I just made up a ginormous pan of brown basmati rice last night. Well, enormous is perhaps an overstatement–two cups of dry rice in 4 cups of water, to equal 6 cups of finished product. I did it to sort of force myself out of easy pasta as my go-to-source for grains. Pasta, with refined white flour, is nutritionally less than a powerhouse…brown rice, on the other hand, is a wonderful fibrous whole grain, and one that still contains all the good stuff that white rice has had removed. It also takes about 40 minutes to cook, which is why I will use pasta or white rice as my “go to” grains more often than I should. But this time I made a bunch of the healthy stuff. Now my mission is to actually eat it.
It’s going to be fairly easy, actually, and I think this is something I should be a bit more staple-y about, having it in my fridge sort of the same way I nowadays have a container of quickie bread dough just sitting there waiting to become bread when I feel like it. So far I’ve come up with–
Breakfast: This morning I put some into a bowl with some cut up fruit and raisins, cinnamon, a little brown sugar, and some milk thrown over it, put it in the microwave for 2 minutes, and delicious. Like rice pudding only much quicker. Like oatmeal only not as gummy. Like cereal only way, way better. This is a keeper!
Lunch: my dietary downfall is my favorite comfort food: pasta with butter and salt and a little parmesan. I just think it’s the absolute most delicious thing in the world. If I had to choose between giving up pasta with butter and salt for a month or chocolate for a year, I’d seriously have to think about which to let go of. I was delighted to realize today that brown rice with butter and salt and a little parmesan is very nearly as good as its white flour pasta equivalent. Even my picky kids will eat this, though they complain about it.
Dinner: well, tonight I’ll probably take a break from the stuff, but here of course the possibilities are endless. Throwing pasta sauce or pesto over it probably wouldn’t be bad at all. Cooking some lentils and mixing the lentils and rice with some curry powder would be yummy too. (Though honestly I’d probably just make fresh rice along with the lentils, since it takes about the same time for each.) All kinds of veggies could go into this very easily, too. Throw some salsa, black beans, and corn in–you’ve got a nice Southwestern rice dish. Throw the above onto a flour tortilla and roll it up, it’s burritos. Or you can make fried rice, your own alternative to the oh-so-delicious but incredibly fat-laden Chinese restaurant staple–you can do your own recipe searches, but the secret seems to be a combination of day-old and not-too-moist rice that’s very cold, and a skillet that’s very hot. This site seems like one I’ll want to revisit for that, since I’ve never had a fried rice success…
Rice will keep easily in the fridge for 4 or 5 days, and I find that basmati seems to hold its shape and tastiness much longer than “regular” rice. It dries out a bit as it sits, of course, but as long as you store it well (am I the only one whose husband doesn’t get that those cardboard things from the chinese restaurant are NOT the place to store the leftovers?) it stays good for several days–and I’ve been known to push that several days pretty far. (As I always say…please don’t take my advice on food safety. I’m a food safety nightmare. Do your own research and homework. If it has blue spots on it, don’t eat it.)