Chicken Fried Rice

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Time for another savory post on Dessertaholics! I don’t normally order fried rice from the Chinese restaurant when husband and I decide to eat it for dinner, but I’ve made it for dinner because it’s a great one-dish recipe. I don’t remember where my previous recipe came from, but now that I’ve found this recipe from Gimme Some Oven, I’ll never make another one!

Ali’s original recipe is for plain fried rice with no protein; I added the chicken. I also made her already simple recipe even easier, and sized it down for only two servings. I apologize in advance for not having step by step pictures of my dinner-making process, but trust me, you don’t need them!

 

Gimme Some Oven Fried Rice, Alyssa Method

Butter
1 egg, beaten
1.5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag frozen mixed veggies
1 package of instant rice, chilled (2 cups)
Soy sauce to taste
Splash of sesame oil

If you’re adding a protein, make that first and set it aside. I diced up two chicken breasts and stir-fried them in soy sauce. If you want to make this recipe even easier, use pre-cooked chicken! Then microwave the veggies according to the directions, and put them in a bowl.

Put a little bit of butter in the pan and melt it, then scramble the egg. When it’s finished, put it onto a small plate and set it aside.

Add more butter to the pan and stir-fry the garlic for a few minutes, then add the veggies. Put in another sliver of butter, then add the rice and soy sauce. Continue stirring for about 3 minutes to make sure the rice gets nice and fried. Then stir in the eggs (and protein, if using) and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil.

 

I’m reposting these helpful hints from the Gimme Some Oven page, because I think they’re key to getting this dish right.

1. Use cold rice

I don’t know why it works better, but it does. I microwaved my rice a few hours ahead of time and put it in a bowl in the fridge, but you don’t need to do it more than 15-20 minutes in advance. Just make sure it’s not warm.

2. Use butter

Don’t be afraid of the butter! You don’t need to use very much, and the flavor is much better than oil. I think using oil instead of butter is one of the reasons my previous fried rice attempts didn’t come out quite right. Those hibachi places know what they’re doing!

3. Don’t leave out the veggies

I LOVE frozen vegetables. It doesn’t get much better than fresh, ready-made veggies that you just have to nuke for a few minutes. Ali’s original recipe uses onions, peas, and carrots, which I’m sure is delicious, but I generally don’t cook with onion (for a few reasons), and a bag of frozen mixed veggies has carrots, corn, peas, and green beans! Colorful and yummy!

4. Take time to actually fry the rice

My previous recipe had you merely add the rice to the pot at the last minute, stir it around, and then call it done. Don’t fall into this trap! Just take three or four minutes to fry the rice along with the other ingredients. It changes both the taste and texture of the dish.

5. Use sesame oil

Ali says to use oyster sauce as well as sesame oil, but I didn’t. I just didn’t feel the need to buy it, since I don’t know what else I would use it for. But I had sesame oil from a previous recipe, and let me tell you, it makes a HUGE difference.  This is the last thing that was missing from my previous fried rice attempts! It really pulls the dish together and gives it that Chinese takeout feeling.

 

And that’s it! Let me know if you make it, and what tweaks YOU made to the recipe!

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New York, May 2015

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You know I can’t take a trip to New York without blogging about the food afterwards.

The above is a photo of food not just eaten in New York, but also made in New York. I went for the purpose of going to my friend Laura’s bachelorette party, but I also spent some time with my parents. Before I went to the city for the weekend, my mom requested that I make some red velvet mini cupcakes for a party my parents were having.

During the process of making the cupcakes and the icing, I learned that baking without all of my various kitchen toys is very difficult. For example, a cookie scoop. If you’ve been making cupcakes without the aid of a cookie scoop, buy one! I promise, your baking will never be the same.

Anyway, moving on to the food I didn’t make!

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CupCakeBite and Stick Boy Bakery

IMG_1060If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember my post about the bakery tour of Manhattan that my friend Laura does annually for her birthday. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find it here!)

Considering Laura has been doing this for five years, I’m not sure what took me so long to come up with the idea to do my own version. However, I’m going to do it a little differently. Rather than having one day where a group of friends travel from bakery to bakery in one city, I’m going to visit as many bakeries as I can in the entire STATE! I have no idea how long that’s going to take, but anyone is welcome to join at any point!

Last week, I made my first two stops in a small town called Fuquay-Varina. I met up with fellow dessert-lover Ashley, who took me first to her favorite cupcake shop, CupCakeBite.

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Spinach Artichoke Dip

AMAZING photo courtesy of Julie!

AMAZING photo courtesy of Julie!

And now for something completely different – a savory recipe!

There’s a backstory attached to this post, so I’ll start from the beginning. I discovered Julie of Willow Bird Baking through LiveJournal (yes, that’s still a thing), and at first I just enjoyed her recipes. Then, I realized that she lives near me! I immediately emailed her and asked if she would be interested in baking together.

I was thrilled when she responded that she would love to meet up with me! Unfortunately, it took a long time for our schedules to match up, but we finally made it happen this past weekend! Now, here’s the part where I explain how the savory recipe fits into the mix.

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