Chicken Fried Rice

This week I’m adding a new chicken recipe. Everyone in the family loves this one for dinner and to take with them for lunch the next day.

This recipe uses nearly the same ingredients as the One-Pot Chicken and Rice recipe, but uses less chicken. You can stretch this dish depending on how much rice you use. I add 3 cups of cooked rice now, but when the kids are home I add a lot more. There are notes about this below the recipe.

I find that people are often afraid to try stir-fried dishes because they are unsure how to do it. So, I went looking for a good video to show you how it’s done. I am impressed that the cook uses chopsticks to make this dish. I use large flat wok spatula that I bought years ago in New York with my first wok. I would recommend that you buy a wok and wok spatula, but if you don’t have them, you can use a large pan and a regular spatula.

My recipe below is slightly different than the one in the video, but either way you will have a great dish that is easy to make and is usually greeted with smiles by family and friends.

[To print this recipe, please click on the link below to bring you to the recipe page. Or, you can use the drop-down menu above under Recipes.]

Chicken Fried Rice

Time: This recipe takes about a half hour to make

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups long grain rice (you can use other types of rice, but adjust your liquid if necessary)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 or 2 chicken breasts cut into strips or small cubes
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup or more frozen peas and carrots (or any small cut up vegetables you like)
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil (optional)
  • Soy Sauce or Tamari

Directions:

Rice:

Many people have their own method to cook rice. If you don’t have one, then do the following:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water and a 1/4 tsp salt to boil.
  2. My secret formula is to cook the rice in two stages. First cover the rice and simmer for 10 minutes at medium high heat. At the end of the 10 minutes, stir the rice and put the cover back on.
  3. For the second stage, turn the heat off under the pan or turn it down to very low for another 10 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID. In this way, the pot maintains enough heat for the rice to absorb the water without burning the rice on the bottom of the pot.

In a Wok or large Pan:

  1. While the rice is cooking, cut up the chicken, the onions and the garlic (I buy garlic minced in a jar).
  2. I don’t start cooking the chicken until about 5 minutes before the rice is done. At that time, turn the heat up high under a wok or medium high if you are using a pan.
  3. Add the vegetable oil, the garlic and the onion. You could cook the chicken first, but I prefer this order. Stir and cook for about a minute.
  4. Add the chicken. Stir and cook until almost done.
  5. I use frozen peas and carrots, so I add them in at this point and cook everything together until everything is done.
  6. If you are using a wok, you can push everything to the side to cook the eggs (as in the video). OR – you can remove everything and simply cook the eggs by themselves. Scramble the eggs until done.
  7. Add the cooked rice into the wok or pan. In this last stage you can cook the rice alone or with your other cooked ingredients. It will depend on the size of your wok or pan.
  8. You can add the sesame oil and stir it into the rice. I find this to be too oily for me, so this step is optional.
  9. Stir and cook the rice for about a minute. Add the soy sauce and stir into the rice. If you have removed the chicken and vegetables, you can add them back in at this time.
  10. Stir everything together and serve hot.

 NOTES: 

Family – I used 6 cups of rice to really stretch this recipe. I couldn’t put all the rice in the wok, so I put half the cooked rice in one of my largest bowls and just added a little soy sauce (the rice had to be hot out of the pan). Then I cooked the rest of the rice as explained above. Then I mixed the cooked portion in with the white rice in the bowl, stirring it all together. And that’s how you feed six kids and 2 adults. It’s not as good, but it helps the budget.

Ones and Twos – You can halve this recipe or save the leftovers for another day.

Health Needs:

Gluten Free

This is a gluten free recipe. Just be sure you are using Gluten free Soy Sauce or Tamari.

Vegan

You can skip the egg and substitute baked tofu for the chicken. Add the Tofu with the peas and carrots at the end.

Time Crunch

This can be made the day before and refrigerated.

Complete Meals

This is a complete meal in itself.

Fall Back and SAD: Under the Weather

My husband and I are expecting our third grandchild soon and we decided to get the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine to protect the newborn. And as it’s flu season we decided to get that one, too. So, that’s two vaccines.

But, we weren’t done yet. We have also been talking about getting the Shingles vaccine. My grandmother had shingles twice and told me it was the worst pain she had ever experienced in her life. Since she gave birth three times, during the Depression, I figure that’s got to be pretty intense. Another consideration was that my husband had a very bad time with measles as a kid, so we decided we should get that one, too.

