Monday, October 10, 2011

And One Meal Becomes Two...

I started meal planning a couple of years ago to prevent the age old grocery store problem.  You all know what I'm talking about...the "I spent $100 at the grocery store and have nothing to eat."  I was guilty of buying one full meal, and the rest?  Ghosts of meals that should have been.  I was also working part time and just thought it would make my life easier, not having to think about what was going onto my table when I got home... annnnd it gave me less of an excuse to impulse buy McDonalds.

It was around this time that I embraced the philosophy of...the two-fer; one meal that instantly lends itself to two.  So...baking a chicken?  Great, open a few cans the next day and you've got White Bean Chicken Chili.  And it is -almost- like you cooked two days in a row...which in my house makes it somewhat excusable when there is Hamburger Helper in Dad's lunch pail the next day.  Somewhat.  It is borderline....very borderline.

So, my twofer began its life as an herb roasted oven stuffer, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rice and home made rolls.  The rolls were obliterated immediately, as were the greens and sweet potatoes the next day.  I was left with clumpy rice (I am the -worst- rice cooker is painful, honestly.) and a huge chicken breast no one wanted any parts of.  Typically it would be off to the culinary graveyard for both of these fallen foods, but not here.  NOT ON MY WATCH...there was some re-purposing to be done.  And so?  I made Chicken and Dumplings with Rice Pudding for dessert.  The Rice Pudding recipe follows, but the C and D recipe will be posted later this week.

Rice Pudding

This recipe is a piece of cake, and amazingly customizable to suit your personal preferences.  This time around I used 1% milk because that is what I had in the fridge, but typically I prefer to use whole or half and half to make a creamier pudding.  In a saucepan mix one part rice to one part milk, and then sweeten to your liking.  I work in tablespoons of sugar, and for this batch I got up to four.  Make sure to temper the heaps of sugar with a sprinkle of salt, which will give the whole dish a bit more depth of flavor.  When everything is mixed together, bring it to a boil, taking care to stir frequently to prevent the bottom from burning (and it -will- burn, trust me).  Once it is boiling and bubbly, reduce the temperature and simmer until the pudding gets to a consistency you are comfortable with, keeping in mind that it will solidify even moreso in the refrigerator.  Flavor it however it pleases you.  I like a sprinkle of cinnamon, and this time I tossed a vanilla bean into the milk before it boiled.  I have heard that some folks enjoy a sprinkle of yourself, I hate cardamon with a  White hot.  Eat hot or cold and refrigerate the leftovers.

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