As much as we all want to be little Martha Stewarts every single night even after a hard day at work to prove we’re superwomen, it’s more than likely that burnout will hit by about Tuesday and out will come the cell phone to order takeout. Sure, any recipe site has “30-minute” meals, but with tens of spices you don’t have on hand and strange ingredients that require a specialty grocery store, they never seem to actually make life easier. Here are some quick, yummy, balanced weeknight rice bowl dinners for two that make you look like Martha without having a life balance breakdown in the kitchen. With easily exchangeable and substitutable ingredients, one shopping trip over the weekend prepares you for all.
Buffalo Bowls (10 minutes)
1 c. instant brown rice
1 c. water
1/2 green or red bell pepper
2 slices white cheese (provolone, muenster, mozzarella, or pepper jack)
Buffalo chicken wing sauce (I like Frank’s Original)
2 chicken breasts (you can use steak or tofu, too)
Pour the water into a small or medium sauce pan and turn on high. While the water heats to a boil, cut your green or red pepper into small chunks (for the non-Marthas out there, remember to take out that white middle part). When the water is boiling, pour in your rice and turn the heat off. Let it sit on the hot burner and soak up the water for 10 minutes (see package for time as it may vary by brand.) While the rice soaks, chop your meat into strips and stir fry in a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pink is almost gone, add your peppers. When the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the Buffalo Wing sauce and top with cheese in the pan. Turn off the heat and let it sit on the hot burner for a minute or two to melt the cheese.
To assemble your bowls, put in the rice, then the chicken mixture. Add more sauce if you like ’em spicy! Easy peasy!
Beverage match: Light lager beer (I like Bud Light Golden Wheat or Red Stripe Light), sweet tea, or just plain ol’ water to put out the fire.
Teriyaki Rice Bowls (25 mins)
1 c. short-grain white rice (Mahatma brand has this readily available in grocery stores)
2 c. water
1 bunch (about 10) green onions
1/2 avacado OR 10 thin strips of regular cream cheese
Teriyaki sauce (I like the Kikkoman Takumi Collection – Original, but any will do. Try to pick a thicker sauce.)
2 chicken breasts (you can use steak or tofu, too)
Pour the water into a small or medium sauce pan and turn on high. While the water heats to a boil, chop the green onions (veggies first so you can reuse the knife and board without washing!). Cut off the roots and any brown patches, then chop the entire stalk, separating the white onion portion and the green scallion portion into piles.
Once your water boils, pour in the rice, turn down to low heat and cover (watch the pot every so often to ensure it’s not bubbling over..that rice tends to create some foam.) The rice will take 20 minutes, so while you wait, cut your avacado and/or cream cheese strips. Then, cut the chicken/beef/tofu into small strips. Put a medium or large skillet on a large burner and turn up to medium-high heat. Stir fry your meat/tofu until the pink is almost gone, then add the onion portion of your green onions. Once the meat is thoroughly cooked, add the sauce and turn off the heat.
To assemble your bowls, first place the sticky rice in the bottom. Then add the avacado/cream cheese. Then add your meat mixture and top with scallions.
Beverage match: Ginger ale, white wine, Japanese beer such as Kirin.
Mexican Fiesta Bowls (25 min.)
1 small 2-serving packet of yellow rice (I like Vigo)
1 1/4 c. water
Salsa (I like our grocery store brand organic salsa – Publix Greenwise)
Sour cream or plain nonfat greek yogurt
1/4 green bell pepper
1/4 red bell pepper
1/4 white onion
Taco seasoning mix or the three red pepper seasonings (Chile powder, cayenne pepper, paprika)
2 chicken breasts (you can use lean ground beef/turkey, steak, or tofu, too)
Pour the water into a small or medium sauce pan and turn on high. While the water heats to a boil, chop your onion and peppers into small chunks (again, for those non-Marthas – be sure to cut out the white in the peppers and peel the onion, first!). When the water starts to boil, stir in the rice and a dollop of olive oil, turn down to low heat, and cover. The rice takes 20 minutes, so while it simmers, cut your meat into strips. Stir fry your meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pink is almost gone, add your peppers and onions and the seasoning mix or a dash of each of the red pepper seasonings. Add a little veggie oil or olive oil if the seasonings stick to the meat in clumps. Stir fry until meat is thoroughly cooked.
To assemble your bowls, put in the rice, then the meat mixture. Top with a dollop of sour cream/greek yogurt and salsa. ¡Arriba!
Beverage match: Dos Equis or Corona beer (light is best of course), Margaritas! (the real thing: just shake some lime juice, agave juice – optional and substitutable – and tequila in a cocktail shaker and pour over ice!) or water