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Friday, September 30, 2011

Leftover Fried Rice

My sister has had a crazy rough year - she is a young mommy with 5 little kids. In the last 12 months they have had some crazy hospitalizations - her baby was born premie, then he got RSV and almost died - he also has an aspirating problem and has had a feeding tube in for 6 months , she got mersa and almost died, her husband and two kids got it and needed emergency care, her daughter had a UTI that caused her to get so sick she needed hospitalizing.

The craziness doesn't end there - my nephew who is 6 years old had a major emergency surgery two days ago and is not doing well - he is in intense pain still.  Poor buddy!

Each time, I have kept her other kids when someone was hospitalized. I am so blessed to be able to do that for her. I adore those kids, and so do my children - we love having them. The only problem comes at meal times. I don't cook like their mommy does.  So when I put something like beef stew with beets or stuffed shells in front of them their knee jerk reaction is "I don't like that." I encourage them to try a little bit and also try to respect their preferences but with feeding my 8 and them I just can't be a short order cook.

Anyhow, I was sure I was going to get the "I don't like that" response when I put the pork fried rice in front of them tonight and I did but once they tasted it they were sold! They ate their bowlfuls without complaint and I even got a compliment or two. My kids ate second and thirds until it was all gone. All this to say this has been kid tested and kid approved!

I have no picture and to be honest it was rather grey looking, but the fried rice I made for dinner was simply delicious. That is the wonder of a dish like this - I threw together a bit of this and a bit of that and it turned out yummy!

Don't do exactly as I did - make it your own use up what is in your fridge. The simpler you make it the easier. I have made Bittman's recipe many times but tonight I just wanted to use up some leftovers.

Really this post is for me - so I remember what I did next time. If the process helps you - hurray!!

The secret to success is cold rice. I had some leftover sticky rice and I also made some long grain rice using homemade chicken broth to add to it. I cooked it first and then put it in the fridge to cool.

In my ginormous iron skillet I sauteed leftover chopped onion (about a quarter cup, if I didn't have leftovers I would have put more onion it), added a couple cubes of frozen already cooked peppers. (I will tell you about that another time), a cup of shredded zucchini that was frozen, leftover scrambled eggs (I always put a bunch of eggs in mine at the request of my family.) Plus broccoli and peas that were leftover from other meals. To this I put about a cup of pulled pork that I found in the freezer. It added a bit of sweetness to the dish. To all this I added a cup or so of homemade chicken broth.

As far as seasonings go, I splashed some soy sauce, 2 tsp or so of sesame oil and a pinch of chinese five spice. This makes a delicious combination of flavors that is perfect for children and adults alike. When it was all warmed through I added the rice and stirred to get all the delicious liquid on every rice grain.

So, in short you need:
leftover, cold rice
a protein of some sort - chicken or pork or even beef
scrambled eggs
vegetables - cooked
soy sauce
sesame oil
chinese 5 spice
a bit of bbq sauce - optional

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Granola Bars - Crazy Awesome Delicious

Crazy Awesome Delicious Granola Bars.

um, I am just saying - these things are amazingly delicious. 
I make granola often but I think these are the best yet.
We like bars that you can take with you, and these stick together.
I have found the perfect combination of butter and honey and granola -ee goodness. 

Granola Bars

4.5 cups oatmeal toasted
1 cup self rising flour or 1 cup flour and 1 tsp baking soda
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups total of addins - chocolate chips and pb chips, raisins, craisins, dried fruit bits, shredded coconut - whatever you want
optionally you can add a bit of wheat germ and/or nuts. I also sometimes add about 3TBS baking cocoa.

Put your oatmeal on a large cookie sheet (with sides) and bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes stirring once halfway. Remove and let cool.
Meanwhile melt butter on stove in a small pan, add your honey and brown sugar stirring to combine. Just before you remove the pan add the vanilla and stir.

In a large bowl combine everything else. Then add in the butter/honey goodness and stir to completely combine. Put the granola in a large greased cake pan (9x13) pressing down hard. I cut an old plastic bag open and lay it on top to press on. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 18-22 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and cut into bars. Then let it completely cool before removing.

These are sooooo much better than anything you can buy - and full of yummy, healthy goodness.

I am submitting this to Life As Mom's Frugal Friday  and Erin @ EKat's Kitchen's Friday potluck.