One of my favorite traditions growing up was choosing dinner on your birthday 🙂
We started this tradition at a really young age, as far back as I can remember in elementary school.
When you knew your birthday was coming up, you got to pick what your parents made for dinner that night!
As a kid, I had two favorite meals:
- Pepperoni pizza from the local pizza joint, Mission Pizza
- Homemade lemon chicken & fried rice
Like, I could eat those 2 meals all day every day and be 100% happy.
So, every year, on my birthday in February, I would special request lemon chicken & fried rice, with my favorite strawberry shortcake for dessert 😉
(I know, I was clearly skilled at menu pairing from a young age…)
Over the years, I’ve tweaked the classic fried rice recipe a bit.
I doubled the amount of egg and green onion (because let’s be honest, that’s the best part), and added a cup of frozen mixed veggies to give it a little pop of freshness.
This has become my favorite way to use up leftover white rice from Chinese, Thai, or Indian food takeout.
It’s soooooo easy!
Since the rice is already cooked, the recipe comes together in just minutes.
(If you don’t have any leftover rice, you can also just cook some earlier in the day & let it cool uncovered in the fridge until dinner. The goal is to have it be slightly dried out before stir frying.)
Simply scramble some eggs in peanut oil (cooking them extra long so they get nice and golden and crispy), then stir fry the rice and green onion together. Stir in some frozen veggies, chicken broth, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil, and you’re done!
- 4 tablespoons unrefined peanut oil, divided
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 5 1/2 cups cooked, cold, preferably day old, medium grain white or brown rice
- 2 cups chopped green onion
- 1 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a small bowl along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and beat with a fork or whisk until well mixed.
Pour the egg into the warm wok or skillet and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula, for 5 or 6 minutes, until the egg is broken up into small pieces and is crispy and golden. Remove the egg from the pan and set aside for later.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil to the wok or skillet and keep the heat on high. Add the rice and green onion and stir fry for about 10 minutes until the green onion is cooked.
Next add the peas and carrots, chicken broth, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and soy sauce and continue to cook for about 5 minutes until hot and well mixed. Add the cooked egg, ground black pepper, and sesame oil, stir to mix well, and remove from heat. Enjoy while hot. (Although it makes great leftovers too!)
Spice rubs and chicken were just born for each other.
Especially when grilled or roasted on high heat.
The spices takes on a deliciously smoky accent, and the meat is piping hot and succulently juicy.
(Bonus points if you left the skin on & get to enjoy all that crispy goodness).
You’ve seen me do spice-rub baked chicken breasts, which I love for their ease and simplicity, but a whole bird slathered in rub & roasted on high heat?
That’s a whole new experience.
There are a few keys to deliciously juicy spice-rub chicken.
- The heat has to start out lower. Typically, I blast my roasted chickens on high heat to get that extra crispy golden skin. But when you’ve covered the bird with a spice rub, you’ve got be careful not to burn those spices. Since chickens take awhile to cook, it’s best to start out on low heat while the tender flesh cooks.
- Crank up the heat at the end. Once the bird is almost done, say, after an hour or so in the oven, then you can turn up the heat and let the skin crisp up and brown the spices a little.
- Stuff the cavity with aromatics. Since we aren’t going for the same cracklin skin that an unseasoned bird has, we can stuff that cavity of the bird until it’s overflowing. My favorites are lemon and shallot, which impart a slight onion & citrus flavor to the meat as they cook. I avoid stuffing the cavity on my basic roasted chickens, since the steam from the vegetables can hinder the crisping of the chicken skin, but I’m not worried about that w. my spice rubbed chicken.
- Let it rest after cooking. Once the bird reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees, let it rest out of the oven for a bit before you slice into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, instead of spilling out all over your cutting board.
Once the bird is done, serve it with some delicious sides.
Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Lemon, & Feta, World’s Easiest Garlic Mashed Potatoes, or a Simple Side Salad all go great 🙂
- 3 1/4 lb fryer chicken
- 2 small lemons, quartered
- 1 large shallot, quartered
- olive oil, for seasoning
For the spice rub:
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix together all of the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
Remove the chicken from any packaging it might be in, and discard any of the innards that might be in the cavity. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and set on a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, and rub all over with your hands.
Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the lemon and shallot, then sprinkle the chicken all over with the spice rub. Also use your fingers to separate the chicken skin from the breast area, and rub some of the spice rub under the skin. Use as much or as little of the rub as you want, to taste, probably around 1/4 cup. If you don't use all of the rub, you can reserve the extra for another use, if desired.
Place the roasting pan in the oven, and let the chicken roast for about 1 hour. Increase the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and roast for another 30 minutes or so, or until the skin is crispy and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it's not quite there yet after the 90 minutes, continue cooking until it reaches the proper temperature.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
Would you believe me if I told you this pasta dish takes just 15 minutes from start to finish?
Well, you better believe it.
It’s literally pasta + a 3-ingredient sauce (butter, sage, & lemon).
That’s the beauty of simple, classic recipes.
Brown butter sauces have been around for ages….
(Probably because they are so freaking easy and delicious.)
I mean… what DOESN’T taste better with butter??
Take some beautifully al dente pasta, toss it with some golden butter, sizzled sage, and fresh lemon juice, and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and flaky sea salt.
It’s like a fancified adult version of those cheesy buttered noodles that kids go crazy over.
Just, you know, do the adult thing and brown the butter and toss in some sage, then you can totally have this for dinner 😉
We like to serve it with a giant salad or simply prepared veggies like Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms, Simple Kale Salad with Golden Raisins, or a Simple Baby Greens Side Salad.
Now go ahead and make yourself some gourmet noodles!
- 8 ounces dried pappardelle pasta
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 20 fresh sage leaves
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Maldon sea salt
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
Add the pappardelle and cook according to package directions until al dente (usually 6-7 minutes).
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Let it cook for a minute or two until the butter is just lightly golden colored (don't let it go too long, or the butter will burn!). Immediately add the sage to skillet and let it sizzle for a second, then turn off the heat. Squeeze the lemon juice into the skillet and swirl to combine. Set the pan aside off of the heat.
When the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the pasta in a colander.
Put the drained pasta back in the pot and place it on the stove over medium-low heat. Pour roughly 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid over the pasta, and then pour the brown butter sage sauce over the top. Stir gently to combine, and let it cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until the sauce nicely coats all noodles.
Divide the pasta up into two serving bowls and top each one with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper, and Maldon sea salt. Serve right away.