Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fried Rice, a Perfect Repurposed Dinner

We had a pork roast for dinner on Sunday that turned out quite yummy.  Roasts are supposed to be one of those easy to fix kind of meals, but I always worry about getting the meat done on time so that the vegetables are done, too.  So, we don’t have them too often.  My mom makes good roasts, however, so I’m determined to learn how to make one that turns out good, every time.  The beauty of a roast, you see, is that the meat is big enough to make two meals.  I’m all about cooking once and eating twice.
The pork roast turned out pretty good, but I’m not so confident that I’m willing to share how I made the roast so that yours will turn out as good as mine.  You may have a winner recipe for a roast that you can share with me.  But, I will gladly share how I turned this roast into a second meal and no one really noticed that we were eating the same protein source two days in a row.  I repurposed that roast pork in a delicious one pan dinner that came together in less than 30 minutes.   Fried Rice was the perfect meal to fix for a busy family day. 

I love this fried rice recipe because you can adapt the recipe to whatever you might have on hand in the frig or freezer that needs to be “repurposed”.  My kids love it, too, because we let them eat with chopsticks.  They think that’s pretty cool.  We also offer forks so they can get up the last few bits of rice on their plates without having to lift the plates to their mouths.  This meal usually provides leftovers for 2-3 lunches, depending on how hungry we are that night.  It reheats great.  I like to use peas over other green vegetables in this recipe because they can go in the recipe straight from the freezer without cooking them first.  If you use other vegetables, you’ll probably have to cook them first.

Here’s the recipe:

Fried Rice
2 tbsp oil
2 carrots, shredded (these cook faster than chopped and give it nice color)
1 tbsp finely chopped onion (or some green onion, chopped)
½ cup mushrooms (optional; my kids don’t all like mushrooms, but it’s better with them if you like them)
1 ½ cups chopped meat (pork, ham, chicken, shrimp, whatever you have)
1 tsp ground ginger
A few shakes of ground red pepper
A few shakes of garlic powder
3 cups of cooled cooked rice (white or brown is fine)
2-3 eggs, scrambled (I make these in the skillet first and then remove before starting the rest of the recipe)
1 cup frozen peas (or whatever other cooked  green vegetable you like)
4 Tbsp soy sauce (may need to add more to taste)
2 Tbsp water

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the carrots and onion (and mushrooms) and sauté 1 min.  Add the meat and sauté another minute or two and add the spices.  Add in the cooked rice and mix.  Add the soy sauce and water and gently mix.  Add in the peas and scrambled eggs.  Reduce heat to medium.  Mix gently.  Cook 5-7 minutes or until warm.  Taste; add more soy sauce if needed or just serve with soy sauce at the table.

We like this simple one dish dinner with a tossed salad topped with fruit (like oranges) and a savory crunch (like chow mein noodles and sunflower seeds) and some fresh fruit on the side. 

Pork Fried Rice, Orange Asian salad, fresh fruit

What is your favorite “repurposed” meal?


  1. We love pork fried rice ... but I have always bought it pre made. I may need to venture out and make from scratch. Looks delicious!

  2. What a great idea for leftover roasts. I have a meat and potatoe man, so we do roasts all the time, especially crock pot roasts.

    I'm not exactly sure what a "repurposed" meal is. However, when I make shredded chicken for tacos, I take the left overs and make nachos the next day. If I have a lot extra, I will freeze it and use it in enchiladas later in the month...Mexican food is a family favorite. I slow boil the chicken in Rotel, chicken broth, minced garlic, onion, green chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper, then shred.