I get a lot of feedback from people about recipes on my blog that goes something like this: "That stuff all looks great, but I just don't have enough time to cook like that because I have [insert excuse here: kids, busy job, no money, a life, etc]."
I had a few days last week where my fridge was pretty bare and I was making some of those excuses myself. It just seemed easier to order a pizza or go out, and I was severely tempted to do that. But I powered through, and re-discovered the key to quick healthy meals.
I know you know this. I knew it, too, but I forgot. The key is a tiny bit of preparation. Duh. On Sunday, I boiled up a cup of quinoa in 2 cups water with a vegetable bouillon cube for 15 minutes. Then I sauteed some onion and broccoli. With these 2 items already prepped, I was able to make this healthy version of Chinese fried rice in just a couple of minutes tonight. It was awesome.
No matter how busy you are, I think you'll find it's possible to find time to boil up a pot of whole grains like brown rice, wheatberries, farro, oat groats, or quinoa (which is technically a seed). This is the hardest step, and building a great meal is a snap from this point forward.
To make your fried rice, simply stir fry some vegetables in high heat oil, add your rice or quinoa, then scramble an egg into the whole mixture. Season with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Delicious, addictive, and healthy!
Vegetable Fried Quinoa with Egg
3 cups chopped veggies (I used cabbage, carrot, peas, onions, broccoli, ginger, and garlic)
1-2 cups cooked grain or quinoa
2 eggs, beaten
2-3 tsp soy sauce
1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbsp light oil (peanut, canola, or vegetable but NOT olive oil) over medium high heat.
Add your vegetables and stir fry at high heat for about 2 minutes or until they begin to soften. Use your best judgement of when to add the veggies. For example, I had pre-cooked my broccoli so I added that last and just let it heat through. No need to add any salt or pepper because your soy sauce will be flavor enough. If the pan gets too dry and your veggies start sticking or burning, add a teaspoon or two of water. Try not to overcook - err on the side of caution and work quickly so your vegetables don't get overly soft. You want them to keep a nice crunchy bite.
Add your cooked quinoa or rice to your slightly softened stir-fried veggies and stir. Make a well in the middle of the hot pan, add a spot more oil, then add your beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs into the mixture.
Turn off heat and add soy sauce and sesame oil, stirring well to combine. Garnish with chopped scallions, if you have them. And serve with hot sauce to taste.
ONE YEAR AGO: Zucchini Oat Bran Muffins
TWO YEARS AGO: Summer Quinoa Salad