Sunday, December 7, 2008

rice and beans

We've been relying a lot on quick-and-easy dinners lately, like pasta and frozen veggies. It's so insanely easy, just throw frozen veggies into the pot when the pasta is almost done, bring it all back to a boil then drain, toss it all with a little oil and parm and chow down. But it's not good for us to be eating so much pasta. And as vegetarians, we really need to get more protein into our diet from more than meat-alternative foods.

So when we need quick dinners I've started making brown rice stir-fries with beans. I sautee veggies and then throw in beans and cooked rice, cook it in the pan just enough to mix it all rogether and dry it out a bit and Voila! Sometimes I throw in some baby spinach, or a can of diced tomatoes (drained), or tofu. I use different beans to mix it up. Trader Joes has good, cheap bags of mixed frozen veggies. I particularly like their fire-roasted corn/peppers/onions -- The flavor is so nice that I don't need to use any additional seasoning at all. There endless combinations to try.

For rice, we're usually very lazy and we use brown boil-in-the-bag rice. It's so easy and so fast (boils for 8 minutes). Tonight I copied an idea I read about a while ago on some blog... I cooked a whole bag of regular real brown rice, and when it cooled I put about 3 cups into individual little freezer storage bags. Now when I do my quicky stir-fries I can just grab a bag from the freezer and throw it in the pan with the veggies. It ended up making 7 bags, so that will last us a few weeks.

I'm very pleased with myself. It will make those dinners even easier to prepare, and a bit healthier, and even cheaper. And we're into cheap these days, now that I'm on unpaid leave from work, and we have a little vaca booked in January, and, well, we're broke. There's a lot of rice and beans on the menu for us.

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