Category Archives: Quick and Easy Meals

Lockdown Meals – Shrimp Fried Rice

 

Well, here we are again in lockdown – together.  Things are slowly but surely getting back to normal here in Georgia.  However, this is subject to change depending on if the cases of Covid-19 spikes again now that restaurants are slowly reopening.  For those that are still not ready to step back out into the public, you may be looking for another food idea like the one I provided on Philly cheese steaks last week.

This recipe isn’t as great as what they sell at the Chinese restaurants; however, it certainly will do until they open back up.  With the right amount of attentiveness, you can have a tasty Asian meal on your plate as fast as this evening.

Ingredients

  • Cooked white rice (Jasmine or Basmati preferably)
  • Chopped Onions and/or green onions
  • Shrimp (preferably cooked and deveined; small)
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Soy Sauce (La Choy or Kikoman)
  • Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Salt (or seasoning salt) and pepper

Start by separating all the ingredients (except the rice) into their own bowl, or, if your kitchen counter is clean and large enough, place each ingredient in its own pile.   The rice should have already been prepared ahead of time.  It’s best to prepare the rice at least a day in advance and then let it cool in the refrigerator.  However, if you don’t have a lot of time, then you can place it in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to try to get it as cool as possible.  I cover rice preparation in a separate paragraph below.  For now, get out your best frying pan. If you have a wok, that is ideal but an old school cast iron skillet or any other large frying pan will do the trick.

Pour in about a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil. Get the grease hot. Grab a handful of onions, then the scrambled eggs (these should be prepared ahead of time also), and then the shrimp. Keep tossing the items together in the pan with a spatula until the meat and the vegetables start to brown. (Shrimp may release a watery substance while it is cooking.  To avoid this messing up the pan, you can add the shrimp after the rice is added)  Now grab the white rice and toss it in little by little, continuing to incorporate the ingredients.  I prefer this way because just dumping in the full bowl is not the best idea, but it can be done if you have a huge wok.  Sometimes the rice may soak up all the grease, so if it begins to stick to the pan, lift up the ingredients and pour in more oil.  Keep tossing.  Add a little salt and pepper if you like.  Keep tossing.  When the rice and shrimp seem to be warm, add the soy sauce.  I will leave the amount to your discretion because some like a lot of soy sauce and others don’t like a lot.  Keep tossing.  If you want to add other vegetables to make it more of a stir-fry, now is a good time to add those in.

Once the food is nice and hot and the soy sauce seems to be incorporated evenly, put the food on your plate or in your bowl and chow down.

 


Preparing the Rice

The trick to making fried rice is to make sure that the cooked rice is nice and cold before you prepare it to avoid it sticking to the pan.  I would advise preparing the rice a day before and sitting it in the fridge, covered.  I like using a rice cooker to prepare my rice because it creates a perfect pot of rice every time.  However, if you don’t have one, just use a sauce pan.  The key to making rice perfect like you see in restaurants is to follow instructions on the label.  Whatever the water to rice ratio is, stick to it or you may have a gooey mess on your hand.  Usually the ratio of water to rice is 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice but make sure that you read the label.  Cook the rice for the time that is mentioned on the label and do not stir it while it is cooking.  If you have the right ratio, the rice will cook itself.  When it is done, it will look fluffy and taste fluffy.  If it is not done, it will still be stiff and crunchy.  This is why it is best to use a rice cooker because it makes life much easier.  Let the rice cool 30 minutes to an hour before spooning it out of the pan into a bowl.   Cover the bowl and let it cool in the fridge until you are ready to make the fried rice.


 

I hope you like this segment of my blog. Check back for more food ideas during the lockdown.  If you have any questions about preparing this meal, leave them in the comments section or contact me directly here.

 

 

Image courtesy of ID 159831736 © Kravtzov | Dreamstime.com

Lockdown Meals – Homemade Philly Cheese Steak

When lockdown started we all may have been happy to sit together as a family to have good home cooked meals. However, some of you may have realized quickly that nobody in the family knows how to cook or if they can cook, then you quickly got tired of hot dogs and boiled eggs. I created this segment to help you out with switching up the family meal options — at least until life gets back to normal as we know it.

One of my favorites that I like to cook for my children are Philly cheese steaks. You can have these by themselves or you can add a side of fries, chips or even potato salad if you wish. I usually make them with chips because its quick and easy and besides, how can you go wrong with simply opening a bag of potato chips?

