Give a twist to your family meals

Photo by Lum3n:

There are times when meals turn out to be monotonous and flavorless. It is not your fault; daily activities, work, and extra errands make it impossible to plan and cook different and delicious meals everyday.

Fortunately, there is a solution for this inconvenience of lack of time and creativity. Check my ideas for quick yet delicious meals almost every day of the week.

Handy ingredients

The ingredients you already have in your pantry and fridge are your allies to prepare quick, easy, and delicious meals. You only need to get more out of some of them.

Rice, pasta, couscous, beans, and vegetables are the components of any dish. So, let’s find out how to use one of them wisely to create various dishes.


Rice is the preferred staple worldwide. It is easy to cook; it will not take much time to prepare varied meals.

Even if it is hard to believe, rice allows you to prepare international dishes and other preparations effortlessly.

For international dishes, the secret is to know how to cook rice properly and use high-quality ingredients.

For diverse rice dishes, the secret is to change, substitute, or add more components to original recipes. This way, you can have a whole new preparation every time you cook.

International rice dishes are:

  • Risotto: The classic risotto recipe includes Arborio rice, onion, garlic, butter, stock, white wine, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

For making a simple risotto you need to add butter to a saucepan and sauté onion and garlic. Add rice and stir-fry. Then, add white wine and stock in small batches until the rice is done and creamy. At the end of the cooking process, incorporate Parmesan cheese.

  • Fried rice: The original Chinese fried rice has leftover long-grain rice, eggs, pork, shrimp, and vegetables, flavored with soy sauce.

For making fried rice use a wok or a big frying pan. Pour some olive oil and stir-fry each ingredient. Start with the rice; then add chicken, shrimp, and vegetables. Season with soy sauce and serve with sesame seeds.

  • Mexican rice: This is an easy and fast dish. It contains rice cooked in intense tomato sauce.

For making Mexican rice add olive oil in a saucepan, and sauté rice. Add water and tomato sauce and cook until rice is tender.

  • Coconut rice: Once you try this dish, you will never make simple white rice again. It has rice cooked in coconut milk.

For making coconut milk, place a pot, rice, coconut milk, water, salt, and sugar. Cook until rice is done, and serve with chopped cilantro and toasted shredded coconut at the top.

Variations of rice dishes

Most rice dishes are easy, and you can prepare different meals with them some days of the week. If you take inspiration from renowned recipes, you can customize them and have countless recipes created by you.

Classic risotto can turn into a new dish by adding onions or mushrooms. Try this original for a family dinner.

A basic fried rice recipe works as a blank canvas for varied preparations. Instead of chicken, you may use ham or pork. Be creative with the vegetables, and include corn, diced carrots, green peas, and even broccoli.

Enhance Mexican rice by incorporating onion, garlic, carrots, and peas. You can take this recipe and create a delicious chicken and rice dish.

With a few changes in the classic coconut rice recipe, you can make a more exquisite dish. For example, you can incorporate shallots and lime juice.

Another fresh idea for cooking rice

You already have great ideas for including varied rice dishes in your family meals. But, I give an extra recipe to have in your new dishes repertoire.

Green rice

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 2 cups of chicken stock.
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley.
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro.
  • 1 chopped poblano chili pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped onion.
  • 1 chopped clove garlic.
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 cup of long-grain white rice.
  • Salt to taste.


  1. Place the parsley, cilantro, chiles, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock in a food processor. Chop until they get a puree consistency. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, add olive oil and heat at medium temperature.
  3. Add rice and sauté for two minutes.
  4. Pour the puree into the saucepan, stir, and cook for five minutes.
  5. Incorporate the remaining chicken stock, and salt, and boil.
  6. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with extra cilantro or parsley at the top.