Thai Chicken Fried Rice

Thai Chicken Fried Rice NG

By Katie Mae Stanley of Nourishing Simplicity

Savory grains of rice are mixed with fresh summer vegetables, tender chicken, and spicy basil.

Thai chicken fried rice is the perfect dish to enjoy anytime, especially in the summer when gardens are bursting with zucchini, bell peppers, string beans, and basil, all of which make up this dish.

I am a huge rice fan. Part of that comes from living in Mexico for ten years where I ate it almost every day. The other part is simply because rice is pretty tasty. It helps that rice is an excellent way to stretch pricier items like meat. Even now that I have been State-side for over two years I crave rice if I go more than a few days without eating it.

Rice is the humble staple of many cultures. Whether it is Arabic rice, Chinese egg fried rice, Jamaican rice and peas, or a savory miso rice congee, rice is an integral part of life. It is the substance that keeps many people going.

Unless it is necessary for me to go grain-free I don’t see my kitchen ever going without rice.

Thai is one of my weakness when it comes to picking a restaurant to eat at. If I could, I would eat it out at least once a week but that is not exactly budget friendly.

Thankfully over time I have started to learn how to recreate some of my favorite dishes, like yellow curry or Kimi’s simple Thai broth. It was only a matter of time that I finally broke down to create a Thai chicken fried rice that satisfied my cravings.

This Thai chicken fried rice is a combination of three of my favorite restaurants in various parts of California.

I mentioning making velvet chicken in this recipe. It is a process of poaching the chicken to make it more tender. It is a beneficial step but not necessary. There are times when I skip it, so don’t pressure yourself to do it. If you have a little extra time then it is worth it in my book.

If you are confused about why we are okay with white rice read more about it here.

Thai Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups steamed white rice (Jasmine preferred), made at least a few hours before and chilled
  • 1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced and velveted (optional)
  • 1 cup Thai basil*
  • 1 cup zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup string beans or long beans, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut/palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce/tamari for gluten free
  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

* If Thai basil can not be found, feel free to substitute with sweet basil. To cut the basil roll a few leaves at a time into a cigar shape and thinly slice.

Directions:

1. Cook the rice a few hours to a day or two in advance. Allow to cool.

2. Thinly slice the chicken breast. Use the velveting method to par-cook the chicken or set the raw chicken aside to cook in the skillet.

3. Quarter the zucchini, cutting it 1/4 of an inch thick. Remove the end from the string or long beans, cutting them into 1/4 inch pieces. Cut the bell pepper in half, removing the seeds. Thinly slice the bell pepper. Roll a few basil leaves at a time like a cigar. Thinly slice the rolls of basil. Crush the garlic.

4. Mix the soy sauce, palm sugar, and salt in a small dish.

5. In a wok or cast iron skillet heat the oil for two minutes.  Add the green beans and bell pepper. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, allowing them to blister, stirring frequently.

6. Add the chicken and crushed garlic. Stir until the chicken is almost cooked.

7. Add the rice, zucchini, the soy sauce mixture. Stir for 3-5 minutes until thoroughly mixed and heated through. Add the basil and stir again.

Top with extra basil if desired.

Thai Chicken Fried Rice
 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups steam white rice (Jasmin preferred)
  • 1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced and velveted (optional)
  • 1 cup Thai basil*
  • 1 cup zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup string beans or long beans, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 tsp coconut/palm sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce/tamari for gluten free
  • ½ tsp unrefined salt
Instructions
  1. * If Thai basil can not be found, feel free to substitute with sweet basil. To cut the basil roll a few leaves at a time into a cigar shape and thinly slice.
  2. Cook the rice a few hours to a day or two in advance. Allow to cool.
  3. Thinly slice the chicken breast. Use the velveting method to par-cook the chicken or set the raw chicken aside to cook in the skillet.
  4. Quarter the zucchini, cutting it a ¼ of an inch thick. Remove the end from the string or long beans, cutting them into ¼ inch pieces. Cut the bell pepper in half, removing the seeds. Thinly slice the bell pepper. Roll a few basil leaves at a time like a cigar. Thinly slice the rolls of basil. Crush the garlic.
  5. Mix the soy sauce, palm sugar, and salt in a small dish.
  6. In a wok or cast iron skillet heat the oil for two minutes. Add the green beans and bell pepper. Cook on high heat for 5 minutes, allowing them to blister, stirring frequently.
  7. Add the chicken and crushed garlic. Stir until the chicken is almost cooked.
  8. Add the rice, zucchini, the soy sauce mixture. Stir for 3-5 minutes until thoroughly mixed and heated through. Add the basil and stir again.
  9. Top with extra basil if desired.

