Missouri's weather is always a bit strange and this year's winter season has been no exception.
Last week we were all running around in flip flops and shorts. Last night was a blasting, spring-like, thunder storm. Tonight it's 20 out there. Yeah, 20 degrees, brrrrrr.
I heat my home with a wood stove. Aside from a couple of chilly nights I haven't burned a real fire, for any length of time, all winter season. Small infrared heaters have done the trick to keep the chill off, until now.
Aside from the rich warmth the wood stove provides, it's a cooking medium for me in the winter as well. I mean, why turn on the range in the kitchen if you already have one fired up in the living room, right? It's great for simmering stews and chili, steaming veggies, and even cook a cast iron skillet full of biscuits. (You need a cast iron lid to make it work right, but yeah, even biscuits.)
Some times it's like a crock pot. Throw everything in one big pot, put a lid on it, stir on occasion, and a few hours later you have a simple, no fuss meal. It cooks the best Ramen noodles you'll ever eat. Cooked through and through but never mushy. Imagine, a Ramen noodle that's not slimey. I would have never have believed it, but the wood stove does it.
So, this was supper off the stove tonight, vegan friendly even; perfect rice and veggies in 25 minutes, and that includes the time throw it all together. It's super tasty and costs me pennies a meal.
I measure my rice and water into my pan. I use the same pan that inserts in my rice cooker. I have a small skillet that fits in the top of the rice cooker pan, and I put my veggies in it with some seasoning and cover it with a lid. I put it all on the wood stove. I don't mess with it in any way. In about 20 minutes I have a nutritious meal that I didn't have to slave over with minimal dishes to do. It is just that simple.
I'll admit I cheat a little with frozen, already chopped, oriental veggies. The Fusia brand I get at Aldi's is really firm and there is a wide variety of veggies in the bag. They are the closest to fresh that I have found. The bag includes a flavor package that taste's a little like Teriyaki but you can omit that and use a little chicken broth to simmer the veggies in for flavor.
Where most Americans love potatoes, I prefer rice, and I eat a fair amount of it. I've tried using cheaper rice to cut costs, but have found there are some things I just won't cut corners on. Rice is one of them. I like rice that holds it's shape and doesn't cook to mush and will hold up to a good frisk stir fry without busting open in the process.
I found this brand at Walmart, and I love it.
It costs about $1 a pound and worth every penny. Best rice ever and has this beautiful Jasmine aroma in cooking and a full body flavor without using any salt.
I've added chicken or a fried egg, chopped, and stirred into the mix for added protein. More times than not though, the rice and veggies are just fine on their own.