Friday, August 22, 2008

The Lentils & Rice Experiment

I like to read blogs. Usually I read about natural living, being a better wife/mom, frugality, and healthy cooking. Those things are usually reflected back here as I write. A couple of months ago I came across a blog called Lentils and Rice. It covered all of my favorite topics and was quickly bookmarked.

One of the things Robyn posts about often is "Stretchy Beans." Stretchy Beans is the concept of taking a very frugal pot of beans and rice and making several (healthy) meals out of it. I thought it sounded like a great idea. I'm always trying to stretch our food dollars a little bit more and beans, rice, and lentils are CHEAP.

So I decided to experiment on my unsuspecting family. Using this post for instructions, I cooked up a pot of lentils & rice. I followed it to the letter: 2 lbs. rice, 1 lb. lentils. What I didn't anticipate was the sheer amount of food that was!! Robyn says it makes 4-6 meals for her family of 5. Well, here was the pot after I made 6 meals out of it:

That's a lotta food still in that pot!! A whole lotta food.

I reincarnated the plain lentils and rice as fried rice:
And as a cold salad:
And as tacos, veggie casserole, lentil burgers, and a few other things. All told I made 11 meals out of that pot. (That includes meals from leftovers.) I would have gotten more, but I got sick and wasn't cooking for a few days so the lentils & rice languished in my fridge and I ended up throwing some away. That really bummed me out, but I didn't know I was going to get SO sick.

I guess I would call the experiment a success overall. Next time I will make only half as much lentils & rice to start with. And I will probably freeze whatever is left after the first 4 meals or so. But it is a great frugal way to eat. The lentils & rice can substitute for rice or ground meat so it was very versatile. I will probably do it again, and may even try it with *beans*.


Margery said...

I love lentils and rice, too. We are actually having black beans and rice tonight. Legumes are soo good for you, tasty, and inexpensive!

Kate said...

Lentils and rice is a favorite in our home too, and I'm always looking for new ways to stretch it. Our current favorites are lentils & rice chili and lentils & rice curry. Delicious. I have never made a big pot like that with the sole intent of stretching it throughout the week. I'll have to try that soon.

The Simple Shepherdess said...

How awesome to get that many meals for your family with one pot of lentils and rice! I LOVE lentils, all legumes actually. Unfortunately I am having trouble getting my family to see things my way. But they are coming around slowly but surely! One of my favorite recipes is this:
You should try it. I had it in Egypt last year and came home craving it! I HAD to find a recipe that could compare and this one is it. I'm sure you will love it with some country bread dipped in it. The combination of lemon juice with lentils is divine. I'm not sure if the recipe says so, but I puree the soup before serving:)