Like shady drug dealers the world over, I know a secret about value. Pssst. Cutting an expensive item with an inexpensive item makes the product go much, much further. But I’m not talking about putting baking soda in cocaine!
Rice is a humble, unassuming grain, yet it’s consumed in huge portions worldwide, and is an agricultural heavyweight.
Rice has many merits, the following being:
Shelf stable (just ensure to protect from infestation, especially in humid climates)
Can be bought in bulk
Comes in white or brown
Not as unhealthy as we’ve been led to believe
Rounds out a meal nicely by soaking up existing flavors and oils, and being easy to season by itself
Easy to prepare with no prep, and little active cooking
Have there been nights cleaning the kitchen where you scoop leftovers into your tupperware only to think you barely have enough even for one meal? Enter rice, again. A lovely filler that can pair well with any food.
That was me Sunday night. I wanted to do some casual meal-prep for the upcoming work week, but on close inspection of our fridge I didn’t have much to work with. I had one Italian sausage, a handful of grape tomatoes, a red bell pepper, an orange bell pepper, and half a small, white onion.
Knowing this would be enough for maybe one meal, but certainly not two or three, I reached for the bag of rice we keep in our pantry.
In our cast iron I poured a dash of EVOO and threw in the sausage and veggies. While that cooked up, I scooped up a cup of rice and put it on the stove to boil with 1 1/2 cups of water and a dash of salt.
No need to buy a rice cooker, cooking rice on the stove top could not be more simple! Once the rice and water began to boil, I removed it from the heat and popped a lid on it for twenty minutes, until all the water had evaporated. When I took the lid off I was left with fluffy, abundant white rice.
I was able to divvy up my meat, veggies, and rice into three separate lunches that I seriously enjoyed. The rice soaked up the meat and veggie juices so well, that by day three I was practically inhaling my lunch at my desk, and was quite sad when it was all gone.
A word on seasoning
While I could eat rice plain by the spoonful, I realize I may be in the minority on that.
Here are yummy spices to add to rice, feel free to use in combination with eachother
everything bagel seasoning
Below is a list of non-spices that you might want to add to rice to doctor it up:
beans of any variety
In fact, you could turn this whole thing around and make rice the star of your show, just adding a little other food to flavor it.
But isn’t rice unhealthy??? The simple answer is: for optimal nutrition choose brown, but in moderation you’re just fine with white. White can be stripped of some nutrients while processing, making brown the healthier counterpart.
White or brown? Do what works for you, and what you’ll eat and enjoy, just make it a pantry staple!