Monday, December 7, 2009

Chicken Fried Rice: A Recipe for the Ages

Last week, I experienced one of the dozens of daily events that remind me I’m well into my 30s. It started during a Friday Night Lights marathon on Netflix. If you’ve never seen the show (and most haven’t), know a few things: A) it will make you care about football, B) it will make you care about Texas, and C) everyone is insanely good-looking. Like, these people make Catherine Zeta-Jones look like an old mushroom.

On the show, there’s a character named Tim Riggins who is particularly aesthetically pleasing. He’s cute squared, cubed, and then squared again. (So, cute to the 7th power.) Sadly, he’s supposed to be a junior in high school, making this my problem: at 32-years-old, is it okay for me to find him handsome? Or is it kind of creepy? Is the Coach (a 40-something) more appropriate for my age? Is “handsome” a word that young people use?

In all seriousness, this has been bothering me for several days. I don’t know if it’s mortality thing or what, but I’m adding it to an ever-growing list of Disturbing Things That Signal My Aging/Adulthood. This list also includes:

-I have become very aware of the ways in which my back can and can not twist.

-The Husband-Elect’s inability to put laundry INSIDE the hamper (as opposed to on TOP of the hamper) has usurped human rights in my hierarchy of Things to Care About.

-I refer to major league ballplayers as “kids.” Ex: “That Jeter kid sure is a good shortstop.”

-I buy tissues when I’m not sick.

-Hangovers, while only occasional, don’t last six hours anymore. Minimum, two days.

-The music that was popular when I was in high school (R.E.M., Oasis, Nirvana, etc.) is now played primarily on classic rock radio.

-Interns look like positively fetal to me now.

-I make involuntary noises when I get up off the couch.

-“I’m 32” has replaced “I don’t feel well” and “I have to be at work early tomorrow” as a legitimate excuse for staying in on Thursday nights.

-I plan my dinners days ahead of time.

That last one is antithetical to every meal I ate from ages 17 to 27, but it’s a central principle of this whole food/frugality thing we’ve got going on here. Today’s dish, Chicken Fried Rice, is a good example. It’s a hybrid of three recipes from Simply Recipes, Cookie magazine, and Robert Irvine (of Dinner: Impossible fame) and requires several cups of refrigerated leftover rice. Without this essential planning ahead, you’re left with a blobby, hyper-absorbent pile of mush.

Beyond that, the recipe is tasty and super-quick to throw together. It can be customized to include more vegetables or different proteins, and the soy sauce can be adjusted as well, depending on your salt tolerance. (Mine is very high. I kind of wish I was a deer just for the salt licks.)

Now, I’m off to eat Chicken Fried Rice and contemplate this Tim Riggins thing further. For someone my age, it might take awhile.

P.S. Readers, how do you know you’re getting a little older? Use your newfangled computer technology to discuss in the comment section. (Then, get off mah lawn!)


If you like this recipe, you might also like:

Chicken Fried Rice
Makes 3 full meals or 5 side servings.
Adapted from Simply Recipes, Robert Irvine, and Cookie.

8 ounces chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
2 egg whites
1 egg
6 scallions, chopped
3 to 4 cups leftover rice (must NOT be freshly made)
3/4 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed
3 tablespoons soy sauce

1) In a small bowl, combine chicken, 1/2 a teaspoon of sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste. In another small bowl, beat egg whites and egg together with a little salt and pepper.

2) In a large nonstick skillet, warm 1 teaspoon canola oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 5 or 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.

3) Reduce heat to medium low and warm 1/2 teaspoon canola oil in skillet. Add eggs, swirling them around pan and gently breaking them up with a spoon as they cook. When barely done, set eggs aside with chicken.

4) Jack heat back up to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon canola oil to skillet. Add ½ the scallions and cook 2 or 3 minutes, until slightly soft. Add rice and spread it around as much as possible. Cook 4 or 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, until rice is warmed and a little crispy.

5) Add remaining sesame oil and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce. Stir to coat. Add chicken, eggs, carrots and peas, stir to combine, and heat another 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat and top with remaining scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with extra soy sauce on the side.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
3 servings (full meal): 446 calories, 12.9 g fat, 3.7 g fiber, $1.18
5 servings (side dish): 268 calories, 7.8 g fat, 2.2 g fiber, $0.71

8 ounces chicken breast: 249 calories, 2.7 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.85
1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil: 60 calories, 6.8 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.09
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.02
1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil: 186 calories, 21 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.11
2 egg whites: 34 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.66
1 egg: 74 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.33
6 scallions, chopped: 48 calories, 0.3 g fat, 3.9 g fiber, $0.44
3 to 4 cups leftover rice (calc for 3.5 cups): 676 calories, 2.9 g fat, 3.5 g fiber, $0.42
3/4 cup frozen peas and carrots, thawed: 56 calories, 0 g fat, 3.4 g fiber, $0.33
3 tablespoons soy sauce: 25 calories, 0 g fat, 0.4 g fiber, $0.30
TOTAL: 1339 calories, 38.8 g fat, 11.2 g fiber, $3.55
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 446 calories, 12.9 g fat, 3.7 g fiber, $1.18
PER SERVING (TOTAL/5): 268 calories, 7.8 g fat, 2.2 g fiber, $0.71

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Ducks said...

I am, oh horrors, 40 this year. How do I know?

