Homemade Convenience Foods - Mothering Forums
Meal Planning > Homemade Convenience Foods
Usually Curious's Avatar Usually Curious 02:30 PM 08-05-2010
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.

bluebunny's Avatar bluebunny 12:18 AM 08-06-2010
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?
luv-my-boys's Avatar luv-my-boys 12:34 AM 08-06-2010
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.
bluebunny's Avatar bluebunny 11:55 AM 08-06-2010
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?
Theoretica's Avatar Theoretica 04:13 PM 08-06-2010
nak

Subbing
Usually Curious's Avatar Usually Curious 03:46 PM 08-30-2010
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.
Gator-mom's Avatar Gator-mom 12:40 AM 08-31-2010
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!
columbusmomma's Avatar columbusmomma 01:26 PM 08-31-2010
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
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 01:40 PM 08-31-2010
I need more basic advice: How the **** do you cook brown rice???
Annie Mac's Avatar Annie Mac 02:00 PM 08-31-2010
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.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 02:18 PM 08-31-2010
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.
TX Mama's Avatar TX Mama 02:31 PM 08-31-2010
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.
bluebunny's Avatar bluebunny 10:17 PM 09-02-2010
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.
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 08:23 PM 09-04-2010
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.
josie143's Avatar josie143 08:47 PM 09-10-2010
Great ideas!
Honey693's Avatar Honey693 07:53 PM 09-11-2010
Has anyone made pizza from scratch and frozen it?
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 08:13 PM 09-11-2010
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.
Arduinna's Avatar Arduinna 08:14 PM 09-11-2010
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.
jenhill's Avatar jenhill 03:42 PM 09-18-2010
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?
kaismum's Avatar kaismum 11:06 AM 09-20-2010
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
G's mommy's Avatar G's mommy 12:48 AM 09-22-2010
subbing... great ideas!
Miasmamma's Avatar Miasmamma 05:30 PM 09-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I need more basic advice: How the **** do you cook brown rice???
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/a...ipe/index.html

This is foolproof and it works perfect every time. I don't ever cook brown rice on the stovetop any more.
Sol_y_Paz's Avatar Sol_y_Paz 12:27 PM 09-27-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Honey693 View Post
Has anyone made pizza from scratch and frozen it?
Yes. We just freeze the crusts after they have been rolled out to size.
DeerMother's Avatar DeerMother 01:04 AM 10-02-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
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.
I have, unsuccessfully. I did my dough in bread machine, parbaked, added toppings and cheese, froze. I made several and they all burned. I'd love guidance on how to get it right!
DeerMother's Avatar DeerMother 01:08 AM 10-02-2010
Martha Stewart has a chicken finger recipe that is the bomb. (on my phone now, can't link). The "batter" is wheat germ and bran, flax, parm, garlic/onion powder, bread crumbs. So good. I make several lbs of tenders, bake and freeze on a cookie sheet before throwing in ziploc. Reheat at 350 for ten minute or so.
alsoSarah's Avatar alsoSarah 01:28 AM 11-05-2010

Amatullah0's Avatar Amatullah0 05:51 PM 11-05-2010
Rice doesn't freeze too well -- it gets all gritty. I make (white) basmati rice when I make rice, I soak it for about a half hour(preferably longer, but i can never remember to soak them until I actually start cooking! -- that reminds me, i gotta go soak some rice!) i rinse the rice a few times(mostly because our rice often has dirt or something in it, we buy from the indo-pak store, and i think they actually get it from pakistan ) then, I fill the pot of water with enough water that when i stick my pinky in the pot, and the tip of my pinky touches the water, the water level comes up to the first joint on my pinky, so about an inch of water over the top of the rice?

I add salt if i feel like it, then i let the rice come to a boil. I let it boil for a few minutes, until its at a really good boil, then i put a towel(paper or cloth) and the lid goes on the pot, let it boil another few seconds, then turn off the heat. Let sit 15-20 min.

eta: if the rice is still not cooked all the way, I will sometimes stick it in the microwave in a lidded container, add a little extra water(a tablespoon or so, depending on how much rice it is), and let it boil in the microwave, or i'll add a little more water in the rice pot, let that water cook for a while, then put the lid back on. the longer the lid is on(and the steam is held in) the longer it is cooking.
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