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Homemade Convenience Foods

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I've been making a huge pot of brown rice and a crockpot full of beans on Sunday each week since reading Nourishing Traditions. I put the rice on and beans to soak for 24 hours. Monday morning rinse beans and cook in crockpot. It doesn't take very long at all to cook beans after soaking so long.

This has really helped me. I don't 'run to the store' for dinner stuff anymore. There are several meals I can pull out of this stash and having the rice cooked and chilled speeds everything up.

I jar the cooked beans up in old spaghetti sauce jars. I keep the rice in the big pot because I'm lazy and hate doing dishes.

This week I made black beans instead of pintos.

So far I've made:

Mexican Fried Rice
Asian Fried Rice
Rice w/tuna sauce
Rice & stir fry
Tostadas
Nachos
Dirty Rice
Bean Tacos
Burritos

Hope this helps someone. I've learned so much from y'all.
post #2 of 27
Great ideas! Do you mind posting specific recipes for Dirty Rice, Mexican Fried Rice and Asian Fried Rice? Those all sound great. Do you put the pot of rice in the fridge and dish out how much you need per recipe? Do you use the rice all week?

And forgive my ignorance, but how long do you cook the beans in the crockpot?
post #3 of 27
I try to make a few "tv dinners" to freeze each week from our meals. For instance I make a little extra spaghetti and pull aside a serving and freeze it. That way during the week or whenever we need to we know that we have perfectly good homemade meals that only need to be thawed and heated in the microwave. I started doing this when we were newly married after our budget went bust on eating out out of sheer exhaustion and boredom.

I shared my idea with my brother who also only cooks basically for himself and sil. It really takes very little effort to make a few more servings and freeze for later. Im not a person to eat the same leftovers mulitple times in a row to this has helped.
post #4 of 27
luv-my-boys, that is a good idea. I have tried to freeze plain pasta before and it got nasty. Is there a trick? Do you mix the pasta with sauce? What do you freeze the individual portions in?
post #5 of 27
nak

Subbing
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebunny View Post
Great ideas! Do you mind posting specific recipes for Dirty Rice, Mexican Fried Rice and Asian Fried Rice? Those all sound great. Do you put the pot of rice in the fridge and dish out how much you need per recipe? Do you use the rice all week?

And forgive my ignorance, but how long do you cook the beans in the crockpot?
Haha, the recipes all start out the same ...

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.

For Asian Fried Rice add any veggies (I keep frozen mixed veggies all the time), several eggs scrambled and then add in the rice. Season with soy sauce or Bragg's, ground ginger and anything else you like. Stir to combine and heat through.

For Mexican Fried Rice I add corn, black beans and sometimes ground meat (no eggs). Season w/Bragg's, pepper, chile powder, cumin. Top w/shredded pepper jack cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

For Dirty Rice I add some ground meat to the onion and garlic. When it's cooked through and crumbled really small I add the rice and season w/Bragg's, garlic powder, cayenne. If I had a cajun spice mix I'd use that but I haven't found one w/out MSG.

As far as beans, I soak for 24 hours and then put them in the crockpot w/fresh water and cook on low. It takes about 1/2 the time as unsoaked beans - so about 4 hours. I add salt after they're done (it can make them tough if it's cooked with the beans).

Right now I've got Black beans, Garbonzo beans and Great Northern beans soaking. I've also got Polenta in the crockpot. I think we'll have Polenta w/Meat Sauce for dinner.
post #7 of 27
I've been finding the freezer to be my convenience trick lately. I have been making pizza dough to freeze, and when I make a pot pie or something, I make two and freeze one. I also had a ton of basil this summer, so had about two days of pestopalooza and froze individual amounts for meals in small containers. I haven't delved into my stash yet, but i'm pretty happy I made it! School started for me (nursing school) last week so there are always nights I am too damn tired to cook anything!
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
Haha, the recipes all start out the same ...

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil.

For Asian Fried Rice add any veggies (I keep frozen mixed veggies all the time), several eggs scrambled and then add in the rice. Season with soy sauce or Bragg's, ground ginger and anything else you like. Stir to combine and heat through.