 

Stove Top Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free)

Gluten-Free Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese - Kid friendly, and NO cow dairy! -Creamy and delicious. - The Nourishing Gourmet

Gluten-free noodles topped with an ultra creamy and mild cheese sauce that is free of any cow dairy, but rich and creamy with goat cheddar and chicken broth. Yum! This dish is gluten-free and cow dairy-free, but still has that lovely creamy flavor and perfect noodles that I loved as a child.

I’m glad that my children eat a variety of nourishing foods, including ones that I wouldn’t have ever eaten as a child ¬– foods like caviar and seaweed and dark greens. But sometimes it’s also fun to share nourishing versions of my favorite childhood dishes. And my favorite by far was mac and cheese. Growing up my mom would make big dishes of oven-baked mac and cheese. Yum!

The problem is that some of us don’t do well with cow dairy, and half the family is gluten-free. I had been tossing around the idea of making a goat cheddar mac and cheese recipe, but I was a little worried about how it would turn out. I finally took the plunge, and it came out wonderful!

Did you know that macaroni and cheese was a popular penny-pinching dish for a long time? I’ve read several references to it as such in old cookbooks – one of which was one that helped the poorest city folks know how to cook frugally for their families.

But I was very amused by the references to mac and cheese in the book, Below Stairsby Margaret Powell (Amazon links are affiliate).  Have you heard of it before? Margaret was born in 1907, and worked as a kitchen maid and later as a cook, and this book is her autobiography. Her book is supposed to have inspired both Upstairs, Downstairs, as well as Downton Abbey. I read it recently and enjoyed it. It must have been eye opening at the time for the upper class to see themselves through the perspective of one of the maids. Plus, Margaret has a witty and insightful writing style that makes this book so much fun!

For example, when talking about trying to find a husband, “Men are very susceptible to flattery. Even a man with a face like the back of a bus, if you tell him he doesn’t look too bad, believes you. You can stuff men up with any old yarn. They believe anything. You’ve only got to gaze into their eyes, and sound as though you mean what you say. I’ve tried it so I know it’s true.”

Or on cooking, “It’s a funny thing, but the less cooking you know how to do, the more competent you feel. It’s only when you know how to cook that it worries you when it goes wrong, because when you don’t know, you don’t know it’s gone wrong. The more experienced I got the more I worried. I soon realized when a dish wasn’t perfection. Not that I could have hoped to have a dish that was perfection at Lady Gibbons’ because even the best cook in the world can’t make a dish out of poor ingredients.”

The book is full of rich little nuggets like above that make this book a riot to read (but also full of human insight). And while reading the book, I noticed that my favorite dish was treated rather poorly. In pre-war times in the wealthy households that she worked in, mac and cheese was not held in high regard at all. Margaret describes how some of the households went through vast amounts of cream and meat and all sorts of good ingredients to make elaborate 12-course meals for their every dinner upstairs, while downstairs, the servants were fed far less scrumptious meals.

She says, “What we had at night were the left- overs of the day before or a macaroni cheese or welsh rarebit. It wasn’t Mrs. McIlroy’s fault [the cook], she wasn’t allowed to give us more. Some of the maids used to moan like mad and say they never got enough to eat. I didn’t moan, but I used to feel it wasn’t fair.“

What! My beloved mac and cheese snubbed by even the servants? But on second thought, considering we do all of our housework ourselves, I guess we are the servants of our household, and so it is fitting that we eat creamy and delicious poor man mac and cheese. 😉

If you, like me, accept humble fare instead of 12-course meals, I hope you’ll enjoy this lovely little dish. (And if you love books, check out Below Stairs ).

Goat Cheddar Cheese Sauce - Pour over noodles for mac and cheese OR over steamed vegetables. Yum! -- The Nourishing Gourmet

This creamy cheddar sauce is perfect not only noodles but also over steamed vegetables for a low-carb option (or just a very yummy vegetable side!). Try it with cauliflower!

