What’s for Dinner?

by Sarah Stensland

If your family is anything like mine, one of the first questions after our children come home from school is, “What’s for dinner?” I usually have very little time to think up and prepare a healthy home-cooked meal due to after-school activities and commitments. Therefore, I try to gather some ideas to have on hand that fit the time crunch.

A family favorite in our house is Chicken Fried Rice. It is a very quick “throw together” meal that is healthy and inexpensive–three wins in my book!

I typically “batch” cook my meat and freeze for later, as described below. When I use precooked meat and frozen prechopped vegetables, this meal comes together in 15 minutes for around $12. I also like that it is easy to change it up for added variety or to suit your own family’s tastes. So without further ado, here’s the recipe and a few tips I’ve learned along the way:

Chicken Fried Rice (yield 8 cups)

2 cups chicken, cubed

1 onion, diced

3 Tbsp oil (I use avocado oil, but olive or vegetable oil would also work)

2-3 cups veggies

2 eggs

2 cups rice, cooked

3 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Cut 2 cups chicken (about 3 breasts) into bite size cubes; fry with onions in oil until cooked through. Slide the meat and onions to the side, and scramble cook the eggs on the open side of the pan. When the eggs are done, mix the meat and eggs together. Add the veggies to the pan and fry until warm. I typically use a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Add the seasonings and cooked rice; fry until warm.

Other Tips:

*For quicker meal prep, I like to precook my meat, divide the meat into small portions, and freeze. For chicken, I boil an entire bag of chicken breasts until cooked through, and then chop into bite-sized pieces and freeze.

*Cubed ham is also very tasty with this recipe. Feel free to substitute a favorite meat to your family’s preference.

*Veggies could be increased, decreased, or changed based on personal preference. When I’m in a hurry I use a bag of frozen mixed veggies or peas and carrots—this is very quick and easy. Fresh or canned veggies could also be used.

*If you want to increase the veggies in this recipe, use riced cauliflower instead of rice. Cauliflower can be purchased already riced, usually by the fresh, packaged veggies, but I have also found it in the frozen veggies as well. Alternatively, you can make your own by chopping it raw using a food processor. I add the riced cauliflower in the last few minutes of cooking. With all the delicious seasonings, no one even noticed when I switched the rice out for cauliflower – HEALTH WIN!

Sarah Stensland is a married mother to three children. She is a physical therapist, and she has a passion for healthy living.