Since the start of self-isolation almost two months ago, I have felt a real urge to help those who are suffering, but I wasn’t sure how and I felt paralyzed as I brooded over my skill set, which seemed so irrelevant to the current crisis. But then I was reminded of these words:
“Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” 1 Peter 4:10.
Four years ago, when I started up my personal chef business, I had to come up with a name for it. It had to be catchy, pithy. I remember wracking my brain for weeks trying to think of a name that would resonate. After over a hundred iterations, the right name just appeared to me one day without any effort: Fed by Grace. The play on words is obvious, but what struck me at the time was the strange feeling of actually being called to do this.
Over the years, I’ve cooked many meals for and at Mount Olivet: Wednesday Night Suppers, which evolved from Lenten Dinners, Community Assistance, Garrett County high school summer mission trips, the annual youth play dinner theater, and the Foodies Group that may have started it all back when my kids were infants.
I recognize now that all that cooking was a means of drawing me deeper into the life of our church. It wasn’t just about the food; it was also about the fellowship. Yet here we are now, at home cooking for our families, 3 square meals a day. Every. Day. No client events to cater, no church suppers of any kind. Even as a personal chef, I confess there are days I’ve grown weary of the meal routine. How am I helping anyone right now?
Then, at about week 4 of the pandemic, some friends suggested I make a cooking video. I had never made cooking videos before, preferring to stay behind the camera rather than in front of it. But once again, I felt a nudge. Something told me to just do it. Use your passion to bring people together. And so I made my first cooking video with the help of my daughter, home from college, armed with some editing software and skills from her first semester visual journalism class.
Soon after posting the video, I started receiving viewers’ replies and pictures—from people who watched and tried the recipe, parents who made it with their kids, even a teen who made it for her family! It was so heartwarming to see and it felt like fellowship to me. Since that first video, I was inspired and have even received recipe requests.
I thought to myself: if this was giving people a few hours of joy and quality time to spend together as a family, then that’s how I would help.
And so, in the spirit of fellowship, I offer the following recipe to you. It is a comforting dish I make often for my family because it is easy, nourishing, and delicious. I hope you will choose to make it and send in a picture of your creation so we can bond over a virtually shared meal. Fellowship over food. Fed by His grace.
Easy Chinese Fried Rice
This recipe makes about 6 cups; you can easily halve or double as needed
- 2 Tbl toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbl vegetable oil
- 1 lb diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs or use a combination that includes shrimp, cubed ham, turkey, sausage, or even diced up lunchmeat! (or firm tofu if vegetarian)
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas and carrots or any combination of cut-up frozen vegetables (no need to thaw)—or you can also use any leftover chopped-up cooked vegetables you may have on hand i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, onions, peppers, zucchini, corn, asparagus, bean sprouts, mushrooms, you get my drift! ;-)
- 3 green onions, sliced thin into rounds
- 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups cooked rice (white, brown, long-grain, may be substituted; you may even use cooked, ready-to-serve rice sold in pouches)
- 3-4 Tbl soy sauce (I prefer low-sodium, but regular will also work)
- Optional salt and pepper to taste (I prefer white pepper, but black pepper is fine as well)
Before you begin, make sure all of your ingredients are prepped, as the cooking process goes quickly!
- Using a large non-stick wok or deep skillet, add the oils and protein and cook over medium-high heat, tossing around on all sides, for about 3-5 minutes or until the protein is just cooked through. Remove the protein with a slotted spoon to a plate (leaving the oils and cooking juices in the pan) and set aside.
- Add the frozen or leftover vegetables to the pan along with the sliced green onions, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the minced garlic and stir intermittently for about 1 minute.
- Push the vegetable mixture over to one side of the pan and add the eggs to the other side. Cook to scramble the eggs, stirring as necessary.
- Add back in your protein and any liquids that may have accumulated, along with the rice, soy sauce, and optional salt and pepper. Toss everything until the rice is evenly coated with the sauce and everything is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Serve immediately in bowls drizzled with your favorite hot sauce if desired. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 4 months.