Two of the cornerstones of healthier eating are 1) cooking your own meals and 2) consuming whole grains. This becomes a snafu of sorts when the concept of time is thrown into the mix since whole grains take longer than a hot microwave minute to cook. So, once a month, I cook ahead.
I like to keep a stockpile of pre-cooked rice and quinoa in the freezer in storage bags. (Occasionally, I’ll cook another grain like kamut or wheat berries, but rice and quinoa are my standbys.) If you can’t find affordable, organic grains in your area, consider Green Polka Dot Box, an online grocery store.
- Two large pots with lids
- 1-2 lb. bag of organic brown rice (or 4-5 cups)
- 4 cups organic quinoa
- *The general ratio for cooking most grains is 2:1. Two parts water to one part grain. So, 8 cups of water for 4 cups of rice.
- Pour 8 cups of water into each pot. (Depending on the amount of rice or quinoa you have, place the appropriate amount of water in each pot. You will cook each grain separately in its own pot.)
- Bring the water to a good, rolling boil. Add salt if you like.
- Add your pre-measured grains to the water.
- Cover. Immediately reduce heat to low.
- Allow the grains to simmer. Usually, 50 minutes for rice, 20 minutes for quinoa.
- When the grains have finished cooking (you’ll know because you will smell them and all the liquid will have been absorbed), turn off the heat and remove from the heat source.
- Fluff with a long spoon.
- Once the grains have cooled, portion them into plastic storage bags by 2 cup increments. (I put 1 cup into a few bags for easy go-to lunches. Label them.)
- Squeeze the air out the bags as you close them and put them in the freezer.
- Voila! Your grains are ready when you are. I like to defrost mine in the microwave for 1-2 minutes before using, or just throw them into a hot pan with whatever I’m cooking (add a little liquid and cover).
I often use these frozen grains in my Simple Rice & Beans recipe, my go-to meal.