What to CookOn the Cheap

Why You Should Eat More Rice + 5 Ways to Do It

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Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Four reasons you should be cooking more rice, and five ways to make it happen, without getting bored.

Sometime in the last decade, rice began to lose its allure. I blame those now-ubiquitous ancient grains -- quinoa, bulgur, amaranth, and the like -- for sweeping in and charming us all with their exotic, borderline unpronounceable names and promises of antioxidants, fiber, and eternal youth. Poor old vanilla rice had nothing on freaky freekeh

But here's why you should be eating more of it:

- It's the original cheap grain, typically running around $2 for a bag that will yield several dinners. If you have the space to store it, buy a 10-pound bag and you'll be set for months on end. 

- It's naturally gluten-free, for those of you worried about that sort of thing.

- Combined with any sort of bean, it forms a complete protein -- necessary for any of you vegans out there. 

- It's a blank canvas that can easily adapt to several recipes -- you can make a pot at the beginning of the week and spoon curry over it when it's fresh or turn it into fried rice when it's not. 

It's not always so easy to cook (I consistently burn rice more than any other food), so if you're like me, here's a guide to all the different varieties and how to cook 'em

With a little bit of effort, you can even craft it into an impressive and affordable main dish suitable for dinner parties. Here are a few (and a dessert!) to keep on hand:

Aristotelian Rice and Peas 

Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

Kimchi Fried Rice

Leek Risotto

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Citrus and Ginger

Tell us: What are your favorite rice-based dinners?

Tags: my broke kitchen, rice, cheap dinner party mains

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