Monday, January 31, 2011

Brown Rice to the Rescue

Ah, it's good to be back.  Not that I really went anywhere.

These past couple weeks were overwhelming.  I was super busy at work (tons of outreach work, plus hiring someone new!), Mike was injured while sledding and couldn't walk for a week, the St. Paul Winter Medallion Hunt started and then we all got colds.  That meant we ordered pizza 3 times in one week.  And picked up burritos at Mississippi Market.  And ordered Chinese.  I wasn't doing too much scratch cooking.

But I did manage to cook a big pot of brown rice and beans each week.  I think that's the only thing that saved us from ordering pizza FIVE times in one week.  Thank goodness for brown rice.  It goes with everything and is so filling it's practically a meal in itself.

One night I paired the leftover (planned-over) brown rice with cannellini beans, home-canned tomatoes and home-canned pickled red peppers for a unexpectedly popular dinner.  I sauteed some onions and garlic in lots of olive oil and then added dried thyme, ground fennel seed and dried basil from last year's garden.  Then I added the beans, rice, peppers and tomatoes and simmered until all the tomato juice was absorbed and it looked almost like a risotto.  Then I stirred in fresh basil (a real treat this time of year).  I'll definitely be repeating this dish-  Maybe next time I'll even write down the recipe!

Another night I had some leftover red beans, but no grains.  So I heated the beans up in a little bit of barbecue sauce, whipped up some ranch dressing and used both to top a fresh green salad with lots of red pepper strips (red peppers have been on sale at the co-op, so we're eating LOTS of them).  This reminded me of when I used to order baked potatoes at barbecue joints in Texas and eat them swimming in butter, barbecue sauce and ranch.  I like to think this is just a touch healthier.  

Another favorite leftover rice dish here, but this one I usually make for breakfast.  I like to heat up my griddle and throw on some mushrooms and Field Roast sausage slices (usually the apple sage ones).  Then I top them with leftover rice so that the rice basically steams over the browning mushrooms and sausage.  Just before serving, I mix it all together and sprinkle with lots of black pepper and a little sea salt.  Oh, yes.  Delightful.   I love savory breakfasts!

So there you have it.  Those are some of my favorite uses for leftover beans and rice.

This week is bound to be more relaxing and allow for some real cooking.  The Medallion Hunt is over (sad, but that means I'll sleep at night instead of tromping through snowy parks).  Mike is on the mend (he's able to walk and sit, trying to build his strength back up for work).  And me?  I'm still on vacation!!!


Catherine said...

Glad to hear Mike is on the mend!

I should come by and see you at work again soon! Email me if you know you have a quiet day coming up, and I'll tromp on over!

Anonymous said...

Haha...I figured you were out looking for the medallion this whole time and half expected to see your face looking back at me when they announced the winner :-) I am sorry it wasn't you, but I am happy to hear your week should be more relaxing.


JohnSteill said...

Is it ok to admit that I felt a little schadenfreude-satisfaction in hearing one of my home-engineering idols admit to a heavy week of pizza ordering?

Seriously, thanks again for your blogging; it's uniformly awesome.

Liz said...

Sounds Good- Catherine! I'll be back at work next week and look at my calendar.

Thanks for rooting for me, Courtney. Maybe next year!

John- It's totally okay to admit that. I know exactly how you feel! And thanks for the compliments- they came at exactly the right time to brighten my day yesterday.