, peas, prosciutto, and a tangy lemony-garlic dressing. Bonus: This salad only takes 30 minutes and one pan!Continue reading “Spring Panzanella Salad”
This Bacon Hash Skillet with runny eggs and harissa will definitely be the highlight of my Christmas brunch this year. As a bonus, You can make them in advance! that way, all you have to do is pop on the coffee before everyone arrives.
(May 2018) Note: This is an updated version of a “healthy Caesar dressing” recipe I posted way back in 2013. The dressing recipe is essentially the same, and changes have been noted in the recipe at the bottom!
There’s a restaurant in Reno called Campo that makes a kale salad and, not even kidding, it makes me crave kale salads. It’s lemony, garlicky, and topped with crispy parmesan and a poached egg. I think about it a lot and have considered going there just for a kale salad and their caramel budino, but I don’t want to be judged by the servers, even though I think kale + caramel pudding is the epitome of balance. I guess you could call the salad “famous” by Reno standards, and the original owner of the restaurant was even nice enough to post the full recipe online. Continue reading “Kale Salad with Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing”
It’s a rare Sunday when I’m actually human enough to have a proper brunch before noon. Beyond the mandatory sleeping in portion of Sundays, I also have to lay in bed scrolling through my phone, drink a cup of coffee, and snuggle my dog on the floor for thirty minutes all before putting on my face and some real pants. Luckily, I think Sundays always feel like morning until it starts to get dark and the anxiety of the next work day looms over me. So, brunch usually happens anywhere between 12:30 and 3 in the afternoon which means I get to sleep in and skip all the Sunday-brunch crowds. Win-win!
On the off chance that I have my shit together before noon on a Sunday and don’t think I can handle the weekend brunch crowds, I make breakfast at home and eat while cuddled up on the couch watching Friends for the hundredth time. Usually, it’s just a bagel or cheesy eggs + lots lots lots of coffee. However, every once in a while I will have my shit so together that I even have ingredients at home for a fancy brunch! Those are few and far between, but they are sometimes totally real and make me feel like an actual grown up.
I think I would like to make it a new goal to get up at least one Sunday a month and have a fancy brunch. Maybe I’ll even get into doing yoga on Sundays?! Would that make me an overachiever? It sounds a little meta….
This past week(end), I had probably the worst cold of my life. I felt like one of those wavy inflatable tubemen, but instead of being filled with air, I was actually filled with mud and also I was at the bottom of a swamp. I practically drowned myself in cough medicine and Gatorade, and I ate whatever I wanted since I was feeling sorry for myself. After watching approximately 200 episodes of The Office, I finally peeled myself off the couch and managed to get out of the house long enough to get some good coffee. Also, I’m sending many blessings to past Sara, because when I opened my freezer, I had some of these mini galettes wrapped up! (Ugh, past Sara can be a real MVP sometimes). Since it was the first warm day we’ve had in ages, I swigged some Dayquil and enjoyed these galettes with plenty of fresh coffee at our local arboretum.
These galettes are super easy and a fun play on the French croque madame. When I was in France this past summer, I was utterly obsessed with croque madames and ham and cheese baguettes. Why is it that the French can make a ham and cheese sandwich so amazing and mine taste like they came out of a vending machine? Anyways, I decided to take these ingredients and combine them with another one of my favorite French treats – the galette. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m totally obsessed with galettes, so it was about time that I made a savory version.
Oh, and I put everything bagel spice on the crust, because I pretty much want everything bagel spice on everything in my whole life.
Croque Madame Galettes with Everything Crust
Makes 4 large servings or 8 small servings
2 – 9 in. pie crusts, store-bought or homemade
1/4 c. dijon mustard
8 oz. ham, thinly sliced
6 oz. swiss cheese, sliced or shredded
1/4 c. everything bagel spice*
Sliced chives, for topping
Preheat oven to 350* F. Divide pie dough into 4 equal parts, and roll them out until they are about 6 inches in diameter. Spread 1 Tbs. of dijon in the middle of each crust. Place 2 oz. of ham and 2 slices of swiss (or 3 Tbs. shredded) in the middle of each crust. Fold the crust edges over. It doesn’t have to be perfect since they are supposed to be rustic!
Mix 1 of the eggs with about 1 Tbs. of water. Brush each of the crusts with the egg wash, and sprinkle each galette with 1 Tbs. of everything bagel spice. Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and break 1 egg over the top of each galette. Bake for about 10 more minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still fairly runny.
Sprinkle each galette with the chives and serve!
*To freeze, wrap each galette in tinfoil and store in an airtight container in the freezer. To reheat, throw the wrapped galette in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes.
*I have a jar of everything bagel spice in my cabinet, but if you’re not one of those people, you can mix together 1 Tbs. poppy seeds, 1 Tbs. sesame seeds, 1 Tbs. dried garlic, and 1 Tbs. dried onion together. Sometimes, I use a mix of black and white sesame seeds for fun!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Heart in a Cage by The Strokes
Sorry for the little leave of absense. Spring Break has been crazy! Looking for houses, doing college stuff, weddings, and just family/friend time has made it really hard to do blog-y stuff.
Anyways, I’m back and ready to blog! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! I most definitely did. My family had a relaxing day at the house, ate a big dinner, and dyed Easter eggs.
Plus, I got Les Mis from the Easter bunny, so that definitely gave me something to do on the last day of Spring Break!
Since we’ve been so busy lately, I didn’t get to dying Easter eggs until today. Which was fine because I got to do it on actual Easter which was a ton of fun!
The idea to paint with leftover Easter egg dye didn’t really occur to me until I was in the process of dying eggs.
And yes, I am way too old to be painting with Easter egg dye, but I thought it was such a great idea that I had to test it out so that parents might be able to try it with their kids!
This was the perfect project to do while waiting for the eggs to turn bright colors.
To do this project, I used the “vibrant” colors, meaning I used 1 tablet, 3 Tbs. of white vinegar, and 1/2 c. water. The other methods would probably be too light to show up on paper.
Then, I just started painting and it worked out great!
Trees are always fun to paint.
The more water you paint on, the more color. You’ll have to add a lot of water to get color so you’ll probably want to hang them up somewhere to dry. You will also get little dots all over your paper, but when the picture dries the dots will disappear.
Obviously, I’m not an artist. But it was still a ton of fun to paint while waiting for my eggs to dye! Plus, it gives kids something to do before you throw out all that dye.
Another fun thing to do is paint on paper towels (preferably the non-patterned kind), because it looks like tie-dye. Super cool!
Here’s a picture of some of our eggs! I love my dark green one.
And even though I got to this late, painting with Easter egg dye should be a great idea for Easter next year!
Let me know what you guys think. I hope you have a wonderful night celebrating Easter with your families!