Monday, July 17, 2006

Simple, inexpensive and delicious

Greek Beef & Rice
Favorite Brand Name 100 Best Hamburger Recipes Copyright 2003

1 bag Success Rice I used regular brown rice - 2 cups cooked
1 pound lean ground beef
2 medium zucchini, sliced
½ cup chopped onion
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 can (14 ½ ounces) tomato sauce I used canned crushed tomatoes
¾ teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Prepare rice according to package directions.

Brown beef in large skillet, stirring occasionally to separate beef. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings. Add zucchini, onion and garlic to skillet; cook and stir until crisp-tender. Add all remaining ingredients except rice; cover. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice; heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Garnish, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

I chose this recipe simply because I was looking for a ground beef recipe and when I saw this one, I remembered there were a few zucchini languishing in my produce bin. I also had crushed tomatoes in the freezer, left from a 28-ounce can when I made the Rigatoni (Penne) with Chorizo and Tomato last week. So this was a recipe of convenience but the bonus was - I loved it! We all did. It really reminded me of the way I cooked back in my single days, when I was on a budget. I would have used white rice back then but rice is cheap, ground meat is cheap (any ground meat would be good here), canned tomatoes are cheap, onions are cheap, zucchinis are cheap right now but you don't really need them. You can leave them out or add other veggies of your choice.

I love the combination of tomatoes and rice. I don't know why I don't put the combination together more often. I used to work with a woman who was never happier than when they served rice and spaghetti sauce in the cafeteria on the same day. She called it rice and 'gravy' and it was something she grew up on.

Another co-worker from that job put ketchup on steamed broccoli. I actually like that combination but now I usually dip my steamed broccoli in Tiger Sauce.

I cooked the brown rice the night before but you can use any rice, even the ready-to-use rice, which can be a Godsend when you want to put a meal on the table, superquick (but it costs quite a bit more than regular brown rice). I added 2 cups of cooked rice since I wasn't sure how much rice was in a bag of Success Rice. Two cups seemed just right.

My son loved it too. He loves rice so I've been making it a lot more than I used to. I had really gotten out of the habit since regular rice (white or brown) takes too long to cook after work but I just solved that problem by cooking my rice the night before, while I'm doing chores or watching my shows. If you boil it, you might lose some nutrients but the rice isn't sticky and keeps well in the refrigerator until I'm ready to use it the next night.

Question of the Day: Do you ever cook anything the night before you're going to serve it?


ThursdayNext said...

This looks delicious. :) In addition to the three things, it is also healthy!

On occassion, I do. I think that most baked Italian dishes are better the next day, like ziti and lasagne, because the flavors have more time to settle and everything isnt so runny.

Jennifer said...

No because then it is a leftover and my husband only eats leftovers for lunch. Whatever.

Annie said...

This recipe looks like something my Italian mother made when I was a kid. I love these simple recipes that you have been posting. Please keep them coming!
I do make a lot of things either the night before or even on the weekend in anticipation for the upcoming work week. Otherwise, it would be to much for me to handle everyday after work.

Unknown said...

I do cook the night before I need it because I often won't have a chance the next day because of studying.