Thursday, August 21, 2008

frugal living tip #1: Rice

One of my favorite ways to extend the serving capacity of a dish is to add rice to it. Brown rice. Full of fiber. (I'm loving me some fiber these days.)

I stumbled upon this "trick" a few years ago, when I first ventured into the land of stay-home-mothering. Having not gone grocery shopping for days, and needing something to feed to dinner guests that evening, I shopped through the cupboards looking for anything that would prevent a shopping trip. (A game I like to challenge myself with far too often. Sometimes it results in new favorite meals....sometimes not.....sometimes it results in new least favorites.)

I had one pound of hamburger, some spaghetti sauce, a million noodles, and enough flour etc. to make a loaf of bread. Spaghetti and meatballs with bread. Perfect! Knowing that the noodles and sauce would be sufficient, but that the meat would not, I had to come up with a way to stretch out that hamburger, or go to the store. (and lose the game? NEVER!)

I have a good meatball recipe, and knew that adding the bread crumbs would stretch it a little. Then it struck me....I could add some rice to bulk up the mix. Could it work? Why not! So I cooked up some brown rice, mixed nearly equal parts rice and hamburger to bread crumbs, eggs, a splash of milk and some seasoning. I let them simmer in the crock pot with some spaghetti sauce all afternoon, and they were great! And MORE than enough for us plus guests. AND! I didn't end up running to the store.

Grocery store: 0 Me: 1 (what can I say? I'm just a winner by nature.)

From that point on, I've been using {brown} rice to extend all kinds of meals. I usually cook up several servings at a time, divide up random portions in freezer bags to be used as needed. Rice is great with chicken, in almost all soups, mixed in a meatloaf or burgers on the grill. And rice is not expensive. At all. It's a great way to sneak in fiber, as long as you're using brown....which tastes great, make the switch today.

So my tip for today, is to add brown rice to everything you make.

Wait. Not everything. Not cookies or cakes or coffee....use discretion. And if you come up with a new favorite dish, please, let me know. I'm always looking for new favorites.


betty r said...

I love brown rice..and it may just work in some cookie recipes! Are you brave enough to try?

ohhollyf said...

Oh if i could get me hubby to eat rice, we may be rich even !

Kara said...

Here is a good rice recipe that we like and it's very easy!

Hamburger Rice Oriental
1Lb ground beef
2 Tbs oil
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 med onion, chopped
2/3 uncooked rice
1 1/2 cups boiling water

In lg. skillet brown beef and onion in oil., pour off fat, stir in rice and brown briefly. Add remaining ingredents. Cover and cook 20-25min or until rice is cooked.
*Add your choice of veggies after mixture has cooked 15min. if desired. Using brown rice instead of white, adds about 20min to cook time!

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Visty said...

When I do that we call them porcupine balls. And after they are cooked, I put in a can of cream of mushroom soup and one can of milk into the pan, scrape up all the caramelized goodness off the bottom, and serve it over mashed potatoes. If I didn't have an onion hater for a husband, I'd put diced onion in the meatballs, too.

Brambleberry said...

Oooooh!! Thanks for the ideas! I'll definately try them....maybe even in the cookies! :)

neeter said...

How does the rice freeze? Any reheating tips?

Brambleberry said...

It freezes well. In reheating, I always add it to something, like soup to be warmed, or into a warm sauce....I just dump in into what ever dish I'm making.