A few weeks back, I was making something with rice, and thought I was going to be short. DH picked up rice among other things, buying a massive 5 pound bag. Because of storage, I normally buy two pound bags, as a mishap with a large bag turned me off the bulk savings. I hadn't opened it, as I ended up with just the right amount still in my rice jar, so it sat unopened, flat, on a shelf until yesterday. With trying to stretch my grocery and household budget under $350, my goal to the end of the month is to stay within $103 for groceries, borrowing from the grocery side for the household items still needed. It was time to put the massive rice purchase to work.
Cheesy vegetable soup over rice: I had loads of carrots and onions, and some celery that needed to be cooked up. I threw two onions, four wilted and smallish celery, and six carrots, all diced, in the crock pot with my last 6 bullion cubes, and 6 cups water, lots of black pepper, and garlic powder. When almost done, in went four smallish peeled and diced potatoes. One third of the mixture was taken out, pureed, and put back to thicken up the soup, along with the last cup of Colby-Monterrey jack cheese.. I served this, ladled over bowls of rice, for a hearty vegetarian soup, that didn't get sticky since I cooked the rice separately. I'll eat this a few days at work. I know it is carb rich, and lacks much protein, but we"ll eat with fruit and have enough servings of protein for other meals.
Rice Pilaf with vegetables: To go with some Italian meatballs, tonight I'll saute an onion in a few tablespoons of butter, then add 1 cup of rice, two teaspoons of garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning,stirring until the rice starts getting a little toasted. I'll add two cups of water, a couple teaspoons of salt, half a bag of mixed vegetables, bring to a boil, stir, turn down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Chicken, broccoli, and cheese hot dish: I'll make this dish ahead for Wednesday,Three cups of prepared rice, 1 cup of diced chicken, 16 ounces bag of frozen broccoli, 1 can cream of something soup (I think I have cream of mushroom), 1 can milk, salt, and pepper, and the last of the mozzarella cheese, all mixed together, then baked, covered, for 45 minutes to heat through. The moisture from the broccoli as it thaws and covering keeps it from drying out. If it does, I can make a quick white sauce to pour over. (I'll reserve a little rice for a rice crust quiche for Friday)
This will stretch our groceries for this week, and let em get to the weekend with a decent balance to do a medium shop for the last of the month, reserving a bit for milk, eggs, bread, and fruit for the last week. One week eating a higher amount of rice than usual might be dull, but hopefully the variation is enough to look like entirely different foods. I plan to make a batch of chili this month, and will serve with a heaping side of rice to stretch a bit farther later in the month. It's also time to give my daughters tomato risotto another try. Do you use rice in your cooking? Are there any favorites I should give a try this month?