Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cooking Rice

Well, this one sounds pretty obvious and it is, but please bear with me. Many years ago, when I was teaching MS Office at a local women's center, my co-worker was teaching life skills. Our student base, a lot of them being neglected and abused as children, never really learned how to do the basics. We had one class where no one knew how to fix rice, except for the boiling bag type or the instant type....or the rice mixes!

All of those things are great when you're in a hurry, but a bag of long grain rice is still cheaper, and will make MANY more servings on your food dollar. Plus, with a little creativity, you can have just about anything that you can get in a box, only better. All for about the same amount of time it takes to cook one of those boxes.

So, here goes....

Basic Rice Recipe

For each cup of rice, you need 2 cups of water. Add a little salt (about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon per cup of rice) to the water, a lump of butter if you please, and bring the water to a boil. Add your rice, return to a boil, and reduce your heat to low. Let the rice simmer for about 15-20 minutes (40-50 minutes if using brown rice) or until tender and the water is all absorbed. Serve forth, as is, or use in these variations.

Fried Rice

Take 2 - 3 cups rice and refrigerate until well chilled.

Put a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a little oil, and some leftover cooked chicken or pork, along with a green onion, sliced. Amounts aren't critical here. Fry until onion is tender.

Add rice to mixture in skillet, and stir and saute until hot. If you like a browner type of fried rice, add a little soy sauce and stir until the color is of your like (careful, it can get too salty real quick). Stir everything until it's well combined, hot and starting to look a little dry.

Move rice to edges of skillet, leaving a little well in the center. Beat 1-2 eggs and drop into the well. Cook and stir until eggs are set up and mix in with the rice. Serve immediately.

PDX Pilaf

Follow the above recipe, except use 2-3 slices cooked bacon and add a handful of frozen peas or other frozen veggie that you like, with the rice. Omit egg if desired.

Onion Rice (inspired by Peg Bracken)

Make basic rice recipe, except add a half package of onion soup to the water. Cook as normal, and stir well when done.

South o' the Border Rice

Make basic rice recipe, except substitute salsa for 1/2 of the water. Stir in some crumbled bacon or cooked ground beef at the end if you would like a main dish.

Chicken Rice

This one's simple....use chicken broth in place of the water in the basic rice recipe, and add a tablespoon of dried parsley or a teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Serve with, baked chicken! :)

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