Perhaps three vaccines at a time was pushing it. By the next day we both had a low grade fever and chills. We’re just feeling back to normal today. So, a word to the wise – if you’re going to bunch up those vaccines, then do it on your days off from work or spread them out.

A Word about SAD and Light Therapy

This week is the first week where darkness has returned in a big way to our evenings. I would rather we stay on Daylight Savings Time permanently, but I am not in charge and so must soldier on.

When I lived in New York I used to suffer terribly from SAD (Seasonal affective disorder). The sun starts to set at 4:30 in the afternoon. By 5 pm I was on my couch under a blanket unable to move.

Light therapy was first being recommended in those days, so I bought a 4-foot fluorescent strip lamp and the full spectrum fluorescent lamps that were recommended. I leaned strip lamp against a wall facing the couch. This is because the light doesn’t work unless it affects the retina. It lit up the room like Luna Park and was as ugly as hell, but it did the job for me. I felt it helped me a great deal with my depression. I could sit up for another hour or two after sunset, and I could get up and finish chores and get ready for work the next day. I also felt I was sleeping better.

For more information about current research on SAD light therapy go here: Ocular mechanism key to light therapy for seasonal affective disorder

My husband found it had no effect on his mood, but he went to bed later than usual. He never needed more than 5 hours sleep at night, so the only real benefit for him was that I was happier and better company.

Now that I live in Texas, I don’t need the light therapy all winter long. We’re closer to the equator, so the light balance is not as great as in New York. Still, because of the heat, houses in Texas tend to be built like caves to shut out the evil sun unlike the North where we want to bring as much light into our homes as possible.

November is often a wet (when we aren’t in a drought) and overcast. I find my spirit slipping on days when I spend a lot of time at my desk, so I decided to take another look at light therapy.

Much to my delight, I’ve found that there are many more choices for light therapy. There are plenty of desk models and portable options. I ordered the one below and it should be arriving today.

Light Therapy Lamp, Miroco LED Bright White Therapy Light – UV Free 10000 Lux Brightness, Timer Function, Touch Control, Standing Bracket, for Home/Office Use

Light therapy is not be better than the real thing (which is why I love living in Texas), but while the gloomy days are here I plan to stave off the worst of SAD with my Happy Light.

Until next time. 😊

Cancel Culture: The Gaming World and The University Connection

Last week I wrote about Cancel Culture: How to build a Tranquil Spirit in a Chaotic world.

This week I came across a couple of new sources for information on just exactly how Cancel Culture affects people. The first video is from the gaming world. If you are not in the gaming world, but have kids, you may find this helpful when discussing the subject with them.

The second video is aimed at the University level and views the same problem through the “Safe Spaces” controversy on university campuses. Although aimed at parents, this is useful information for anyone looking to get a degree. I don’t know when this is going to be available for everyone, but if you google it there are plenty of articles and interviews that are worth investigating.

We need to counter this harmful movement before we find ourselves in a country where we can’t talk freely to each other anymore.

I’m running late this week, so this was a short post.

Until next time. 🙂

Mind/Body Health: A Day Off with Friends

A Beautiful Day on the River

I think one of the worst things that happened to this generation of workers was that, because of high unemployment, they were mistreated with terrible working schedules. I think the pay problem has been covered extensively, but the brutal changeover of shifts, sometimes with less than 10 hours turnaround, and very few days off have led to all kinds of physical and mental problems.

You can’t keep working without a fixed schedule and have a balanced healthy life. You can’t sleep well, sleeping at different times of the day is very difficult. Also, it’s hard to find a way to eat and exercise properly.

In the ’70s and ’80s, there were studies done that showed shift hour changes made people unproductive and unhealthy. Back then, shift schedules were made on a weekly or monthly basis. Today, shift changes can occur within the same week, often multiple times a week. I find it unconscionable that this isn’t considered worker abuse. This may be the new 24/7 work week, but it’s inhumane.

For those in this situation, you need to find a job with steady hours and you need to insist on them whenever and wherever you can. People need stability in their life and one of them is a set time to go to work and a set time to take care of themselves and their family. It’s bad enough that it’s getting harder and harder to celebrate holidays or have a single day off that everyone else has.

Blue laws also known as Sunday laws, are laws designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities for religious or secular reasons, particularly to promote the observance of a day of worship or rest. Blue laws may also restrict shopping or ban sale of certain items on specific days, most often on Sundays in the western world. Blue laws are enforced in parts of the United States and Canada as well as some European countries, particularly in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway, keeping most stores closed on Sundays. (Wikipedia)

People were so happy when the Blue Laws were lifted in all the states so that they could go shopping on Sundays. Has it really made life better? With all those stores and businesses open on Sunday it meant other people had to work on Sundays to fill all those jobs. Now it seems most people are working on Sundays, except at Chick Fil’a. And now you want it open, don’t you?

