Friday, March 30

A Passion For Rice?

Yes, I've developed a passion for rice. Perhaps it was because of this post, refined food mania, which steered me back towards fried rice as a meal option. I've been cooking a fairly sizeable pot of rice and then using it as part of my main dish, or as a side dish, for many of my meals.

Anyway, here are some important rice facts you might want to know. Rice can go bad after it has been cooked. Basically, if it is left at room temperature, spores that survive cooking can activate. It is recommended that unused portions be promptly refrigerated. Rice that has been tightly sealed and cooled without being left to sit out at room temperature should last for up to a week. Rice can also be frozen for longer term storage.

Now, with that out of the way, the more important detail is that I've bought a fancy rice cooker. It has a built in digital timer, settings for rice and soup, and even keeps rice warm after cooking. The best part is that it will cook up a whack of rice at a time. Yes, a whack is an official measurement in frugality circles.

I have to admit that I did not purchase a cheap model. I did not even purchase a mid-range model. I went right to the top of the line! How can that be a frugal move you may be asking. Don't worry, it will be. This model allows me to cook rice with a hands-off mindset. I dump in the ingredients and have freshly cooked rice available right up until the end of the warming cycle.

So, once a week, I'll cook up perhaps $1 worth of rice, refrigerate it all in individual meal sized portions, and then eat it with my meals for the rest of the week. Holy cheap eats batman.

Here is a recent recipe that I'll be making again soon. First, chop up some onion and fry it in a little bit of butter. While that is frying, shred a small amount of shaved or sliced ham. When the onions have fried to taste, add the shredded ham and several eggs. If you want, splash in a little milk and scramble everything together. Season to taste and when the eggs are about half cooked, then dump in a cup or two of cooked rice. Mix thoroughly until the eggs are fully cooked.

Estimated price $1. I'll be laughing all the way to the bank!

Frugal Guy said...
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8 comments:

Mom2fur said...

I love home made fried rice! And I don't think it was unfrugal for you to buy a top-of-the-line rice cooker, especially since it seems like you'll be getting a lot of use out of it. It's much better to buy quality that will last you for many years, than to replace a piece of junk over and over.

frugal guy said...

Thanks mom2fur, I've used the cooker a couple times now, so I'm going to blog about actually using it next...

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

I have a high quality rice cooker myself-an asian one that YB bought me via the PX catalog (believe me, they keep the good quality ones in stock for the Korean spouses-they go through a lot of rice) and I love it. I like that it can make the rice and keep it warm for hours too!

Frugal Guy said...

Thanks for the note Jenn. It's a good thing that convenience isn't always a bad thing... since I rail against it so much with respect to it's effect on consumer expenditures.

David said...

How about a frugal meal for entertaining or special occasions? Using your rice cooker: Put in the rice of your choice (I *love* brown basmati, which is delicious and extremely nutritious). Instead of plain water, substitute a cheap red wine for about half the liquid. Add a few green peas and either pearl onions or rough-cut sweet onions, perhaps a few brocoli flowerets, or a small amount of other veggies you may have fresh or frozen.
Add in a handful of peanuts, as the Thais do for extra crunch and nutrition.
Ten or fifteen minutes before the rice casserole is finished, pan broil a small amount of fish. When it is cooked, use a fork to shred the fish--then stir it into the rice dish as the rice cooker is finished. Garnish with cherry tomato halves or tomato wedges, then top it all off with a layer of grated cheese to melt into the dish while it is in the warming stage. Serve directly from the rice cooker, possibly with a simple mixed greens salad. I guarantee you will have happy guests without breaking the bank to do it...and the look of the dish is spectacular, with the purple rice, bright green peas, red tomatoes, etc.

Frugal Guy said...

David,

Thanks for the awesome sounding recipe!

Your comment makes me realize that rice doesn't have to be relegated to the cheap and plain category... just the cheap category.

David said...

Rice is an incredibly flexible carb, useful in many dishes. You can make a delicious soup base by using the water you might otherwise discard when cooking your vegetables. Throw in a little rice, perhaps some mushrooms, and voila!
I also love to have chunky salsa around (I refer to it as "Vitamin M") as a great flavoring for dishes of many kinds--including as a topping for rice or pasta. If you have a garden, you can easily make your own salsa. It is also fantastic to flavor cabbage soup, that otherwise would be quite bland.
There are many strategies for eating frugally and healthfully as well. Rice is a great beginning to base your diet on--as a couple billion Asians have known for many generaitons.
By the way, I just discovered your blog yesterday--kudos to you!

Frugal Guy said...

Thanks for more great ideas David. I might end up eventually thinking of them as my own...