Sunday, December 13, 2009

Little Time

My relatively new life as a college student has taught me some things, many directly related to my studies, but many the byproduct of late nights and early mornings with classes, work and study time crammed in between. In other words, I'm busier than I've been in years, and this schedule has forced me to rewire my typically relaxed routines.

Take grocery shopping. I used to stop at the store on my way home from work on a daily basis. I'd decide what I wanted to have for dinner on the spot and then head for the kitchen to make it happen. I made one night meals knowing that I'd have the time to cook again on the morrow. That is no longer my reality. Shopping is now a weekly event that takes into account the menu that I have planned for the week, most of which includes several days of leftovers. How would the world continue its turning without leftovers? I would surely parish.

With the avoidance of my own demise in mind, I've come up with several one-pot meals that can be made on a less stressful evening to ensure that when I am overwhelmed with research papers and math exams, the fridge contains food that can be reheated and eaten in fifteen minutes time. Here is one of my favorites from that list of dishes.

Indian Rice with Garbanzos and Greens
4-6 servings
(vegan & gluten free:)

1 C. brown jasmine rice (or your favorite rice)
2 C. vegetable broth
1 C. diced onion
1/2 C. diced celery
2 T. garam masala (an Indian spice)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. tumeric
2 cardomom pods
2 cloves garlic, miced
1/2 tsp. cayenne (less or more depending on your spice tolerance)
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained (or 1 1/2 C. cooked garbanzos)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes (or 1 1/2 C. diced fresh tomatoes)
approx. 2 C. coarsely chopped kale or collard greens
1 C. coconut milk
salt to taste

To prepare the rice, I use a rice cooker, adding the rice and broth and flipping the switch. Alternately, you can prepare the rice in a pot on the stove according to package directions.

While the rice is cooking, in large skillet with tall sides, heat oil over medium and add onion. Cook, stirring for a couple of minutes, and then throw in the celery. Cook a few minutes more.
Add the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, the contents of the cardamom pods (discard the shells), garlic and cayenne. Stir the veggies and spices, cooking for another couple of minutes.

Add the garbanzo beans and tomatoes to the skillet and stir. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in the chopped greens, stir, and allow to simmer for 2 minutes more.

Pour the coconut milk into the skillet and mix well with the veggies and beans. By this time, the rice should be done and can be added to the the skillet. Stir well, taste and season with salt if necessary (this will depend on the salt content of the broth you used to prepare the rice). You're ready to eat tonight and for several evenings to come.


Wow, I must be busy. I forgot to add the tomatoes to the dish pictured above. All this knowledge I'm gaining is apparently making me lose my mind.

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