Cheesy Rice with Something Green
**Please note: all food posts are from my previous blog The Flexitarian Kitchen. I've kept them here because... well, they're good recipes. And it's late. And I'm tired of adjusting my settings. Think of these recipes as the free prize in the bottom of the cereal box!
This weekend, I cleaned out my pantry. And to my shame and horror I found, hidden away in the back, nearly 20 lbs of rice.
We almost never eat rice!
And you can see the reason for all this surfeit...
Yes, in our household we call this "The Red Sticker of Victory." Because when you're feeding four teenagers, and your grocery bill is higher than your mortgage payment, these red stickers make your soul sing like few other things do in life.
The reason the discovery of all this rice horrified me is that I was raised by a mother so thrifty she was practically a cross between John Calvin and Ma Ingalls. I mean this in a good way. My mother wastes nothing. In my entire life I have never seen her eat anything for lunch that was not leftovers from a previous meal. She could teach the current generation a thing or three about financial and culinary ingenuity. I admire my mother for this. One of her favorite sayings is "a woman can throw away more with a teaspoon than a man can bring home with a shovel." And she's right.
So you understand, I cannot simply throw this rice away. It must be used. Every grain. (But not all at once, of course.)
So for the foreseeable future, I will be exploring the world of Flexitarian Rice.
If you are new to this blog I will quickly fill you in on what this means. I have 4 teenagers, 3 of whom are vegetarians. Some of them have purple hair, and at least one has a Mohawk. Obviously, I must have angered the gods in some previous life to deserve such a thing, but I do try to support them as much as I can. Anyway, as the Kitchen Boss I am tasked with finding meals that everyone will eat. I have fun trying to find recipes that can be adapted to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. And that, in a nutshell, is what Flexitarian cooking is all about. For more detailed ranting on the subject, check out my very first post from August 2010.
Now, onward. It's time for....
Cheesy Rice with Something Green
You will need:
- 2 Cups long grain white rice
- 4 Cups Chicken or vegetable stock
- Something Green
- 16 Total oz mixed cheeses. I used Gruyere, Monterey Jack, and fresh Parmesan. I bet goat cheese would be amazing in this. Or Fontina. Or Cheddar. Or anything. No Cheez Whiz though, please. We are trying to maintain some semblance of artistic integrity here.
- 1 Cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH: Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
Here is what it looks like:
And the seasonings...
Now, first let's talk about Something Green. Today I am using a 10 oz package of frozen, chopped spinach (thawed, squeezed dry). This would be equally lovely with broccoli (frozen or fresh), tiny green peas (fresh or frozen), or lots of parsley, chives, and other fresh herbs. Kale. Lots of green onions with their tops. Sliced leeks. Amount is not important in this particular universe. Esthetics are. If you're a beginner, go with the spinach I am using, and hold on to my apron strings until you feel confidant to go it alone!
Are you ready? Let's use up that rice!
Bring the stock to a boil. Add the rice. Bring back to a boil, stir well, and cover tightly. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes, until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is nearly done. No peeking! If you are one whose rice is always either sticky or half crunchy, I'd bet money it's because you are a peeker and a stirrer. DO NOT TOUCH THE POT AFTER YOU REDUCE THE HEAT. Just walk away. Walk away.
In the last 5 minutes, add your Something Green. In my case, chopped spinach. Stir well. Cover tightly, and raise the heat to medium-high. Simmer about 10 more minutes. Add a teeny bit more liquid if you absolutely have to, but you probably won't need to.
Turn off the heat. Add the shredded cheeses, the seasonings, and the 1 cup of milk. Stir well until the cheeses melt.
Snarf this down as politely as possible. Straight from the pot, if you feel the need.
These little guys just dropped in to brighten things up a bit.
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