I like it both ways. Today I give you two meals, both made from leftovers, both easy to make and easy to involve your kid in making.
First- Fried(that isn’t really fried rice)
Growing up we had a family friend that grew up in the Philippines. He would whip up delicious things for us on a semi regular basis. One of the things that was the most regular was his fried rice. I don’t have a lot of little kid memories, but I remember him teaching us how to make egg rice. I made it a lot in college, and it has become one of my comfort foods that I can whip up in under 10 minutes. Last night, I had just gotten back from NYC, I had ridden a disgusting bus for almost 4 hours and we were all a little tired and hungry. We had a monstrous amount of leftover white rice in the fridge, today was the day to indoctrinate Zara into the ways of the quick, leftover food fried rice. It’s easy, you really can put almost anything in it. You do need a couple of Asian type ingredients, but really, you can find them in the grocery store. This is what I did, for this meal, remember, add what you have, that you like.
I chopped up an onion and minced 1 clove of garlic. Add this to a heated pan that has 1 tsp of vegetable oil in it. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add pre-cooked rice and 1 tbsp of water. Cook for about 2 minutes until rice is just heated through. Push rice, onion, garlic mixture along the sides of the pan, add a little more oil and crack 2 eggs. When eggs just start to go white, scramble. When eggs are almost cooked through, stir through rice. Add 1 tsp soy sauce and 1/2 tsp rice vine vinegar. Stir. Add 1/4 tsp 5 spice and 1 tsp chili. I use a chili and bean paste that I get at my local asian market (in Quincy). You can add crushed red pepper, or omit. Stir. I then added a little minced fresh ginger (powder works fine too, just don’t add too much, a little goes a long way). I then added some ham, spinach and tasted. Add more soy sauce, chili, whatever to taste. I have been known to add vegetables, more eggs, scallions, etc. Serve. I usually plate and then add a dash of sriracha. Zara did all the stirring (which you have to do frequently in this dish as you don’t want the rice to stick to the bottom of the pan), she also tastes during the entire process, with a baby spoon. Until I add the chili, then she thinks it’s all downhill. Funny enough, when I plate, I serve her as well (chili and all) and she gobbles this meal up, every time, like she’s never eaten anything ever.
Next, mini pizzas. As I may have mentioned, Zara loves anything in its ‘baby’ form. Today I decided I would make baby pizzas for lunch. Now, you can make pizza dough from scratch, which is really easy. I do it often. But, I do love store bought pizza dough. It’s usually pretty cheap, I can throw it in the freezer and defrost when I’m in a pinch. So today, I took the dough out of the freezer at 10:30 a.m. And it was good to go at noon. I added a little bit of flour and kneaded until it was nice and stretchy, but not sticky. Zara used a round cookie cutter and then cut out and put in a glass pie dish. I found we could fit about 5 in the dish. I then brushed with olive oil and baked in a 375 preheated oven for 7 minutes. I then added a spoonful of pasta sauce and some onions and put back in the oven for another 7 minutes. Zara then grated cheese and decorated each pizza with pieces of chicken and the shredded cheese. I then placed back in the oven for 5 more minutes. When the pizzas were done Zara picked out her pizza and proceeded to…ask us to cut it into smaller pieces…but the thought was still there. Anyway, they were pretty good, and I have enough to reheat for lunch or snack tomorrow. They can be made gluten free AND dairy free (think olive oil, spinach and garlic). Much better than what you find in the freezer aisle!