Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eating from your pantry: Lentils and rice

A well-stocked pantry serves a number of purposes: It can make friends when your spouse unexpectedly brings a person or two home for dinner; it can provide whole meals when the electricity goes out; and, if the cook is laid up with a bad leg, as happened to me in the past few weeks, it is the source of variety and fast meals without having to go to the grocery store.

One of the meals that Mark Bittman proposed to keep people out of fast food joints is lentils and rice. Lentils cook quickly, about the time that rice does, but a nicely simmered sauce may take time. So if you don't cook, or can't stand long enough to prepare, here's a option straight from the pantry: Minute Rice prepared brown rice in microwave cups and Tasty Bite Madras lentils.

Take one cup (or two) and pull back the plastic seal a little. Microwave for a minute, then put in a microwave-safe bowl. Open the pouch of lentils (use half a pouch for a single serving) and pour over the rice. Microwave for another minute or until hot. Add a little hot sauce to taste. If you want more vegetables, add cooked ones before you pour the sauce over.

It won't be as good as from scratch, but nourishing and comforting and fast.