So many of us are looking for fresh, new ideas for weeknight meals. Let’s face it, we all get stuck in a dinner rut from time to time, and it certainly can be a challenge to make one meal that everyone will eat — even the kids! I’ll be honest; growing up, my mother made one meal for everyone. We all ate the same thing. I know, it sounds crazy nowadays, but we weren’t given as many choices back then as many kids are today. Along with that also comes a host of food allergies and sensitivities, which throws a monkey-wrench, so to speak, into weeknight dinner planning. I, too, have been found guilty of giving my two youngest kids way too many food choices, but as a mom, you just want them to eat, right? Pick your battles, they say. So when a recipe comes along that the whole family will enjoy, it’s almost too good to be true.
Most kids love a night out at a Chinese restaurant, so why not make it at home? My version of Chicken Fried Rice is going gluten free and healthier, too! Making it homemade is not only easy to do with the right ingredients in your pantry, but it’s better for you and much lower in sodium and other “seasonings” that give the restaurant stuff so much flavor. Trust me, you won’t miss a thing. I left my version relatively plain, but this is a great time to throw in vegetables that perhaps your kids wouldn’t have eaten if they were sitting on the plate. Try sweet snap peas, carrots or broccoli florets. If your kids are the pickiest on earth, scoop their portion into a cardboard take-out box so they feel like it’s fun and special. Ask your local Chinese take-out place for a few of them; most are willing to sell them to you. Chopsticks and fortune cookies are also a good way to entice the kids to eat their dinner. By pulling a few tricks out of your hat, weeknight meals will be a lot easier!
- Swap the chicken for strips of beef sirloin or shrimp; if your family is vegetarian or vegan, use tofu instead.
- Let’s talk chicken! If making the dish with chicken like I did, I suggest using the tenderloin pieces, which you can cut into small chunks or strips. Chicken breast will be too dry, in my opinion. Boneless thighs are also an option, but will take longer to cook through.
- Make extra and pack for lunch the next day!
- If you are not gluten free or your children aren’t, sprinkle some of those crunchy noodles on top so the kids are more likely to eat it (do this for each dish so there is no cross-contamination issue).
- The white rice itself can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge.
- There are a few brands of gluten free soy sauce available these days, but I usually use LaChoy.
Gluten Free Chicken Fried Rice
- 6 servings of cooked white rice (I used Uncle Ben's)
- About 1 1/4 lbs. of chicken tenderloins (I like to cut away the white tendon if I can see it), cut into chunks or long strips
- Olive or peanut oil
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder
- Gluten free chicken broth
- 1 tsp. minced ginger (you can find this in the asian section of the grocery store. I keep a jar of it in the fridge.)
- 3 scallions, chopped plus more for garnishing
- 2 large eggs, scrambled and cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup gluten free, low sodium soy sauce
- Step 1 Cook the rice according to the package and set aside or refrigerate if making the day before.
- Step 2 In a large non-stick skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive or peanut oil.
- Step 3 Add the chicken and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can also season the chicken in a bowl before adding it to the skillet.
- Step 4 Remove the chicken one it’s just cooked through (do not overcook). Set aside in a dish.
- Step 5 Deglaze the skillet over medium-high heat with a splash of chicken stock, scraping up any bits.
- Step 6 Add the chopped scallions and minced ginger, allowing it to sautéed in the stock for a minute or so.
- Step 7 In the meantime, beat two eggs and season with salt and pepper. In a small non-stick skillet, pour the beaten eggs and fry in a thin layer. Flip and cook on the other side. Remove to a plate or cutting board. Roll the egg up like a burrito ad make thin slices, then cut in half so you have small, thin strips of egg.
- Step 8 To the skillet with the scallions, add the soy sauce.
- Step 9 Add in the cooked rice and toss so that the soy sauce mixture coats the rice. Add in the chicken and toss. Allow to “fry” up slightly, but not dry out.
- Step 10 Finally, fold in the eggs.
- Step 11 Before serving, scatter additional chopped scallions on top.