Quick Pork Fried Rice with Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend with Vegetables

Nothing is normal during this pandemic, and that certainly includes my cooking routines.

A meal prepper during the best of times, I have fallen into the following routine during my weekdays:

  • Wake up around 8:30 a.m. and stare at my work desk across the bedroom until about 8:50, thinking, “No.”
  • Get out to bed, stumble over to said work desk, log into my VPN and e-mail, then suddenly wake up when I see everything I have to do (or might have to do) for the day.
  • Get up from my desk around 9:30, get dressed, drink a glass of water, brush my teeth, wash my face, and sit down at my desk again. “Oh, I’ll get something to eat around 10.”
  • Look at my work laptop’s clock around 2:30 and think, “I’m really cranky. Is it because I haven’t had anything to eat since 10:30 last night?”
  • Raid the kitchen for any semblance of a meal. Usually end up making a cheese quesadilla and justifying two tablespoons of salsa as a full serving of vegetables.

tl;dr: I’ve become a non-meal-prepping unintentional intermittent faster since March 18th.

That being said, I’ve also found moments of genius between raiding my pantry and utilizing leftovers, which usually consist of previous nights’ dinners. The cold sad half a pork chop in a Ziploc bag in the fridge would have been a hot sad half a pork chop if I had just decided to simply zap it in the mircowave for a minute. A quick rummage through my fridge for vegetables led me to think about what might be in the freezer; lo and behold, May 2020 Allison was very happy that December 2019 Allison had bulk-bought a brunch of frozen items from Trader Joe’s, including a favorite: their Multigrain Blend with Vegetables!

Ahhhh, I love when inspiration strikes!

I had this meal ready in ten minutes, and I feel I gave that leftover pork chop a little bit of justice on its way out.

Bless a good semi-homemade meal during these trying times.

Quick Pork Fried Rice with Trader Joe's Multigrain Blend with Vegetables

Quick Pork Fried Rice with Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend with Vegetables

(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend with Vegetables,
  • 3 ounces pork chop, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Before We Get Started…

  • Feel free to substitute your favorite grains, vegetables, and protein if you do not have the Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend with Vegetables, but it DOES make a quick shortcut!

Directions:

1.) In a large skillet, add one tablespoon olive oil. Turn up heat to medium-low.

2.) Place Trader Joe’s Multigrain Blend with Vegetables in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Remove, stir, and add to skillet. Cook for 2 minutes.

3.) Add pork to skillet and turn up heat to medium-high. Mix multigrain blend and pork and cook for 3 minutes or until heated through. Remove mixture from skillet.

4.) Turn heat back down to low, add one tablespoon olive oil, and slowly add beaten egg. Allow to sit in skillet untouched for 30 seconds, then slowly stir until curds form. Scramble fully, then add pork mixture back into the skillet. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and toss to combine. Remove from heat.

5.) Enjoy!

Kimchi Congee with Leftover Rice

Kimchi Congee with Leftover Rice

Well, here we are, in the midst of COVID World, a new normal which involves a lot of home-cooking, a lot of take-out, and a lot of ways to stretch out what we have.

As I work a 9 – 5 (or, occasionally, an 8 – 6) from my home office set-up, I’ll admit: This meal prep lover has been royally SUCKING at meal prepping. My last day at my office in Midtown Manhattan was on March 17th. I think the last time I ate breakfast on any given morning was March 20th. My lunches, usually rushed and around 2 p.m., consist of a cheese quesadilla or half a box of Frosted Flakes.

I just don’t have the brain to deal with any of this. We’re all trying out best.

HOWEVER! Boy, was I luckily when I had a work day last week that had limited meetings and I had four cups of leftover rice in my fridge. Some of it was kimchi rice left over from a dish I got from my local Korean spot – Mokja – and the rest was leftover white rice from a homemade dinner the other night. I used the few brain cells I had still firing and made a delightful velvety congee that I got three meals out of! Better than reheating dried out leftover rice for lunch days later, eh?

Congee from scratch is great to make, but this is a quicker and wonderful substitute if you don’t have as much time on your hands!

Kimchi Congee with Leftover Rice
Kimchi Congee with Leftover Rice

Kimchi Congee with Leftover Rice

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups leftover rice
  • 1/2 cup kimchi (you pick your spice preference!)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth can be subbed)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to a large pot and mix. Turn heat to medium-high until liquid starts to bubble. Turn down heat to medium-low and stir constantly until a porridge-like consistency is reached, approximately 25 – 30 minutes; if the congee gets too thick and dry, add in 2 additional tablespoons of water at a time until it reaches a thick yet stir-able consistency.

2.) Remove from heat, and add congee to a bowl with toppings of choice. Allow remaining congee to cool slightly before adding to a container for refrigeration; will last up to five days in the fridge.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If you are a food lover searching Google and Pinterest for pasta recipes, you’ll see that we live in a world full of zoodles. The nutritional benefits that come from replacing pasta with zucchini are quite clear: lower calories, lower carbs, and more vitamins and minerals. They are light, they are refreshing, and they can replace pasta in most every instance. I’m a huge fan and I make them at least once a week!

But I’ll be damned if I sit here and state that I don’t still love a big freakin’ bowl of pasta every now and then.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If I could down bowls of mac & cheese or spaghetti with pesto without gaining a pound, my pantry would have every kind of pasta imaginable. I’d also have a season pass at Eataly. (Oh, goodness, imagine if that existed…)

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

If there is something better than a big bowl of pasta, it’s a big bowl of pasta that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes flat. I found this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, and fell in love with its simplicity, its lightness, and yet its ability to leave me feeling perfectly full without being overstuffed.

Truth: I ate this for dinner one night. Then I made it for lunch the next day. Then I ate it again for dinner that same night.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta

The zoodles can wait. Give me some damn carbs.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta
(Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod’s recipe for 5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Pasta)
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 8 ounces thin spaghetti, uncooked
– 5 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, separated into two 1/4 cup parts
– Salt & pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.

2.) In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic and cook for two to three minutes or until soft and slightly golden brown. Turn off heat and return pasta to pan. Toss with garlic. Add spinach and toss well until spinach is wilted; slowly add pasta water, if needed, if pasta starts to dry out or spinach is slow to wilt. Toss with one part parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Serve with additional part of parmesan cheese for garnish.

Spinach Parmesan Pasta