Anyway, I have over a dozen recipes cooked, tested and ready to share with you and even a theme for this month. So here we go, announcing, with great pomp and gravitas:
It's Fabulously Frugal February!!!!
I know many of us are tightening belts at this time of the year but still want to eat well so I've added a "frugal" tag which I will henceforth use for all the particularly economical recipes on the site (and will at some point try and remember to add to previous recipes).
I know many of you probably think beans and rice is a boring meal but there's a secret to enjoying it. (Shhhh, don't tell my Mum.) I love to play with my food! If I'm trying to figure the flavours for a recipe out or something turns out a bit bland, I get a tray of sauces and extras out of the fridge and cupboard, bring them to the table with the meal and, well, experiment. It's a great way to get kids interested in flavours too, especially if you've served a vegetable they're not keen on. The photo shows the fixings I tried out with beans and rice and it was a great, frugal and oh-so-comforting meal. Read on...
|Lemon juice, celery salt, cilantro/coriander leaf, Worcestershire sauce,|
lime juice, cheddar, chilli cheddar spread, chilli flakes, Fajita seasoning,
Tabasco, sesame oil....
Ingredients for 4:
2 cans beans, rinsed and drained -
I used black and cannellini
1 cup / 200g rice - brown or white
1 tbsp olive oil
1 can (14 oz / 400g) of chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 onion, chopped finely
1 tsp mixed herbs (I used Mediterranean grill style)
Put the olive oil in the bottom of your slow cooker and add the rice. Stir the rice until it's nicely coated with the oil.
Drain the tomatoes, catching the juices in your measuring jug. Top up the jug with water until your measuring jug has 2 cups or 500 ml of liquid in it. Tip the watery tomato juice into the rice.
Now add everything else, including the drained chopped tomato bits, give it a good stir and cook on Low for 6-7 Hours or High for 3-4 (you may need a little less for white rice). It's done when the rice is cooked.
Check for basic seasoning and then serve, giving your family options of toppings if you like. I liked this best with some grated cheddar for depth and a little cilantro/coriander leaf for freshness. There are lots of other variations you could try to keep this a "new" meal.
It's cheap, it's easy, it's healthy and it's comforting. You can vary it endlessly with different herbs, stock cubes, additions and fixings. What's not to like? The rice took on a slightly creamy consistency from the tomato juice and we enjoyed trying different spoonfuls with different flavours. It was a satisfying meal, especially with our favourite brown rice.
I'm going to be annoying though and say that, if you have a rice cooker, it would be even easier in that as the rice will hold for longer without over-cooking. Although the window for this is fairly flexible on a slow cooker, at some point it will turn to mush so bear the rice cooker option in mind.