During my second-to-last week of grad school, I ate terribly. I had (what felt like) no food in the house because I’m moving soon and I don’t want to have a bunch of unused groceries to move. But for my last official week of grad school, I decided to do things differently. I took a break from frantically editing my thesis to make myself portable breakfasts and lunches for the week, so I would have no excuse to spend money or calories unnecessarily. I rummaged through my dry goods and my fridge and set out cooking. Breakfast was obvious: a huge vat of steel-cut oats, cooked to gooey perfection and supplemented with chia seeds for omega-3s, ready to be reheated and topped with fresh fruit or vegetables or eggs or whatever I felt like in the morning (there’s a post on this coming soon!). For lunch, I pulled out my huge container of short-grain brown rice, some kidney beans, a box of chicken stock, and a can of olives (I love black olives, but I never really know how to use them). I figured that if people all over the world survive on beans and rice, I definitely can for a week.
But that wasn’t exciting enough for me. Since the rice was short grain rice, I decided that I could make a risotto. Click here for my risotto-making method! Since I already had to stand by the stove making steel cut oats, why not have another pot of creamy whole grains cooking at the same time? I made the brown rice risotto and oats while also prepping a roast chicken with potatoes for dinner (did I mention I was short on time??), which I hoped would give me at least 2 dinners for myself and my boyfriend.
When the rice was tender, I added a splash of milk and a hefty grating of parmesan cheese for fun, then I stirred in the beans and sliced olives. Since that wasn’t vegetable-y enough for me, I also tore up some baby spinach and stirred until it wilted. I really wasn’t expecting much, but this turned out to be delicious! Definitely something I could look forward to for the week. I scooped the rice into 5 perfectly-portable tupperware containers and looked forward to the next afternoon when I could enjoy my handiwork.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1 large shallot, 3 garlic cloves, and/or 1 small onion, minced
- 1 cup brown arborio rice
- Approximately 6 cups of chicken broth/stock
- Approximately 1 cup of white wine (drinkable, but not expensive)- optional
- 1 splash milk
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, spices, etc. as desired
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 can sliced black olives
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- Saute the aromatics in the olive oil until softened and slightly brown. Add the rice and stir until just barely toasted.
- Pour in about 1-2 cups of stock, stir, and bring to a gentle boil. Partially lid and let the rice absorb the liquid. Repeat until the rice is almost cooked through, then add 1 cup of white wine. Let the rice absorb the wine a bit, and then add any ingredients you want to let them heat through.
- When the liquid is absorbed and the rice softened, add the splash of milk, parmesan cheese, and season to taste.
- Stir in the beans, olives, and spinach, and heat through until the spinach is wilted.
- This should be enough food for 4-5 lunches!