Notes on the recipe:

  • I used the this gluten free pasta (they hold together well and taste great), but you can use whatever brand/kind you like. You can get them here on Amazon.
  • I didn’t use goat milk in this recipe to replace cow milk. Why? Goat milk tends to get more “goaty” in flavor when heated. I was nervous about using chicken broth as I was concerned it would be too thin, but it turned out great. I used store bought, and not homemade, but homemade would be even better.
  • You can make this into baked mac and cheese by putting the finished mac and cheese in a pan, and sprinkling with cheese and putting in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Make sure you use a mild cheese (not “goaty” cheddar) for this recipe.

Gluten-Free Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese - Kid friendly, and NO cow dairy! -Creamy and delicious. - The Nourishing Gourmet

Other Recipes Based on Books:

Stove Top Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients: 

  • 8 ounces of gluten free elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter of choice (Goat, sheep, or cow, if you can tolerate it) OR oil or fat of choice (you can try bacon grease too!)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (Or try arrowroot or organic corn starch)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, homemade or store bought (made with real food ingredients)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ pound of mild goat cheddar, grated
  • Unrefined salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional flavor addition: dried or fresh thyme, paprika, cayenne, fresh chives, diced cooked bacon

Directions:

1. Cook the noodles according to the packages instructions until JUST cooked (don’t overcook). Make sure you boil in salted water. Drain and rinse.

2. For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and whisk in the tapioca flour. Whisk for one to two minutes (don’t allow it to burn) and then slowly whisk in the broth. It should thicken almost immediately. Once it has thickened, add the goat cheddar, and stir until the goat cheddar has melted (about five minutes or so). Salt and pepper to taste. Add any flavor additions. The sauce should be on the verge of being too salty, as it will be diluted on the noodles.

3. Pour the noodles into the sauce, and gently fold into the cheese sauce. Serve right away and enjoy!

(To bake: Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with more cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.)

Stove Top Goat Cheddar Mac and Cheese (Gluten Free)
 
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces of gluten free elbow noodles
  • 2 tablespoons butter of choice (Goat, sheep, or cow, if you can tolerate it) OR oil or fat of choice (you can try bacon grease too!)
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (Or try arrowroot or organic corn starch)
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, homemade or store bought (made with real food ingredients)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ pound of mild goat cheddar, grated
  • Unrefined salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional flavor addition: dried or fresh thyme, paprika, cayenne, fresh chives, diced cooked bacon
Instructions
  1. Cook the noodles according to the packages instructions until JUST cooked (don’t overcook). Make sure you boil in salted water. Drain and rinse.
  2. For the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and whisk in the tapioca flour. Whisk for one to two minutes (don’t allow it to burn) and then slowly whisk in the broth. It should thicken almost immediately. Once it has thickened, add the goat cheddar, and stir until the goat cheddar has melted (about five minutes or so). Salt and pepper to taste. Add any flavor additions. The sauce should be on the verge of being too salty, as it will be diluted on the noodles.
  3. Pour the noodles into the sauce, and gently fold into the cheese sauce. Serve right away and enjoy!
  4. (To bake: Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with more cheddar cheese. Bake in a 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.)

 

