It’s like fried rice, but it’s made with pasta

As a young girl growing up in a northern suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota, I had little exposure to ethnic foods other than the Hungarian and German foods prepared by my grandma, my mom and my aunts. But, there was a Chinese restaurant not far from our house that we sometimes went to for supper when my mom was too tired to make a meal after a long day of work as a business manager at a small manufacturing company.

It was the fried rice that was always my choice. It was brought to the table hidden under a bowl. When the bowl was lifted, there was the rice, a mound the shape of an upside-down bowl. The rice was brown with soy sauce and speckled with bits of scrambled eggs, onions and peas, maybe some sprouts, and small bits of either chicken or pork.

Years later, married with two young children and living in Fargo, North Dakota, I took a Chinese cooking class from Andrea Halgrimson. And, that is when I learned to make a mean bowl of fried rice that was pretty close to the rice I use to get at the Roseville restaurant.

After a recent meal of Baked Orzo with Vegetables (in my last blog post) and grilled Marinated Sesame Chicken Kabobs, there was some of each leftover. A couple of days later I turned it into Fried Orzo with Chicken. It was a quick and easy meal that was full of flavor. I used the Fried Rice recipe that I still have from Andrea’s class back in 1984. With a couple of embellishments, it was a wonderful way to turn leftovers into a brand new meal. It’s like fried rice, but it’s made with pasta.

Fried Orzo with Chicken

  • 3 to 4 cups Baked Orzo with Vegetables or plain cooked orzo
  • Leftover cooked chicken, onions and peppers from Marinated Sesame Chicken Kabobs, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • soy sauce
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Heat canola and sesame oils in wok or large saute pan over medium heat. Add beaten eggs and stir-fry until partially set. Turn out of pan onto a plate. Add a little more oil to pan and heat. Add chopped chicken, onion, pepper and peas to pan. Stir-fry until heated through. Add Baked Orzo with Vegetables and partially-cooked eggs and continue to stir-fry until hot. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Tip from the cook

To serve Fried Orzo molded, lightly spray a glass custard cup with non-stick vegetable spray. Pack Fried Orzo into the bowl. Invert bowl onto plate and remove bowl, leaving a perfectly molded serving of orzo on the plate.



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