There’s nothing more annoying than coming home from a long day of classes and exams and then having to cook a meal for yourself, especially a complicated one. That’s why I’m here to give you the go-to dinner recipe I make way too often and that can be made with any ingredients you have on hand.
My favorite meal lately is fried rice nourishment bowls. The reason I love these so much is that the recipe is so forgiving. If you make a mistake it’s so easy to fix and it helps take away all the stress of cooking.
For this dish you will need:
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ½ diced onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾-1 cup frozen peas and carrots
- Any other veggies you have on hand. Some great ones are broccoli, zucchini or even chopped snap peas
- 2 eggs, scrambled
- Sesame seeds
- Sliced green onion
- Teriyaki chicken or shrimp
For the base of these bowls, you’ll be making easy and delicious rice. To start, take your vegetable oil and put it in a pan, over medium-high heat. I like to use a wok, which is an Asian cooking pan that is shaped like a dome. It allows for even heat to flow throughout the pan while also giving you a lot of room to work, but any good-sized pan will do just fine.
Once your oil is hot, add your onion and minced garlic. Saute these until they’re fragrant.
Now it’s time to add your vegetables. If you’ve decided to add more vegetables than just peas and carrots, this is when you’d do so. If not, just add your frozen peas and carrots and mix for about four minutes or until they seem to be cooked thoroughly.
I like to use frozen vegetables for a multitude of reasons. They’re cheaper than fresh vegetables, they last longer and they speed up the cooking process tremendously.
Now that your vegetables are done, it’s time to add your cooked rice. One of my favorite inventions is microwavable rice. There are many different options as far as those go.
Uncle Ben’s makes great microwavable rice packets and they come in white, brown and even long-grain rice. Trader Joe’s also makes frozen rice packs that are fully cooked and can be heated up alongside your frozen vegetables. Both these options are budget and user-friendly. Plus they taste great, making them ideal for college students.
After you’ve added your rice to the pan, lower your heat to the low setting and set up a second pan to cook your eggs, should you want to include them. Add some fat to your pan, whether it be butter, cooking oil or PAM and start the heat on a low to medium setting. Crack your eggs in a small bowl, add salt and pepper and whisk until the yolk is broken.
Once your pan is hot enough, add them to the pan and cook until desired. I find that if you keep your heat on a lower setting your eggs will cook more evenly and not stick to the pan. After they’re done cooking, add your eggs into your rice and stir until evenly incorporated.
Now that your rice is completely cooked, it’s time to add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Soy sauce and sesame oil are both very rich ingredients, so I believe a little goes a long way. Now, this is the fun part: taste your rice with a separate spoon and see if it needs more of the soy sauce or sesame oil.
Customize it to your liking. Once your rice is perfect for you, turn off the heat.
And now, it is time for the best part of any recipe: toppings. This is where you can really get creative with it. You can top your bowl with anything you have in the fridge: leftover chicken, edamame, bell peppers or even cabbage. My personal favorite is to top the bowl with teriyaki chicken, edamame, sauteed peppers and onions and roasted broccoli.
This type of bowl fills me up while satisfying all my cravings at the same time.
If you want to make your bowl even more decadent, you can make a peanut sauce out of four simple ingredients:
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Add water until your desired thickness
You can use this as a dressing on top of your bowl to add a bit of nuttiness and salt. If you want some extra crunch, toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions are a great way to add a bit of extra flavor and texture to your bowl.
This recipe is one of the easiest and most filling recipes for busy college students. It utilizes frozen foods as well as any leftovers in your fridge. It is not only cost-effective but timesaving and makes two servings so you can feed yourself and a lucky roommate. This will most definitely become a go-to recipe for you.
Until the next bite.