Ingredients

  • Fresh, Sliced Roast Beef
  • Onions
  • Bell Pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • White American or Provolone Cheese
  • Hoagie Bread
  • Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Salt (or seasoning salt) and pepper

Start by cutting up the meat, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms into small pieces (or large ones if you like). I would advise that you get fresh cut roast beef from the butcher because the prepackaged stuff is a bit disgusting. Then get your best frying pan. Pour in about a tablespoon (or for those who are less competent when it comes to measuring like me, use a capful) of olive oil or vegetable oil. Get the grease hot (but not burn down the house scorching). Grab a handful of mushrooms, then peppers, then onions and then meat and toss them all in the pan. Keep tossing the items together in the pan with a spatula until the meat and the vegetables start to brown (notice I said brown not black). Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Add the cheese on top, turn the stove off and cover the pan with a lid so the cheese can melt. If you happen to like your hoagie toasted, then move the ingredients over in the pan after its done (while the cheese is still melting) and place the hoagie bread in (open and face down). Cover with a lid for a few seconds. Keep checking the bread to make sure that it is lightly toasted. Don’t let the bread burn. Once it’s toasted to your delight, take the hoagie bread out and put it on the plate followed by the Philly meat. The outer part of the bread will be warm and soft and the center will be crunchy. Yummy. If you don’t like your bread toasted, just remove the meat from the pan and put it on the hoagie bread. You can add some mayo if you like or whatever other condiments you want. (P.S. I just discovered that my mom likes ketchup on her Philly cheese steak. YUCK!)

Now, it’s time to chow down.

I hope you like this segment of my blog. Check back for more food ideas during the lockdown.  If you have any questions about preparing this meal, leave them in the comments section or contact me directly here.

 

 

Image courtesy of ID ID 42198471 © Ezumeimages | Dreamstime.com

Quick and Easy Meal of the Month – Chicken Fried Rice

Image courtesy of Mel

 

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

 

I love fried rice!  However, takeout can become quite pricey.  So I started fixing my own chicken fried rice at home.

The key to making good fried rice lies in the choice of rice.  I usually use Basmati rice or Jasmine rice.  You can prepare it on the stove but if you are a person who cooks rice on a regular basis, then it would be best to invest in a rice cooker.  I must say, this is one of the best tools I have in my kitchen because I never, ever burn the rice and it is never sticky.  Whatever the package says in terms of ratio of water to rice, stick to that rule; otherwise, the rice may end up overcooked or under cooked.  After the rice is done, let it cool.  When I say let it cool, I really do mean “let it cool” to the point of being cold.  Better still, cook the rice, the day before you want to prepare the fried rice and let it sit in a container in the fridge.  The colder the better.

As the rice is transforming, you can work on the other ingredients.  If you are not a vegetable fan, then just prepare the chicken, onions and eggs to include with the fried rice.  Otherwise, include whatever stir-fry vegetables that you like.  You can pick these fresh from the market or you can even get a package of stir-fry vegetables out of the freezer section at the market.  I usually use thawed, frozen chopped chicken but you can also use left over breast meat from any previous dishes that you may have cooked.  Next, scramble the egg and put it to the side (some people cook this into the mix; you can it this way or prepare it an put it to the side).  Dice up some onions and also put these to the side.  By now you should have chilled rice, scrambled eggs, chopped chicken and chopped onions (also stir-fry vegetables if you like) ready to go into a Wok or a cast iron pan.  I like to use a Wok because it is big and deep and allows for more movement of the rice but the cast iron pan works just as good.

Before you add all of your ingredients, start with adding an oil of your choice.  I use vegetable, canola or olive oil but if you prefer another type of oil, use that.  Try to get the oil as hot as possible but don’t scorch it.  The frying process will be quick this is why the oil needs to be hot as possible.  I would start with adding the onions and after they brown add the rice.  At this point, you should add some soy sauce to start to brown the rice.  Move quickly stirring the rice and onions to avoid them sticking to the pan. Start to add the other ingredients one by one and keep tossing the rice around.  Add more soy sauce if you like a darker rice; otherwise, just wait until its all done and add more.  Once its nice and hot, place it on a plate or in a bowl and enjoy!

Remember this dish can be made with other meats if you like and if you don’t like to use white rice, you can substitute brown rice.

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