Rice served thrice: batch cooking for easy meals

blue pottery rice bowls

Click this image to see more gorgeous pottery from Hughes Pottery.

We are very busy, poor meal planners, and have kids that suddenly don’t like dishes they used to like.

You may not be surprised by this Funnermother fact. 🙂

So our cook once, eat thrice technique allows us to focus but not actually be tied to a menu that might not work at the last minute.

brown rice soap

Click this soap image to see other lovely items in Ninas Paris Tea shop.

Honestly I’d rather order takeout every night, like on that sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. 🙂

But it is too expensive, and not as healthy.

Last week’s blog post, Winner, winner, chicken dinner, walked you through several days of yes, chicken dinners.

brown rice drawing

Click this link to see more stunning drawings from Country Charm Art.

This week I’m giving you a sneak peek into some of the ways we use rice.  Rice has come under scrutiny because it absorbs arsenic; at the end of this post you’ll find reputable resources for making the healthiest choices you can about rice by your purchasing decisions and by rinsing it.

We have not stopped eating rice, though we never did eat it every day or even every week.

I cook a double or triple batch on the stove top, and use it over three days or three meals.

brown rice cookery

Click this image to see more delightful vintage kitchen items from Tommys Kitchen Stuff.

First, I serve it as a starchy dinner side dish with fish or chicken and maybe a dash of tamari or sliced cooked mushrooms stirred in.  You could also toss in toasted pine nuts — though Thing 1 is happiest with plain rice.

The second time we see it, I toast several servings of rice in a frying pan and add ginger and soy, scrambled egg, frozen peas and either shrimp or minced meat. Ta-daaa!  Fried rice that I sometimes will supplement with takeout dumplings or store-bought frozen eggrolls.

rice

Click this image to see more gorgeous stock photography, sold with a signed release form, from Blasdel Photography.

For our third use, I may serve it as a side with a cheese omelet topped with salsa, with refried beans inside or as a second side.  With fresh chives or green onions sprinkled all around, usually by Thing 2.

There you have it.  Dinner, lunch, breakfast — diverse flavors and easy meals with  batch cooking!

Rice and arsenic in the press:

In January 2015, Consumer Reports wrote: “White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. on average has half of the inorganic-arsenic amount of most other types of rice…. white rices from California have 38 percent less inorganic arsenic than white rices from other parts of the country.

Brown rice has 80 percent more inorganic arsenic on average than white rice of the same type. Arsenic accumulates in the grain’s outer layers, which are removed to make white rice. Brown has more nutrients, though, so you shouldn’t switch entirely to white. Brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan is the best choice; it has about a third less inorganic arsenic than other brown rices.  Rice that’s grown organically takes up arsenic the same way conventional rice does, so don’t rely on organic to have less arsenic.

Grains lower in arsenic

The gluten-free grains amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and polenta or grits had negligible levels of inorganic arsenic. Bulgur, barley, and farro, which contain gluten, also have very little arsenic. Quinoa (also gluten-free), had average inorganic arsenic levels comparable to those of other alternative grains. But some samples had quite a bit more. Though they were still much lower than any of the rices, those spikes illustrate the importance of varying the types of grains you eat.

Cooking to lower arsenic levels

You may be able to cut your exposure to inorganic arsenic in any type of rice by rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking, using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup rice, and draining the excess water afterward. That is a traditional method of cooking rice in Asia. The modern technique of cooking rice in water that is entirely absorbed by the grains has been promoted because it allows rice to retain more of its vitamins and other nutrients. But even though you may sacrifice some of rice’s nutritional value, research has shown that rinsing and using more water removes about 30 percent of the rice’s inorganic arsenic content.”

A February 2015 article from the Cleveland Clinic corroborates these preferences and methods for reducing arsenic in rice.

Livestrong hosts a 2013 article listing other potential problems with brown rice, such as fungal growth on leftovers.

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10 thoughts on “Rice served thrice: batch cooking for easy meals

  1. Thank you for this inspiration. I cannot tell you how many pounds of cooked rice we throw out because no one likes plain rice on Day 2 and I’m not creative enough to whip up something before it spoils. I am especially excited about the fresh ginger in the fried rice recipe you shared. I will be trying that really soon. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, Donna! I get it, and recommend breakfast burritos with rice inside or on the side, fried rice, add rice to tomato soup (or almost any other), and of course rice pudding with raisins. 🙂 xx Angela

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  2. I’ve always liked rice fixed like oatmeal: with brown sugar and cream! I know there’s probably VERY little nutrition in that carb-sugar fest but sometimes it just hits the spot!

    Otherwise, I LOVE making it into fried rise with spices, veggies, meats, and a couple of eggs.

    If all else fails, my dogs LOVE cooked white rice sprinkled on their dry food!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yum! Sounds like the pre-pudding stage of rice pudding! With washed brown rice, maple syrup instead of sugar, and raisins, it changes its position on the glycemic index, so eat away! 🙂 Thanks for tuning in. xx Angela

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  3. This is a timely post. We eat mostly organic and I’ve tried to find an organic brand for rice. I have struggled because what we buy, we don’t like. I will check out some of your suggestions above. I’ve heard about arsenic in rice, but I didn’t think organic had it. Thanks for sharing this info!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Ivette, I’ve read different takes on whether or not buying organic makes a difference. But buying Californian and rinsing organic rice seems like the best bet. Sad to say, *I* will stick with white, but take it off my preferred list until it gets worked out. I’m sure it will over time.
      xx Angela

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    • Stephanie, it took me a long (stubborn) time to figure out that we just don’t eat leftovers. Between organizing, remembering them, and the change in textures after they’ve been frozen, we all dislike them for different reasons! Batch cooking totally saves me. Now I’m off to check out bulkfoods. com, thanks for the tip! xx Angela

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