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Last Updated on March 17, 2017 by Diane Hoffmaster
I try to keep my pantry stocked with a number of basic ingredients so that when it comes time for dinner I don't have to think too hard to create a healthy meal. If I stocked my pantry with a lot of processed foods it would be too easy to fall back on these unhealthy choices when I am in a hurry...which is just about every night of the week! Rice is one of those pantry items that I try to never run out of and I have multiple varieties to choose from, depending on how much time I have and what I plan to do with it. From dirty rice with leftover ground sausage and Asian stirfries to rice pudding and creamy baked rice there are so many possibilities when it comes to serving it! Here are a few things to consider when you are planning your next rice dish:
Rice: A versatile pantry staple
1. You can cook rice in water, stock, milk, or broth to enhance its flavor during cooking.
2. Should you wash your rice prior to cooking? That is a personal preference...usually unnecessary but may help wash away excess starch and produce a 'fluffier' end product.
3. Cook the rice until it is al dente. There is nothing more unappetizing than mushy rice!
4. Do not add salt to the cooking water or stir while the rice is cooking or you may end up with a mushy mess!
5. Rice needs a lot of cooking space so make sure to use a fairly large pot.
6. Remove the rice from the pan as soon as it is done or it can continue cooking and get too soft.
7. Not sure how much to cook? One cup of dry rice grains is enough to accompany a meal for 2 adults.
8. As soon as you remove the rice from the pan, pour some water into it to make the pot easier to clean.
9. There are a number of ways to actually cook your rice: boiling, toasting in a pan, baked in the oven, placed in a steamer or pressure cooker, or in a specialty rice cooker. Play around with which method works best for you.
10. There are 140 thousand types of rice in the world but only 19 that are commonly cultivated for food. The most common varieties are white rice, brown rice, yellow rice, and black rice. Check out some of the international markets in your area to find some of the more obscure varieties.
Rice is a great source of energy and is amazingly healthy. High in fiber and rich in an assortment of vitamins and minerals it is a great way to improve your diet. It is cholesterol free and low in sodium so people suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol might want to consider ways to include it in their next meal! The nutrient profiles of darker rice varieties like wild rice or red rice is totally different than traditional white rice varieties so include as many different rice varieties as you can find into your diet. You might be amazed at the flavor differences as well! For a rice with a long cooking time (brown rice, etc) consider cooking it the night before or putting it into a crock pot.
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Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.