Last night for dinner I pulled one of my all-time favorite side dishes out of the freezer – my ‘Mixed Grains and Veggies.’ I developed this recipe about a year ago based on a side dish I had purchased from Let’s Dish. I fell in love with the combination of couscous, rice and veggies and it’s such a quick side dish to pull out of the freezer and whip up for dinner. The thing that makes this recipe hard to blog about is that I never just cook up a batch and eat it for dinner. I cook one huge batch, split it into dinner-sized portions and then freeze them for later dinners. So the recipe as-is makes a ton of food, and I’m not sure it’s the most dinner-friendly on it’s own since it requires cooking up couscous and rice. But – on a positive note – it’s great for using up leftover rice/couscous/even quinoa! And if you’re like me, and you like to have a “freezer cooking” day where you make a bunch of food for later dinners – this is the recipe for you.
The original side from Let’s Dish had red rice in it. I had never had red rice before, but I instantly fell for it! It’s got such a nutty flavor, and chewy texture – there really is nothing like it. Unfortunately, the only red rice I found in my supermarket is this mixed rice packet with red, black, and wild rice.
I do really love this mixed variety – but if you find red rice in your grocery store definitely feel free to substitute that!
Mixed Grains and Veggies Side Dish
Makes approximately 9 (large) servings, I split it into three freezer bags of approximately 3 servings each.
– 1 1/2 cup couscous, cooked (I’ve used both regular and pearl for this recipe – I prefer pearl but they’re both delicious)
– 1 1/2 cup rice, cooked (red rice, wild rice, or some mixture)
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 shallot, diced
– 2 teaspoons dried thyme
– 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or dried basil or parsley)
– 1/2 cup frozen peas
– 1/2 cup frozen carrots
– salt and pepper, to taste
Sauté the red bell pepper and shallot over medium heat in a little olive oil with the thyme and Italian seasoning until tender, approximately 3 minutes.
To cook this dish for immediate consumption:
Add the couscous, rice, peas and carrots to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Add olive oil as necessary and let the mixture cook over medium heat for approximately 8 minutes until parts of the rice/couscous get toasted and crunchy (think paella).
To prep for freezer storage:
Set out three freezer bags (I use a medium size – about half the size of a gallon bag). Divide the rice, couscous, and frozen vegetables evenly in between the bags. Do the same with the red bell pepper/shallot mixture. Seal and freeze. To re-heat, add the entire contents of the bag to a sauté pan over medium heat and cook until heated through and crunchy on some parts, approximately 8 minutes.
This is a great side dish for a variety of foods, but my favorite way to eat it is as a side to chicken sausage. I’m in love with this spinach and feta chicken sausage from the grocery store – and it makes for a quick and easy heat-and-eat, and healthy, dinner! 🙂
Today’s Healthy Living Articles…
~ How to Run Your Fastest Race (Women’s Health)
~ 8 Foods You Should Always Buy at the Farmer’s Market (Rodale News)