Some things in life are severely underrated, like shopping at Target without kids, going to bed early, and having a few minutes in the morning to sip coffee and take a shower. #momlife
When it comes to food, there are quite a few foods that I believe deserve so much more attention than they receive in the 21st century western society, like rice.
Not only is rice incredibly underrated, it’s also been a bit of a shunned food in the past, thanks to low carb diets and such. First, rice was bad news, then just white rice was bad news, then all rice was bad news (again). I know, it’s hard to keep up. Just give me food that comes from the ground or a properly-raised animal.
The good news is that rice does come from the ground, so it’s completely on “the table” when it comes to enjoying real food. Hallelujah!
Rice is an incredibly versatile food that’s also budget-friendly and prep-ahead friendly. If you’re looking for a food that will keep your food budget in check, may be used in a plethora of real food recipes and prepped in advance, and one the whole family will probably eat, rice is your real food buddy!
First, rice will keep your budget in check, or at least it does for me. I purchase a giant bag of white basmati rice from Costco once every six months. Since bugs and rice can go hand-in-hand (especially in Florida), I dump my bag of rice in a giant tub that’s supposedly bug proof. That $16 bag of rice (actually, I’m not sure of the exact cost, but it’s somewhere around there) makes too many meals to count during a six month time period: beans and rice, burrito bowls, casseroles, fried rice, vegetable soups, and so much more.
One more note about this budget-friendly point. I used to think that rice was “cheap,” because as a kid it was always bland and lacked nutrients, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Rice easily takes on the flavor of just about any recipe you add it to, and the nutrition factor is instantly increased when you cook the rice in nutrient-rich homemade broth. Boom, rice for the win!
Since we chatted about the plethora of recipes idea already, let’s move on to prepping rice in advance…
I love to prep a large helping of rice on Sunday, serve some of the rice with Sunday dinner (if it works in my meal plan), and then store the rest of the rice in the fridge for later in the week. Throughout the week the extra rice may be served with beans or tacos, added to soups, scooped into Piper’s lunchbox, tossed with herbs and leftover meat (like chicken or fish) for a quick lunch, or sautéed with veggies and eggs (AKA: fried rice).
Rice may even be frozen. I know, mind-blown! To freeze rice, I simply spoon cooked rice into a Ziplock bag, flatten the bag, and then place the bag in the freezer. The rice is quickly defrosted when the bag is placed in a bowl of warm water, or left in the fridge overnight.
Since rice is such a versatile, family-friendly, and budget-friendly real food buddy, let’s put it to good use with an easy lunch or dinner: 15-Minute Vegetarian Fried Rice.
As the name suggests, this rice is made in 15 minutes, but there’s one catch. In order to make this rice in 15 minutes, you’ll need to do some rice prepping before you plan to make this dish. Of course, you can also cook rice on the spot for this fried rice recipe, but prepping the rice in advance certainly reduces the hands-on time of this dish.
The best way, in my opinion, to cook rice in advance, easily and quickly, is to use the Instant Pot. Instant Pot rice takes just 4 minutes to cook and is entirely hands-off, seriously it’s a game-changing method. Prep the Instant Pot rice on the weekend and then use it in this recipe, make stuffed peppers, and serve as a side throughout the week. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, I’ll share how to make rice on the stove-top in the recipe below.
Who knew I would have so much to say about rice?!
Okay, my friend, enough talk, let’s eat!
15-Minute Vegetarian Fried Rice
- 2- 2 1/2 cups cooked rice
- 2 TB avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 eggs
- 3 green onions chopped-about 1/2 cup, greens and whites
- 2 large carrots diced-about 1 cup
- 1/2 bell pepper diced- about 1 cup
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
Optional meat add-ins:
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken salmon, or chopped shrimp, leftover
- In a large skillet, over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of oil. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then add them to the warm skillet and oil. Scramble the eggs until they are fluffy and cooked through. Do not overcook the eggs. Remove the eggs from the skillet, and set aside until later. Wipe out the skillet, and then return it to the stove-top.
- Over medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Then, add all the veggies except the peas to the warm skillet and oil. Sauté the veggies for 6-7 minutes, until they are slightly soft. The carrots will still have a nice crunch to them. While the veggies cook, whisk together the sauce ingredients: soy, minced garlic, and ground ginger.
- Stir the rice into the skillet with the veggies. Then, add the scrambled eggs, frozen peas, and sauce. Continue to cook the fried rice until well combined and heated through, about 1-2 minutes.
- If you're making a meat-lover's fried rice, add the cooked and shredded meat to the rice with the eggs, peas, and sauce.