Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rice Bowls - Boring Staple or Exciting Change of Pace?

I stumbled upon this concoction by accident, but it has become a staple in my menu planning!

I was standing in the kitchen on a Monday night.
Meals for the week had been prepared, but I had never finished planning my menu.
I was looking at the first week of a new workout program, and I wanted to make sure I was bringing my best to the table.

...and according to my meal plan, I was missing a serving of protein and a serving of carbs...

I looked around my kitchen, feeling defeated.
Then I saw the bag of rice.  I thought, "Rice!  Rice is a carb!  Can I think of a protein to serve with rice?"
I went to my fridge and discovered a package of ground beef that my husband had stashed away...

"Hey, honey!  Do you have any plans for this ground beef?"
...Not, yet.  Why?
"Can I use it?"
...yeah, go for it.

I threw some rice in the rice cooker (have you tried one?  Where has this been all my life?  Why didn't I have one of these before??), turned it on, and proceeded to cook some beef while I waited for the "done" light to come on.

When it all came together, I used my handy portion containers to dole it out into bowls.
I knew I would eat it regardless of it's level of deliciousness, but I was really hoping it wasn't going to get old too fast...

By this time, my husband had wandered into the kitchen dying to know what I was making that smelled so amazing....
So, I handed him a bowl and a spoon.
He had intended to only try a bite, but the next thing I knew, he was asking me if he could have the rest of it!

I figured that was a good start, anyway.
It turned out that I enjoyed it just as much on day 5 as I did on day 1!
I filed it away in my stack of go-to recipes.

I've played with it over the months and come up with several variations.
Hubby also has variations of his own!
However, there are some techniques that just *really* add to the basic dish.

Of course, for me, steaming the rice is pretty easy and straight forward.  Just drop rice and water in the cooker (2:1 ratio) and let the cooker tell you when it's done!
Oh, how well that works for my ADD mind!!

My favorite is to mix 50/50 brown rice with tri-color quinoa.  YUM!!
The whole thing freezes and reheats well, so I can make 2 weeks worth in one go!
...I might need a bigger freezer, soon...

freshly cooked - ready to portion!

I portion out the rice for however many servings I made and let the steam dissipate for a few minutes...
However, while I wait for the rice to cook, I get to work on my perfect ground beef!

Easy peasy - and oh so consistent

You can certainly purchase ground beef at the store (and we do when time is short), but we've been experimenting with buying a chunk of lean round roast and grinding our own!

You can season the beef however you like, but my go-to is Mrs. Dash Table Blend seasoning.
I also enjoy Lawry's for something different...
Or Cavender's Greek seasoning when I'm in the mood for a kick...
The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!!

While you *can* just brown your beef in the skillet on the stove, I much prefer the touch of the grill.
So, I form up patties (after the seasoning is well mixed), and send them out with Hubby.
If, for some reason he isn't grilling (like, if it's just too cold to be outside), I'll stick my patties under the broiler.  I'll broil them for about 5 minutes, flip them, then stick them back in for another 5 minutes.
They come out browned and juicy!
The next best thing to grilling!!

Making due when we aren't grilling...

Now, my husband will just drop a patty in with his rice, but I'm really big on texture.  A chunck of beef with my rice just doesn't match, to me.
I do some extra work and plop those patties in a bowl and take my Pampered Chef Mix and Chop to those suckers!  I turn them back into ground beef!

I really love my Pampered Chef tools!

Yes, it takes extra time and a bit of persistence...
But the texture with the rice is just perfect!!

getting there...

It's the little things that make me happy...

portioned out and ready to go!

Of course, once that's done, the meat is easily portioned into the bowls with the rice.
This serves as an emergency meal or an excellent base for something more interesting!

I ***LOVE*** to add a cup of steamed broccoli florets!
Can you ever go wrong with beef and broccoli??

John will add Pav Baji Vegetable Curry to his and spice things up a bit.

As simple as this dish is, I've found it incredibly satisfying and an indispensable staple in my rotation of recipes!

What would you add to your rice bowls??

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