Adaptable Handful Dinner Bowls


As the only singleton in this motley crew of kitchen witches, you’d think I would be either subsisting on Cheerios and takeout all the time, or I would be obsessed with preparing the most elaborate dishes I could afford.

…well, I DO like Cheerios…

In all seriousness, my schtick is to cook things that are simple, but not easy, and yet still yummy. It curbs my urge to dirty up all the dishes I own, see, but doesn’t produce anything inedible.

My favorite thing to do lately has hinged on the fact that I’ve begun keeping two sealed bowls in the refrigerator – one full of brown rice and one full of shredded Brussels sprouts. Using these two things plus a small array of other ingredients, I can produce a delicious, filling, and I think even semi-nutritious meal in about twenty minutes. Here’s what happened with my latest one – and I am sorry I have no photos, but it was eaten much too quickly.

I sweated a small handful of chopped onion in some olive oil until it got a bit translucent, then added a tablespoon of minced garlic. Yes, I can and do chop my own garlic, but I don’t have anything against the jarred stuff, and that’s what I used here.

Once the garlic smelled fantastic, I tossed in a handful (see where I got the name?) of pre-cooked chicken breast pieces and a handful of snow peas. Those got stirred around until the peapods were a really bright green.

This is when I threw in some of the rice, a generous splash of soy sauce, and an egg. I was going for something akin to fried rice, and I wanted some serious protein because I started ballet class this week and I was feeling it.

Maybe next time I will put the rice in with the chicken and leave the peapods for a little later, because the peapods were a little limp by the time I was sure the egg was cooked.  I don’t mind limp peapods, but I know it isn’t optimal.

At any rate, I stirred the whole thing around until the egg was cooked, and then I tossed in a little more soy sauce and a handful of sprouts. The sprouts don’t need long – you don’t want them to get overcooked and vile-smelling. Really, two or three minutes should do it. You want them bright, a little crisp, and warmed through.

When you are as done as you want to be, scoop some out into a nice deep bowl and store the rest for lunch the next day. Eat like it is going out of style.

The great thing is that this is so adaptable. Use quinoa instead of brown rice. If you’re wimpy about sprouts, choose another hardy green, like bok choy or chard or cabbage. Instead of peapods, use asparagus spears or broccoli pieces or none of these things. I’m toying with the idea of toasting some pine nuts and throwing them in, if I can bring myself to buy them (are they made of gold? sheesh). I have often had my handful bowl without any meat in it at all, and most days I don’t use egg, either.

The idea is to experiment until you find what you like, and the key to all of it is to have at least two bowls of ingredient – one whole grain and one hardy, leafy green – on hand at all times. I do my prep on these Sunday afternoon while watching TV or listening to music. It takes maybe a half hour of my time to do it, and I find it is actually pretty soothing and it makes me feel good to have taken a firm hand in knowing what I am eating.

Which, all in all, is not a bad thing to do.

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About Lissa

I'm a single hoopdancer and knitter living in Hurst, TX with a clutch of insane felines. View all posts by Lissa

2 responses to “Adaptable Handful Dinner Bowls

  • Jess

    I think that’s a different version of my making a huge meal like chilli or spaghetti and freezing portions for later…but both of them are good ideas.

    You’re so much more healthy minded than I am lol

  • urbanearthmother

    It sounds delicious. I never think to shred my sprouts, but I do love them roasted or steamed. So I may give that a try in my next stir-fry.

    A note on the fresh garlic versus the stuff in a jar – I am always cooking for two. I LOVE garlic, the more the better, but the other half isn’t so crazy about the stuff in large quanity.

    I’ve found that there is a difference in the ‘garlicness’ of the fresh garlic versus the stuff in a jar. Fresh garlic has a way of softening and sweetening when you cook it, while the stuff in the jar will always hit you over the head and scream GARLIC in your face. I do use the jar stuff, there are times (like Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I just can’t face taking the time to chop my own garlic. But all the other times, I’ve got a bowl full of fat garlic cloves in the pantry waiting to be chopped.

    Mmmm…also love the garlic powder, but that is a whole other discussion!

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