Stretch Your Family Budget with Rice

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To people in many parts of the world, rice is as much a daily staple as bread is to Americans. And it’s easy to see why. It’s inexpensive, easy to cook, tastes great, and can be used in a multitude of recipes. Rice easily picks up added seasonings to create a variety of flavors, and works well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in side dishes, entrees or even desserts. Rice is truly one of the most versatile foods frugal moms will find. And it can be used for purposes other than food as well. Here are some ideas for using rice to in a variety of money-saving ways

• Use traditional rice rather than quick-cooking rice to save the most money.

• Keep quick-cooking rice on hand for emergencies. Rice makes a quick add-on to a meal that needs to be stretched to accommodate unexpected visitors, or for when your menu plan didn’t include a side dish.

• To make perfect rice, use a heavy pot so it doesn’t scorch the bottom, and a tight fitting lid. Rinse the rice before cooking. Drain thoroughly. Add 1 part rice to 1 1/2 parts water. Cook on low heat for 12-14 minutes. Let rice sit, covered for five minutes before serving.

• Saute rice in 1 T. vegetable oil before adding water to help grains remain separated after it’s cooked.

• Rice is great for handcrafted bean bag filling, but be careful using it around small children as it could cause a choking hazard.

• Rice is often used in beauty products, particularly by the Japanese. Make your own facial toner and scrub with the following recipes.

Rice Facial Toner
2 t. rice
1/2 T. thyme
1/2 c. water
3 T. lemon juice

In a small bowl, crush rice, Add thyme and stir with a fork. Bring water to a full boil in a small saucepan. Add rice mixture and lemon juice. Let cool completely. Strain and apply liquid to face with a cotton ball. Refrigerate leftover.

Rice Scrub
1 t. rice
10 strawberries, chopped
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. sea salt

Combine strawberries and olive oil with a fork until well blended. Add crushed rice and salt. Mix well. Massage onto face, feet, elbows, knees, etc. Let stand 2-3 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

• There are hundreds or thousands of recipes available using rice for all kinds of dishes. The following will get you started experimenting.

Spanish Rice
2 c. cooked rice
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cilantro (optional)

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Easy Rice Pudding
1/4 c. uncooked rice
4 c. milk
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 300° F. Combine all ingredients in a baking dish sprayed with cooking oil spray. Bake 3 1/2 hours, stirring three times during the first hour of baking to keep rice from settling.

Hawaiian Breakfast Rice
1 c. cooked rice, cooled
1/2 banana, sliced
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 T. coconut
2 T. pineapple
2 T. raisins
1 T. chopped almonds

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Rice Pilaf
2 T. butter
1/2 small onion, chopped fine
2 c. rice
3 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 large can chicken broth
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper

Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and saute until tender. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer over low heat until rice is done, about 15 minutes.

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