Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Channeling the Pioneers

But wait, they didn't have freezers.  
OK, I'll channel my grandma.  She had a huge freezer full of delicious ice cream that she served us on a cone with a glass of home bottled grape juice.  We could see her in the kitchen window as we pulled up to my grandparents house, late at night, in Shelley, Idaho. 
That's my memory and that's the way it will stay.  Did I mention she wore a house dress, sensible shoes and an apron, all the time.  She was tougher then I'll ever be. She was a farmers wife.  

I love thinking of new ways to make life easier and cheaper.  That whole lottery thing is just not coming through and I hate spending too much money on things that don't pamper me.  Of course!  I rarely buy my lunch at work.  The new cafeteria is too expensive, it takes too long to get there and even if the food is delicious, it doesn't make sense to spend $6-7 dollars a day on food!  Now when I spend $4 on a delicious coffee around the eighth hour of work when I start getting tired...THAT makes sense!

So every day I work I like to take some rice and vegetables (Birds Eye, flash frozen) and sometimes I will throw in some chicken.  Last year I found frozen rice at Costco that was super delicious, but after two trips they stopped carrying it.  Last time I went I found a bag of frozen brown rice that was divided into about 3 cup servings that you could cook/warm up in the microwave pretty quick.  When that run out I was in a panic!  I was in no mood to go to Costco even if they did have the rice.  I always spend way too much there and I didn't want to spend $2 to 3 dollars a bag for that microwave rice that will cover two lunches.  It was also a little high in calories (190 calories a serving).  So, I bought a bag of long grain brown rice (under 3 bucks) and had big plans to cook a bunch, freeze it in servings and then use it when I need it.  WELL, it worked!!!  Not exactly as I thought it would, but good enough and I have plans for change next time.  Plus, it's delicious and easy and I might even get my family hooked.  Hello healthy eating!! shhhhh....

I thought I'd share and while I'm doing that I will have something to refer to next time!!

Frozen Rice Servings

Bag of long grain brown rice.
Chicken, beef or vegetable broth.  I used some leftover vegetable broth we had and threw in 3 cubes of those chicken cubes I dislike so much.
I also threw in about a tablespoon of butter for the whole pan.
Freezer quart bags

This is where I started taking pictures.  Last night I made about 9 servings of rice and in place of half of the water I used vegetable broth and threw in 3 chicken broth cubes.  When it was done and cooled a little I put it in a big baking pan covered in aluminum foil, covered it with plastic wrap and put it in our freezer overnight.

In the morning I had a rice brick.  I let it sit on the counter long enough that I could hack it up in about 12 serving sizes
 My freezer bags are ready and I had taken off about 6 servings..OK, so maybe I ended up with about 15 servings.  I don't think what they recommend as servings is necessarily what I wanted.
 Love the ice crystals on top?? I was really doubting myself here.  How about that wood rolling pin??  My brother Joe made that for me when he was in high school and I was getting married or Christmas or something.  I cherish it because he made it.  Even though I don' think it's approved use was to pound the back of a huge knife trying to cut up frozen rice.  
 Then I threw them in the freezer.  They never really thawed, and they were not out of the freezer for too long.  I am not nervous about any food poisoning and believe me, I ran that through my head over and over to make sure.  I am a 2 hour food freak, meaning that once food is out for more then two hours it's going to get tossed.  Of course it doesn't count if the food is suppose to be kept at room temperature.  I won't eat any plain rice that has been in the fridge for more then 48 hours.  Did you know that rice harbors nastiness after that?  Yeah, me neither.  If you don't believe me, ask Sami.  She ate some rice from the fridge and had the yack attacks!
 I took a piece that was very frozen, right from the middle.  Don't mind the dirty microwave, it's not dirty enough to bother cleaning it yet.
I cooked it one minute on high.
 Then I mushed it up and cooked it about 45 seconds or until it was nice and steamy.
DELISH!!!  The broth I used made it moist and tasty!  I usually use soy sauce if I am eating it plain, but this rice hardly needed it at all! 
WINNER!  <---move over Sheen.

When I do it again (and save about 15 - 20 dollars for my fancy coffees) I will let it cool a little, divide it up in 1/2 to 3/4 cup servings in the freezer bags and THEN freeze it.  Skip a step.  I did label all my bags in case one gets lost and we find it in a couple of years.  I have no idea how long frozen rice is good for.  I don't suspect this batch will last more then 2 months and that with just me eating it.  

I also want to try freezing a little bit bigger bags and use them for family dinners.  This precooked rice thing is awesome!  Easy too.  I'm way too lazy to do anything that is too involved.

I watched Food, Inc.  last week and I haven't been the same. I stopped eating fast food about 4 years ago and now I really wish everyone would.  Not so much the unhealthiness of it, but of what a hold of the food business these fast food conglomerates have.  I would really like the quality of the beef and chicken raised to a new level, but whatever McDonald's wants is about how quality it gets.  Did you know that anyone that sells to the big companies is not allowed to talk about how the cattle are raised and are not allowed to have any of their farms filmed in any way. 

So lets just say there is a huge container of freshly cut up fruit and bag of celery in our fridge.  

Blog on..............

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