Monthly Archives: December 2012

Red Braised Chicken (with optional leftover veggies)

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Like most people, I hate throwing away leftovers in the fridge. A staple in our household for dinner is Red Braised Chicken, which is something my mom cooked a lot when I was growing up. It’s easy to make and the sauce is just yummy with just  plain white rice. Last week, I added in some leftovers and was so happy I found another way to use up old leftover potatoes and a lonely carrot that was left by itself in a bag in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 chicken thighs (I used 2 of the costco chicken thigh packages) – my mom usually uses drumsticks and chops them in half. I only do that on a special occasion – chicken thigh is much easier to cut.
  • 2-3 slices of french ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1-2 tbspn dark soy sauce (for the pretty color)
  • 2 tbsps rice wine
  • 3 tbsns sugar
  • 1 c water
  • salt to taste
  • optional: carrots, potatoes, onions (The vegetables change the flavor of the dish, so I usually only add them if I want to add more veggies to our dinner, or if I have leftovers of any of these items in our fridge). In the pictures, I used leftover roasted potatoes, and leftover onions w/ bell peppers.
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1. Cut the chicken thighs into 2-3 pieces (only one piece has the bone, or you can debone completely if you like). Our family likes to keep the skin on, but you can remove the skin.
2. In a large pot, add some oil and the fresh ginger. When the ginger gives off that ginger-y aroma, throw in the chicken thighs. Cook and turn until browned. (first picture)
3. Add garlic, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until you feel the taste has seeped into the chicken to your liking. If you cook for longer, make sure there’s plenty of liquid in the pot so that the chicken doesn’t dry out. (second picture)
4. Optional: after 10-15 minutes of simmering the chicken, you can add the cooked leftover veggies. If you decide to add fresh carrots or potatoes, you need to pan fry them first in some oil or else they will become too mushy when you add it into the simmering chicken. (third picture of my leftovers straight from the fridge. Don’t they look so happy that they won’t have to be thrown away?)
5. Serve over rice with another veggie! Something green usually looks the best.

 

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Fried Rice (with leftover meat)

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Has it already been almost 2 weeks since Thanksgiving?! I meant to post this much sooner, but between family gatherings and creating Christmas cards, I totally forgot. So after Thanksgiving, we always have a ton of leftover ham and turkey. An easy and tasty way to use them up is to make fried rice.  I would never in my right mind order fried rice at a Chinese restaurant because, to me, fried rice is what you make to get rid of leftovers in your fridge. Even if I feel like slumming it and doing Panda Express, I just could not bring myself to order the fried rice…it’d have to be the steamed rice or chow mein.

Ingredients:

  • leftover meat (I used ham)
  • garlic (I’d usually use about 5x this much because my hubby is a garlic fiend, but this was all I had left)
  • green onions
  • eggs
  • day-old white rice (don’t use freshly steamed rice or else it will be goopy; day-old restaurant rice always seems to be better because after you put it in the fridge, it’s pretty stiff)
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • little bit of oil

In a wok (or large pan), scramble the egg first. Remove from pan (It can still be a little bit watery because you’re going to put it back in the pan later). If you want to warm up or brown up the leftover meat, you can saute it a bit in the pan also and then remove from pan. Saute the garlic in the pan with some oil and then add the rice. Do your best to smoosh or break up the rice clumps. When the rice clumps are pretty separated, add some soy sauce (to taste) and salt and pepper. Add in the meat, eggs, and green onion. Cook until green onions get a little soft. That’s it – a one pot/pan dish! The key to making it look nice is to have several different colors. Feel free to play around with other types of leftovers, but make sure that each component has a similar size (scrambled egg piece is about the same size as a diced ham piece, which is about the same size as the green onion piece, etc.).