Heat it, mix it, top it, eat it

February 4, 2010

ricebowls1

This isn’t the first time I’ve discussed having a recipe formula instead of an actual recipe. If you can take the backbone of a recipe and manipulate the ingredients you are going to have many, many more meals at your fingertips. Exciting stuff.

But, a warning: this is not Julia Child level cooking by any means. Nor should it be. This is “I’m tired just got home and want to watch Lost while paying bills online but need something good to eat” kind of food. Choosing good, real, simple food instead of the allure of chinese takeout or McD’s is a gigantic step towards feeling your best. Good, real food keeps your body clean and your mind happy. That’s right – good food is the answer for a clean body and happy mind, not expensive detox kits or prescriptions.

Whoa. Now we’re talking.

Step 1
Brown rice. (Preferably soaked overnight in an acidic medium to deactivate phytic acid which blocks the absorption of important minerals. But if that didn’t happen, don’t worry. Next time.) Cook the brown rice. Make a lot so you can reheat later in the week!

Step 2
Choose a bean. Canned beans are perfect for this kind of meal. I prefer Eden brand beans based on the ingredient label (yes, those beans are cooked with nutrient rich kombu!) but recently found out that there is another great reason to choose Eden. From their website:

Eden Organic Beans are packed in steel cans coated with a baked on oleoresinous c-enamel lining that does not contain bisphenol-A (BPA)…These cans cost 14 percent more than the industry standard cans that do contain BPA. This costs Eden $300,000 more a year. To our knowledge Eden is the only U.S. company that uses this custom made BPA-free can.

But seriously, canned beans of any kind are preferable to takeout. So grab your beans and start thinking what flavors might work well with them. Black beans? Mexican. Chickpeas? Maybe greek. Canellini? Italian!

Rinse those suckers off and add to your rice.

Step 3
Veggie time. Choose quick-cooking veggies you can saute or stir fry in about 5 minutes. Or maybe you have some leftover carrots from last night, some frozen spinach in the freezer. Get creative. I recommend one dark, leafy green and one colorful sweet vegetable. Add to your rice and beans.

Step 4
Sauce it up. If you’re like most people, your refrigerator door is teeming with BBQ sauce, salad dressings and the like. A sauce made with natural ingredients is best, or make your own delicious topping – maybe oil, vinegar and fresh herbs. Anything goes.

This formula has been saving my butt in the past couple of weeks. Last week we made Southern Rice Bowls, using brown rice, black eyed peas, collard greens, chopped baked sweet potatoes and Annie’s organic BBQ sauce.

Last night, I grabbed leftover rice from the fridge and reheated it with black beans, napa cabbage, carrots and a black bean ginger sauce from Trader Joe’s. Feeling a little fancy, I added sesame seeds on top.

ricebowls2

This formula is definitely a mainstay in my dinnertime repertoire. That said, I’d love to hear how you plan to use it and any ideas for flavor combinations! Go crazy.

And if you’d like to learn to cook even more real, healthy food, check out this e-course being offered by a fellow blogger! Looks like an amazing value and lots of fantastic information. I may just sign up myself…

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.