I remember when pizza parties were something to get excited about. Now kids are like, yes, and so what?

When I try on a "gamer chair" at Best Buy, I can't get back out of the damn thing.

My younger friends (and my brother's girlfriends) don't get my jokes, or my music & pop culture references.

It's not all bad. I hope I'm a member of the last generation to remember anything Sid & Marty Krofft did to us as kids. :)

erinlaughs said...

Tim Riggins. Oh man. I'm so thankful he didn't go off to college so he could stick around on that show.

I justify the lusting by reminding myself that the actor is 17 years old, therefore it's fine. Have you gotten to the part where he has an affair with the neighbor? Lucky, lucky woman.

Holly said...

I am old enough to know that the proper way to fix un-cooperative technology is to give it a good whack!

When I hurt, don't feel well, or have a bad hair day, I shrug it off as an age thing that I can do noting about.

I like sardines.

I don't even bother pretending to like museums anymore. Life is too short, and getting shorter.

shelly said...

The actor, Taylor Kitsch, is actually 28, so you're really not creepy at all! :)

Laura said...

Gah, it's all true. I've been cringing a lot after realizing who I just referred to as a "kid."

In the evenings, I now frequently think, "I could go for another glass of water, but I don't want to have to get up and use the bathroom in the middle of the night."

We have an advent calendar with chocolates this year and two nights in a row, I've now thought, "Crap, we forgot to do the advent calendar, and I just brushed my teeth."

While at the Gap yesterday, I said to my husband, "I wish they'd turn the music down!" (And don't even get me started on Express.)


AJP said...

I learned to make fried rice from a Cambodian woman recently. She told me to cook the rice basically al dente, that is, don't use as much water. She told me to put the rice in the rice cooker, then put water to cover the rice by about 1 centimeter. It turned out well.

Kris said...

You guys are hilarious. I especially like the Sid & Marty Krofft, sardine, and glass of water references.

Taylor Kitsch is 28? Okay, I don't feel so bad anymore. And erinlaughs - I think the neighbor woman used to be on Melrose. Shagging the guy next door is probably just like old times.

Cheryl said...

I adore Tim Riggins--except that dang hair, seriously, he needs to at least wash his hair!!

I'm a pretty big fan of the show--my son coaches football. We've been watching it since the beginning.

I really like Kyle Chandler, too--I think the marriage portrayed is one of the truest portraits of marriage I have ever seen on tv.

Anonymous said...

You know, I had exactly the same realization re: Tim Riggins/Coach Taylor when I started watching FNL. These days, though, it's Matt Saracen that just pulls at my heartstrings (especially in seasons 2 & 3, will have to wait until January for season 4). I do feel a bit less like a dirty old woman knowing just how old the actors playing high-schoolers are!

Jane said...

I have definitely joined the ranks of the senile: I turned 50 this year. (I'm probably the oldest one commenting, huh?)

You know you're old when your knees buckle more easily than your belt.

You know you're old when you hate to tell people how old your kids are, 'cause you know they're calculating your age in their heads!

Amiyrah said...

lol at getting old. let's not talk about it anymore...

I posted a wonderful chicken fried rice tutorial on my blog almost 2 years ago and my readers still swear by it.

Sometimes it helps to do great tutorials for those learning to cook. I also did one on casseroles and proper southern fried chicken.

Here's the tutorial for anyone interested:

MS said...

Some girlfriends and I get together every week to watch Friday Night Lights (when the eps are new), and we LOVE #33 (aka The Hotness)! And we're all hovering around or above 30 (I think I'm the oldest at 32). We also love Coach Taylor and idolize Tami Taylor. AND, since we live where they film, three of my girlfriends have been extras (in season 4), and many of us have had cast sightings around town. One of my best-ever outdoor runs was the day I ran right by Riggins on the trail. (He owns a house in town and I think was just hanging out with a friend on the lake.)

Missy said...

Haha! Great post. I didn't feel old until I had a baby. Now it's 10:00 and I'm staying up late blogging and feeling like a rebel.


Kris said...

MS - holy ... you are my hero. That is AWESOME.

Now that we're all a little older, the Taylors seems like the model of what marriage should be, right? Such humility and love and humor there.

MS said...

I think my passing-#33-in-the-park story would be SO much better if I'd actually touched his arm. But that day began Operation Touch Riggins' Arm, an important project undertaken by me and my FNL fan girlfriends.

Riiiiight. Anyway. Here's my friend's blog post about being an extra for FNL:

MS said...

Oh, and I should probably warn you that my friend's blog post is a little spoiler-y if you haven't watched season 3 yet...

Connie said...

I love Chinese style fried rice. With the right proportion of ingredients, it's a complete meal!

Mrs. B said...

Just so you know, most "teen" actors are in their late 20's and 30's. So your not creepy.

PDXmagi said...

I am about to embark on this dish.

Wish me luck.

Portland Magician said...

I'm having this right now for the SECOND time. Brown Rice is key.

5 Star Delicious.

Anonymous said...

this just made me laugh so loud. I am almost 32 and recently finished a friday night lights marathon and had a realization as well... I found that I was more attracted to the 40-something coach taylor than to tim riggins! I, of course, called my best friend to tell her that I officially prefer 40 yr olds to 20 yr olds. It was a big deal.
BTW, thanks for the recipe! Going to make this tomorrow.

KoreyKrochet said...

Don't feel bad about Tim Riggins, he is in his 30's too :D