Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cooking for One: Fried Rice

December is finally here, and I'm telling myself that I can stop being Grinch-y about Christmas decorations and the like.  I love the awe and wonder of Christmas ... for about 2 weeks.  Yes, do a little shopping and planning, but my tree is not going up for another week!

Until then, life as normal.  Which often means dinner for one. I like to have proper meals, even when I'm alone. I don't really mind cooking for myself, I think it has helped me develop as a cook, to learn more about tasting and adjusting flavors. But there are limits on just how much time I'm willing to spend cooking for just me, especially the cleaning up part.  There are a disconcerting number of these meals that I cook in a 10" or 11" non-stick skillet:
  • Scramble (leftover potatoes, onions, something green, meat or bacon and/or an egg on top)
  • Spiced Chickpea and vegetables (I'll post this one soon)
  • Fried Rice
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies
  • Mini-frittata (well, this uses a 6" non-stick skillet.  Just like this, but just 2-3 eggs)
To make this happen, its very helpful to have leftovers.  Things like boiled potatoes, leftover chicken (or turkey) or sausage, plain rice, or pasta whatever.  The leftovers, combined with some fresh vegetables, allow me to make something completely different from night to night that's healthy and filling and tasty. When I don't have leftovers, beans or eggs or a sausage from the freezer often find their way into dinner for one.

I can tell you that I don't really have recipes for these skillet dinners  I'm going to show you what I do, and write something that looks like a recipe, but don't worry about following too closely. And I'm not worried that my tree is not up yet.

Fried Rice

Get everything out:  leftover rice (enough for one person), leftover meat (optional.. sometimes I'll use cashews or almonds if I don't have meat), aromatics like garlic, ginger, hot peppers (or can use red pepper flakes.. or not if you don't want spicy), onions, and an assortment of veggies so that you have a couple of cups or so when they are chopped.  I have zucchini, carrot, red pepper, and some leftover green beans for this batch.  Other things I like include mushrooms, broccoli, cabbage, kale, asparagus... pretty much what ever needs to be used up.  Plus an egg, some oil, and some soy sauce.

Start chopping.  Finely mince the aromatics, chop everything else. 

Get out a 10 or 11 inch non-stick pan, and heat some oil (a tablespoon or so, enough to coat the bottom) over medium high heat.  Add the aromatics, veggies, and rice.  Also throw in nuts if you are using. Let cook.  Stir occasionally.  You want things to brown a little. 

When the veggies are almost done, stir in the meat.  Then push everything to the side, and put a little more oil in the middle (by the way, I think I actually used chicken fat (schmaltz) here because I happened to have some left from roasting a chicken, but anything works).  

Drop the egg on the oil. 

Then quickly stir to scramble and cook.

When the egg is mostly cooked, mix everything together, and drizzle with soy sauce (I'm guessing a teaspoon or two).  Taste, you can always add more soy sauce if needed.

If you want to make this for 2, use a 12" skillet.  Although I'm guessing that this might make 2 servings for some people (those who don't swim for example).  

Fried Rice

Makes one big serving.

Oil or fat of choice (vegetable, olive, chicken fat, etc.)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ginger, minced
1 hot pepper, minced or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
½ small onion, chopped
2 cups (or so) of assorted chopped vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, summer squash, etc.
1 cup (or so) of cooked rice (brown or white)
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce (to taste)

Heat oil in 10 or 11 inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the aromatics, veggies, and rice.  Also throw in nuts if you are using. Let cook.  Stir occasionally -- things should brown a little.  If things are sticking, turn down the heat and add a little water. When the veggies are almost done, stir in the meat.  Then push everything to the side making a well in the middle. Put a little more oil in the middle then put the egg on the oil. Then quickly stir the egg to scramble and cook. When the egg is mostly cooked, mix everything together, and drizzle with a teaspoon of soy sauce. Taste, add more soy sauce if needed.


  1. Looks delicious. I'm going to try it...also sounds like a great side dish for 2. !

    1. Yes, it would make a good side dish... but since I think of it as a main, I never think to make as a side!


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