Creamy Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Mushrooms

Creamy Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Mushrooms - a frugal, lovely comfort food that's full of nourishing ingredients too! -- The Nourishing Gourmet
This casserole’s aroma and visual appeal had my kids ogling: first the smell of the easy roux cooking (think browned butter and cream!), then the grating of the Gruyere, the toasty smell of quinoa bubbling in bone broth, and, of course, the redolence of sauteed mushrooms with garlic and herbs.
I first made this casserole when we were phasing off of a grain-free diet, to see how we’d do with quinoa. I soaked the gluten-free grain overnight, to reduce phytic acid and improve its digestibility. (That’s an easy step- just a little salt water overnight: instructions below.) We all loved it and pronounced it an instant creamy classic.
Although the recipe is topped with a roux (homemade cream sauce), I hope you’ll know this is one quick-to-assemble casserole that provides 8 big servings; so it’s great for guests or a weeknight meal. Melted cheese atop chicken and cozy, high protein quinoa (that cooks while it bakes!) provide a comfort food that’s fun to make and sure to please.
The main ingredients are all accessible at Trader Joe’s- an easy way to grab what you need for a plentiful dinner. (There are a few additional basic pantry or fridge ingredients you may already have on hand at home.) The ingredients aren’t all inexpensive, but they’re high quality and relatively affordable; (let’s face it: organic chicken isn’t cheap). When you buy a couple of the ingredients, the Gruyere cheese (or jack, for a milder flavor) and quinoa, you’ll be able to use leftovers of these ingredients another time as well; the recipe only uses half of what you’ll buy. Or perhaps you already buy quinoa in bulk?
The whole casserole costs about $18.25 to make. If you serve 8 people, each servings costs about $2.25.
Here’s the price breakdown if you purchase your ingredients from Trader Joe’s:
$4.58- 1 pound organic mushrooms
$1.75- 1 cup quinoa
$8.50- 1.75 pounds organic chicken thighs
$3.15- 1-1/4 cups grated Gruyere (or less for jack cheese)
$.25- 3 cloves organic garlic
The additional ingredients you’ll need are bone broth, a cup of cream or milk (we use raw cream), a teeny bit of white rice flour, butter, herbs, salt and pepper. The casserole is loaded with chicken; so if you want to save money, make a really big salad and give smaller portions of the casserole, or use less chicken, if you’re really stretched budget-wise. It’s the spendiest ingredient by far.
Enjoy!
Creamy Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Mushrooms
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-1/2 cups water + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 cup organic, grass-fed cream (or raw cream or milk)
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1-3/4 cup bone broth or water
  • 1.5-1.75 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″/bite-size cubes/pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  •  1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (or use jack for a milder flavor)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons animal fat, butter, or avocado oil (for sauteing)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence or mixed Italian herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

In a medium size bowl, soak the quinoa in the 1-1/2 cups water and apple cider vinegar overnight. When ready to assemble the casserole, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. It will cook in the oven.

Grease a large casserole dish (9″ by 13″ or similar) and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place 1/4 cup butter in small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the 1/4 cup rice flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes, to cook the raw flavor out of the flour. (This part smells really good.) In a steady, thin stream, constantly whisk in the bone broth, then the cream, allowing the liquid to absorb the flour, as it becomes a creamy sauce. Simmer over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, stirring, and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons preferred fat over high heat. Add mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, stirring briefly. Cover for 2-3 minutes, to produce steam. Uncover and add herbs. Saute over medium-high heat for 8 minutes more. Set aside and allow to cool slightly for about 10 minutes. Add cubed chicken and stir to combine.

Place soaked, rinsed quinoa (uncooked) into greased casserole dish, spreading it out evenly. Top with chicken mushroom mixture, spreading it out over the quinoa. Add about 3/4 of the total grated cheese to the roux (cream sauce), stirring briefly to mix. Top chicken and mushrooms with cream sauce. Spread the sauce to within 1″ of the edges of the casserole. Pour the 1-3/4 cup bone broth or water in around the edges. Carefully transfer dish to oven and bake 45 minutes, until edges are bubbling rapidly and all water is absorbed.

Serve with an optional side of wilted greens or a green salad.

Creamy Quinoa Casserole with Chicken and Mushrooms
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1-1/2 cups water + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 cup organic, grass-fed cream (or raw cream)
  • ¼ cup white rice flour
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1-3/4 cup bone broth or water
  • 1.5-1.75 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1"/bite-size cubes/pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (or use jack for a milder flavor)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons animal fat, butter, or avocado oil (for sauteing)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence or mixed Italian herbs
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium size bowl, soak the quinoa in the 1-1/2 cups water and apple cider vinegar overnight. When ready to assemble the casserole, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. It will cook in the oven.
  2. Grease a large casserole dish (9" by 13" or similar) and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place ¼ cup butter in small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add the ¼ cup rice flour and cook, whisking for 5 minutes, to cook the raw flavor out of the flour. (This part smells really good.) In a steady, thin stream, constantly whisk in the bone broth, then the cream, allowing the liquid to absorb the flour, as it becomes a creamy sauce. Simmer over low heat for 3 minutes. Add the ½ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon white pepper, stirring, and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, melt the 2 tablespoons preferred fat over high heat. Add mushrooms and ½ teaspoon sea salt, stirring briefly. Cover for 2-3 minutes, to produce steam. Uncover and add herbs. Saute over medium-high heat for 8 minutes more. Set aside and allow to cool slightly for about 10 minutes. Add cubed chicken and stir to combine.
  5. Place soaked, rinsed quinoa (uncooked) into greased casserole dish, spreading it out evenly. Top with chicken mushroom mixture, spreading it out over the quinoa. Add about ¾ of the total grated cheese to the roux (cream sauce), stirring briefly to mix. Top chicken and mushrooms with cream sauce. Spread the sauce to within 1" of the edges of the casserole. Pour the 1-3/4 cup bone broth or water in around the edges. Carefully transfer dish to oven and bake 45 minutes, until edges are bubbling rapidly and all water is absorbed.
  6. Serve with an optional side of wilted greens or a green salad.

