Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Budget Cheesy Rice TV Dinners

This is a simple recipe to make simple yet delicious meals, on a budget, and in batches ready to heat up and serve for busy people -- whether you are single or preparing meals for the family they can just grab from the fridge and prepare themselves.

  1. Prepare rice.
    • I use a parboiled rice that recommends 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice, but I found that you can get away with as little as 1 cup of water per cup of rice.
    • You can throw virtually anything in here to flavour it a bit and make it more interesting, such as diced potatoes and carrots which will cook while the rice is cooking.
    • In the worst case, if you are on a strict budget, just add some salt. 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of raw rice is more than enough.
    • A useful product is Knorr Chicken Broth Mix, which you can use to make broth / soup of course but you can also add about 1 tablespoon per cup of raw rice to make somewhat flavourful rice. Look around for the bulk-sized 1 kilogram container for more savings instead of buying smaller quantities.
  2. Get some bowls and cut some cheese.
  3. Start with a layer of rice on the bottom and add a layer of cheese (slide 1). You really don't need quite that much cheese, but if you want it super cheesy, go ahead and add more.
  4. Top with more rice.
  5. Top with something to go with the rice if you have it. In the slide above I added some frozen Great Value brand perogies from Walmart (slide 2); they'll be cooked when I steam the rice bowl later.
  6. Put these "TV dinner" portions in the fridge for use later.
When you need a meal, you just steam it briefly to rehydrate the rice, melt the cheese, and heat up the meal. I use an InstantPot, so it's really easy and low-attention.
  • I set it to Steam with a 1 minute timer and without the Keep Warm setting.
  • Then when the steam has cooled enough for the lid to be safely opened (the red float valve drops down), everything is heated through. Probably very hot, in fact.
  • Or if I'm in the middle of something, I don't have to run over and turn it off because the residual hot air / steam inside the InstantPot will keep it hot for a good while until I'm ready to eat.

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