Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rice Exploration

I have a great cookbook (previously mentioned) full of low cost recipes.  I love it!  However, it doesn't have very many recipes that call for rice in it.  I've decided to use rice in my cooking as much as possible right now because well... lets face it, rice is cheap cheap cheap!  I'm going for what's cheap right now.  Rice can also be filling, and M of course made the mistake of telling me how much he likes rice! lol  I have had a bag of unopened rice in our cupboard since we got married; it is gone now, and I just bought a 10 pound bag of generic brand white rice for $6.09.  That is $.609 per pound of rice I use (cheap cheap cheap).  I also like to have leftovers.  We eat a lot of leftovers.  I take them to work a lot, which is great because eating PB&J and balogna with cheese sandwiches over and over and over again without any break gets old fast!  Here are the things that I've made so far with rice (and some without).

Rice casserole:  I actually haven't made this yet, but I had it a lot growing up.  It is just lasagna, but you replace the noodles with rice.  Also, my mom also used square cheese on top and parsley.  Good stuff!

Cheesey potato soup: I just kinda make it up as I go, so each time it is different.  In a nutshell it includes, potatoes cubed, chicken broth, cheddar cheese soup, cream of potato soup, American cheese cubed and melted, herbs and spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, or whatever else I decide to add), vegetables (this time I used sliced carrots and a little broccoli), and rice.  I sometimes add bacon (you could do ham too), but I don't like how the bacon tastes warmed back up in the microwave with this soup.  This was the first rice thing I made, and I forgot to follow all of the directions for cooking rice... it was interesting to say the least.  I made A LOT on purpose so that I could have some to take to work for my dinner, and I froze the rest for later.

Breakfast stovetop casserole: I usually make one package of frozen hasbrowns (cooked first), sausage (has to be J.D. brand, orginal, browned), 5 eggs (scrambled with some dry milk), cheedar cheese, and mozzerella cheese.  This time, I replaced the hashbrowns with rice, used bacon grease that we started saving to mix it all together in the skillet (usually I use margarine/butter), and for something a little different I cooked a few strips of bacon and crumbled them.  The result was tasty and filling.  We had plenty of leftovers for me to take to work for my dinner.

Rice and egg casserole: This is a layer of rice, with 6 eggs (scrambled without milk), a few potatoes cubed (cook on the stove in olive oil for a few minutes until they just start to soften before putting in the casserole), sausage (browned), cheddar cheese, and mozzerella cheese.  I had about 1/4 pound of already cooked sausage in the freezer that we have pulled out on occasion for pizza, so I just used that.  The results were tasty!  They only thing I would do differently is either use a smaller pan with a little less rice OR use more eggs.  [pictures]

Tacos: When I cook taco meat, I typcially cook two pounds at a time.  What is left gets stuck in the freezer, and we pull it out now and then for fast tacos (saves us lots of time so we can spend a little more time together that evening).  This time, I made two cupse of rice (with 4 cups of water) and mixed most of it into the meat.  That doubled the mount of meat I had.  As a note for us picky eaters that don't eat enough protein, I think I ended up eating more meat than I normally would without the rice mixed in because I put way more of the meat mixture on my taco than I do without the rice.

Meatloaf: A single friend of ours who, I guess you could say, works "over the road" eats at our house a lot rather than going to the grocery store; with one person in the house and him being gone so much the food spoils quickly.  Anyways, one night I made meatloaf for the three of us.  I decided to use the recipe in the Dining on a Dime cookbook, but I made it my own a little bit.  I have to put sausage (J.D. brand) in my meatloaf because meatloaf without sausage just doesn't taste as good.  I ended up putting 2 lbs. of hamburger, 1 lb. of sausage, and about 2 cups (before cooking) of rice in my meatloaf.  I still used a little oatmeal to hold it together.  I had never used oatmeal in meatloaf before; I usually use bread crumbs or cracker crumbs.  Needless to say, it was tasty.  Technically, I made meatballs, and I ended up with 12 very large ones.

Wondering what to do with leftover rice?  Put a little milk, butter, cinnamon, and sugar in with it and warm it up.  I've had that for dinner at work a couple times too.

I've also been looking for new grilled cheese ideas on Pinterest and  Thanks to this website I the idea to do a breakfast grilled cheese sandwich.  I scrambled some eggs and cooked some bacon first.  For the sandwiches, I used a square slice of cheese for each slice of bread and squeezed the eggs and crumbled bacon between the bread and cheese.  YUM!

When all else fails though and we don't know what to make, we made fried egg sandwiches, egg hole in the bread fried, or pizza.  We've started to make homemade crust using the recipe in the "Cooking on a Dime" cookbook.

Feel free to share your rice recipes or frugal recipes!

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