“People who work night shifts or varied schedules that disrupt their sleep may be more likely to develop depression than individuals with 9-to-5 jobs, a research review suggests.” Shift work tied to poor mental health (Reuters)

I doubt we can turn back time to recapture that single day off together, but we can work towards making it happen. There would be many personal hurdles. For one, you might be at the time of your life where you need to work a difficult schedule because this is the career you’ve chosen and there isn’t another path. Or you are working off debt and have no choice. These are priorities and I am speaking more to people with established careers and managers.

Does it matter anymore what day we take off, so long we take it off together? I believe it restore a sense of community. It seems like a small, yet impossible thing to do, but I think that if you can pull it off for yourself, your family and others in your circle you would begin to see an improvement in your relationships. It’s worth trying.

Until next time. 🙂

One-Pot Chicken and Rice (plus a tip on making perfect rice)

Whatever you do for a living, wherever your heart is, you still must eat. Having some basic skills will smooth out the rough spots in the day. Every week I add basic recipes to this website. These are early days, still in building this site, so please be patient with me.

This recipe is one of the easiest chicken meals to make and involves very few ingredients. I have added suggestions for vegan alternatives. It’s already gluten free. And the best part is that there’s only one pot to wash when it’s done. 

Perfect Rice: Everyone has a favorite way to make rice. My secret formula is to cook the rice in two stages. The first stage is 10 minutes long at medium high and the second stage is 10 minutes long on low heat. In this way, the pot maintains enough heat for the rice to absorb the water without burning the rice on the bottom of the pot. And that’s it! Perfect rice every time.

[To print this recipe, please click on the link below to bring you to the recipe page. Or, you can use the drop-down menu above under Recipes.]

One-Pot Chicken and Rice

Time: This recipe takes about an hour to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole cut-up chicken or 4-5 chicken breasts.
  • Salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • Pinch saffron threads (Optional – this is expensive. It’s great, but not necessary)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (if I’m short broth, I add water to make up the difference.)
  • 2 cups long grain rice (you can use other types of rice, but adjust your liquid if necessary)
  • 1 cup or more frozen peas and carrots (or any small cut up vegetables you like)

Serving options: A wedge of a lime as a garnish.

Continue reading “One-Pot Chicken and Rice (plus a tip on making perfect rice)”

Poor Sitting Posture Causing Your Tension Headaches? Try these exercises…

If you spend many hours at a desk, you have probably experienced neck pain and tension headaches. There are many things that can contribute to these painful problems. One of them is could be poor posture.

Continue reading “Poor Sitting Posture Causing Your Tension Headaches? Try these exercises…”

Cancel Culture: How to build a Tranquil Spirit in a Chaotic world.

There are times we don’t make progress in our work because something in our personal lives is holding us back. We may not feel worthy of the dreams you have for yourself. Even if we realize that this is the starting point of many heroic stories you find it difficult to place yourself in those stories. So, this is something we must begin to gain control of in ourselves. Our own dignity is worth cultivating, and that must begin within each of us.

I believe that there is nothing that can happen to us in life that can keep us from “starting over.” I don’t mean physically. Aging and any physical damage to our bodies are obstacles to be overcome. What I am talking about are things that damage our psyche and our spirit.

Especially now, in the new “Cancel Culture,” where people are bullied out of their jobs and are often cut off from family and friends there is so much fear of being singled out for humiliation. Many of us, who are of the baby Boomer generation, feel fortunate that the worst antics of our youth reside in our friends’ memories and not on video online somewhere. Still, we are all vulnerable. Our words can be taken out of context. We could be caught on cell phone video at our worst. We are all worried about being judged in a bad light.

Life, even at its worse, goes on. Even at our lowest point, we must move and think and start again. It may a great effort, but it must be made every day.

We must have faith we can return to life, though it may be different than it was before. The human spirit can overcome terrible events. It’s important that we keep that thought close to us when anxiety threatens to overwhelm our minds.

If there is something that you have done that is wrong and continue to do, even if you were compelled to do it because of your circumstances, then you must struggle to change that part of your life. If you can find help then get it.

Continue reading “Cancel Culture: How to build a Tranquil Spirit in a Chaotic world.”