Greek Sweet Potato Hash – $15 Meal from Trader Joe’s

$15 Trader Joe's Meal - Sweet Potato Hash -- The Nourishing Gourmet

By Natalia Gill of An Appetite For Joy

What could be better than diced sweet potatoes fried up with garlic and green onions, then topped with wild peppery arugula, salty feta and a sprinkle of sumac? Not much in this world if you ask me.

This Greek sweet potato hash is also versatile – delicious on its own or stuffed into a pita pocket or lettuce wrap!

One thing I love about the direction Kimberly takes with this blog is learning to save money while eating right. She came up with the idea of buying meal ingredients at Trader Joe’s with $15 in pocket and I thought it was a fun challenge!

I didn’t include cooking fat and spices in the cost. To more than offset this, know that there will be plenty of leftover sweet potatoes, arugula and sheep feta. My son loves packing the feta with olives in his lunch. And the extra sweet potatoes come in handy for our favorite dessert – Sweet Potato Pie with Lemon Zest.

3 FAVORITE TJ’S FINDS

When creating the recipe, I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite items at Trader Joe’s:

Sweet potatoes – I find TJ’s to have good prices on basic organic sweet potatoes.

Wild arugula – This was a new one for me. I like that there are a couple of wild-grown foods in the store as a cost-saving option compared to organic (wild blueberries and now wild arugula). This bagged arugula was amazingly fresh and the best arugula I have ever purchased from a grocery store. It was almost as tasty as the one I buy from a local farmer.

Sheep feta – I love this stuff. It comes in a sizable block that is pre-cut into manageable pieces. This cheese is much creamer than cow-milk feta and easier on digestion, like goat’s milk. It lasts all week for us!

COST BREAKDOWN

3 lb bag of sweet potatoes – $4.49
wild arugula – $2
green onions – $1.29
sheep feta – $6.49
lemon – 50 cents

TOTAL – $14.77

This meal comes together in a flash, especially if you can grab a few minutes earlier in the day to prepare the sweet potatoes (I like breaking up cooking tasks). I just cut them into french fry shape (a good knife makes this easy!) and soak in ice water in the fridge til I’m ready to cook.

$15 Trader Joe's Meal - Sweet Potato Hash -- The Nourishing Gourmet

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Greek Sweet Potato Hash - $15 Meal from Trader Joe's
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Greek-inspired
Serves: 4-6
 
This Greek-inspired sweet potato hash makes a great light meal for spring or summer. Enjoy it on its own or stuffed into a homemade pita, tortilla or lettuce wrap. A cup of bone broth on the side completes the meal.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and diced small
  • 4 scallions, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons dried oregano, to taste
  • unrefined salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cooking fat (ghee, bacon fat, coconut oil, etc.)
  • OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:
  • chunks of sheep feta
  • arugula
  • sumac
Instructions
  1. This is a one-pot meal if you halve the recipe. But with the quantity of sweet potatoes, it's necessary to make it in two skillets.
  2. Heat two skillets over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon cooking fat to each. When hot, add diced sweet potatoes and cook until they start to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Add a little salt.
  3. Add the scallions and cook another 5 minutes, or until they start to get a little crispy. (Add extra fat if needed.)
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and oregano and cook another 5 minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve with a lemon wedge, a pile of arugula on top and some feta if desired. I also like to sprinkle on a little sumac.