For Mexican Fried Rice I add corn, black beans and sometimes ground meat (no eggs). Season w/Bragg's, pepper, chile powder, cumin. Top w/shredded pepper jack cheese and crushed tortilla chips.

For Dirty Rice I add some ground meat to the onion and garlic. When it's cooked through and crumbled really small I add the rice and season w/Bragg's, garlic powder, cayenne. If I had a cajun spice mix I'd use that but I haven't found one w/out MSG.

As far as beans, I soak for 24 hours and then put them in the crockpot w/fresh water and cook on low. It takes about 1/2 the time as unsoaked beans - so about 4 hours. I add salt after they're done (it can make them tough if it's cooked with the beans).

Right now I've got Black beans, Garbonzo beans and Great Northern beans soaking. I've also got Polenta in the crockpot. I think we'll have Polenta w/Meat Sauce for dinner.
Thanks for sharing
post #9 of 27
I need more basic advice: How the **** do you cook brown rice???
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I need more basic advice: How the **** do you cook brown rice???
The easiest way is a rice cooker. Best 20 bucks I've ever spent However, if you're more of a purist:

1 part rice
2.5 parts water (some say more water, but I've found this to be successful. It's not rocket science though, or even cake baking, so feel free to play around with this)

Put water and rice together in pot cold. Bring to boiling. Turn down heat to low. Put lid on. Leave for 35-40 minutes. Do NOT lift lid, no matter how much you want to see what's going on. It's important for the steaming process.

I almost always use short grain brown rice, so cooking times & water proportions may vary slightly with other types.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Mac View Post
The easiest way is a rice cooker. Best 20 bucks I've ever spent However, if you're more of a purist:

1 part rice
2.5 parts water (some say more water, but I've found this to be successful. It's not rocket science though, or even cake baking, so feel free to play around with this)

Put water and rice together in pot cold. Bring to boiling. Turn down heat to low. Put lid on. Leave for 35-40 minutes. Do NOT lift lid, no matter how much you want to see what's going on. It's important for the steaming process.

I almost always use short grain brown rice, so cooking times & water proportions may vary slightly with other types.

THANK YOU! The last couple of times I've tried it came out with this weird texture and taste...but I followed instructions I got from Googling and boiled the water first.
post #12 of 27
Pyrex makes great small dishes. All glass, plastic (BPA free) lids, can be cooked, frozen, inexpensive. Hubby is gone for months at a time so I cook for 1 often. Pot pie freezes well as does enchilada casserole. Beans and rice as well as veggie stir fry are other standbys. Soups are easy too. It's nice with the little one to have several things on hand.
post #13 of 27
Thank you for the recipes. I made fried rice last night and it seemed to be a hit! I had leftover rice, and I added veggies, scrambled egg, soy sauce, etc.
post #14 of 27
I make a batch of sauce that can be either soup, stew or spaghetti sauce. I saute my onion, then add quartered tomatoes, and green pepper. After the peppers have softened and boiled down a bit, I add once can of tomato paste.

I find the paste helps to bulk up the sauce.

I love making soup in the fall/winter and with the above, I just need to add assorted veggies, additional water and set it in my crockpot. 4-6 hours later and i have a meal that is healthy and super yummy.


Good reminder, I need to cook up a batch or two of rice for making quick meals.
post #15 of 27
Great ideas!
post #16 of 27
Has anyone made pizza from scratch and frozen it?
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I need more basic advice: How the **** do you cook brown rice???
yes yes, rice cooker like PP said I love mine.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey693 View Post
Has anyone made pizza from scratch and frozen it?
no, because I can mix the dough and have it rise and ready to cook in an hour so I haven't felt the need.
post #19 of 27
these are great ideas. I almost never cook rice. But I told DH I am going to start cooking from scratch. I do make some things from scratch, but I want to move towards evertyhing. How do you freeze rice for meals? Cook a large batch and then freeze the extra? Can you cook rice in a crockpot?
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I need more basic advice: How the **** do you cook brown rice???
I use a boiling method...so easy and perfect rice every time. Basically it is just cooking it the same way that one would cook pasta. Here is a link with more information: http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angr...ce-cookin.html
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