grains and pulses that can be frozen?
my partner and I have a newborn baby and a toddler at home, and have been forced to cut back to the absolute minimum of cooking and are eating off paper plates, till the baby is a couple of months old at least. Partner would be happy with Amy's entrees every meal, but that's not how I roll ... I'd rather have entrees that have absolute dead-simple preparation, coupled with a frozen vegetable. I'm under strict orders to create no nightly dishwashing burden.
For the entrees, I've had good luck with bulk crock-pot meat dishes that freeze ahead, but getting a starch to go with them is too much work each night.
I've seen frozen, cooked brown rice for sale at Trader Joe's and it got me thinking: could I pre-make a giant batch of some grain in the rice cooker on the weekend and parcel it out into bags in the freezer. I stopped myself as soon as I realized that my cooker makes sticky rice (I guess they all do) that becomes totally gross after freezing. The TJ's stuff is more like individual grains (?), and it's yummy, but getting to/through the zoo that is TJ's is also too much for us right now.
So: is there another way to prepare bulk rice that would freeze well? Or better yet, are there other grains I could use the rice cooker for (dead simple again), that would do what I want?
I would also LOVE any suggestions or tips for utterly simple entrees as described above! I'm just about over pot roast by now.
Thanks in advance,
I always make my rice in big batches in my rice cooker, and then freeze in smaller portions for use later. From personal experience- transfer the rice into the baggies, seal and freeze them while the rice is still warm, or it will dry out in the freezer.
Also from personal experience, if your cooker has a "keep warm" function, let it sit in the cooker in "keep warm" mode for at least 10-15 minutes before opening the rice cooker. My rice used to turn out a bit sticky and this has helped that. (The other thing that used to make my rice sticky- I couldn't resist peeking...)
Just my two cents!
If you are getting sticky rice in your rice cooker, I would look at the kind of rice you are using. If you use jasmine or basamati, it will less likely be sticky. I don't cook rice in a cooker, but on the stovetop, and when I use those varieties, I end up with flakey rice with separate grains.
In terms of freezing, if you do decide to go that option, be sure you DON'T freeze it in bulk. I'd spread it out on a cookie sheet until the cooked rice was frozen, and then package it in baggies or freezer containers after frozen, so that when you reheat it, you don't end up with an unappetizing mess.
When I freeze rice, I put the rice between sheets of wax paper (2 cups at a time and smush it down until I have a sort of brick of rice and wax paper. The whole thing gets wrapped in foil and frozen, and then when I need some rice, I just pop off one or two blocks of rice from the whole brick, microwave, and voila!
Seriously, as I've said before, if Masaharu Morimoto makes massive batches of rice and freezes it in portion sizes, I can too!
Re: your rice cooker: if you want non-sticky rice, make sure you're using long-grain (or jasmine or basmati, as DanaB said above), and reduce the amount of water by 10-25%. Should solve the problem.