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.
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.
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.
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.
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.